It can’t go into your ear canal?
– It can’t. Safe! Safe! Unique. My unique ear stick. You just got something out there. What?! Hello everyone it’s Cathy Cat from the YouTube channel Ask Japanese. Let’s have a good day together. Today I will do the Japan in Motion collab solo from a foreigner’s viewpoint So everyone this time we are in Sugamo. Everyone, are you cleaning your ears regularly? Abroad there isn’t really a strong ear cleaning culture as in Japan. So when I heard things from my Japanese friends, I was quite surprised. Since I am from Germany, I want to try and experience I want to go and try the Japanese culture of ear cleaning today. Let’s go. Sugamo is a part of Tokyo that’s popular with the elderly. I heard that there is a place that makes customized sticks that Japanese use to clean their ears… He is already making something by hand there. It says Earstick Factory. Hello there.
– Hello. You are already making something there. There are quite a lot of sizes here too. When I looked at it I thought they are made out of wood? But this is not wood it’s bamboo?
– Yes all of them. Bamboo is more elastic. What really puzzles me is… why are you making handmade ear sticks? There are things that machines can’t measure, like how it fits a unique ear. Whether people like it softer or not. That adjustment is something machines can’t do. So if people get a handmade stick, it will be fitting their ear perfectly? – Yes. And you can do that?
– I am doing that. Would that also work with my ears?
– Of course. Well then… please examine my ears… I don’t know why but this is kind of making me flustered. And the other side.
– What both ears? I need to see if both sides are matching. Oh that’s enough. I will start making your customized ear stick. Give me about 10-15 minutes for this. So please wait a bit. Well, abroad I leaned never to put anything hard into my ears… People say that a lot. That’s why I change the ear sticks for people that have no experience with them. I make the sides bigger, so the stick can’t enter the ear canal. It can’t go into my ear canal?
– It won’t. SAFE! SAFE! Glad to hear that, I was worried about that. People from outside Japan seem to all worry about that. I think I might have seen these ear sticks in Japanese dorama and anime. One person lays their head on the other person’s lap and gets their ears cleaned. I looked at that and was like “Why don’t that do it themselves?” It’s a type of communication in itself. It’s a communication tool. Japanese people, and even in the old days, would come together and clean their children’s ears like that. Since when did you start making ear cleaning sticks? Since when I was about 19-20 years old. I am making ear cleaning sticks for over 15 years now. What?
– Yes about that long. Why did you pick up an ear cleaning stick profession? At first I just helped someone else making them. I was helping my predecessor out. He asked me to help, and that’s how I started looking after the street shop. That’s what got me into it. Is there a trick to making them? You need to check attention to how thin you make the material, I also check the tip is bend accordingly. Depending on how my customers use it, I need to change that. Those are the things I change. How are your new ear sticks? Wow something just came out there. How is it? Seems to be pretty good. So a cotton bud won’t do the job?
– Exactly. Some people might use a cotton bud, but they won’t work properly on me. One thing I was wondering… You looked at my eyes first, right? Yes I always do that. What are my ears like? I won’t check the shape but the size of your hearing canal. So I think about what sticks would enter the hearing area well. I am looking to make the perfect fit. Yours are quite thin. He said thin… I will make it thicker on the handle so it won’t hurt your ears. Give me a little bit more time. The excitement. In this world… there will be a totally unique earstick. That’s right. My unique ear stick. Earlier you had an item that looked like a saw… You know what a saw is? The large thing with teeth. Do you mean this one?
– No that one. That’s a normal saw used for bamboo. But I also use tools like these… Can I take it? Wow it’s huge. This one here has smaller teeth.
– Yes it does. When there are still some parts that I want to cut off etc. That’s what you use this one for. And next you used a thinner knife? Yes I did that. Yes it’s a pointed knife. Everyone, please have a look at this wooden cutting board. You can literally see that it has been used for a long time. Well not that long actually. I have only been using it for about one year. It’s quite damaged.
– Yes things get chopped off. Naturally it gets damaged in the process of making these. Can you give it a trial try please? My personalized bamboo earstick is done. Sorry, if you don’t explain me how to use it, I can’t use it. You hold it like you would hold a pen for example. Does the end that looks like a spoon face down?
– Yes down. You place the middle finger on top, and use it for leverage. Don’t go in too deep at the start. Start from the top and then slowly move further in. Okay I will try it. Oh gosh, this is kinds scary. Ok now for real, I will do it. It hits the spot. It’s actually quite good. You just got something out there. What?! Oh I did. Oh no! Depending on the ear, will you make changes? I can change it accordingly for you now, or another time if you like. For example, if you want it to scratch you in a better angle, you can bring it to me again. If there is anything you want to change, you can bring your stick again. And I will adjust it for you. Thank you very much. Be sure to bring it around again. What is that thing just now?
– It’s a stamp with my company name. Wow it says it on the stick now. Here you go, thank you. Thank you too. How wonderful. This is the only earstick in the whole world, that has been made specially for my ears. My handmade ear stick. Thank you so much.
– Thank you too. I will try and use it from now on. Have a fun ear-cleaning stick life. Ear stick life? I will try my best.
– Thank you. So here is my very own Japanese ear cleaning stick from the premises of a Japanese temple. Now that’s a special souvenir. Were you surprised about the difference between Japan and your country? Next time it’s going to get sensual. I was invited to a very unusual spa experience. So stay tuned for it in the next collaboration video with Japan in Motion.