society

Survey suggests that almost 40 percent of Japanese men are reluctant to eat alone in public

Apparently, some Japanese men really don’t like to eat alone in public. But are they simply too shy, or is there something else going on?

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Singaporeans are getting creative when it comes to combating the low fertility rate

With one of the lowest birth rates in the world, activists in Singapore are using clever advertising campaigns and humor to try to trigger a baby boom.

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Seven reasons why 80 percent of young South Koreans don’t want to live in their own country

South Korea is a popular travel destination adored by many, but a recent survey suggests that almost 80 percent of its citizens want out. Why?

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Five Japanese misconceptions about foreign male/Japanese female couples

Japanese blogger and internationalist Madame Riri explores five prejudices and misconceptions foreign male-Japanese female couples experience in Japan.

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Top 10 English vocabulary words for 2015 according to users of Japanese online dictionary Weblio

To coincide with Japan’s annual “Kanji of the Year” event, which reveals the mood of 2015 with a Chinese character, popular online dictionary site Weblio asked its Japanese users to nominate an “English vocabulary word of the Year”. The top ten results provide a unique insight into the hot topics of interest in Japan in 2015.

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Three common complaints foreigners have about Christmas in Japan, and how to make peace with them

‘Tis the season for grumbling about cultural differences, but does it have to be?

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Japanese ministry finds correlation between level of income and diet, number of teeth

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare found that lower-income families consumed fewer vegetables and had fewer teeth.

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50 things that surprised our writer when visiting China 【RocketExperience】

After a week in China, one of our Japanese writers brought home a list of thoughts to share with us.

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The four new classes of modern otaku

Which otaku quadrant do you fall into?

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Meet the people and organizations who are tackling the problem of childhood hunger in Japan

Tough economic times can and do happen everywhere in the world. Even in wealthy, developed countries like Japan, some folks struggle every day to make ends meet. Sometimes, those people are families with young children.

Childhood hunger is a worldwide problem, and while no one deserves to go hungry, it is an especially sad situation for children. For one thing, they can’t really do anything to help better their situation, and secondly, they need the food and nutrition to help their bodies continue to grow properly. In Japan, approximately 16 percent of two-parent families are financially unable to provide enough food for their children, and that number jumps to 32 percent for single-parent households, according to a 2012 survey. But there are some who refuse to stand by doing nothing and are dedicating themselves to feeding the hungry children in Japan.

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What Japanese women really think about the gender gap in Japan【Video】

During our Women in Japan series, we discussed some of the powerful reasons to be a woman in Japan. From a Westernised viewpoint, it’s sometimes hard to accept the fact that, while Japan is still very much a patriarchal society, many women (not all, but many) here don’t actually want to be out there smashing glass ceilings and “leaning in” at the office when instead they could be doing things that women were traditionally appreciated for in Japan, namely cooking, housekeeping and raising the kids.

If you’re still in doubt as to exactly what Japanese women think of the gender gap in their country, this informative street interview video from YouTuber Yuta Aoki should provide some answers.

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Six types of Japanese people you’ll meet while living in Japan — An illustrated guide

A while back, we had some fun talking about five of the more noteworthy types of foreigners you’ll meet in Japan, based upon observations drawn from our time spent working and living here in the Land of the Rising Sun. Whether you’re a Plastic Sensei, Hateimus Japanicus, Secret Ninja, Bubble Dweller or Kid in a Candy Store (or indeed, all of these at different times), we reckon there’s probably quite a lot foreign residents can find to nod their heads at when considering each of those five extreme types.

But what about the flip side of the coin? Spend enough time as a foreigner in a country like Japan—a place that’s 98.5% ethnically Japanese—and you’ll be sure to notice that Japanese people will approach you, the foreigner, in a number of different ways. Today we’d like to share our thoughts on six kinds of Japanese people foreigners might meet during their time in Japan. See how many of them you’ve come across during your time traveling or living in the country!

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Japanese cell phone provider gives same-sex couples with Partnership Certificates family discount

Cell phone service in Japan isn’t exactly cheap, and if you spend a lot of time on your smartphone talking with clients, chatting with friends, or otherwise keeping in touch with the rest of the world, it’s not hard to run up a monthly bill in the neighborhood of 10,000 yen (US$84). Thankfully, Japanese providers offer a variety of discounts to help soften the blow, with reduced rates for family members being a huge help.

