Study finds Japan to be the country that most prefers aisle seats on airplanes

Age, politeness, and alcohol all appear to be key factors in seat choice.

For many people, the choice between a window seat and aisle seat is a no brainer. Who wouldn’t want the opportunity to look down upon the Earth from a height surpassing that of Mt. Everest?

A majority of Japanese people, that’s who, according to a survey by the Japanese branch of travel website Expedia. The site held a poll of over 18,000 people in 23 countries and found that Japan was the only place where a majority of people preferred the aisle seat to the window seat. The countries surveyed were: United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan

That being said, Japan slid into the number one spot by a slim margin, with 53 percent enjoying the freedom of movement provided by sitting next to the aisle. Nevertheless, Japan was the only country above 50 percent, followed by Singapore with 47 percent and America with 40 percent. India proved to be one of the most aisle-hating countries, with only 14 percent opting for this position.

Percentage of respondents who would choose an aisle seat in an airplane (top ten)

Japan (53%)
Singapore (47%)
USA (40%)
Hong Kong (39%)
South Korea (38%)
France (27%)
Spain (26%)
Brazil (19%)
Mexico (18%)
India (14%)

One reason why Japan leans towards aisle-seating may have to do with another question posed by Expedia: When you want to get up, do you wake up your neighbor and get them to move?

Percentage of respondents who would wake a sleeping neighbor and ask them to move (top ten)

Hong Kong (60%)
Brazil (59%)
Singapore (58%)
Mexico (55%)
India (52%)
South Korea (44%)
USA (36%)
Spain (33%)
France (27%)
Japan (24%)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Japan came in last among the top ten nations for this scenario, with only 24 percent saying they would wake the sleeping passenger. Hong Kong fliers were shown to be the most upfront, with 60 percent saying the best course of action would be to wake your neighbor and ask them to move.

How do Japanese people get to the aisle?

Climb past a sleeping passenger with back facing them (38%)
Wake them up and ask them to move (24%)
Wait until they move (20%)
Climb past a sleeping passenger with front facing them (19%) 

When faced with this situation, the preferred method of Japanese passengers is to attempt to climb past with their back facing the sleeper. Interestingly enough, passing with the front facing the sleeper is much less common, with only 19 percent opting to give a view of the groin over the butt.

Percentage of respondents who would negotiate with strangers to sit near family and friends (top ten)

India (41%)
Spain (33%)
USA (30%)
France (28%)
Brazil (25%)
Mexico (24%)
South Korea (18%)
Singapore (17%)
Hong Kong (16%)
Japan (6%)

Japanese fliers are also one of the least likely, by far, to ask other people to move so they can sit closer to their friends and family. Only six percent said they would be willing to negotiate a seat exchange with strangers, 10 percent lower than the next lowest in the top ten, Hong Kong.

By now you might be thinking, “Wow, Japanese flight passengers sure are courteous!” However, Expedia also has some stats which may dispel that illusion.

Percentage of respondents who would go completely barefoot on the plane (top ten)

Japan (16%)
Brazil (11%)
Spain (11%)
Singapore (10%)
France (9%)
India (8%)
South Korea (6%)
Mexico (6%)
Hong Kong (5%)
USA (3%)

Japanese passengers are most likely to go completely barefoot in the cabin, at a rate of 16 percent. This would be to the annoyance of American fliers, only three percent of whom would be willing to do the same.

Percentage of respondents who would have over two drinks in the airport and airplane (top ten)

South Korea (38%)
Japan (36%)
India (34%)
Mexico (24%)
Brazil (24%)
Hong Kong (22%)
Singapore (20%)
USA (17%)
France (17%)
Spain (13%)

Japanese people ranked highly here, with 36 percent admitting to enjoy over two drinks per flight, both in the airport and on board. They were second only to South Korea’s 38 percent and far removed from Spain’s 13 percent of travelers being of the libation-loving variety.

Percentage of Japanese respondents who would have over two drinks in the airport and airplane by age

Over 50 (44%)
35 to 49 (32%)
18 to 34 (26%)

Among the Japanese passengers who like to tie one on while flying, nearly half were over the age of 50.

Percentage of Japanese respondents’ seat preferences by age

18 to 34
Window Seat (58%)
Aisle Seat (41%)
Middle Seat (1%)

35 to 49
Window Seat (49%)
Aisle Seat (49%)
Middle Seat (2%)

Over 50
Aisle Seat (61%)
Window Seat (39%)
Middle Seat (0%)

Given the age and alcohol consumption, frequent lavatory visits would be a near certainty for these fliers, and thus an aisle seat would be understandably ideal. Sure enough, the over-50 age group is actually the only one which showed a clear preference for the aisle seat and ended up pushing the national average towards it.

So, in conclusion, whether on a real or virtual flight, should fate place you next to one of the minority of Japanese passengers who prefer the window seat, rest assured that, statistically speaking, they will probably not wake you up when they want to stretch their legs. But also be aware that a drunk old barefoot guy may try to climb over you while sticking his butt in your face.

