Search This Blog & Get A Rife

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Three-Million Blog Hits

Thank-you - all you regular readers, drop-ins mistakenly hoping for porn, and bots from China and Russia! You have all helped make Japan—It’s a Wonderful Rife reasonably popular!

Three million (3,000,000) hits - achieved at around 10AM EST on January 18, 2017.

Not bad, considering most people start a blog and then realize they either don’t have the time to populate it regularly with content, or they simply don’t have anything to say, or… failing to realize that just because you have a blog and don’t have 10,000 hits a day or thousands of followers or that you can’t figure out how to make money from your blog - it doesn’t mean it’s not successful.

That’s why most people quit - that and they may not have any real interest in writing.

Most people I know have something interesting to say, but lack the means/skills to make it sound as interesting as they hoped. That’s what writers/actors/artists - whatever are for.

That’s cool.

There are many other blogs that cater to the Japan audience that have 10 or more articles published a day - with writers and more contributing their talents - and you know what… many of those are decent, decent sites for information on Japan.

The problem with writing about Japan, however, is that it’s like the 1870s all over again.

You recall the 19th century, right?

That was when everybody wanted to tell everybody about Japan and how cool it was. It was like you couldn’t swing a cat in village with a newspaper without someone trying to tell you about Japan… letters sent to and from sailors… artwork being shipped from Japan… artists being influenced by Japan… it was Japan - Japan - Japan…

I went to Japan in 1990 - and believe it or not, others had been there before me and had written about the place too… actually lived and stayed there… learned the language and everything….

I can’t compete with that.

When writing about something, you have to come up with some way to make your blog stand out - even a bit.

Whether it’s a fancy blog title: Maia Does Japan was intriguing to me… O don’t think she realized it was a play on words for an old, but very good AV/porno movie series: Debbie Does Dallas. If she did know that, then Maia is even more intriguing.

Look at this blog: Originally entitled “It’s A Wonderful Rife”, I added the “Japan—“ bit about one year in… to make sure Google knew I was writing a blog about Japan and not just being incompetent with my spelling of a Jimmy Stewart movie.

Thing is… some people have pointed out to me that my use of the word “rife” could be construed as being racist in its tone… picking on the Japanese inability to say the letter “L” for the most part.

There’s no “L” in any of the three Japanese alphabets… so they substitute “L’s” for “R’s”. Add in the fact that It’s A Wonderful Life was one of my favorite movies - presto!

Now hold on! I also can do a mean J-J-J-Jimmy Stewart, you see.

Even in my head that sounded brilliant.

But… using the term “Rife” is not racist. If anything I’m being insensitive… but not racist. But if anyone feels that it is racist, that is your right and I’m sorry.

As many of you know, I wrote down my daily thoughts and actions in the form of a diary while I was in Japan for those three years… and rewrote them to be more coherent and put it out in my daily blogs…

Everything in them was honest, and real… and made many a person look stupid - including myself.

There’s raw emotion, featuring sex… agony… confusion… success… anger… more sex… more confusion… not as much success… and I think there might be a few more types of emotion tossed in as well… but I’m not sure because I’m not that smart.

I have always peppered this blog with information… not the typical - oh there’s anew Kit-Kat flavor - and wow, Japan sure does have a lot of Kit-Kat flavors… and then list 10 of them…

No… I’m the dumb schmuck who will actually spend 20 hours trying to find out just how many different varieties of Kit-Kat there were produced (NOT released) in Japan…

I did the same for Fanta drinks… I spent hours upon hours researching Japan’s auto industry… and OMG you don’t want to know how long I spent creating related blogs on Japan’s current robotics industry and how it was all related to the way it kept time via the Lunisolar Calendar.

That’s right… from calendars to robots that dare enter a radioactive nuclear reactor… and how it’s all related.

I like to say that I am compiling my own Encylopedia Japonica… but written in a manner that is easy to understand (I read complex science journals and then spend hours trying to dumb it down so that I not only understand it, but so anyone can understand it and explain it themselves!)…

You know that saying: “Too much information”?

