Why does the average middle aged salaryman put up with plastic suits?

Meaning feeling like nylon rather than actually made of plastic- although if it doesn’t say 革 (kawa- leather) on shoes they probably actually are. Some theories:

– Their wives have control of the budget and won’t let them buy anything more expensive
– The clothes retailers know all the money is in youth and women, leaving 洋服の青山 the monopoly position to sell any old crap they like
– Not the most adventurous of market segments, they are scared off by anything that looks young, unfamiliar or foreign
– Most Japanese don’t have the fear of the manmade and artificial that has taken hold in the West, here meaning artificial fabrics but also including things like food additives
– It’s just because all the suits come from China
– They have to be careful not to dress better than their boss


Why do some gruff guys say “oss”?

 My wife is convinced it’s an incredibly short and macho version of OhayogozaimaS (the polite way of saying “good morning”) but suddenly I’m not convinced, because the aikido fighters in Angry White Pyjamas (which I’m reading) say it when it definitely isn’t a greeting

Why do my housewife students complain about their husbands so much?

This is a question that I have heard a fair few times. Many eikaiwa teachers come to the conclusion that Japan has a world record breaking number of miserable marriages. Whilst that is conceivable (some nation has to be top!), there are plenty of cultural factors to take into account before coming to that conclusion. One is a tradition of disparaging members of your family in order to appear humble, including the not totally disappeared habit of saying “my smelly wife” as a humble form of okusan. Another is a tradition of taking the mickey out of the man in the house and of the salaryman more generally, as explained in detail by Ian Buruma. As gruff macho dads tend to get this ribbing most, I’m guessing it is a way of evening up the power relationships in the home. The third factor is a comparative lack of safe topics of conversation in Japanese making each one appear like a national obsession, most notably with the topic of food but also with this one. The final influence that I can think of is that many Japanese people seem to think of slagging people off as as Western or British sense of humour, or alternatively find it to be a kind of humour they can easily express in English, and so tend to say those kind of things much more in English than in Japanese.

What is it with Japanese guys and their obsession with panchira (a glimpse of a girl’s white panties)?

“…it is an art form. Similiar to bullfighting in Spain.” Read the rest of this entry »

Why are Japanese salarymen always puking on the sidewalks?

“Japanese vomit is kind of special express of satisfaction. We Japanese are making loud sounds when eat soba noodles or udon. This mean ‘Thank you wonderful soba chef! This is delicious!’ So when Japanese is vomit, we say ‘Oh! That was great nomikai! I having so much fun now!'”

Read the rest of this entry »

Salaryman stat of the day

Why are adults quite happy to been seen in public reading manga comics?

First of all, the vast majority of Japanese adults would in fact be highly embarrassed to be caught reading a manga, let alone a pornographic one, in public. The salarymen you seeing reading dodgy comics and magazines on trains are the same who slurp their pasta, spit on the ground etc. in ways that well mannered Japanese never would. Manga does remain more popular amongst adults than in other countries, though. Amongst the salaryman population, this is because they hardly have the energy to read anything more demanding, especially as reading difficult kanji can put a strain on even strong readers. There is also no social pressure to spend your free time productively and an acceptance of reading manga etc. for nostalgic reasons.