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Survey reveals some surprising discoveries about men’s toilet habits.

Once upon a time, back in June last year, a woman in her 60s from Nagaoka City in Niigata Prefecture sent a comment off to the Niigata Nippo news site, asking them, “Is there a way to revamp the practice of men standing to pee?”

That thought sent the gears in motion over at Lion, one of Japan’s premier toilet cleaner manufacturers, who decided to assess men’s peeing habits for Western-style toilets with an Internet survey of 1,500 men aged from their 20s to 60s.

What they discovered was that 39.1 percent of the respondents said they urinate while standing when using a Western-style toilet, and 60.9 percent said they sit and urinate.

In addition, 49 percent of those who sit to pee say they changed over from standing to sitting, which means that for almost half of the sitters, it was a new practice that they’d now become accustomed to.

▼ That also means 11.9 percent of respondents have been sitting to pee all their lives.

For those who made the switch from standing to sitting, the top reasons given for the change were:

“I saw my urine splatters made the toilet dirty.” (37.3 percent)

“I began to think about the feelings of the person who cleans the toilet.” (27.9 percent)

“I saw images on the TV/Internet that showed how peeing while standing can make the toilet dirty.” (22.6 percent)

“Because I began cleaning the toilet myself.” (19.3 percent)

“I was prompted to sit by someone close to me.” (16.6 percent)

“I saw a research video on urine splatters on the TV/Internet.” (16.6 percent)

▼ We’re not sure who’s watching research videos on urine splatters, but hey — the algorithm’s a mysterious thing.

…continue reading

    

Interesting overlaps and differences between genders.

For most people anywhere in the world, marriage is a life changing decision. No matter how many people you dated before you found “the one,” marriage brings with it lots of new adventures and experiences, but it’s also not without its challenges.

And sometimes, those challenges make people look back fondly on their life when they were single.

Recently the Japanese web management service WebStar Marketing reported the results of a survey filled out by 500 married Japanese men and women asking them exactly that: what they missed most about their lives before getting married.

▼ Shockingly, “being able to shave my legs alone” didn’t make the list.

Here are the results, first off with how many people overall ever missed single life:

Often miss it: 14.8 percent
Sometimes miss it: 56.4 percent
Don’t really miss it: 24.4 percent
Don’t miss it at all: 4.4 percent

When broken down by gender, 23.8 percent of men “often miss it” while only 11.2 percent of women do, and 27.5 percent of women “don’t really miss it” while only 16.8 percent of men do. So it seems as though there is a significant difference in men missing single life more than women on average.

Here are the top five specific reasons why they miss single life compared to married life, separated by gender:

Men
1. No free time
2. Can’t use my money how I want
3. Activities are limited
4. Frustrated with my spouse
5. Want more romance

Women
1. No free time
2. Activities are limited
3. Housework/childcare is difficult
4. Can’t use my money how I want
5. Dealing with relatives is difficult

Both men and women having “no free time” as their number one is understandable, though likely less due to marriage itself …continue reading

    

Not all parents are happy with the stricter regulation.

Communal bathing has long been a part of traditional Japanese culture. Mixed-gender bathing, though, or konyoku, as it’s called in Japanese, is something that’s been largely phased out at hot springs and sento (public baths), with the vast majority of such facilities now having two separate bathing areas for male and female customers.

An exception is made for young children though, with Japanese society, for the most part, thinking it’s no big deal for a mother to take her young son into the women’s bath with her, or vice-versa for a father and daughter in the men’s bath. The question is what age qualifies as “young,” there’s now a new legal cutoff in Tokyo.

Previously, children as old as nine were allowed into the bath for the opposite sex, provided they were bathing with a parent or guardian, of course. As of January 1, though, the new age limit is six, meaning that once children hit the age of 7, boys are legally allowed only in the men’s bath, and girls the women’s.

The new ordinance comes in the wake of a survey by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare last spring which found 6 and 7 to be the ages at which the largest number of children felt embarrassed by being in the bath for the opposite sex. The ministry then recommended that lawmakers revise their jurisdictions’ regulations accordingly, with Tokyo, and a number of other municipalities, making the change at the start of 2022.

As the new policy went into effect, some parents at a public bath in Tokyo’s Higashikurume district weren’t happy about the stricter rules, as shown in the video below. A father who came with his three children, two sons and an eight-year-old daughter, was disappointed that the group …continue reading

    

Where have all the parlors gone?

Who doesn’t love the Japanese pastime of pachinko? I mean, I hate it personally because its parlors are obnoxiously garish blights on urban landscapes that are surrounded by auras of stale cigarette smoke and desperation, but clearly a lot of people love it considering how much money pachinko parlors make and just how many of them there are across the country.

