We like to think we’re a fairly diverse and well-educated bunch at Medgadget.com. But every now and then something takes us by surprise. Today, for instance, we learned that
1) East Asians have a different kind of earwax, it’s dry, and the polymorphism responsible has just been indentified.
2) Because of dry earwax, the Japanese have developed a ritualistic cleaning process featuring fancy ear picks. Wiki has more:
In Japan, a mimikaki, sometimes translated as “ear pick”, is a type of curette made traditionally from bamboo used to clean the ear canal. Since the majority of the populace have the dry-type ear wax, as do most Asians, it is easier for them to remove the crusty flakes with an ear pick rather than a Q-tip. The person having their ears cleaned would lie down with their head in the lap of the person doing the cleaning. It is generally considered a pleasant feeling for Japanese, like having one’s back scratched. The cleaning of ears is thus considered an act of intimacy, often performed by a mother to a child or, among adults, by one’s lover. It may also be performed alone.
You can buy special mimikaki with your favorite cartoon characters (especially if your favorite is hello kitty). Perhaps we should start a series on cultural medgadgets.