Now, as part of the changing societal concept of what constitutes a family, Japan’s largest telecommunications provider has begun offering family discounts to same-sex couples who present documentation of their union.

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Meetings and more meetings: Foreigners list the pros and cons of working at a Japanese company

It’s no secret that Japan may be headed for a bit of a labor crunch, as the population ages and many older workers reach retirement age with fewer young up-and-comers to replace them. And, while the Japanese government seems reluctant to take measures to replenish the shrinking workforce with foreign laborers, non-Japanese workers are nevertheless entering Japanese corporations and workplaces in record numbers.

But Japanese offices are also notorious for their long hours, slow pace of advancement, and frequent, long meetings. Traditional Japanese companies seem stuck in an old-school work culture even as companies in the rest of the world offer increasingly progressive work-life balance programs, workplace perks, and office hours.

With this stark contrast in mind, our Japanese sister site tracked down seven non-Japanese workers to get their for-realsies impressions of what it’s actually like to work at a Japanese company.

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Japanese TV show produces baffling list of five household habits that will shorten your lifespan

It seems like we’re constantly being bombarded with tips and tricks about how to make our lives better or how to improve our quality of life. We’re always being told to change the way we eat, the way we sleep, include some daily physical activity, and re-organize our lives. Everyone has something different to say, but one thing they seem to have in common is the positive spin they put on their life improvements.

That’s not strictly true for Japanese television though. One recent program seemed to be taking a cue from the fear-based strategies of American TV, and spent an entire segment talking about habits in your household that are likely to decrease your lifespan.

Find out the five habits you should be wary of, apparently, after the jump.

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Five things you should know before coming to Japan【Video】

According to statistic, anywhere from one to two million people visit Japan per month, and more foreigners are working and living here than ever before. That’s a lot of people hopping a plane over, and especially if yours is a one-way flight, preparing yourself mentally before you arrive in Japan is just as important as the physical things you pack with you in your suitcase.

Think you’ve done all your research when it comes to the Land of the Rising Sun? Check out this video on five things you should know before making the big move.

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New study suggests Japanese people born in late winter at higher risk of suicide

While Japan is famous for its animationfood, pop-culture, it’s also infamous for its extremely high suicide rates. Many Japanese students and salarymen succumb to the pressures of school and work by taking their own lives. There is little knowledge about what factors increase the risk of suicide, but recent research has found that people, namely adolescents, born between January 1 and April 1, are 30 percent more likely to commit suicide

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In Japanese elementary schools, lunchtime means serving classmates, cleaning the school 【Video】

Last month, we took a look at how in Japan many children are expected to commute to school without their parents’ help starting in elementary school. That’s not the only amazing display of responsibility that’s part of everyday life for Japanese kids, though.

Not only do Japanese schools not have school busses, they also don’t have food-serving or cleaning staff. That means it’s the students themselves who’re responsible for distributing school lunches and keeping the building clean, and the diligence with which they go about their tasks would put many full-blown adults to shame, as shown in this video of all the things Japanese grade schoolers are expected to do during a typical school day in addition to studying.

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Top 10 things even Japanese people think they’re too obsessive about

It’s no exaggeration to say that Japan is pretty obsessive when it comes to societal safety and manners. Japanese people often go to ridiculous/disgusting lengths to stay safe and to make sure that visitors are aware of all the unspoken rules that permeate throughout the country.

But sometimes it’s all just too much, even for the native Japanese themselves. So we present to you a list of the top 10 things that even Japanese people think they’re too obsessive over. Are you just as paranoid as they are, or would you be considered a carefree spirit in Japan? Read on to find out!

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Japan: one of the few countries in the world where married couples must have the same surname

With Japan consistently appearing in the lowest ranks for gender equality in industrialised nations, the adoption of Prime Minister Abe’s recent bill to promote the role of women in the workplace has been a welcome development in what remains a traditionally patriarchal society.

What the headlines fail to mention, however, are the archaic laws entrenched in the country’s Civil Code that continue to hold women back, including same surname requirements upon marriage, and differences in the minimum marriageable age and re-marriage prohibition period for both sexes.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women has again called for a revision of Japan’s current laws, slamming the country for being one of the few industrialised nations where it remains illegal for married couples to have different surnames.

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