Japan’s most unwelcome helpfulness

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goo Ranking recently published an interesting survey into arigata meiwaku, unwelcome helpfulness, when other people read your mind wrongly.

My pet niggle is when convenience store staff put a fork in with my salad instead of the usual chopstick without asking me what I actually want.

I posed this question to a Japan expat forum on reddit and got a bunch of rather interesting replies from longer-term foreign residents of Japan. The most voted-for answer was having people jump in to help if you show even the slightest hesitation around railway ticket machines, which I must say I’ve only experienced once. Next is getting people ask you “Can you eat Japanese food?” and otherwise helping out with the “correct” way to fully enjoy the meal; I do get that too and it is very irritating! What have my readers experienced?

Here’s an example of number 6 – some people are saying that there is social pressure to refold the toilet paper back into a triangle after use!

Kawaii TP
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One in three Japanese clinging to their feature phones

Which carrier do you use for your main mobile phone? graph of japanese statisticsInternetcom recently reported on a survey by MMD into feature phones, bog-standard non-smart phones.

My two-year mobile phone contract is up for renewal this month, and after a short visit to my local Docomo shop, I found that I will be paying about 7,000 yen, the cheapest data plan they offer, for up to three gigabytes of data, free wifi and a few free minutes, not that I actually phone anyone much. On the other hand, I can get a cheap SIM, including getting my current number moved over, with the same 3 gigs of data and fee wifi, for about 1,500 yen per month. A hard choice…
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Stuff guys don’t want to learn about women’s toilets

goo Ranking does seem to conduct a large percentage of their surveys on odd toilet-related topics, for which I thank them! Today’s is about what guys answering the survey wish they hadn’t just learnt about women’s toilets.

In the answers below, a Sound Princess is a device in many female public toilets that plays toilet flushing noises or other white noise to mask sounds while doing the business.

Fortunately, this doesn’t go on in women’s toilets:

JAPAN-LIFESTYLE-HEALTH
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One in ten Japanese techies think machine learning will replace them within ten years

What is your opinions on machine intelligence? graph of japanese statisticsHere’s a short yet interesting (I especially have high hopes for Deep Learning) survey from Gartner Japan into machine intelligence.

I’m pretty sure many of my readers will have heard about Deep Learning, computing’s new Silver Bullet that will slay (if you believe the hype) all machine intelligence issues. I’ve worked a little on it myself, and I’ve attended a presentation or two on the subject, where people like the Berkeley Vision and Learning Center are doing quite wonderful stuff with drudge work like photo classification and scene understanding, but moving it up to the next level, especially for real-time work like vision systems for vehicles may take both more research and more computer horsepower.

Furthermore, there has recently been hype about half of all jobs being replaced by robots or AI by 2033, but I am sceptical because (a) I’ll be retired by then, so what do I care, and (b) I’ve heard all this before, with major breakthroughs always 10 or 20 years in the future. Furthermore, if they are going to replace half the jobs, I’m going to make sure that I’m in the other half!

Regardless of the future outcome, this is a topic that I think everyone in the IT business should be following!
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Sniffing your own sweaty armpits

Do you sniff your own armpits in public? graph of japanese statistics
Don’t say I don’t bring you surveys about these weird corners of public opinion in Japan, as today I offer you the officially-titled checking sweat smells, but as the accompanying video makes clear, it’s all about sniffing your own pits.

I don’t need to secretly sniff – I only worry when I can smell it without exerting any effort into pong detection. Anyway, it’s a natural function, and my cat loves that the temperatures have now risen and he can get his nose stuck into my armpits.
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Moving house happenings

Round about April first is the start of the new work and university year in Japan, so there’s a lot of people moving house, so this was the excuse for goo Ranking to publish a survey of what sort of stuff typically happens when moving.

I moved just about a year and half ago, and looking at that list about the only one I’ve had is rather strange next door neighbours. My wife’s convinced that the guy living in the house opposite is a cross-dresser (his washing is hung out right opposite our bedroom window), although I reckon it is just much more likely that his girlfriend has moved in with him.

Here’s a removals truck speeding down a highway somewhere:

A week of panning #1: Super fast truck
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What Japanese businessspeople have for breakfast

How often do you eat breakfast? graph of japanese statisticsiResearch recently published a survey into businesspeople and their breakfasts.

I have breakfast every day, but weekdays it is merely toast during the winter, and once it gets a bit warmer I’ll switch to granola. I’d like to have bananas more often, but for whatever reason I don’t eat them. If I’m staying in a hotel, I’ll have grapefruit juice, but otherwise I almost never drink any.
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Japanese fill in the blank: Marriage is Life’s [_______]

goo Ranking recently posted (or reposted, looking at the date) a survey into filling in the blank: Marriage is Life’s [_______].

I’ll have to choose the positive answers here, and not just because my wife is looking over my shoulder.

Here’s a random photo from Flickr on the theme of “Japan marriage”:

marriage
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Utter disappointments at cherry blossom parties

Today is the day of the Tokyo YouTuber Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) party (still time to catch them at the pub!), and although I couldn’t attend, I can instead send a goo Ranking survey on major downers that happen at cherry blossom viewing.

A friend went to one a couple of years ago in Osaka, but he said everyone was too young so he couldn’t get into the party mood (#10 below), but for me this year, I probably know very few planning to attend (#7) and the few I do know I only know from on-line, and given that the meeting place was Yoyogi Park with no further directions, I’d probably have experienced #9. However #6, too cold for beer, is something I just cannot parse.

Here’s a typical cherry blossom party scene:

花見 上野公園. Hanami, Ueno park. Tokyo Japan 東京 日本
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Two in five thinking of quitting Facebook

How often do full real life Facebook posts irritate you? graph of japanese statisticsThis was an interesting survey from Times Current titled rather dramatically “Being tired of other’s full real life”, a title based on a Japanese expression リア充, ria-juu, being satisfied with one’s real offline life.

One of my online (and offline too) friends is perhaps just a bit too much ria-juu with airline business class lounge photos, domestic holidays, posh dinners, etc, but it rather than annoying me it motivates me to work harder so I too can have a similar life.
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