Sources: Expedia Japan, Hodo Kyoku
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Expedia Japan


Japanese dad turns daughter’s drawings into her bento lunches

The bigger the imagination, the crazier the lunchbox.

Japanese father Takafumi Ozeki, who’s also a member of comedy duo The Geese, first came to our attention last year when he shared a photo of an unusual-looking bento he’d made especially for his kindergarten-going daughter.

While Ozeki’s Twitter feed is usually bursting with images of the beautifully arranged kayaraben, or character bentos, which he makes for his little girl, this particular photo showed a lunchbox that looked like it had been made by a small child. 

And in a way, the asymmetrical frog-face and the strange human beside it had been made by a child, as Ozeki had arranged it to be a perfect replica of one of his daughter’s drawings. According to Ozeki, this particular lunchbox came about after his girl came to him one day with one of her pictures and asked him to turn it into a bento for her

After receiving hundreds of thousands of likes online, many thought this might be a one-off act of affection for Ozeki, who’d expressed his concern over what the teacher would think of the strange-looking bento at school. However, it turns out it was just the first of many, as more daughter-daddy bentos have been making their appearance online in recent months.

▼ Owl and Cat, to mark the coming of spring.

As the school year got underway in April, his daughter drew a picture of Mickey Mouse for her bento of the day.

For this ladybug and penguin scene, Ozeki felt the pang of his daughter growing up, saying that the bento he made was actually less skilful than her original drawing. While he’s happy about the progress of her artistic ability, he’s also a little worried about keeping up with her as she gets better at illustrating her designs.

Ozeki’s next challenge was recreating his daughter’s interpretation of cute raccoon-dog character Tanukichi-kun.

And then it was time for Miguel and Héctor from the animated movie Coco (known as “Remember Me” in Japan). While Hector was meant to be giving the v-shaped “peace sign” in the picture, Ozeki hoped the teacher wouldn’t mistake it for an image of him hitchhiking, with his thumb out for a ride.

More recent bentos from this month show a trio of hippos splashing about, with one of them popping up from under the water to give the other a surprise.

And perhaps one of the most delightful in the collection is this one, which perfectly replicates his daughter’s drawing of a camel pooping. Ozeki is guessing that this is perhaps the first time Japan has ever seen such a bento, and reckons he should win an award from some sort of camel association for his efforts.

With such a vivid imagination, Ozeki’s daughter is bound to have even more surprising images in store for her doting dad in future. He might want to take some inspiration from some of these other bento-making cooks so he can keep up with her skills!

Featured image: Twitter/@geeseojeck


JR West unveils new Japanese long distance train with special features for passengers

This is an extra special rail experience, even by Japanese standards.

We’ve always had a soft spot for Japanese trains, but now there’s a new addition to the rails that’s set to blow everyone away, with stylish interiors, private rooms, bunk beds and break areas designed to provide optimal comfort for long-journey passengers.

Designed by West Japan Railway Company as part of their 2022 Middle Management Project, the new train is a six-carriage remodelled 117 series with all-reserved seating for 90 passengers. The interior design will be based around three themes: Diversity, Casual, and Comfort.

Each carriage will feature a different setup, to cater for passengers with different requirements. In the second carriage, there will be reserved seating for the exclusive use of women, with a bright interior, comfortable chairs, and plenty of leg room.

The third carriage will have private compartments, where travelling families can relax with their small children. Furnished with a mat that can be used as either a seat or a mattress, these private spaces will be a godsend for parents on long journeys.

The fourth carriage will be set up as a “free space area”,with tables, booths and an open-plan design.

The first and sixth carriages will be designated “green cars”, which offer a more luxurious style of seating. In the first carriage there will be booth-style seats that can be adjusted to form a bed, so you can enjoy a snooze anytime of the day or night.

The sixth car will offer even more luxury, with private rooms that can be set up in a number of different styles, according to your needs.

The fifth carriage will have dormitory-style rooms fitted out with fixed flat beds.

The new long-distance train is set to operate from Keihanshin (the metropolitan area of Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe) out to the San’in and Sanyo districts in Japan’s southwest. Scheduled to make its debut in the spring of 2020, the train will be ready in time to welcome visitors to the country for the 2020 Olympics.

Source, images: JR West Press Release


Japanese Coast Guard mascot Umimaru turns 20, lends rank to Hello Kitty for cute merchandise

Japan’s Coast Guard has been around for 70 years, and mascot Umimaru for 20 – so it’s high time for a Hello Kitty teamup!

Japan’s Coast Guard has been in action since the 1940s, and their list of responsibilities is vast as the ocean itself: not only do they help the police when capturing swimming fugitives, but they also direct maritime traffic, draw up maps of seas and coastlines and are also a first port of call when dealing with sea-side disasters.