Fug that! I hate that adage!

I know to what it relates, but honestly, that just tells me people are too uptight about a lot of things.

Anyhow… I don’t believe in TOO much information.

I believe in giving people ALL the information I can find to get a complete picture of any given subject.

And not just ALL - but ALL the information I can CONFIRM is CORRECT!

The internet is full of crap. You did know that. Not everything on the Internet is real or true. Sometimes well-meaning people pass along incorrect information. Sh!t happens…

But I spend far too many hours trying to find a reliable source or multiple evidences (that don’t say the exact same thing) to prove one simple thing.

I guess that’s my OCD… to seek the truth.

I suppose that’s why my 92 followers have clicked through a cumulative 3,000,000 times… LOL!

Andrew Joseph

Friday, January 20, 2017

Welfare Workers Hate Welfare Cheats Soooooo Much

Okay... so... a team of welfare workers in the city of Odawara (Kanagawa-ken) wore a jacket that was later deemed to be offensive... apologize and move on, right?

But this offensive jacket was worn by the city government's welfare group for YEARS... a decade, actually

The jacket contained a badge on the front - that's it above... and despite how it reads in English - that's not the offensive part....

It's the welfare department's slogan on the back that was offensive enough that the city's mayor Kato Kenichi (surname first) publicly apologized for it on January 17, 2017.

First worn by some workers in 2007 against welfare cheats - though that's NOT the reason it was created - it was finally banned by the Odawara on January 16, 2017.

After a violent incident where three welfare workers were hurt (not too seriously) after a man attacked them with a box cutter and a cane after his benefits stopped, the welfare workers came up with the idea for a jacket to show their solidarity.

Before the jackets were made, the workers decided to up the ante and make it more about sending a message to those who would cheat on the welfare programs... hence the messaging.

The jackets were designed and made and then paid for by the welfare workers out of their own money, meaning no city monies were supplied.

At the time of the story coming to light, a total of 28 city workers owned a jacket - but not every one wore one when performing their duties.

So what did it say on the back of the jacket?

Let's start at the front and work our way backwards:

Well... in reference to SHAT - the Seikatsu Hogo Akuobokumetsusuru Team (yes, 'team' was written in English)... the team name essentially means "Team to Eradicate Evil".

Evil? Holy crap... they were just welfare cheats, not killing babies by dismembering them with chainsaws and then feeding them to their unsuspecting families!

The emblem at the top reads “Hogo Namenna” - which means "Don’t take welfare like a fool".

I pity the fool.

You'll notice that there is a large X atop the kanji symbol? The kanji means "evil"... so X-out evil... and "Eradication" is written below the X-ed out kanji.


The EST-2007 - that's Established in 2007... that EST. (year) thing is something one always finds on Japanese designed jackets or articles of clothing that use nonsensical Japlish... so it's not surprising to see it here on this 2007 jacket.

I still don't know how a 10-year-old jacket will fit a civic worker... but I can only assume none of them got fatter or worked out in the past decade.

So... as shocking as the front was to see that these Odawara welfare workers were to eradicate evil in all its forms of welfare cheating, the best/worst is yet to come.

The message on the back says: “We are “the justice” and must be justice, so we have to work for odawara. Finding injustice of them, we chase them and Punish injustice to accomplish the proper execution. If they try to deceive us for gaining a profit by injustice, “WE DARE TO SAY, THEY ARE DREGS!” "

This is the cover to Bully - a Sony PlayStation 2 video game that I thoroughly loved. They need to make it for the PS3. PS4 sucks. Anyhow, when I saw the Odawara Welfare Worker crest, it immediately reminded me of this game art. I don't know why, it just did.

“It was an inappropriate expression that lacked regard for others. I am sorry and offer apologies to city residents,” Kato apologized in a statement.

The whole kerfuffle was brought to steam by the media, who asked city officials about the offensive jackets... which was news to them... so after a quick investigation, the city acted.

