Ear hygiene is serious business in Japan. From cute designer cleaning tools to high-tech endoscopic pickers, an entire industry has sprung up around sterilizing the ear canal. Weird as it might sound to foreigners, the ear-cleaning mania also has its roots in culture. Having someone else clean your ears is taken as a sign of intimacy, showing that you’d trust another person enough to allow them to stick foreign objects into your head.
It’s not surprising then, that businesses have also sought to cater to customers whose ear-sanitation needs are rooted more in social contact than pure hygiene, with ear-cleaning salons and parlors offering customers the chance to lay their head on a pretty yukata-wearing lady’s lap while she pick their ears and makes light conversation. That said, there’s such a thing as meeting a customer’s needs too well. Saitama city cops raided and shut down several “one-shot cleaning” parlors that were offering services extending far beyond simple earwax removal. One of the managers arrested ran similar outfits in different wards of the city.
Remember kids: crime does not pay. It is a dirty, dirty service, just as sticking something into your ears to “clean them out” is. Also, Japan is still totally weird.