Stuff I like

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Just as a change of pace today, I got a wee email from Yume Mirai about her new blog, Japan Diary of Culture. She was kind enough to mention my site in a recent entry, so I am returning the favour through this post! She does mention a few interesting survey results, and one that particularly caught my eye was where she mentions a poll on what Japanese men find attractive in women:

The result showed what kind of women are attractive for Japanese men. Those are having a mild personality ( iyashi kei ), individual ( kosei teki ), graceful ( jyohin ) and intelligent ( chiteki ).

However, another poll I translated on what nationalities people might want to marry suggested that citizens of the USA were the most popular country for wives, but I certainly wouldn’t describe the average American woman as having a mild personality, and I’m a bit sceptical on graceful too!

Anyway, it’s a nice site, and I do like hearing genuine voices, so I can recommend you visit.

Talking about genuine voices, I also like Mari’s Diary: Me and Tokyo, who was also kind enough to write a short entry about my blog. I’ve linked to her a good number of times as she has articles on many aspects of Japanese life. There’s a vast quantity of content there, and again it’s a very real and personal collection of opinions on her life in Tokyo.

Finally, in contrast to these two blogs by Japanese, Tokyo Times is Lee Chapman’s blog on his life as a gaijin in Japan. He is sometimes cynical about what he sees, but he never gets bitter, a trap that many other gaijin blogs fall into. He’s also mainly responsible for getting that article spread around the world, plucking my blog from obscurity. To insignificance.

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Housewives’ hidden hoard

How much money do you have secreted away graphSompo Japan DIY Life Insurance (yes, that is a strange name!) recently released a survey of 500 housewives of salarymen from all around the country regarding the 2005 winter bonus and the family finances, performed over three days at the start of December. The respondents were evenly distributed by age, 125 in each decade of age from their twenties to fifties. Thanks to Mari’s Diary for initially writing about it and bringing it to my attention.

To help explain this survey, there are a few cultural notes that are important. First, Japanese women do tend to run the family budget, giving their husbands a usually rather small pocket money allowance. Next, in Japan most companies have a summer and winter bonus for full-time employees, where the employees usually receive two months salary, plus or minus some amount that reflects company performance, so effectively adding about a third onto the average person’s salary. There is often little or no performance-related element within this bonus. Also, many home loans have low monthly payments plus a twice-yearly bonus element that can be up to 6 months-worth of payments in one go. Finally, note that although it is well-known that one does not tip in Japan, there is an established system of giving those who do things for you gifts of money or other items; for example, even after paying hospital fees, it is quite common to give your surgeon a few hundred thousand yen, in addition to gifts to anyone who came to visit you when in hospital. Perhaps it is this point of view that is responsible for one of my pet hates, game shows being packed with celebrities who almost never give the money to charity, even on big money shows like Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
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Endemic discrimination against Japanese women: part 2 of 2

reasons for wanting to be a civil servant[part 1] [part 2]

goo Research, along with Yomiuri Weekly, carried out a massive poll amongst working women. For a week at the end of September this year, over 10,000 working women aged 20 and over completed an internet-based questionnaire on their thoughts and opinions. Twenty years ago, the Equal Employment Opportunity Law was passed, so this is an investigation into how the position of working women has changed.

This second half of the survey sees working for the government as very popular, but engineering-based companies like Toyota and Sony are in the top three, with NTT and IBM also showing up. Two perhaps softer, more feminine companies, Benesse and Shiseido also do well, and with livedoor in sixth, perhaps its well-known distinctly non-Old Boy president indicates to women that the company may be run in a more welcoming, and dare I say Western, fashion.

Note also that the majority of women have felt sexual discrimination at work, and in particular two in five women have experienced problems in the area of salary, promotion, and work and family life balance.
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Endemic discrimination against Japanese women: part 1 of 2

games downloaded[part 1] [part 2]

goo Research, along with Yomiuri Weekly, carried out a massive poll amongst working women. For a week at the end of September this year, over 10,000 working women aged 20 and over completed an internet-based questionnaire on their thoughts and opinions. Twenty years ago, the Equal Employment Opportunity Law was passed, so this is an investigation into how the position of working women has changed.