By the way... along with the fact that the word "odawara" was written with a lowercase "o", it has come to light that these welfare workers - some of them - wore the jackets when they visited welfare recipient homes.

Hmmm... I can only assume that the message on the back of the jacket was written in English meaning no one understood it... which would also account for the crappy English submitted by the media for the message.

It could explain why no one saw fit to report the disgraceful (or is it 'regrettable') message - because no one understood the English.

Punishment was doled out in neo-typical Japanese fashion. In the old days, there would be a ritualistic suicide.


The city government disciplined the head of the welfare and health department who oversees the section, as well as six other officials in the department - by giving them a stern warning.

Vice-mayor Kabe Yasuhiko (surname first) will give up 10 percent of his monthly salary for one month, because he apparently should have known what was going on underneath him.

Wow... the Vice Mayor is getting a beating here... What about the Mayor? He should forgot a part of his salary, too!

But no... the mayor was punished enough (apparently) by having to issue the public apology for what was going on underneath him.

Apparently having to apologize is a worse punishment than having to give up one's salary.

And the trouble makers... or rather the welfare office head and six other officials... they just got a strong warning?! Konoyaro... you... you... guy, you!

I wonder if the city workers are unionized?

Anyhow... if you look at the message on the back of the jacket again... the welfare office of Odawara is not saying anything nasty against people on welfare... rather they are showing they won't put up with people who attempt to cheat the welfare system.

I agree with that philosophy, but I certainly don't think they need to wear slogans all over their clothing that no one understands except those who understand English... and even then...

Still... you have to commend them on their use of the word "dregs"... while I would understand it to mean the "scum of the Earth", they used "dregs", which translates to "residue" or "the least wanted portion."

It sounds rough, but given how I described it, it was classier.

Anyhow... you really have to applaud these guys for really caring about their job. They really did/do!

But decorum, people... decorum.

Andrew Joseph

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Standardized Buttons To Help Foreigners Keep their Butt Clean

If you were to glance at the photo above - knowing these are pressable buttons (butt on's - LMAO!) on a Japanese toilet - would you understand just what the hell you are getting into?

Japan is looking to create a standardization of buttons on its often bizarre western-style toilets in an effort to help tourists who might get confused.

I imagine this is all in anticipation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2019 World Ruby Championships...

… though I wonder how many rugby fans give a crap when they are trying to pee. Kidding. 

According to a 2014 survey asking 600 foreign visitors to Japan, 25 percent of the respondents said they could not understand some of the symbols on Japanese toilets. 

Japanese toilets have evolved over the years.

When I was there in the 1990s, the robotic/highly-automated toilets were just beginning to hit the scene - but I never sat on one.

Then, as now, the majority of Japanese toilets are essentially a ceramic oblong at floor level that forced the user to squat over it. This means that one would have to remove their coat/jacket… as well as one’s pants… and hang them on the hook within the enclosed squatter. You then have to literally squat to do your No. 2. Urinals still exist in men’s room to pee… but I would imagine women had to squat for that.

I was lucky enough to have a real western toilet in my apartment - or so some people would tell me.

If I had a Japanese squatter toilet now, I’d have a wet butt thanks to a torn meniscus in my right knee that makes squatting painful… though usually not until the next day.

Anyhow… these automated Japanese toilets… they started coming along (first in 1964 with a button for a bidet) … and are now reasonably common in public washrooms, restaurants, hotels and homes.

The toilets are now westernized in shape and form. While the one’s in non-Japanese countries are simply sit, drop a dookie, wipe, (maybe close the lid)  and flush by pulling the handle down are all we have to do…

The Japanese toilet and it’s plethora of buttons provides multiple options for the pooper (poopee?) such as: automatic opening or closing of the toilet lid; front and back cleanse of the bottom or the female front privates; and drying functions.

Look at that photo above…

Okay… I’m not from France, but I understand what a bidet is… water up your bum to clean out any particulates you might have missed to avoid toilet paper dingleberries from growing.

