I can only start this post off by saying that Japan – like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s description of the rich – are very different from you and me.
I’m old enough and cynical enough to not be surprised that there is a website whose membership are people trying to have extra-marital affairs. Husbands and wives have had wandering eyes since marriage became a social institution. So, no, the fact that a company like Ashley Madison exists is not enough of a thing to make me write about it. (Side Note: Now that I have had to search for Ashley Madison on this computer for this post, please excuse me for a moment while I erase my browser’s memory lest my wonderful wife accuse me of ill). However, the fact that over a million citizens of Japan have become members of Ashley Madison in less than nine months is an item of note. You can find the full story here. Japan is now the fastest country to reach the one-million membership mark. The United States took a year and Brazil took ten months. I had absolutely no clue that the Japanese were so interested in coveting thy neighbor’s spouse, but according to the linked story, “There is a tradition of wealthy men taking mistresses in Japan and its male-dominated society has provided plenty of outlets for married men to find casual sex.” Just to make my eyebrows rise in surprise again, the story ends with this observation, “…84 per cent of Japanese women in the survey believed an affair worked as a plus for their marriage.”
A follow-up question I would have is “How?”
From love (or lust) to employment, comes this news from the island nation of Japan that their premier crime organization, the yakuza, have launched a web site with the purpose of increasing their membership. You can read the full story here. I actually surfed on over to The Onion to make sure that this wasn’t a fake news story that other news outlets had bought. Hey, it’s happened before! No, apparently it’s on the up-and-up that an up-and-coming goodfella can use his (or her) browser of choice and sign up to be made.
How many hackers working for the police do you think are trying to break into that website and see who is signing up?
I’ll finish up my tour of the weird tales of Japan with two words: bijinesu neiru. Translated as “business nail”, it appears to be all the rage among Japanese worker drones who want to be less dronish. You can read the full story here. I’ll just leave the story here without comment save for the thought that I would pay dearly to see Warren Buffet sport a bijinesu neiru.
Of course, the trend is not new and should have been named the Penn Jillette nail. Jump here to find out why.