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News from Japan - January 25, 2022

The exclusive winter menu at McDonald's Japan

Le menu exclusif d'hiver au McDonald's Japon

Every winter, hot pies are among McDonald's best sellers in Japan. This year, the fast-food chain is introducing the tastes of Canada and Belgium with two exclusives: the Canadian maple cream pie and the Belgian chocolate pie.

The Belgian tart has already appeared in the country for a limited time in the winter, since 2020. However, this is the first time that its companion, the Canadian tart, has seen the light of day in the land of the Rising Sun. Each of these pies is priced at 150 yen, or 1.16 euros.

These specialties are accompanied by new chicken nuggets spicy with garlic and pepper, the first new nuggets marketed by Japan for three and a half years. These McNuggets are priced at 200 yen, so 1.55 euros.

This outing will, perhaps, calm McDonald's customers who cannot eat pancakes or size M and L fries, due to the shortage of potatoes in the country.

Hikikomori syndrome, originating in Japan, is spreading with the COVID-19 pandemic

Le terme japonais hikikomori pourrait se traduire par “retrait social”

Hikikomori syndrome is a phenomenon first observed in Japan in 1998. It refers to people (usually young men) living locked up in their homes, cutting themselves off from the world and avoiding social contact. These people often live with their parents, on whom they are highly dependent.

It is defined by the Ministry of Health of Japan as “the state of a person who avoids social participation due to various factors and causes and who remains permanently cloistered at home for more than six months. Hikikomori is not a psychiatric illness.”

Mainly young men are affected, stopping going to school or work and spending their time at home for several months or even a few years. There are more than a million hikikomori in Japan. Indeed, according to studies, in 2016, 541,000 aged 15 to 39 suffered from this syndrome, while there were 613,000 aged 40 to 64 in 2019.

The hikikomori appeared in particular after the economic crisis suffered by the archipelago, in the early 1990s. In addition, Japanese society, characterized by rigid social norms and high expectations from parents, brought out this type of person, who are not mentally ill.

However, Japan is not the only country affected. With the COVID-19 crisis, this syndrome has spread to many territories, according to various studies. Countries like Hong Kong, the United States, Spain and France see many young people affected by the syndrome.

A bed that doubles as a play space for cats

Un lit qui sert aussi d'espace de jeu pour chats

The interior company Dinos, based in Tokyo, has developed a unique bed: it serves as both a human bed and a play space for cats.

This model, called “Bed with Cat Step”, looks like a four-poster bed, but has steps and windows for the cat to climb and play on.

The Japanese company claims that the design is designed so that the cats face is visible to the person when they fall asleep, and when they wake up.

The price of the single bed is 352,000 yen (2,734 euros) and that of the semi-double bed is 418,000 yen (3,247 euros).

Dinos is not at his first attempt, having already released versions of tables and TV stands, specially designed for felines.

You should know that the cat has an important place among the Japanese, until they become mascots. For example Hello Kitty, the Maneki-neko (the cat with the raised paw attracting wealth and luck) or the film  The Kingdom of Cats from Studio Ghibli. Cats are known to bring fortune and success, they are the subject of many legends, hence the presence of cat cafes or sanctuaries in cities like Tokyo.

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