Blowfish

Back to Contents of Issue: October 2002


Called to account. The main criteria for selection of one's bank? A branch or ATM reasonably close to home is all the reason one needs, or at least so stated 64.3 percent of respondents when asked by Macromille, an Internet research firm. Other factors in the selection process included relatively low service charges (60.3%), large number of branches (54.7), responsible financial policies (50.3), and a wide range of services (49.9).

One with sauerkraut to go. Last year, Dachshunds led the list in requests to the Japan Kennel Club for issue of pedigree certificates, with 122,589. (Of these, all but 12,436 were miniatures.) Other top breeds, in descending order, were Chihuahua (40,002), Shizu (30,632), Welsh Corgi (25,469), Yorkshire Terrier (24,263), Golden Retriever (18,193), Papillon (18,016), Pomeranian (16,416) and Poodle (14,511), according to the Sunday Mainichi weekly magazine.

Soccer potpourri. The national teams cheered by Japanese at the recently held 2002 World Cup found different supporters among males and females. Among Japanese males: Japan, Italy, Brazil, France and Argentina. For Japanese females: Japan, Italy, France, South Korea and Brazil. The total number of goals scored during the World Cup numbered 161, or 10 fewer than the 1998 tournament in France. There were 272 yellow cards issued; an increase of 14 over 1998. The 17 red cards were five fewer than 1998. In Japan's professional soccer league, the J-League, Shizuoka prefecture supplied the largest number of players, with 90. This was followed by Tokyo (64), Kanagawa (62), Saitama (57) and Osaka (55). The fewest players came from Fukushima, Fukui and Kagawa, with four, four and five, respectively. By contrast, Osaka had far and away the largest number of professional baseball players, with 72 in Japan's pro leagues. This was followed by Chiba (42), Hyogo (41), Saitama (41), Kanagawa (41) and Tokyo (40).

Lost wages. Change your job and you can expect income to fall by JPY1.05 million. That's the average figure the Japan Institute of Labor came up with when it surveyed individuals who had switched companies over the previous year. There were, as you'd expect, sharp differences according to age. For people under 29, the drop came to JPY330,000. For those in their 30s; JPY540,000, in their 40s; JPY840,000, in their 50s; JPY1.89 million and 60 and over; JPY3.02 million, although in the latter cases these jobs were post-retirement positions in which the decline in income was regarded as a matter of course.

Bark's even worse than his byte. No space at home for a pet pooch? Well, are you ready to open up your home and heart to your first pet robot? Only 4.9 percent of those to whom the Japan Management Association posed this question said they were dead set against owning one. Of the remainder, 38.7 percent said they'd consider one "if it was enough like a real animal." Other responses included, "I'd prefer one that functions as a terminal in a home network", 15.5 percent said they thought such robots ought to provide home-care and nursing functions and 6.9 percent said the cybercritters would be useful as a reward to nudge their kids to spend more time engaged in school studies.

Send him a Dear Jun letter. The latest word in the Japanese lexicon is yameru, formed by combining meru (email) with yameru, meaning to terminate a relationship. In a survey of 100 female salaried workers in their 20s, Spa! magazine asked, "If you used email to break off a romantic relationship, how would you phrase your message?" The largest response, chosen by 37 percent, was, "I'd be sure to give him my reasons." Second, with 27 percent, was, "I'd lie if it meant sparing his feelings." Other replies included, "I'd tell him I'd found someone else" (13%) and "I'd just tell him it's over, period" (12%). Sixteen of the survey subjects, by the way, agreed that "if you can use email to begin romances, you can damn well use it to end them." Another 15 noted that email was the most appropriate way to convey one's inner feelings, 14 said email had the advantage of simplicity and 11 thought it spared both parties' feelings better than other forms of communication.

A little dab'll do ya. The market for male hair restorers in Japan continues to, er, sprout. When Tokyu Agency surveyed the buying habits of 2,500 households in the Tokyo metropolitan area, it found that Taisho Pharmaceutical's RiUP, classified as an over-the-counter drug product (as opposed to a cosmetic), was far and away at the head of the class. Data indicated that every 100 households spent an average of JPY38,203, or, more accurately, each household spent JPY382, not bad considering women, males under about 25 and children have no use for this product.

Other big sellers include Success hair restoring tonic (unscented) by Kao, (JPY5,151 per 100 households), Furorin Live Act by Shiseido (JPY2,392), Success (lightly scented) (JPY1,619), NF Karoyan Apojika Sigma from Dai Ichi Pharmaceutical (JPY1,556), Karoyan Apojika Alphas also from Dai Ichi (JPY1,363), Chokko Mohatsuryoku by Lion (JPY1,053), Live Refresh by Seiseido (JPY1,053) and Success Kappatsu-sei (unscented) (JPY826). Shiseido's Shinji Etori told the Sunday Mainichi magazine that it can take as long as five to six years to nurture thick hair growth, but that restorer preparations generally take three to four months before results begin to show.

Not all is gloomy. Twenty-three of Japan's 47 prefectures reported that during 2001, earnings by locally based corporations rose over the previous year. Here's the top ten, with the largest corporate earner and percent of growth over 2000 shown in brackets. Yamanashi (Fanac, 26.1%), Kyoto (Nintendo, 25.7), Kagawa (Shikoku Electric Power, 19.9), Mie (Hyaku Go Bank, 10.9), Fukui (Murata Seisakujo, 10.9), Kanagawa (Matsushita Communications Industries, 10.2), Yamaguchi (First Retailing, 9.6), Tokyo (Tokyo Electric Power, 7.3), Nagano (Seiko Epson, 7.0) and Hyogo (Nestle Japan Holding, 6.7). At the bottom was Kochi Prefecture, where corporate earnings totalled only JPY65.4 billion, about one-thirtieth of Tokyo and down by 33.7 percent from the year before. @



Note: The function "email this page" is currently not supported for this page.