Japanese quite open to home robots, Roomba and friends most popular


Would you like to have a robot around the house? graph of japanese statistics@nifty recently surveyed its members to find out their opinions on robots.

I don’t know what ASIMO, Honda’s walking robot, is doing in the list of household robots; as far as I am aware it is nothing more than a technology promotion, with no plans to commercialise. I’m also surprised to see Panasonic’s Mr Evolta, which again I understand to be just a vehicle for promoting their recharable batteries. Regardless, it’s interesting to so how well-known these names are.

This is my favourite robot statue that pre-dates the more famous life-size Gundam, a life-size Testujin 28-go.

Tetsujin 28
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One in seven over-sixty Japanese have prepared for their death

Do you know the term 'shuukatsu'? graph of japanese statisticsA word that came into fashion about five or six years ago is 終活, shuukatsu, an abbreviation of the phrase “Activities for one’s end of life”, basically getting one’s finances, will, paperwork, funeral plan, etc all in order while one is still able, so as not to be too much bother for one’s relatives after kicking the bucket. This survey from @nifty looked at this subject, shuukatsu, end of life preparations.

I’ve got my grave prepared – it’s a family plot out in the wilds of Shiga prefecture for myself, my wife, and her parents. Since Japanese funerals are quite expensive, my wishes would be to get everything over and done with with the minimal of fuss and expense. I’ve still got a tonne of paperwork from the UK to sort out though…

At least my place looks prettier than here:

By 白蛇の騎士白蛇の騎士, GFDL, Link

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Pineapple pizza popularity poor

@Nifty reported on a survey they conducted into pizza.

I’m surprised that in Q5 mayonnaise is not on the list of disliked ingredients; I like a potato pizza, but usually it comes with lots of mayo and corn, and Pizza La in particular seem to drown just about everything they do in mayo. The only good thing about Pizza La is their summer ebimayo (prawn mayonnaise) advert series:

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How present-day Japanese view New Year

Just in time for the New Year, here is a survey from @nifty into New Year, looking at a few aspects of how Japanese really pass the New Year, rather than the usual rather fanciful reporting one often sees around these holiday.

We buy in most of ours, but I find most of it rather bland and uninteresting. I could just eat black beans and egg rolls all holidays, but unfortunately I have to endure bland and often cold foods for about a week or more.

Here’s some home-made Osechi that is rather heavy on the vegetable side, not that that is a problem:

Mimi's osechi
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Why Japanese work and don’t work

This combined survey and ranking from @nifty into working revealed a few attitudes that were new to me, so hopefully my readers will enjoy it too!

First, less than a third report taking a sickie or slacking on the job; I can understand, perhaps, people not wanting to admit slacking even in an anonymous setting, but in my experience with my employer, who offers more holidays than people can take, I feel that many people find it easier to phone in sick rather than go through the proper channels to request a holiday; I have no data to back this up, though!

I’m not sure if 25% workplace romances is high or low; I suppose it depends on whether or not the majority were affairs or not. I do remember when I joined our work union, at the introductory meeting they reminded everyone that one of their offerings were regular matchmaking-like social gatherings.

Here’s someone sleeping on the job:

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Summer holiday outings

My summer holidays in Japan ends this weekend, but if you’ve still got some time, here is a survey from @nifty into summer travel that might give you some ideas for what to do.

My summer holidays have amounted to going to the cinema, and this weekend I have an appointment at the dentist…

I’ve not seen any fireworks in the Tokyo region, but I’ve viewed the top three in the West Japan list. I’ve also been to all the five listed West Japan World Heritage sites, but only one of the zoos, although many zoos in Japan are pretty depressing places with tiny cages for huge animals.

Now, pictures of the top (or close to top) locations in Q2 to Q6:

Sumida River Fireworks

Sumida river Fireworks

Naniwa Fireworks (no decent Tenjin photos to be found)


Kiyomizu Temple

Stage at Kiyomizu

Ueno Zoo

Ueno zoo, Tokyo, Japan

FujiQ Highland Haunted Hospital exit

[FujiQ Highlands]  Haunted Hospital
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Tastes of summer in Japan, from vegetables to ice cream

Which do you prefer? graph of japanese statistics

There’s been a definite lack of good goo Ranking surveys recently, so today I’ll do a ranking and survey hybrid from @nifty looking at the tastes of summer.

I like my Häagen-Dazs, but as I eat it irregularly and usually choose their time-limited special flavours (I have mango milk and truffle sitting in the freezer) I cannot name a favourite flavour. However, I do find the Gelato Meister brand better – despite the naming, it is actually sherbet with high fruit content; I’m looking forward to the 25% Scilian lemon one more than the Dazs’ it’s sitting beside.
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Domestic electricity market liberalisation

Would you like to change your electricity provider? graph of japanese statistics

I’ve seen surprisingly little written (in English) about the topic of this survey from @Nifty into the recent electricity market liberalisation, which allows people to choose their domestic electricity billing company.

We’ve changed from Tokyo Electricity to Tokyo Gas, which was very little bother apart from a new smart meter installation. It means we get one bill instead of two, and just a little cheaper than before, but their contract can be cancelled at any time for no penalty, unlike many other new providers who have 18 month to three year minimum terms!
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Bad manners in the train and by foreigners

Today we have @nifty’s survey into manners, where I’ll select two ranking-like questions, on bad manners in trains (by Japanese) and bad manners by foreigners.

For the list of bad foreigner manners, I suspect that a lot is confirmation bias, that one bad-mannered foreigner tarnishes the reputation of all. Furthermore, many of these ill-manners can be levelled at the Japanese too; middle-aged women (especially from the Osaka area) are rather noisy in trains, Japanese abroad are quite camera-happy in no photos and no flash areas, around my local station is no smoking, but I’ll see at least one person a day puffing away, and so on.

Foreigners taking photos in “No Photo” areas reminds me of this curious case (scroll down a little).

Here’s a couple of trains manners posters:

Please do it at home.
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Coffee habits of the Japanese

Throughout the year, which do you drink more of? graph of japanese statistics

@nifty recently released a survey looking into coffee.

I most often drink convenience store coffee; it’s cheap and fresh and quite, quite drinkable, and with convenience stores near to the office, I quite often take a cup with me to work.

I’m quite surprised, however, in Q4 to see that Starbucks over-roasted drip coffee gets chosen as the favourite drink from there. I find it often quite undrinkable, but having said that, I was as Starbucks this morning (at last year’s Medicine Nobel winner’s hospital, Kitasato) and I have to admit that today’s blend was quite drinkable.

Here’s an old-school coffee shop that still survives despite Starbucks and friends:

Roman Coffee Shop, Matsue, Japan
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