It’s quite a depressing set of figures, I feel. Not just discrimination, but harassment seems endemic amongst firms, and women are so used to it that they perhaps don’t consider the everyday discrimination as abuse. On a more positive note, however, almost half the women want to have the opportunity to have a full career not terminated nor even just punctuated by baby-rearing, although I personally consider that a child during the first three years of life needs one full-time parent.

Note that here almost three in five report being touched up, which is very depressingly high, but sexist language is barely half that, which suggests to me that women on the whole are accepting of, or at least inured to, that sort of behaviour.

I also wonder how much under-reporting has happened – note that in Q1 people report that they were expected to do the woman’s work around the office, yet there seems no specific category for this type of harassment. Also, office parties are notorious for the boss getting drunk (or faking drunk) and pestering his female underlings, but perhaps this is seen as outside the work environment thus not job-related harassment?
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Breast cancer research

pink ribbon

At the end of last month, goo Research performed a survey amongst over 20,000 women to find out their attitudes towards breast cancer. This research was carried out on behalf of three organisations, Japan Society of Breast Care, Japan Cancer Society and J.POSH.

The survey details are: the respondents were selected from goo Reseach Monitor Group’s female members, with 21,106 women successfully completing the web-based questionnaire. 1.0% were 19 years old or under, 8.5% were 20-24, 19.5% were 25-29, 26.3% were 30-34, 19.4% were 35-39, 13.3% were 40-44, 6.4% were 45-49, 3.0% were 50-54, 1.8% were 55-59, and just 0.8% were 60 or over. 66.7% were married, and 52.7% had given birth.

Q1: Are you concerned about breast cancer? (Sample size=21,106)

 Very concernedSomewhat concernedNeither concerned nor unconcernedNot very concernedNot at all concerned
All30.0%54.5%11.5%3.6%0.4%
Up to 19 y.o.16.5%46.6%22.8%11.7%2.4%
20-24 y.o.23.0%53.5%15.2%7.5%0.8%
25-29 y.o.28.6%55.4%11.7%3.9%0.3%
30-34 y.o.30.6%55.7%10.8%2.6%0.3%
35-39 y.o.31.1%54.9%10.4%3.2%0.4%
40-44 y.o.32.0%54.3%10.5%3.0%0.2%
45-49 y.o.31.6%53.7%12.7%1.8%0.5%
50-54 y.o.33.3%48.4%12.7%4.7%0.8%
55-59 y.o.37.2%48.4%9.4%4.7%0.3%
Over 60 y.o.32.3%49.4%14.0%4.3%0.0%

Q2: Where do you get your information about breast cancer? (Sample size=21,106, multiple answer)

Mother12.9%
Other family or relatives6.1%
Friends and acquaintances23.4%
Newspapers29.3%
Books or magazines41.0%
TV or radio53.0%
Internet45.2%
Local government information leaflet13.0%
Doctor15.6%
Medical check-up service organisation23.3%
Workplace or school health service3.6%
I’ve never had information about breast cancer9.7%
Other0.7%

Q3: Do you know the following information about breast cancer? (Sample size=21,106, multiple answer)

It’s rapidly increasing within Japanese women48.0%
Over one in thirty Japanese women will get it18.5%
Once past your late thirties, the chance of breast cancer drastically increases47.4%
It’s the leading cause of death from cancer in women from 30 to 64 years old15.1%
If discovered early, the chance of recovery is 95%51.5%
If you have regular imaging checks, there is a good chance of discovering cancer45.6%
It’s a disease you can detect yourself60.2%
Mammography will discover abnormalities much earlier than touching examinations55.3%
Don’t know any of the above6.8%

Q4: If you found a lump or other abnormality on your breast, what sort of clinic do you think you would go to? (Sample size=21,106)