But what the hell is the Spray icon in the middle?

If the Bidet is already spraying water up… then what is the Spray doing?

Is that graphic supposed to be a curvy round butt? Not in Japan, it’s not.

So… boobs? That big? Not in Japan, it’s not. Not usually. And why would you want a spray of water on your boobs - unless you are entered in a wet-tee-shirt contest.

Can a guy use that button? If you have boobs?

So wait… those are boobs drawn on the button… but maybe it’s not indicating water being sprayed on the bottom of one’s boobs.

Maybe it’s to indicate water being sprayed on the front… of one’s lady parts.


I’m still not sure that it’s not meant for a wet tee-shirt contest.

Anyhow… there is a Sanitary Equipment Industry Association - located in Nagoya (I looked it up)… its nine toilet manufacturing members have decided to help stop the confusion, by creating a unified representation of symbols and buttons:

So… from what I can gather, from left, top to bottom - LOL!): Big flush - probably for a poop and lots of toilet paper; Smaller flush - just pee; Open and close the lid; Open and close the seat; Stop button - to either halt an automated function or perhaps to so something awful to help confront that diarrhea that won’t stop; bidet up the back; bidet up the front; and the dryer.

I still think they need to work on that bidet up the front/wet-tee-shirt button.

All automated toilets sold in Japan will, as of April 2017, feature this standardized button set… unless someone is buying automated toilets from a company that isn’t a member of the Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association.

Association head (LOL!) and Toto Ltd. president Kitamura Madoka (surname first) sums up: “We hope to welcome foreign tourists with clean toilets and spread them to the world.”

I’m not sure what he’s spreading… but there’s probably a button for it.

Andrew “Had an unfortunate accident with an automated tampon remover on a Japanese toilet” Joseph

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Garbage Disposal In Japan

As with any good writer worth his salt, the germ of an idea is often initiated by a random thought or comment uttered aloud or digitally - causing the so-called creative type to ponder with a near-audible “Hmmm…”

I get that all the time e-mailing with some of you dear readers and friends - honestly… I chat with some of you more than anyone else on the planet…

Anyhow, one such random comment involved the comment about how no one in Japan wants to be a snitch - with the feedback: ”Tell that to the gaijin who doesn't sort his garbage properly before taking it out.”

I was lucky… I was there in those halcyon days when a guy just had to smile at a woman in Japan and he wouldn’t be all that surprised if she walked over and intimated a conversation. 

Back then… the early 1990s, if I wanted to throw out my garbage, I just had to bag it and toss it into the designated walled off area - and presto!  - garbage be-gone.

Of course, I’m from the days when the city of Toronto used to have twice a week garbage pick-ups. Tell us more Grandpa!

Nowadays, in the city of Toronto, we have to separate our recyclables, separate food waste, and separate “garbage”… knowing that food waste is picked up once a week, while the other two alternate on a weekly basis.

Other cities - such as Guelph, Ontario, Canada - had more comprehensive garbage formalities: having to separate wet and dry et al… which I once thought was interesting but nuts.

Having visited a waste disposal facility or two, I do know that there are people who go through recyclable garbage - ripping open bags and physically separating glass from plastic from paper et al… as well as the regular garbage people toss in… all so that various equipments can clean the real recyclables and prep them for actual recycling by companies that do such work.

So…  what, I wondered loud enough in my skull to hear an echo, do the Japanese do when it comes to handling their waste?

In the years since I left, they have gone whole hog into separation of various garbage types - even to the point where - yes - people snitch on one another.

Hey… in Japan, as we all know: the nail that stands up, gets hammered down (出る釘は打たれる)..

Japan has a very comprehensive garbage separation system. e     

Like most countries - different provinces/states or prefectures have different rules about what constitutes a specific garbage type. In fact - most town, cities and villages have different opinions on the matter.

It makes for a very confusing situation for anyone moving into a new situation in Japan—gaijin (foreigner) or nihonjin (Japanese).

