Saturday, March 31, 2018

Changes in Japan in the Last Fifteen Years, by Noah Smith

Changes in Japan in the Last Fifteen Years. Noah Smith. Mar 2018,

1/I have been coming to Japan since 2002.

Since that time, the country has changed enormously. Year-to-year the changes are small, but looking back, they really add up.

Here are some of the things that have changed.

2/One of the biggest changes is diversity. Especially in Tokyo.

Thanks to the tourism boom, the place is jam-packed with non-Japanese people. But that's not nearly all of it.

3/There are non-Japanese people working everywhere in Tokyo. Latin American chefs in yakitori restaurants. Swedish clerks in clothing stores. Indian staff in electronics stores. Chinese exchange students behind cash registers. Chinese salary workers in company offices.

4/Foreign languages are commonplace.

In 2002 people were impressed that I could speak a few sentences of Japanese. Now, people are just relieved.

5/The second big thing that has changed is gender roles.

In 2002, housewives were still the norm. Now they're increasingly uncommon.

6/In 2002, "office ladies" would flood lunch restaurants while male salarymen stayed at their desks.

Now, the OLs are mostly gone.

7/Furthermore, there is now open discussion of sexism in Japanese society, whereas 15 years ago there was very little.

8/A third big change is where people live.

15 years ago, there were tons of "parasite singles" living with (and living off of) their parents into their 30s.

Now, there are few. A lot of young people have moved out, and a substantial fraction have gotten roommates.

9/In addition to these three big changes, there have been many minor changes.

With the fall in youth idleness, there are fewer bands, fashion kids,  and other young people engaged in such lifestyles.

10/Styles in Tokyo are plainer and more conservative. A few people still dress wild, but "miniskirt and knee boots" has been replaced with "jeans and sneakers" among normal folks.

Osaka is still more flamboyant.

11/Both Tokyo and Osaka are denser and more built-up. Construction continues apace.

12/Startups and entrepreneurship are more common.

There is a tech entrepreneur class here that didn't exist 15 years ago.

13/America's mystique has mostly worn off. Now it's Japan that has the mystique, with boatloads of American tourist kids racing down the street yelling "OMG I'm in Japan!"

14/Half-Japanese kids are starting to become more visible among groups of schoolkids. Mostly half-white but also some half-black. And I'm sure lots of half-Chinese or half-Korean or half-Vietnamese kids I didn't even notice.

15/In general, Japan has changed in ways I'd expect from globalization and economic liberalization.

The one thing that hasn't changed: the prices.

I can still get a Lipton milk tea in any convenience store for 105 yen!


Women made more negative attributions about, & experienced diminished desire to affiliate with, female targets wearing (vs. not wearing) cosmetics. This penalty was specific to female observers, mediated by decreases in perceived trustworthiness, & driven by less desirable women

DelPriore, D. J., Bradshaw, H. K., & Hill, S. E. (2018). Appearance Enhancement Produces a Strategic Beautification Penalty Among Women. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences,

Abstract: Previous research demonstrates that women’s beauty is rewarded across a myriad of social contexts, especially by men. Accordingly, from a functional perspective, another woman’s attractiveness can signal competitive disadvantage—and evoke negative responses—among female observers. Further, because the benefits of beauty are rewarded based on superficial qualities rather than on merit or performance, women may perceive same-sex others who use appearance enhancement to gain advantages as being dishonest or manipulative. We examined these possibilities across four experiments testing whether college-aged women impose a strategic beautification penalty (SBP) on female targets that have enhanced their appearances with cosmetics. We found that women made more negative attributions about, and experienced diminished desire to affiliate with, female targets wearing (vs. not wearing) cosmetics. The SBP was: specific to female observers (Experiment 2); mediated by decreases in perceived trustworthiness (Experiment 3); and driven by less desirable women (Experiment 4). Importantly, the negative effects of beautification effort extended beyond the increased physical attractiveness that resulted from this effort. The results suggest that engaging in appearance enhancement can produce unintended negative consequences for relationships between women.

Check also: The Causes and Consequences of Women’s Competitive Beautification. Danielle J. DelPriore, Marjorie L. Prokosch, and Sarah E. Hill. The Oxford Handbook of Women and Competition, edited by Maryanne L. Fisher.

Local mating markets in humans and non-human animals. Ronald Noë. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, October 2017, 71:148.

The Reversed Gender Gap in Education and Assortative Mating in Europe. De Hauw, Yolien, Grow, Andre, and Van Bavel, Jan. European Journal of Population,

Marzoli, D., Havlícek, J. and Roberts, S. C. (2017), Human mating strategies: from past causes to present consequences. WIREs Cognitive Science, e1456. doi:10.1002/wcs.1456.

Beauty, Effort, and Misrepresentation: How Beauty Work Affects Judgments of Moral Character and Consumer Preferences. Adriana Samper Linyun W Yang Michelle E Daniels. Journal of Consumer Research, ucx116,

Behavioral display of lumbar curvature in response to the opposite sex. Zeynep Şenveli Bilkent University, Graduate Program in Neuroscience - Master's degree thesis.

Macaques show human-like curiosity: Willingness to pay (or to lose) to obtain information that provides no instrumental or strategic benefit, with the amount to pay scaling with the amount of information

Monkeys are Curious about Counterfactual Outcomes. Maya Zhe Wang, Benjamin Hayden. bioRxiv,

Abstract: While many non-human animals show basic exploratory behaviors, it remains unclear whether any animals possess human-like curiosity. We propose that human-like curiosity satisfies three formal criteria: (1) willingness to pay (or to sacrifice reward) to obtain information, (2) that the information provides no instrumental or strategic benefit (and the subject understands this), and (3) the amount the subject is willing to pay scales with the amount of information available. Although previous work, including our own, demonstrates that some animals will sacrifice juice rewards for information, that information normally predicts upcoming rewards and their ostensible curiosity may therefore be a byproduct of reinforcement processes. Here we get around this potential confound by showing that macaques sacrifice juice to obtain information about counterfactual outcomes (outcomes that could have occurred had the subject chosen differently). Moreover, willingness-to-pay scales with the information (Shannon entropy) offered by the counterfactual option. These results demonstrate human-like curiosity in non-human animals according to our strict criteria, which circumvent several confounds associated with less stringent criteria.