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In Japan, you have to poop in bookstores

If you take the right (or wrong, depending on your students’ debt burden) college classes, you will eventually end up on the concept of “culture-bound syndromes.“They are a fascinating group of mental and sometimes physical disorders that appear to be caused by the beliefs and practices of certain cultures.

Some of the most interesting examples are “Koro” and other related conditions where people in certain cultures are persuaded that their Tails withdraw into their bodiesand anorexia nervosa, which may seem universal to us is not really a thing in cultures that are not exposed to western values. And apparently between 10 and 25% of Japanese feel that immediate urge to shit when entering a bookstore.

In Japan, bookstores make you have to poop |  Hands hold a book

Jessica Da Rosa / Unsplash
“Yes … you have to buy this.”

While people in the western world may also get a stab in the assholes when they walk into a bookstore and not talk about it for obvious reasons, the Mariko Aoki phenomenon, as it is officially known, appears to be pretty exclusive to Japan. Although the written reference to the phenomenon dates back to the 1950s, it was named after the brave woman who was one of the first to publicly ask, “Does anyone else get a rumble when they stand near an artfully arranged bookcase is or is located? ” is it just me? “in an ’80s magazine. It became a media sensation after dozens of their fellow citizens were relieved that someone finally understood them and their colons.

The phenomenon has been studied in incredible depth since then, and people have done it developed a number of theories about why it happens. Authorities of varying credibility have suggested that the ink and paper used in books (which might be different in Japan, but no one in the Japanese publishing industry has returned our increasingly desperate phone calls) in large doses could have a laxative effect on the toilet reading practice , created a kind of “Pavlov’s ass” situation, or the crouching and crouching that involves searching books sends a false positive to the old guards at the gates. Little of this, however, explains why it is not found in other parts of the world. So it seems possible that only this handful of people ate plums before a trip to the library and then convinced themselves – and everyone else – that it was a thing. Like when someone yawns and then you have to yawn too, but in your butt.

Upper picture: Unsplash / Fallon Michael

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