The handshake after COVID – good riddance, or welcome back?


Banished at the start of the pandemic, the handshake is making something of a comeback, thanks to vaccinations and the lifting of social restrictions -- but "pressing the flesh" faces an uncertain future. More than speeches or communiques, one of the most striking takeaways from the Vladimir Putin and Joe… Read


Anti-selfie tech? Japanese government pleads with cell phone carriers to curb inappropriate photos


We live in unprecedented times, as I’m sure you well know by now. But one of the most striking changes in recent years is how ubiquitous and constant our use of technology is. While some of us remember being in our early 20s by the time we had our own cell… Read


Teaching kids social responsibility – like how to settle fights and ask for help – can reduce school bullying


Schools that encourage their students to care for their classmates’ feelings and to peacefully resolve conflicts with their peers can lower incidents of bullying, according to our peer-reviewed study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Development in June 2021. We surveyed 1,850 Brazilian schoolchildren ages 7 to 15 and… Read


Friends are saying 'I do' – but might not understand the legal risks of their platonic marriages


When a couple decides to tie the knot, they’ll often say they’re marrying their best friend. But what if two actual best friends – no sex or even romantic feelings involved – just decided to get married? Friends, The New York Times recently reported, are starting to “marry in a… Read


First-ever Pokemon manhole covers installed in downtown Tokyo


Tokyo’s Ueno Park is one of the city’s biggest tourism draws, and it’s actually several attractions in one. In addition to its shady cherry blossom tree-lined pathways and beautiful lotus pond, the park is home to multiple museums and a zoo, and now it’s added even more attractions with a pair… Read


You can now rent 'fat people' in Japan


One of the more unusual industries to appear in Japan in recent years is the rent-a-person business. There were the rent-a-middle-aged-dude and rent-a-sister services we tried out, for example, and now comes a new innovation: a company that will let you rent a “fat” person. We should point out that the “fat” designation come from the company… Read


Just how many seasons does Japan really have?


Whenever I ask any of my Japanese friends how many seasons there are in this country, they invariably tell me four. Shiki (四季), the four seasons, are magical aspects of Japan that you won’t quite experience anywhere else—or so they would like you to believe, but I don’t buy it. Unpleasant and pleasant Every… Read


De-stress and breathe easy with handy tip from Japanese vocal technique specialist


With so much going on in the world right now, more and more people are becoming more and more stressed. And while relaxation techniques and tips for creating calm abound online, not all these ideas work for everyone, which is why Japanese Twitter user Shima (@shimadakengo911) attracted attention recently when he… Read


COVID-19 turnabout—pandemic in Japan unexpectedly revives, instead of exterminates, a dying art


Unsurprisingly, a pandemic is no good time for anyone or anything. From shuttered factory doors to cultural traditions ambling on their last legs, COVID-19 has done its work, in fact, even inspiring a new and now commonly used phrase for the worldwide turmoil it has caused: koronaka, or literally in English, “corona damage.”… Read


What event did you hate most in elementary school? Survey asks Japanese adults


Annual school events are taken very seriously in Japan. For many, a lot of time is spent rehearsing for them, making sure they are absolutely perfect. As someone who went to a state school in the UK, the idea of spending any time at all practicing for things like sports day is… Read

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