▼ This gigantic red sign towering above the city is for a pachinko parlor

Image: Pakutaso

According to a tally by the National Police Agency, the number of parlors nationwide stands at about 8,500. However, at the beginning of 2020 that number was over 9,600. Clearly the overall impact of COVID-19 was a factor even though early attempts to vilify these establishments as potential super-spreaders were shown to be false. Over the course of 2020, 604 parlors closed down across Japan.

The beginning of 2021 looked to be worse, with January alone booking 84 closures. Projecting that across the next 11 months, it seemed as if about 1,000 pachinko parlors would shut their doors for good. However, January and August turned out to be unusually high periods for ending pachinko businesses, likely because they mark the end of busy seasons. As a result, only 579 parlors ended up closing throughout 2021.

▼ One problem with closures is that the buildings are often so huge, few other businesses are interested in buying them. This one was rebuilt as a supermarket in 2020, but that also closed up in 2021.

Although not as bad as …continue reading

    

Source: Grape

As his pseudonym 我流切紙人 garyūkirigaminin (literally, “self-styled paper-cutter”) indicates, Japanese paper artist Toshiaki Kawasaki 川﨑利昭 (@garyukirigami) takes a unique approach to the art of paper-cutting. Instead of making flat paper cutouts, many of his intricate paper artworks look more like sculptures, combining paper-cutting with origami to create three-dimensional, colorful, and realistic works inspired by the beautiful specimens of flora and fauna found in the Natural Kingdom and imbued with his own artistic sensibilities.

Another way in which the creations of this self-styled paper artist distinguish themselves from that of other paper artists is in their size. Although some of his works are true to scale, others are miniatures, reproducing creatures in astonishing detail at unbelievably tiny dimensions.

Kawasaki has been commissioned by aquariums and other institutions for his delicate and realistic paper creations. As an event producer and organizer, he has also planned various exhibitions and workshops.

Let’s take a look at some of his work:

Goldfish

In one of Kawasaki’s oft-employed techniques, he combines the colorful markings of the living creature while also revealing its skeletal structure, in an interesting miniature specimen-like hybrid fashioned in kiri-origami (a combination of paper-cutting and origami). Here is a gorgeous group of colorful and translucent goldfish created in this technique. It’s truly hard to imagine that they’re made of paper. You can admire more of them on his blog here.

Reproduced with permission from 我流切紙人 garyūkirigaminin (@garyukirigami)

Kawasaki has also created works in this style inspired by giant oarfish, coelacanth and Ocean sunfish, lionfish, and more.

Signal crayfish

These Signal crayfish are examples of his realistic works (in contrast to his works designed to look like displayed specimens). As you can see, the attention to detail is remarkable. Incidentally, Signal crayfish are his favorite crustaceans.

<img loading="lazy" src="https://grapee.jp/en/wp-content/uploads/GaryuKirigami_2.jpg" …continue reading

    

What kind of tires are we supposed to use for that?

There are all sorts of roads out there, from paved roads to dirt roads, multi-lane highways to twisty mountain passes, and everything in between. The one thing roads all have in common, though, is that they’re all in the ground…right?

But one photo from Japanese photographer and Twitter user @mariii_a73 shows what appears to be a road that doesn’t look like it’s in the mood to be bound by that ordinarily unbreakable rule of the road, or even the laws of physics for that matter. Part-way to the horizon it seemingly decides, “You know what? Instead of going forward, if it’s cool with everybody, I’m just gonna go up instead,” and it’s not like there’s a hill or anything where it suddenly and steeply changes elevation.

飛行機の離陸をスローシャッターで追いかけてみると… pic.twitter.com/NpWflH8TDK

— まり (@mariii_a73) December 13, 2021

With 127,000 like and counting, the picture has definitely got people’s attention, so what’s going on? Well, those blue lights in the foreground are a hint, because the photo of the road to the sky was taken at…

飛行機の後ろ姿がかっこいい pic.twitter.com/UDw8yO6pNn

— まり (@mariii_a73) December 12, 2021

Osaka International Airport, a.k.a. Itami Airport. Aviation aficionados will recognize the blue lights as part of the runway illumination, and @mariii_a73 achieved her beautiful sky road shot by using an extra-slow shutter speed to take a photo as a plane was taking off, turning the light from its exterior markers into solid lines in the image.

@mariii_a73 describes her artistic sensibilities with “I love colorful things!”, and her knack for high-contrast compositions means that she’s got no shortage of amazing nighttime and twilight photos in her portfolio.

ライトアップされた紅葉と鳥居が美しい pic.twitter.com/ZGBHHOabxU

— まり (@mariii_a73) <a target=_blank …continue reading

    

Source: Grape

In Japan, New Year is the biggest and most important seasonal event. It’s often taken as a time to chill out with family, but before that there’s plenty of work to be done. There’s the traditional thorough cleaning of the household called ‘o-soji’, and loads of special food to be prepared.

It’s not just households either, shrines and temples have to be made fit for the crowds coming to take part in ‘hatsumode’ on New Year’s Day, the first praying session of the year.

