When do you start to feel winter? graph of japanese statisticsWinter may be almost over, but the surveys on the season are not! This recent one from MyVoice looked at the tastes of winter.


Over the first five days of February 2008 15,230 members of the MyVoice internet community completed a private online questionnaire. 54% of the sample were male, 2% in their teens, 13% in their twenties, 37% in their thirties, 30% in their forties, and 18% aged fifty or older.

I don’t really feel winter – down where I live it never really gets below freezing and the weather is closer to the end of autumn in Scotland – perhaps because the leaves fall off the tree about two months later I’m out of sync, and now with the plum trees coming out in flower I’m into spring already. Talking of when spring starts reminds me of a recent post from Shibuya246 on when Japanese think spring starts.

The top taste for me is also satsuma (mikan in Japanese), which has an interesting tale behind why it is so-called. The wife of an American diplomat in the 19th century who introduced it to America apparently confused it with the old provice Satsuma which was a producer of said fruit. It also appears there are three towns in the USA named Satsuma, in Alabama, Florida and Louisiana.

Research results

Q1: When do you start to feel winter? (Sample size=15,230)

Mid November or earlier 10.6%
Late November 27.4%
Early December 30.0%
Mid December 10.9%
Late December 11.5%
Early January 3.7%
Mid January 2.0%
Late January 2.0%
Early February or later 1.0%
Don’t feel winter at all (to Q3) 0.9%

Q2: What makes you feel it’s winter? (Sample size=those who feel winter, multiple answer)

Temperature, weather 83.7%
Scenery 45.0%
Clothes 43.9%
Events 42.8%
Home electricals 36.8%
Furniture 22.8%
Plants 22.1%
Information, news 20.7%
Supermarket, convenience store, other shop 15.2%
Food, drink 11.8%
Restaurant menu 10.0%
Daily goods, sundries (hot-water bottles, etc) 7.5%
Facilities, services 5.8%
Busyness at work 5.6%
Transportation facilities 3.7%
Medicines 2.3%
Other 2.0%
No answer 5.8%

Q3: The chances of doing which of the following meal styles increase in winter? (Sample size=15,230, multiple answer)

Cooking and eating at home 19.7%
Eating out 4.2%
Buying in, delivery food, eating at home 3.1%
Cooking at home, eating outside 1.0%
Buying in, delivery food, eating outside 0.5%
Other 4.3%
No style in particular increases 70.2%
No answer 0.4%

Q4: What are the tastes of winter to you? (Sample size=15,230, multiple answer)

Satsuma 59.8%
Hakusai (chinese cabbage) 51.8%
Oyster 40.3%
Daikon (radish) 38.5%
Crab 38.3%
Winter amberjack/yellowtail (fish) 29.0%
Apple 18.6%
Onion 15.0%
Salmon 13.4%
Fugu (blowfish) 12.2%
Angler fish 11.9%
Turnip 10.4%
Spinach 7.3%
Iyokan (citrus fruit) 6.5%
Hassaku orange 5.2%
Lotus root 3.8%
Duck 3.7%
Lobster 1.2%
Other 3.5%
Nothing in particular (to Q6) 5.6%

Q5: What points are important when you are experiencing the tastes of winter? (Sample size=those with a taste of winter, multiple answer)

Freshness 44.5%
Price 33.2%
Appearance, colour 26.8%
Atmosphere 20.4%
Smell 14.9%
Bite 10.8%
Who I am eating with 9.9%
Feel on the tongue 9.6%
Where I am eating 9.3%
Knowledge of the food 6.1%
Local flavour 4.6%
Genuine flavour 4.5%
Brand of ingredients 4.5%
Other 2.5%
Nothing in particular 18.9%
No answer 7.6%

Q6: What alcohol goes best with the tastes of winter? (Sample size=15,230)

Sake 31.5%
Shochu (spirits) 10.2%
Beer 9.4%
Umeshu (plum wine) 3.4%
Wine 2.7%
Chuhai (high-ball) 1.8%
Whisky 0.8%
Liqueur 0.3%
Other 0.2%
Nothing in particular 16.4%
Don’t, can’t drink alcohol 23.0%
No answer 0.4%


japanese words · March 5, 2009 at 13:30

I have always felt the coming of winter around the end of August. Not because it’s getting cold yet, but just because I know summer is ending. I think I tend to skip fall all together.

When is Spring in Japan? | Shibuya246 · March 5, 2009 at 23:00

[…] you are not ready to move into Spring and leave Winter behind, then a look at the Tastes of Winter in Japan from the site “What Japan Thinks” might be more your […]

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