Gynecology clinic51.9%
Obstetrics and gynaecology clinic9.6%
Internal medicine clinic3.7%
Surgical clinic8.7%
Breast specialist25.8%
Others0.4%

Q5: Do you know about specialised breast clinics? (Sample size=21,106)

I know about them26.6%
I’ve heard about them, but don’t know the details25.2%
Not heard of them at all48.2%

Q6: How frequently do you have general health check-ups? (Sample size=21,106)

Every six months3.5%
Once a year48.3%
Once every two years6.9%
Less than once every three years10.5%
Not had one for over five years13.1%
Not had one for over ten years7.2%
Never had one9.8%
Don’t want to answer0.8%

Q7: What sort of breast examinations have you had? (Sample size=19,799, multiple answer)

Self-examination25.6%
Visual and touch examination34.5%
Mammography15.6%
Ultrasound17.6%
Never had one55.3%
Don’t want to answer0.7%

Q8: How frequently have you had a uterine cancer test? (Sample size=21,106)

Every six months2.3%
Once a year25.5%
Once every two years9.1%
Less than once every three years9.0%
Not had one for over five years6.0%
Not had one for over ten years2.2%
Never had one44.7%
Don’t want to answer1.2%

Q9: What was your motivation for having a breast cancer examination? (Sample size=8,706, multiple answer)

It was recommended that I should10.2%
I saw information about it in the media (roadshow, magazine, TV, etc)8.2%
It was part of a workplace check25.5%
It was part of a local government check34.2%
I felt myself it was necessary35.5%
Because a friend or acquaintance has breast cancer6.5%
Because a family member or relative has breast cancer6.5%
I was motivated by a breast disease other than cancer3.6%
Other9.1%

Q10: Why did you not take a breast cancer examination? (Sample size=12,264, multiple answer)

I’d not had lumps or other symptoms recently62.6%
At my age, breast cancer is not an issue12.3%
No-one around me is taking them12.8%
Takes too long to do it20.4%
Scared that cancer might be found7.8%
Not part of the workplace or local government health checks12.0%
Not had an opportunity to take it43.9%
I don’t know where to get an examination15.1%
Nowhere locally to get an examination5.2%
It’s a delicate matter13.6%
I’m not concerned about breast cancer3.6%
Other5.0%

Q11: In the area you live in, does the local government carry out breast cancer screening? (Sample size=21,106)

Carries out53.4%
Doesn’t carry out2.9%
Don’t know43.7%

Q12: If answered “Carries out” to Q11, in the area you live in, what sort of breast cancer screening examination does the local government perform? (Sample size=11,274, multiple answer)

Visual and touch examination75.6%
Mammography40.0%
Ultrasound18.8%
Other14.5%

Q13: Which of the following topics do you want to learn about regarding breast cancer? (Sample size=21,106, multiple answer)

About the disease50.9%
About hospitals that do screening59.0%
Infomation about breast specialists54.4%
About local government measures40.9%
About disease prevention methods59.1%
About treatment methods53.5%
About after-effects34.9%
About medicines30.2%
About fees for treatment etc53.4%
About communities and information exchanges13.4%
About latest information31.8%
No information I want2.4%
Others0.8%

A bit of a biggie again tonight. I’m surprised that there is no direct question about how often people have had breast cancer checks (is this deliberate as they don’t want to highlight a largish figure?), although I note with a bit of surprise that over a quarter have yearly scanning downstairs, which seems to be higher than I would have expected, especially in light of an article by Rebecca K Green I read on Japan Today reporting that only 3% of women have mammograms, yet here 15.6% say they have had mammograms, and even more have had ultrasound checks, although of course the same people could be getting both examinations.

There’s also the other issues that yearly breast cancer checks are, according to UK calculations, not cost-effective (although it’s a difficult thing to cost), and that testicular and prostate cancer get almost zero coverage, even though they can be just as deadly.

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