The Japanese are experts at developing new products and services that foreign countries may find strange, embarrassing or shameful. Take the growing number of “Hiza-makura Mimi-Kaki” services, or “Lap-pillow Ear Cleaning.” Basically, customers go to these cafes or salons to rest their heads on the ear cleaner’s lap (who are almost always female) while getting the inside of their ears cleaned.
In Japan, it is common practice for children and even adults to get their ears cleaned by mothers, grandmothers or wives using a thin bamboo ear-cleaning tool as they rest their heads on the woman’s lap. It’s also worth mentioning that the value of resting the head on a woman’s lap alone is also notable in Japanese culture, as embodied by this product.
Going to the Lap-pillow Ear Cleaning place can evoke a strong sense of comfort, safety and nostalgia but recently has become somewhat sexualized (of course) with many of the establishments residing in Akihabara, Kabukicho, and Ikebukuro where there are plenty of lonely men looking for cute girls to service them. At least it’s pretty PG, right? No. Actually, probably PG-13.