COVID-19 and the usage of large electronic commerce sites

This survey from MMD Labo looked at people’s usage of large electronic commerce sites during the pandemic.

Our family’s use of shopping sites hasn’t really changed. I still prefer the old-fashioned way of actually going to a shop, and I’m quite happy to place my trust in facemasks and antibacterial lotions. Also, working at home I think it’s good for one’s general well-being to get out of the house and get some fresh air regularly, and fortunately Japan isn’t populated with too many idiots that refuse to wear masks.

Online financial transactions in Japan

This survey from MMD Labo looked at many aspects of online financial transactions in Japan. Note that the topic is banking and investment-related transactions, not ordinary online shopping.

I don’t do any financial transactions online because, as is tradition in Japan, I leave all the money stuff to my wife.

In Q4, I am very surprised by the result that over half use QR or bar code-based payment methods, yet less than a third use IC Card contactless, given that almost every phone sold in Japan is contactless-ready (mind you, they are also QR Code-ready) and my experience with trains is that the vast majority are using some form of contactless payment, although I suppose since I travel mostly on commuter lines in the big city I have certain observer bias.

Japan’s coolest station names

Today’s ranking looks at the coolest station names in Japan. I’ll present the kanji characters, the English transliteration, and a short translation of explanation of the name.

Note that the two Disneyland monorail stations have names “station station” – the first is English to be cool, then eki, the Japanese for station.

I’ve lived beside two of the cool names below, and in the same town as a third, but my current local station might feature in a cutest list!

Here’s Bishamon station versus Bishamon himself – you choose which is cooler:

Bishamon-Ten, roi gardien du Nord (Vaisravana) (14316580832)

Cheap monthly fees most important mobile feature

A recent survey from MMD Labo looked at user satisfaction with the Big Three Plus One mobile carriers of docomo, au, SoftBank and the new kid, Rakuten UN-LIMIT, specifically at their data services.

The Rakuten UN-LIMIT advertisement is horrendously shouty and I cringe whenever it comes on TV, so I don’t see why you shouldn’t suffer too!

I just checked the comments, and most of them are complaining – best was “Instead of lowering the cost, lower the volume!”

iPhone 12 purchasing opinions in Japan

This quite comprehensive survey was published just a few days before the iPhone 12 went on sale, but it’s out now, so please excuse my slightly late translation of MMD Labo’s look at iPhone 12 purchasing opinions.

I’m quite anti-Apple after a few bad experiences with Mac computers; I understand their appeal but I dislike their user interface philosophy of ease-of-use over control.

I’m also extremely ambivalent on 5G as a consumer technology; coverage in Japan is almost non-existent outside a tight area around major train stations, and adverts with all these holograms suggesting flawless telepresence are just unrealisable pipedreams. The extremely low latency is good, though, but I doubt the average consumer will really notice.

How the Japanese use dating apps

The Japanese used for dating apps is actually an English loan word, “matching”, so I’ll use that in this survey from Dimsdrive into matching apps and COVID-19.

In Q3, there were only five matching apps listed; surely there must be more than that?

Looking at the usage stats, perhaps not surprisingly men spend longer on these apps and are much more likely to spend money on extra services.

I met my wife through their predecessors, the classified ads in an English-language newsletter thing. We both experienced similar patterns of usage and payment to those reported here.

Japan’s biggest worldwide celeb

goo Ranking asked people to name who from the world of entertainment was the most active worldwide.

I’m not surprised by Ken Watanabe being number one, nor Ryuichi Sakamoto being the top-rated musician, but some of the bands listed seem a bit dubious to me; they might have been mid-bill at rock festivals, but whether they left any lasting impression I do not know.

A couple of the comedians (Yuriyan Retriever, Yumbo Dump) seem to have their worldwide success defined by having appeared on America’s (and other parts of the world) Got Talent. Here’s Yumbo Dump, which does nothing for me, though:


COVID-19 lifestyle and side jobs

With people spending more time at home due either to work at home policies or being furloughed, it’s perhaps not surprising that some are looking at side jobs, the subject of this COVID-19-related survey from MacroMill.

Side jobs actually used to be banned by many companies until about a year or two ago when there was a big push to allow it, although I cannot remember what the driver for this national policy change was…

I suppose this is my side job, although if I counted up my income and expenditure it’s a money pit…

On the other hand, since I don’t need to commute, I can do much more overtime, so overall I’m better off thanks to the pandemic.

men holding swords illustration

Japan’s world-class festivals

men holding swords illustration
Almost every town in Japan has their own traditional festival of two, but goo Ranking asked which are Japan’s world-class festivals.

The problem with a lot of the festivals in recent years are that they are far too crowded; the problem this year is that most have been cancelled or drastically scaled back.

I’d love to go to the Akita Nebuta Festival; as pictured above, huge papier mache float lit from the inside look impressive on television and probably even better in the flesh. I’ve been to the Gion Festival; not the actual parade, but the day before they have the danjiri – mobile shrines – on display so you can walk around and have a leisurely close-up view.

Kishiwada Danjiri Festival is mental; the town itself is one of the rougher places in Osaka, and the danjiri are manned by the local neds and low-level gangsters (allegedly), who push the things through town at breakneck (sometimes literally…) speeds, occasionally knocking chunks out of buildings during tight turns. This is one that is safer to watch on the television.

What’s your favourite festival in Japan?