What is considered personal information in Japan?

How do you throw away junk mail? graph of japanese statisticsThis short but rather sweet survey from blogch and iShare into ranking of what is considered personal information made me think, and I hope it does the same for you.


Between the 12th and 14th of May 2008 636 members of blogch completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 54.9% of the sample was male, 14.5% in their twenties, 46.7% in their thirties, 27.4% in their forties, and 11.5% in their teens or over fifty.

I don’t know why home email address was not included in the survey, nor why people help their age more private than their date of birth!

For me, there is no way I would part with my cell phone number and email address, and for passport number, I’d query the need for people to ask for it rather than be concerned about the privacy issue.

All junk mail, as well as all other envelopes with addresses on them, go through the shredder before disposal, although I always suspect that the reason is more to stop the rubbish police tracking us down for chucking stuff out on the wrong day!

How do you most often do dispose of junk mail?

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Japanese oral care

How often do you usually brush your teeth? graph of japanese statisticsThis week too was a bit thin for silly surveys, so the best I can do for you today is a not really silly and not really very long, but quite interesting pair of surveys from DIMSDRIVE Research’s 133rd ranking survey on two Japanese teeth-related subjects, frequency of brushing and oral care other than brushing.


Both surveys were conducted between the 16th and 24th of January 2008. The first had 12,020 respondents with 52.9% female, the second 11,963 with 53.0% female.

You’ll notice in the second question that regular check-ups feature really quite low, and flossing or inter-dental brushing (uggh, dislike both and don’t bother myself) feature nowhere, not even in the detailed run-down of the results by age group. Also, there are only about 5,000 votes in total, which means about half the population don’t take extra any oral care bar brushing. For those of you who have experienced oyaji breath you might be surprised to learn that it was young men rather than older ones who were more likely to brush less than once a day or not at all.

I also chew Xylitol gum after every meal at home; PLUS X Gum from Lotte is exceptionally nice.

Japan’s ten strangest qualifications

Just a couple of days ago there was a report from Reuters on a forthcoming Daddy exam for Japanese fathers to hone their parenting skills on. Looking around the Japanese web I found many weird and wonderful exams and qualifications, or 検定, kentei as they are called in Japaneseso for your enjoyment and edification I present the top ten strangest qualificatons I came across!

Mount Fuji Kentei official logo

10. Mount Fuji Master

As the Japanese proverb says, “He who climbs Mount Fuji once is a wise man, he who climbs it twice is a fool.” Perhaps there should be an extension to cover those who sit all three levels of the Mount Fuji Kentei? Whether or not any of the questions involve the vending machines at the top of the mountain is unknown.

Manga (Japanese Comic) Kentei official logo

9. Comic Certification

I suppose it is inevitable that there is a manga-based examination. This one by ebook Japan offers three levels of certification in the way of Japanese comics from beginner to master otaku. If the subject matter is too broad, they offer separate qualifications for specific comic book series from Princess Princess to Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro.

Habits you just can’t break

As part of DIMSDRIVE Research’s 92nd Ranking Survey, towards the end of August they asked members of their internet monitor group which habits they want to break, but just can’t manage to. They got 5,595 responses, with 2,874, or 51.4% of the sample male.

This is a slightly higher male to female ratio than usual for DIMSDRIVE, so perhaps that suggests men have more bad habits?

I’d love to see a survey on what habits foreigners wish Japanese would quit! I’d put slurping noodles and sniffing rather than blowing one’s nose at the top of the list.

Stop that! You’ll go blind!

As another part of their 91st Ranking Research, DIMSDRIVE Research looked at what people thought was the cause of their bad eyesight. We’ve seen previously how most Japanese wear glasses, so let’s have a look at why they do. No, that reason was not included in the answers! They interviewed 4,347 people (perhaps all thought their eyesight was bad) from their internet monitor group over a period of a week in the middle of August.

The main reason my eyes are wonky, I suspect, is as a child I spent a lot of time staring at the sun.

Just one in fifty always use women-only carriages

Do you use the Ladies Only Carriage on trains? graph of japanese opinionAs part of DIMSDRIVE’s 89th Ranking Research they enquired into people’s views on women-only carriages in trains. They asked three questions to women and one to men.

Compared to other bad manners in and around trains, the women-only carriage regulations are surprisingly well-respected, at least on the lines I have frequented, with it being a relatively rare sight to see a man riding on them, even during the rush-hour peak, considering the number who ignore other regulations such as the no mobiles or no talking on the phone signs, or who smoke outside the designated areas.

Also please note that in Q1 the usage may seem to be low, but if one rides outside of peak rush hours, the trains tend to be not so overcrowded so the risk of getting groped is lower, so the figures here should not be taken simply at face value.

There is also a news report from the Mainichi Shimbun via Japan Probe about how groping is down overall in Tokyo, but up on lines with recently-introduced or expanded women-only carriage services.

The best things in life are free, but what free things are best?

The headline may very well be true, but as part of DIMSDRIVE’s 90th Research Ranking survey, they asked people what they thought the best free things in life were.

I have to pretty much agree with the rankings below; the mottainai part of me wants to disagree with the supermarket carrier bag option, but they always get reused at home as rubbish bags.

One might think that libraries are rather low in the list for a country that seems to like reading so much; perhaps two reasons are that many people buy their paperbacks either new or used, and that libraries don’t tend to stock much manga!

I think the “free newspapers” and “coupon magazines” have a lot of overlap as many free newspapers have coupons as a major part, and the quality of the articles leave a lot to be desired, but there are some exceptions, of course. Not that I’m biased for them plugging me, oh no…