The best thing to do is to check with your local town office for garbage disposal rules - or for your people who don’t speak the language - ask for “local” help if it isn’t offered to you first.

From, garbage in Japan is expected to be separated by the consumer at the home level by:
  1. Combustibles - described as food waste, old clothes, small quantities of yard waste, etc.;
  2. Non-combustibles - plastic wrappers, Styrofoam, metal containers, ceramic, etc.;
  3. Recyclables - plastic/glass bottles, metal cans, magazines, newspaper, corrugated cardboard, etc.;
  4. PET Bottles - plastic bottles made out of Polyethylene terephthalate;
  5. Large items - TVs, air conditioners, other old appliances, furniture, etc. (anything larger than 30 x 30 x 30 cm)
If you are me, you are now confused.

Look at Combustibles… old clothes?

So… wool, cloth, silk, leather… natural products….  but what about vinyl; - and no… I’m not talking about a skintight BDSM suit with zippers and a red ball for the mouth… and what about polyester? Rayon… these are chemically-created materials… nylons…

I can see all of those as combustibles… but food waste and yard waste can easily be reused as compost… but a pair of polyester socks or a 1980s skinny vinyl tie? That might be around for a while longer.

Regardless… it’s actually quite straightforward. It might mean having at least four different waste receptacles - which can take up a lot of space in one’s tiny Tokyo apartment…. or it might make one deposit one’s refuse in the appropriate container as soon as it becomes waste.

Here’s a graphic I found over at - the Echizen City International Association. English translation below graphic:

Panel 1: “Can I throw out all my glass bottles and cans on recycling day?”
Panel 2: “No. They are split up into recyclable and non-burnable trash.” “What?! How do you know which is which?”
Panel 3: “The main point is whether food was contained in them or not.” “For example, a jar of jam would be recyclable, while a makeup jar would be non-burnable trash!”   

That was actually quite helpful! (I did have to slightly alter the English translation in one of those comments, by the way, to make it a better conversation.)

The website points out some additional things that are considered “combustible” waste:  
  • plastic-coated paper and book covers;
  • paper drink packs and metallic-coated paper wrappers for candy and treats;
  • paper plates and cups, and other paper products soiled with food;
  • menstrual products, paper diapers;
  • wood chips, yard waste (leaves, sticks, branches, and so on from pruning).
Who the fug is burning books? What is this - some sort of Bradbury-esque Fahrenheit 451 world? Firemen burning books?

Look - I could understand that someone might be throwing out their copies of a manga (usually as thick as what people once called a phone book) - but books? That’s just wrong. BTW: Feel free to send me any English-language manga. Let me be your waste disposal system.

Actually - feel free to send me any Donald Duck/Uncle Scrooge comic books - in any language. You don’t want’em - I do. I may not be able to read’em - but let me worry about that. Covers must be attached (and just one copy per issue). Seriously. I also collect sports cards and pre-1930s tobacco cards featuring aviation (cards inserted in cigarette packs, cigar boxes or tobacco pouches). I’m your garbage man. 

Anyhow - that Echizen City International Association website notes that when it comes to non-combustibles,  people often make mistakes - which is why some Japanese people might snitch on you.

Bottles and cans not used for food and drink products (for example, makeup bottles) should not be thrown out on recycling day. Bottles and cans that are not used for food and drink products are all non-burnable garbage.

When disposing of them - and there’s no individual waste system like you see in the image at the very top (taken from (You'll notice that the signage is in Japanese AND English), these non-food non-combustible are supposed to be placed in a transparent bag.

Further examples of non-combustibles are: Plastic packaging and ties (polypropylene bands), plastic clips, scissors, rulers, markers, rubber bands and other stationery products, glass ornaments, eyeglasses, metal lids from glass jars, electric cords (cut shorter than 1 meter!), hangers, wire mesh, CD’s and CD cases (DVDs too), drying agents and thermal gels…

Interesting to me are the fact that Japan wants consumers to separate the lid from the package - at least when it comes to glass jars and their metal lids.

