Friday, 5 March 2010

A propos de rien, a number of things I found surprising or amusing this week:
1. I discovered for the first time, in kanji classes, that Americans pronounce ‘vase’ ‘vaize’. (How come I’ve missed that before?)

2. Up against Avatar at the box office, my local cinema is showing what appears from the billboard poster to be a mainstream Japanese bratpack-style movie, with an English title. What’s it called?


Even in a country where, for all its smiles, MOR and excessive gift-wrapping, the niche fetishist is king, this strikes me as a strange choice of title for a teenage audience. But, hey, I’m only an English speaker. Suggestions for the sequel on the back of a postcard, please.

(I’ll set the ball rolling: how about ‘Dressing’ or, for 3D audiences, ‘Triangular’?)

3. Most bizarre of all. Take a deep breath, please. There is a ‘washroom’ at Snow’s house that I had never used before, until this last weekend. And inside it, there is a urinal.

Yes, a urinal. Many women who cohabit with men will, from experience, consider that eminently sensible, just as I do. But have you ever seen one in a home before? Viva convenience, ne?

I did a little “research” to put this find in its proper societal context.

In 2007, it was reported that:

about 40 percent of adult Japanese men sit on the toilet to urinate — a staggering figure almost three times the number recorded in 1999 — according to a survey by Western-style toilet manufacturer Matsushita Electric Works Ltd.

The survey of 518 men and an identical number of women whose ages ranged from their 30s to 50s showed that the younger the man, the more likely he is to sit down while peeing instead of the traditional method of standing up.

The 40 percent of men who sit while urinating is almost three times more than the 15 percent of men who did so when the company first started surveying toilet habits in 1999.

“Women hate it when urine sprays, so there appears to be an increasing number who are asking men to sit down on the toilet when they have to go,” a Matsushita Electric Works spokesman said.”

Now, why don’t they carry out surveys like that in England?

Anyway, the above report comes courtesy of my new bestest favourite (highly addictive) website .

Why not check out that “Coffee Bukake Man” news clip whilst you’re dropping by, for further confirmation that life in Japan is not always shiny, happy people having fun. It's certainly more voyeuristic than looking out for tsunami.

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