Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Won't Miss #524 - lots of deadly halitosis

The Japanese labor under the idea that foreigners stink more than they do. Deodorant is sometimes advertised as helping people who have the body odor issues of a non-Japanese and many supremely stinky people live their daily lives offending others because they've bought into the idea that all Japanese people don't have the same glands as foreigners and therefore never need some antiperspirant.

It may or may not be true that Japanese people don't have B.O. as often as gaijin ("outsiders"), but one thing which does appear to be the case is that Japanese people have their own issues and I'm talking about halitosis. I was subjected to more than my share of people, especially men, who could kill small creatures with their toxic breath. I don't know if this was caused by a lack of oral hygiene (though I did note most women were meticulous about tooth-brushing), diet, or health issues, but I do not miss the frequency with which I encountered people who had obnoxious and highly potent bad breath, especially when teaching them in a cubicle.


  1. Good God, this! Like dental abscess smell.

  2. I have read this about Japan and it makes me not want to go there. OR join in the face mask fad with a scent satchel to void nasal assault. There is a guy I work with, sweet as can be but his odorous mouth could very well kill a small child. I stand back to chat and even then when the air shifts I catch a wiff of eye watering foulness.

  3. Well, oral care seems to often be a bit behind and bad breath seems not to be something to be as embarrassed about as in the US or some other countries.

    The idea of the Japanese having less body odor that non-Japanese is absurd, though many Japanese and even foreigners believe it. I recall a New York Times article in which a visiting fashion writer wrote that the Japanese have almost no body odor. He had apparently never been in a train in the summer at evening rush hour, nor a gym, nor a toilet, nor much anywhere else. (nor in close personal relationship with a Japanese person.) What is only a little amazing is that the NYT published such obvious idiocy.

    Oh, and this summer has been extremely hot and humid. I am sure you can imagine the smell on crowded trains as some under-deodorized/un-deodorized sweaty people held their arms up to hold on to the straps in the train. Oh, lovely!

    But alas, none of these myths will ever go away, for if they did, we'd have to accept the Japanese as just another group of humans like everyone else.


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