I know that glass is smashed and lids are removed at waste disposal centers in Toronto… but perhaps they aren’t in Japan…. and is left up to the consumer.

But… if you look at the initial separation into five classes, its shows us : 3) Recyclables - plastic/glass bottles, metal cans, magazines, newspaper, corrugated cardboard, etc.

So… why can’t one toss the metal lid from a glass jar in as a recyclable?

Is that lid a recyclable or is it a non-combustable?

That’s why you need to check with your particular municipality!

It's not color coded, but there are graphics - these ones all in Japanese. Image from:
I took this information from multiple sources - IE: differing parts of Japan… obviously there isn’t just one answer.

But at least you have a better idea than you had before. I hope.

Andrew Joseph

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Love Hotels Redefined

Back in the 1960s when the first of its kind love hotel named (not surprisingly) Hotel Love opened up offering consenting couples an opportunity to hide their love away for a night, or more than likely for a four or two hour “stay”, few realized that the the love hotel business could be such a financially successful one - worth, it is estimated around two- to ‎¥3-trillion yen (US$17-25 billion) a year.

My favorite chain of love hotels (I only ever stayed in one - once) was one called 5-5-5

That’s because the Japanese word for five is “go”. Hence, go-go-go… a wonderfully witty English turn of a Japanese phrase for a love hotel.

It has multiple (no pun intended) meanings. Come and go. Go, as in ‘hurry in’… stuff like that… but it’s true meaning is the one I described first.

Love hotels evolved into a bedroom away from home.

in Japan, it’s young adults are not supposed to engage in sexual relations before marriage… and while everyone knows that everyone had pre-martial sex, for the parents in charge of maintaining their daughter’s virtue and virginity, everything was pretty much “okay” (air quotes very much intentional) as long as things weren’t overt.

Parents didn’t want everyone in the community to be talking about the sexual proclivity of their “child”, so as long as things occurred in the cover of secrecy in areas and places designated as love hotels, it was “no harm - no foul”.

Let’s face it - if someone saw your adult son or daughter enter a love hotel, one could wonder aloud how that person knew - like… what were you doing there?

No one wants to be a snitch in Japan.

Love hotels, along with allowing its customer base to spend the night or for a couple hours of sexual bliss, began to design special themed rooms for the clientele.

Things like a Star Wars-themed room (Say hello to my little wookie) … a Tarzan-theme room (Me Tarzan - Uganda)… a Hello Kitty S&M room (think Monty Python… a little white pussy cat, please?)…  a Casino Room (always bet on Black - a line from Passenger 57)… a Mickey & Minnie room (ha-ha-hah - Mouseketeers have big ears!).

Unfortunately, most of the themed love hotels have been remodeled in recent years… so now it’s pretty vanilla.

By vanilla, you could still find a love hotel room similar to what I stayed in: the valentine room (honestly… we were tired and just looking for a cheap place to crash for the evening in Tokyo - and love hotels were cheaper than regular ones.)

This room had red satin all over the place… a heart-shaped Jacuzzi… no way are we going in a Jacuzzi where billions of sperm have been spilled… plus… what I can recall, a round bed - which I do recall falling off from while sleeping… as I’m pretty sure round beds in a Japanese love hotel were not made for larger gaijin (foreigner) to actually be sleeping in.

I was lucky enough as an unmarried man in his 20s to own my own place. Not being Japanese, I didn’t have to stay at home with the folks until I was married… and even if I was a single Japanese man in his 20s working in a city far away from the parental units… I would be sooooo busy kissing the boss’ butt that I wouldn’t have much time for any (my baby loves the) hanky-panky with the opposite or same sex (whatever yanks your crank, baby).

So… being an available bachelor… having my own place… I couldn’t speak Japanese to blab to anyone… it was easy to find different and willing partners for my proclivities.

