耳掻き (mimikaki)

Posted on March 25, 2009 | Posted by clarice

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Recently, I asked one of our teachers, Yuuji-sensei, about mimikaki, or ear cleaning, in which someone cleans your ears for you, whether it`s a family member or someone in a clinic. I think this is mostly a Japanese thing, so I hope you will find this interview interesting! For fun I`ve included the original Japanese version as well.

① What is mimikaki? Can you tell me the history of mimikaki?
A: Mimikaki is, as the name suggests, is scratching the inside of the ear (`mimi` is ear and `kaki` is scratch). In English, `kaku` means to scratch, but I think it`s more appropriate to say `ear pick`. In other words, it`s the cleaning of the ear. Have you ever done it before? It feels really nice!
As for the history of mimikaki, it`s a rather difficult question. In the Edo period, there were `mimiakatori` (literally `removing dirt from ears`) jobs and shops. Mimiakatori also appear in stories as well. In the stories, there were three ranks of mimikaki- matsu (pine), take (bamboo), and ume (plum). Matsu had the ear picks made of gold, Take had ear picks made of things such as ivory and silver, and Ume were just the head of nails. I`m not sure if there is any mimikaki history in Europe.

② Females, males, young people, older people... among which demographic is mimikaki popular?
A: People have mimikaki done regardless of their age. But who does it for them is different depending on their age. Children have it done by their mothers, men have it done by their girlfriends, seniors have it done by their caretaking stafff... Honestly, whether it`s popular or not is a difficult question to answer. It`s a question of whether you like it or not. There are some who like it and some who don`t. It`s the same as asking `among which age group is anpanman popular?`

③ What`s the procedure when going to a mimikaki clinic?
A: There is no special procedure. The shop will explain when you go. But they are not really big shops so it might be better to reserve in advance. If the shop has a point card, you can use the points on various services the shop may offer.

(More after the jump.)
④ How often do you go in a month?
A: I don`t go that often! I`ve only gone three times. Maybe in two months I go once or twice. It`s expensive. 20 minutes is 2100 yen, 30 minutes is around 3150 yen.

⑤ How does mimikaki feel? Why do you go?
A: Mimikaki feels really good. But it`s probably best you go and experience it yourself. Of course, there are people who are good at doing it and people who are bad at doing it. If you go to a clinic they will be pros so it will be great. In the clinic they have equipment such as earscopes so you can feel comfortable with the service they are giving. There are many types of clinics as well; there are ones with special equipment and ones where you can lie down on a female`s lap while she cleans your ear. But those types of places have a sort of ecchi feeling, don`t they?


① 耳掻きはなんですか。耳掻きの歴史を説明してくださいませんか。

  でも英語では"ear pick"と言うと思います。つまり耳の掃除ですね。したことがありますか。

② 女性、男性、若い人、年上の人…どんな人の間に耳掻きは人気ですか。


③ 耳掻き店に行くと手続きは何ですか。


④ ゆうじ先生は月に何回行きますか。


⑤ 耳掻きはどんな感じですか。ゆうじ先生はどうして行くんですか。

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