One photo caught at one of these places of worship by a Japanese photographer shows that even cats are getting in on the act. This well-timed shot shows a black cat looking like he’s fixing the ‘shimenawa’, a rope which cordons off consecrated areas of a Shinto shrine.

Source: @okirakuoki

Of course, cats don’t actually contribute to shrine maintenance as far as we know, aside from maybe rodent control, but this compelling image garnered over 14 thousand likes and plenty of admirers on Twitter.

This humorous picture reminded many people of the Japanese saying, ‘to want even the cat’s help’, an expression that means one is exceptionally busy. Others pointed out that this small wayside shrine just happens to be exactly the right size for a cat.

…continue reading

    

Grown-ups dish on the appropriate amounts of New Year’s money to gift depending on the age of a child.

With all of Japan now in the holiday lull that accompanies the biggest holiday of the year, New Year’s, it’s a rare opportunity for many Japanese people to kick back under the kotatsu, watch special TV programming, and spend their days eating, eating, and more eating. The younger crowd also has something to look forward to in the form of otoshidama, or New Year’s gift money that they may receive from various relatives.

While there’s no clear consensus on the age at which children should stop receiving otoshidama, there do seem to be some generally accepted practices for the giving of it–namely in terms of monetary amounts. To find out how much money adults think is appropriate to give to children of all different ages, All About News surveyed 335 people nationwide between December 11 and 20. Respondents ranged in age from their 20s through 70s with the majority in their 30s and 40s.

▼ For a young child, the sweetest sight is an envelope filled with cold, hard cash.

Here are the most common survey responses regarding how much money should be given to different age groups based on year in school.

● Preschool
1. 1,000 yen (US$8.69): 31.04 percent of respondents
2. Less than 1,000 yen: 27.16 percent
3. Don’t give any money at all: 20.3 percent

Over half of survey respondents agreed that children who haven’t yet reached elementary school age were still deserving of a small 1,000 yen-or-less gift. They backed up their reasoning by writing, “I think this amount is appropriate since they don’t have a solid understanding of money yet,” …continue reading

    

He’s really settling into his new YouTuber gig.

Back in October former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe surprised everyone by launching his own YouTube channel. At the time it was unclear whether he’d really embrace the format or just use it as a mere campaign platform, but there were small signs he was getting into it, like this food video of a katsudon bento.

Granted that was still just flirting with the genre, since it’s basically just veiled stumping for the general election that was only a week away. Katsudon has the word “katsu” in it which is synonymous with “win” in Japanese, so in a way he’s more or less getting a little good luck for himself here.

However, this time he’s really outdone himself and posted a piano performance which appears to have no ulterior motive other than to entertain. The video was actually shot a while back to be used at the Japan Spirit Concert 2021 held last October. However, now he is sharing it with everyone on YouTube.

So, without further ado, here is the former-PM Abe performing Hana wo Saku on piano.

The introduction lasts about a minute if you feel like skipping right to the action

Now, maybe my expectations were just really low, but… that was pretty good, wasn’t it? It wasn’t just technically sound, but he even seemed to put just the right subtle emotion into the song too.

For those unfamiliar, Hana wa Saku was a song created in the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake as a tribute to those lost, and was sung by a large cast of actors, singers, and celebrities in a We Are The World fashion.


…continue reading

    

Competition between prefectures is real, and there’s a reason why it happens.

With a total of 47 prefectures in Japan, there’s bound to be a certain sense of rivalry between some of them, especially when each one proudly boasts its own unique local specialties.

That’s one of the reasons why Sony Life Insurance Company conducts its annual “47 Prefectures’ Lifestyle Awareness Survey“. This was its seventh year of surveying residents, with 4,700 people between the ages of 20 and 59 (100 from each prefecture) responding to the online questionnaire, which revealed some interesting insights into rival relations around the country.

According to the survey, the prefecture that most prefectures see as a rival is Tokyo. That comes as no real surprise, seeing as it’s the capital of the nation, and as many might’ve guessed, it’s the prefectures that are home to the second and third biggest cities in Japan — Kanagawa and Osaka respectively — that most view Tokyo as its rival.

36 percent of respondents in Kanagawa and Osaka said they feel like their home prefectures pit themselves against Tokyo, followed by 16 percent from Kyoto and 10 percent from Hokkaido.

▼ Tokyo is the envy of many around the nation.

Taking a look at some of the other rivalries that came to light through the survey, a lot of them appeared to be neighbouring ones, like:

・ Saitama vs Chiba

・ Tochigi vs Ibaraki

・ Toyama vs Ishikawa

・ Yamanashi vs Shizuoka

・ Tottori vs Shimane

Among them, Tottori vs Shimane had the highest rivalry rate, with 74 percent of Tottori respondents seeing Shimane as a rival and 82 percent of Shimane respondents seeing Tottori as a rival. Some of the reasons given for the rivalry included:

Because we’re always mistaken for …continue reading