45% of older Japanese feel their hearing is going

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The company Rion recently published the results of a survey into hearing aids for older people.

Interestingly, the company Rion was also responsible for designing the neutrino detecters that recently earnt a Japanese physicist a Nobel Prize; they also have an English magazine describing how they developed the detectors which might be more interesting than this survey…

A couple of years ago I looked into prices of hearing aids and it was quite frightening (300,000 yen or more), and unless you are certified as deaf you have to pay full whack – there is zero support from national health insurance, and even officially deaf people have to rely on local government handouts that may or may not cover the total cost. I read a couple of years ago that the hearing aid market was ripe for disruption; surely given the ubiquity of smartphones it would be possible to make the earpiece just a dumb speaker, then build an aural profile of one’s ear state and download it to a smartphone, add a decent microphone, and Bob’s your uncle?

Here’s a 1960s made in Japan hearing aid:

Vintage Chic Transistorized (Body) Hearing Aid, Model TR-6, 4 Transistors, Manufactured By Conny Industrial Co., Ltd., Made In Japan, Circa Early 1960s
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This survey is about poo-stained undies

The survey was officially-entitled underpants stain troubles, and was an excuse to promote Unicharm’s new skidmark catch pads, or whatever their official name is.

Most of my underpants stains occur in the hot weather here, when I get an involuntary bum washing from sweat running down my back. That’s probably enough chat about poo for today, and I don’t think we need a photo to illustrate this article.
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Dog people outnumber cat people almost two to one

@nifty took a look at animals and pets.

Especially given that a new baby panda was recently born in Japan’s most well-known zoo, Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo, I was surprised to see pandas relatively low in the listings; penguins beating dolphins also seemed a bit odd.

I wouldn’t really recommend a visit to Japanese zoos; the two inner-city ones I’ve been to, Kobe’s Oji Koen Zoo and Osaka’s Tennoji Zoo are more prison camps than zoos. Safari parks are a bit better, and aquariums are impressive, although they could do with more space for the dolphins and whales.

After Ueno zoo’s baby panda, perhaps the most popular amongst the internet generation is the Siamang gibbon in Higashiyama Zoo in Nagoya with its distinctive old guy scream:


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Typical happenings at a Japanese dentist

Finally I found a good goo Ranking after a long blank stretch, this look at typical happenings at Japanese dentists.

I hate the whole idea of dentists, but it’s a necessary evil, and of course the feeling after getting de-plaqued makes the visit worth it. I also hate hands in my mouth, especially when the dental assistant does flossing; I cannot floss myself, so I use interdental brushes or pre-strung flossing things.

Here’s a random dentist sign:

DSC00308
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One in three Japanese are proficient with an abacus

I always thought that abacus use was a required part of the primary school curriculum in Japan, but looking at the results of this survey from Katte2Q regarding abacuses it seems it is not, though perhaps pretty close to it.

In primary school I used to use a slide rule, but I doubt I could use one today.

Here’s some video from Japan national abacus and mental arithmetic speed competition – the finger fidgeting you see is invisible abacus – at that high level the arithmetic is all muscle memory, so an abacus is not really needed:


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Almost one in four bought tickets for this summer’s national lottery

Katte2Q took a look at Japan’s tax on the stupid, takarakuji, Japan’s national lottery.

Note that Japan’s lottery differs from many around the world, in that it is a raffle (that is, numbered tickets) with fixed-value prizes rather than the more common pattern of picking six numbers from 1 to 50 to win a share of a pot. Actually, that other kind is also offered by the same organisation, but it is the four or so times per year big raffle that is the format that people think of when they hear mention of the lottery.

The national lottery annoys me greatly, in particular the advertising. The main lottery features many big names in story-driven adverts that must run up a significant production and salary budget to produce, and last year their scratch cards featured a kid’s cartoon character, and the year before was based around being addicted to one more scratch…

Here’s an advert from more innocent times:


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Over four in five Japanese are regularly penny-pinching

@nifty recently published a survey looking at economising and ecology.

My home air conditioners make me worry about both economising and ecology; my wife runs them about one or two degrees too cold for me, and I hate to think how much they are chewing up in terms of both electricty bill and general environmental impact with respect to not just CO2 from the electricity generated, but also pumping out warm air into the atmosphere.

Here’s a rather glum-looking eco pig assaulting a little kid:

Earth Day Tokyo 2010
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Half of all men and 10% of women know how to play shogi (Japanese chess)

Shogi, a Japanese chess-like game, has been in the news for most of the last year as a new 14 year-old professional Sota Fujii was on a record-breaking run of 29 straight wins, starting from his very first professional game, so this survey from Smart Answer into shogi has answered for me questions I had about how much shogi is truly played.

I’ve provided a graph of teenage boys and shogi rules, as perhaps they would be the age group most influenced by Sato Fujii’s activities, and also because there were no overall totals presented…

Here’s a Shogi set for the under tens, based around the famous kids’ animation character, Doraemon.

Doraemon Shogi
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Rice or naan?

Thinking about it, I haven’t been to an Indian for ages, and I’m getting all hungry translating this survey into naan awareness.

I’m naan all the way, especially as in Japan long-grain rice is a bit of a rarity, and Japanese native short-grain rice does not go well at all with Indian curry. Japan’s native “curry”, usually just a spicy stew, does work well with native rice, but even though I quite often eat it at home, I wouldn’t pay good money to a restaurant for it.

Here’s a random curry and naan from a random restaurant in Tokyo; although at first glance the photo could be from anywhere in the world, the wet towel, the bill on the table, and the gum syrup for the ice coffee, perhaps, in the metal tumbler all point to Japan:

Dal Curry + Cheese naan @ Shanti @ Komagome
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Bicycle riding in Japan

Katte2Q took a short look at bicycle riding.

I used to ride a bike when I very first came to Japan, riding to work perhaps two or three times a week or so, and occasionally going further afield, but then I moved out too far from work, but too close to the station to need the wheels. It would probably be classed as a cross bike, but when I moved one time I just left it in the bike park at my old residence…

Here’s a typical scene of bikes parked around a shopping area; nearly all the bikes are the typical city bikes, three gears if you’re lucky, and brakes that squeal something awful!

More bikes
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