Saturday, October 31, 2009   1:30 AM

Blow, not suck


Dear residents of this fine archipelago,

You may have noticed that the colder season is drawing upon us, as it does every year. You may also have become aware of a certain tendency, from time to time, for your nasal passages to be occupied by a mucus-like substance, often in association with a cough and repeated sneezing events.

Fear not, Japan and the Japanese people are not alone with this affliction, particularly in these times of porcine influenza. However, we from gaikoku have an important potentially lifestyle-changing tip we'd like to share with you:


Now, we understand the barbaric practice of having a good blow into a hanky Is Just Not The Done Thing around here, and when you think about it, it is quite revolting, especially when you see someone put the sodden tissue into their sleeve for later retrieval.

On the other hand this outstanding nation is blessed by a wide range of freely available public conveniences where we would like to suggest that you can - in relative privacy - evacuate the unwanted contents of your respiratory system into e.g. some of the paper tissues distributed free of charge in copious amounts on busy streets.


The person sitting next to you trying to resist the urge to strangle you with your cheap polyester tie.

Posted in Life in Japan
Truly you have gone from one extreme to the other on the nose-blowing front. As every German guest I have ever had seems to spend a good five minutes honking into a hankie first thing every morning regardless of season, I can only presume they have been brought up to clear the passages as a matter of course. I must confess to having given a tiny sniff in the supermarket the other day and a woman instantly gave me a packet of tissues.
Posted by: BiB | 2009-11-03 03:16
Posted by: sixmats | 2009-11-03 09:11
I always get a bad look from my Japanese coworkers when I use a tissue to clear my nose. Yet no one bats an eye as this one guy constantly sniff and snorts and coughs all winter long! Its enough to drive you insane!
Posted by: Joshua Zimmerman | 2009-11-09 06:51
This week, I've seen, on two separate occasions, young guys while walking along with young, beautiful girls hand in hand, snort and spit out nasty globules directly into their walking path. The girls, in both cases, never batted an eye.

Posted by: billywest | 2009-11-11 06:40
@BiB: indeed, we are talking about the country which brought forth the Tempo-Taschentuch. In days gone by I recycled them as firelighters.

@sixmats: thanks, good to know I am not alone with my sentiments.

@Joshua: hello, and remember the Statute of Limitations for abandonment of a corpse in Japan is just 3 years.

@billywest: thanks for the dating tip!
Posted by: ThePenguin | 2009-11-12 16:09
In a country that doesn't mind emitting flatulence in public places, I don't get the whole "snot thing". Honest to God, if I have a choice, I pick snot...not literally know...a small pocket package of Kleenex would do wonders, and this is a Japanese taboo that needs--desperately--to be abolished...
Posted by: John W. Click | 2010-03-09 02:28