But… while an estimated 1.4 million people visit a Japanese love hotel every day - that is still a significant drop from the good old days.

The main issue of non-issue is layered (pun intended).

Nowadays, more young people (20-29-year-olds) are moving away from the family home to find work… so, who the heck needs a love hotel for discreet encounters away from the parents?

The other thing is the general apathy of the young Japanese adult… who doesn’t want to get married or have a girlfriend or even be bothered to have sex. It’s not like that means everyone in Japan is uninterested in sex.

That’s ridiculous to think or believe.

It’s just a large number (still the minority of consenting adults) who are rowing that boat (stroke - stroke - stroke).   

So… with a decided downswing in Japan requiring private quarters to play with each others privates, love hotels are looking to cater to a different market - the gaijin.

And no… it’s not the standard goofy guy or gal teaching English, or playing the barkeep… no… I’m talking about the tourist trade - such as the large number of Chinese who are coming over to take advantage of the weak Japanese yen.

In fact, roughly 1/3 of all 20,000,000 tourists who visited Japan in 2016 were from China.

Touring or trying to figure out where to park the car when they win WWIII?

Consider that Tokyo will also play host to a (hopeful) 40,000,000 people with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Unlike the Japanese, not every foreigner trying to get his or her freak on is interested in using furry handcuffs, or swinging from a vine.

Actually, I don’t see why they wouldn’t. You are in Japan… you’re in a Love Hotel… I don’t see why people wouldn’t want to have some fun.

Of course… I might be naive here… but I suppose a love hotel could be used by professional escorts… I never thought about that before… just always assumed it was in use by horny, dating couples.

Love hotels are now billing themselves as ‘urban resorts’ in a hope of capturing the growing (no longer groaning) tourist trade.

Hey… after each sexual encounter at a love hotel - whether it was for the night or merely a stay, love hotel cleaning staff would immediately come after the guest come (sp)  and go… so there was a level of cleanliness.

I just wouldn’t use the Jacuzzi… do you really think they are cleaning out the jacuzzi after each tryst? My bet is they are just using a skimmer.

Somewhere living vicariously,
Andrew Joseph 
PSL Photo of the Tokyo love hotel: Hotel Romans... no wait... Hotel Romance... effing katakana. Photo is my own - feel free to use, if you wish.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Sailor Moon Helps Japanese Beat Syphilis

Why the Japanese find they need to have an animated kid's cartoon character be the animated spokesperson to help it combat the rising cases of the sexually-transmitted disease (STD) syphilis is beyond me.

If anything, wouldn't using a titillating anime character make people a bit more horny... you can see the ad above...

In its primary stage, syphilis presents only as minor lesions in affected areas, such as the genitals, but the symptoms often disappear naturally. In the secondary phase, around three months later, patients develop rashes, frequently on their palms or the soles of their feet. The symptoms then often disappear again.

In Japan, during 2016, there were a total of 4,259 cases of syphilis reported - up by 77 per cent from 2015.

While the majority of the cases are between male-female intercourse, there are a number of reports of it being transmitted between the pregnant mother and fetus.

As such, fearing that syphilis is on the rise and will continue to rise in 2017, Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has come up with the "ingenious" platform involving the high-school short skirt-wearing female sexy Sailor Moon anime (animation) character to have the Japanese try and practice safe sex. Riiiiiiight.

Here's what I like (sarcasm): The Ministry blames the rise in syphilis on:
  • changes in sexual behavior in Japan’s youths;
  • its adult entertainment business,
  • and the surge in tourists from countries with high infection rates.
Yup... blame the gaijin.

Back in 1990, when I first arrived in Japan... AIDS was becoming a new disease in the country... and of course, the average Joe Suzuki would cite the influx of gaijin (foreigners) as the reason why.

While that might be the case, it failed to point the stink-finger at itself... back then, and now, Japanese men would make the trip out to places like Thailand to engage in risky sexual activity with the local prostitutes and bring back more than omiyage (presents) to the wife.

