A spring clean the Japanese way
By Christopher Hogg
BBC News, Tokyo
The Japanese have a reputation for inventing new technology and exporting it to the rest of the world. But as Christopher Hogg discovers at a Tokyo beauty salon, there are some things in Japan which may not be to everyone's tastes.
I was always taught not to put anything in my ear smaller than my little finger. Twizzling cotton buds around the inside of my ear canal could cause damage. So I just did not bother to use them or in fact to pay much attention to what kind of condition my ears were in.
That might be the reason why, when I found myself sitting in a comfortable chair staring at a screen onto which the contents of my ear were being broadcast in glorious technicolour, I felt so nauseous.
I had come to try one of Tokyo's newest hi-tech treatments for Japanese businessmen with time on their hands.
In a tiny salon called Mimi Kurin (which means ear clean) on the third floor of a building near one of the city's biggest stations, they will scrape the gunk out of your ear with a scoop attached to a miniature camera.
You sit down in a lime green chair and try to relax.
In front of you is a flat screen television with what looks like an image of the sun, an orange circle slightly out of focus against a black background.
As the therapist picks up the tool though you realise what you are watching is the image broadcast from the tiny camera she is holding.
The picture shows your ear getting closer and closer as she approaches, and then in seconds the tool is down the hole and inside.
Now I am sure I do not have to tell you that it is not a pretty sight in there.
Your ear canal is about 3cm long. The woman treating me was determined to remove as much as she could from inside. As my masked therapist scraped away the detritus I got to watch the whole experience in all its wide-screen horror.
(article conitnues at link http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programme...nt/4907154.stm