Thane Camus, tour guide

goo Ranking recently published the results of another silly ranking survey, this time on which famous person born overseas but living in Japan would you most like to go on an overseas trip with. As usual, no demographic information is available, and the scores given are percentages of the top votes.

Don’t ask me why Thane is so popular, and many of the other answers seem like people were just struggling to remember any gaijin’s name. Note that KONISHIKI, an ex-sumo champion, is actually a naturalised Japanese, I believe. Also note that for some reason they give the state that the USA people were born in, and “Los Angeles State” is an error in the published survey!

From that list, I think Panzetta Girolamo (a middle-aged Italian playboy sort of guy) is about the only person who might be interesting to go off on a trip with.

Top thirty Japanese emoticons (^o^)

In the middle of June, goo Ranking surveyed its readers by means of a public internet questionnaire on what emoticons, or smilies, they often used in mail from their personal computers. The following table presents the top thirty emoticons list. As usual for goo Ranking, number one slot gets ranked with 100 points, and all the rest with the proportion of votes relative to the top vote. More detailed demographics, etc, are not available.

Back in April, I translated another survey on the use of smilies, or emoticons, on Japanese mobile phones, that you may want to reference. Even though the people responding to this survey are (supposed to be!) adult, emoticons reveal a cute childish playfulness, I feel.

Please feel free to use these in your email or messenger applications to add some Japanese emotions to your chat!

Stench of death evokes images of summer

katorisenkou - mosquito coil - from Wikipedia
Having looked at healing sounds earlier this month, this time goo Ranking looked at what smells evoked images of summer. As usual with goo Rankings, we have absolutely no demographic information whatsoever, so take these numbers with the usual pinch of salt.

For me, if I were being cynical, I would say the smell of fetid sewers and rubbish bins are the most notable summer perfumes of Japan, but to be non-cynical it would be either the smoke of fireworks or newly-cut grass.

The scores are, as usual, 100 points for the top answer and all the others rated as a percentage of the top vote-getter.

What’s on top of your natto

One of the foods that gaijin don’t eat is, of course, natto, which as any visitor or resident to these shores will tell you is one of the stock food questions to foreigners, “Can you eat natto?”, along with “Can you eat Japanese raw fish?” and “Can you eat anko?” I myself love anko, but natto… Interestingly enough, natto is mostly a Tokyo or Northern Japan delicacy; many (I think the majority, if I could find a survey!) of people from the Kansai area turn their noses up at it, including, thankfully, my wife, although she finds many other unpalatable items to make up for it! I’ve tried it once in a cooked dish and managed to get through about a third of it before giving up.

So, goo Ranking took a wee look at what people put on top of their natto. goo Ranking offer now a service to cut and paste their original survey into your blog, so I’ll add that for those who want to see the original results. I’ll also add an English translation, of course! As usual for goo Rankings, 100 points is awarded for the top vote-getter, and the rest awarded a percentage representing how many votes they got relative to the winner. “Nothing” was perhaps not one of the answers allowed.

If the following table completely destroys your browser, sorry…

Relaxing with birdsong, gurgling streams, and chimes in the breeze

Here’s a nice wee summer-tinged survey from goo Ranking: in mid-May by means of presumably an open poll on their web site they asked an indeterminate number of people to choose everyday soothing sounds. As usual with goo Ranking results, the top choice scores 100, and all others rank as a percentage of the top choice.

Having recently bought a flat with a garden, and with the mating season in full swing, I can well agree with the sound of birds being tops. I’m surprised, though, that the cicada figured so low, as it is a sound very typically associated with the Japanese summer. Perhaps they are just too loud, or are usually only heard in the torrid heat of midsummer to be considered soothing? I’d also have voted for the evening insects that herald the onset of Autumn. Round about the end of August the evening chorus changes from a harsh staccato to a soft, almost melodic, chirp. Perhaps that is the crickets at number six? Of course, in a British survey, the cricket sound would be that of leather off willow.

Even time is miniaturised in Japan

With the Golden Week holidays coming up fast in Japan, goo Ranking published the results of a survey on how long a holiday their regular readers were taking. As with most of the goo Rankings, sex and age demographics are not available; as I understand it the votes were though a presumably anonymous web poll. In the results, the top vote score 100 points, with the relative number of votes for the options expressed as percentage points, I believe.

Golden Week refers to the sequence of holidays at the start of May in Japan; the first holiday, みどりの日, midori no hi, Greenery Day is in fact on the 29th of April but it usually doesn’t technically count as part of Golden Week (don’t ask why!). This day used to be the previous Emporer’s Birthday Holiday, 天皇誕生日, tenno tanjobi, a national holiday (the current one is on the 23rd of December), so when the previous Emperor Showa died, they decided to keep the day as a holiday, so they renamed it to Greenery Day.

Returning to the main topic, the three main holidays start on the 3rd of May with 憲法記念日, kenpo ki’nenbi, Constitution Memorial Day, followed by 国民の休日, kokumin no kyujitsu, National People’s Day on the 4th, then こどもの日, kodomo no hi, Children’s Day on the 5th. In my case, work is shut down for the whole week, plus I’ve booked this Friday off as a personal holiday, so I have ten days off. Note that this means that my posting frequency might decrease next week.

Popular searched-for diseases

Here’s my first ranking survey from goo Ranking, one on last month’s most popular disease name (or disease-related) search keywords. Regular readers will be familiar with goo Research, in my opinion the highest quality research company whose output I translate, but here goo Ranking’s data comes in this case from their own search engine’s statistics, or in other cases from public web polls, so the figures should be taken with a pinch of salt. Regardless, they still provide an interesting snapshot of the typical goo user.