Nope - it's the gaijin. Riiiiight.

No one really knows the truth about the spread of syphilis in Japan.

When people are screened for syphilis in Japan, medical staff will only ask the basic question:

Have you had sex recently?

If yes, they create a report on the subject (in accordance with current laws and infectious diseases) noting the patient's gender and age, but fail to ask for the more specific and pertinent information that might tell you what is the blame of the rise, such as nationality and occupation.

All one can really determine from the syphilis numbers is that people are having unprotected sex with someone who has syphilis and contract it that way.

If they are having unprotected sex with strangers or "people they know" in the adult-industry... hey... you pay your money, you take your chances.

Seriously... would you pay to play with someone who says it's okay to ride bareback (no condom)? That's just stupid. Still... even a condom isn't foolproof.

Apparently Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward is rife with syphilis cases according to local hospitals (according to a Japan Times news article)... with the medical facilities estimating that Shinjuku- home of the country's largest entertainment area - has something like 40 percent of Tokyo's cases... which adds up to about 20 percent of the national average.

A special research team of the Ministry is working with Tokyo-area hospitals to try and figure out where all these cases are coming from (no pun intended)... to try and censor this Syphilis Suzuki in the bud.

They hope to have a conclusion so by March of 2018.

The good news, is that is treated early, syphilis can be cured with an antibiotic injection.

Andrew Joseph

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Japan's Little New Year

Because I love Japan, I find my of its idiosyncrasies kind of charming.

One of them is the fact that while they do indeed work far to many hours (I don't know how hard they are working, because that is subjective), they do like to let their hair down have a good time when time permits.

Proof of that for me was the fact that everyone had a great sense of humor (enjoyed laughing) and they all got wasted and had fun at the various office enkai (parties) and matsuri (local and national festivals).

As mentioned previously, Japan celebrates its official New Year on January 1 (based on the Gregorian Calendar that non-Asian countries use)... something it has been doing since they switched systems in 1873 thanks to European and American influence.

Before that, Japan (as most of Asia seems to now) celebrated the New Year based on the Lunar Calendar, which affects the actual date from being between January 21 through February 20.

This year's (2017) Lunar New Year begins on January 28.

But... any excuse for a party, Japan also celebrates in between January 1 and January 28, with a festival known as Little New Year (小正月, koshōgatsu).

This is the celebration of the first full moon of the year... the 15th day of the first lunar month (approximately mid-February)... wait... so shouldn't it be celebrated on February 15?

Yes... it should be... and some parts of Japan stick to their guns and celebrate it then... because the new year doesn't begin in the old Lunar Calendar until January 21-February 20... that's why the first full moon is later.

However... since officially Japan is part of the Gregorian Calendar system, and New Year begins on January 1... Koshōgatsu (Little New Year) begins in January... January 15... keeping it as a set date to celebrate the first Gregorian Calendar full moon.

I know - holy crap it's complex... no wonder the Japanese like to drink.

I saw a full moon in Toronto on January 12, 2017... so the 15th date to celebrate
Koshōgatsu is (also) subjective... or... it is what it is.

The main thing about Koshōgatsu, is its religious significance... as it was required by farmers and... well everyone who depended on food in Japan (everyone) to ensure a bountiful harvest... with lots of rites and prayers being done at the local temple and shrines.

Traditionally, New Year's decorations (regardless of the calendar) were taken down at this time (though perhaps not if the celebrated Japanese Lunar Calendar New Year fell after February 15...)
I love azuki beans... and would definitely have more in my bowl of azukigayu.
The people would also have a traditional breakfast of rice gruel and azuki beans (>小豆粥, azukigayu) at a Buddhist temple.. I would imagine then, as now, a fee was established (or a donation).

Photo by me (Andrew Joseph) shows a farmer in Ohtawara-shi (1993), Tochigi-ken probably wondering why he didn't go and pray during that year's Little New Year celebration at the local temple.
Somewhere outstanding in his field,
Andrew Joseph