Like all self-respecting organizations, they have a mascot: clean-cut captain Umimaru. This harp seal mascot sports a classy jacket, top-of-the-line navigational skills, and a pair of handsome eyebrows. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Japanese Coast Guard, but it’s also Umimaru’s 20th birthday, which makes him an adult in the eyes of the Japanese government.

And how better to celebrate Umimaru’s Coming of Age Day than with a collaboration? We all know that Hello Kitty is the girl to call when you need a cute line of tie-in merchandise, and she jetted over (presumably on her brand new Shinkansen) to star with Umimaru in a variety of seaworthy goods.

Umimaru may be adorably soft, with limpid pools for eyes and those charming thick brows, but his uniform represents his committed work relationship with the sea. According to the Japanese Coast Guard, he’s wearing a uniform befitting that of a Coast Guard Superintendent’s 2nd Grade. You can normally only attain the Coast Guard Superintendent’s 3rd Grade by working hard and graduating the Coast Guard University, so Umimaru really deserves a salute for making it to an even higher grade at the tender age of 20.

The collaboration goods will be sold through the official website’s Umimaru Shop. Expect to see Kitty kitted out in a white dress-suit and blue necktie, emulating the Coast Guard’s summer uniform. The good captain looks so responsible posing next to her!

▼ Front and back designs for the flat pouch, priced at 1,000 yen (US$9.10) plus tax.

You can purchase a clear file in a similar pattern, if you’d rather have Kitty and Umimaru guard your important paper documents.

▼ The clear file is priced at 350 yen, plus tax.

The keychains also feature the dual mascot design, though you have extra options: Kitty in a Coast Guard wetsuit with Umimaru snorkel, and –

Wait a second… On a closer look… That’s not just Umimaru’s jacket! She’s stolen his very visage! She’s wearing him like a costume!

▼ The acrylic keychains will retail for 600 yen plus tax.

Kitty, you haven’t even been to the Coast Guard Academy! Wearing that uniform is probably against the law, even if you weren’t impersonating their adorable mascot. Still, it suits her so well, we think we can let her off the hook this one time.

One last reminder: if you enjoy Kitty collaborations, don’t forget to vote in the annual Sanrio Character Collaboration poll! Umimaru won’t make it into this year’s, but maybe next year his ship will sail.

Source: Press Release, Umimaru Shop
Featured Image: Press Release


Steampunk designer shows off new occult gun, no CGI used in the making of this video

It’s the perfect weapon to fight evil, and by “fight evil” I mean scare the crap out of your pets.

We’ve previously featured the works of FriskP, the steampunk themed designer whose creations have dazzled on Japan’s video site Niconico douga for years now. This latest offering, a gun that appears to channel mystic energy, is certainly no exception. In fact, it may just be FriskP’s most impressive work to date.

Of course, it doesn’t really shoot anything…or does it? Who knows what goes on in the astral plane?

Nevertheless, viewers were understandably blown away by the CG effects come to life and expressed their unanimous sense of awe and yearning.

“It really feels like it’s coming out when you pull the trigger.”
“Get out! Is that real?!”
“That’s just awesome and I want it.”
“I want that so freaking bad.”

The video also explains how the gun is made, but don’t get your hopes up. First you’ll need to acquire a Phantom, developed by a tech start-up called Life is Style. The Phantom is a “versa-writer” which works on the same premise as those fans that display a clock by spinning lights around really fast.

It was these same fans that FriskP once used to create a steampunk watch.

Although cool, the resolution of this technology was noticeably low, making its applications limited to fan-clocks and variations thereof for years until now. The Phantom takes this principle and boosts the image quality considerably, so you get something like this!

The Life is Style website appears to be coy regarding the price of actual Phantoms, which generally means they’ll be pretty pricey. Serious purchasers should inquire with them directly, but it appears for the time being they are catering to high-rollers like event planners and other pros.

If you manage to get past that step, then hopefully you’ll have saved enough money to get a 3-D printer if you haven’t done so already. This will be needed to create the mounting that will attach the Phantom unit to a toy gun of your choosing. Of course, you’ll also need to do the modelling on your favorite CAD program.

After that it’s just a matter of designing the animation that the Phantom will project. FriskP notes that this can mercifully be done for free using Nive2 software, so it might be wise to start with this step to see if you’ve got what it takes to make such a gun first.

If you happen to have both the means and the know-how to make your own DIY occult gun, then you’ll be treated to hours of sitting in your room going, “Chk chk, gsssssssshhhhhh, pakaw! Take that Dormammu!” Afterwards, you can search for more inspiration to guide your next DIY project, because clearly you have a knack for it.

If not, take heart that you’re just like most of humanity, and wait patiently from one of these geniuses to mass produce these things so that we may all go, “gssssssshhhhh, pakaw!” too and rejoice.

Sources: Phantom 3D Hologram Display, YouTube/FriskP, Kinisoku
Images: YouTube/FriskP


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