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Ear cleaning as lover's ritual? 2007/8/14 22:51
My Japanese boyfriend recently told me that in Japan it's a custom between boyfriend & girlfriend or husband & wife to clean each others' ears out. He said they do it to show their affection for each other and he would like us to do it some time. Is this true? Being an American, I am mortified at the thought of someone digging out disgusting ear wax from my ear, and I have no idea how to use ear spoons to clean out another person's ear so I would be afraid of hurting him. It's hard for me to believe that this could possibly be something lovers do!
by JLo  

Ear cleaning 2007/8/15 00:16

Is this true?

Yes, it is very common, but that doesn't mean you should feel obligated to do it if you don't like the idea. I think most doctors actually recommend not trying to clean your ears yourself, as it tends to push earwax further into the ear. I remember being told by a doctor never to stick anything smaller than an elbow into your ear.
Having said that... it is extremely pleasant. Why not ask your boyfriend to demonstrate on you first if he wants you to clean his ears in return?
by Dave in Saitama rate this post as useful

. 2007/8/15 00:27
While it might be true to some people, it has never be done in my family. I, too, would be very uncomfortable.

It is more important to find your own comfortable way than trying to make other fit in your standard. If you don't feel comfortable with it, he should respect how you feel. Perhaps you can suggest some other way of showing affections that you both would like.
by Miki-chan (a J-girl) rate this post as useful

A big no no 2007/8/15 01:22
No one sticks anything in my ear unless its in the name of science or to remove a crayon in the brain I inadvertently jammed up my nose when I was 5! I recently started dating my first J-gf and she tried to do that to, I mean, ''for'' me. I had to politely decline. We still have our culture shock moments:) For what its worth, I think this fetish (?) is dying out. It used to be a staple scene in manga and dramas, gfs and wives doing it for bfs and husbands, but I rarely see this anymore.
by Some J guy rate this post as useful

. 2007/8/15 03:05
I'm American, i'm not morbit about it myself, actually I guess it is because of my Asian ethnicity (it is something you will find that is done in other Asian cultures other then Japanese) , and it is actually comforting, unless you got a really dry one thats stuck in there lol. As Dave said your not obliged to do it if you don't want to, I can understand thinking about yes it does seem strange.
by John rate this post as useful

. 2007/8/15 03:21
To add not just a lover's ritual, but something mothers (parents) do to their children as well.


Ear picks are a commonly used item and preferred for ear wax removal in East Asia. The person having their ears cleaned would lie down with their head in the lap of the person doing the cleaning. It is generally considered a pleasant feeling, like having one's back scratched. The cleaning of ears is thus considered an act of intimacy, often performed by a mother to a child or, among adults, by one's lover. It may also be performed alone or by professional (non-medical) ear cleaners on the streets of cities in countries such as China, India, Japan, Vietnam, and other Asian countries.
by John rate this post as useful

ears 2007/8/15 07:55
My Japanese husband does his own ears. He has never either asked me to do it for him or offered to do it for me. I'd say it's a thing some people do and some people don't.
by Sira rate this post as useful

Custom 2007/8/15 10:21
Its a very interesting ritual actually. Your body has the ability to push the wax out when it becomes useless and dried up (its in your ears for a very good reason) so cleaning them isnt really important.
Some peoples bodys produce more than enough wax and can become unsightly though.
Just recently here there has been special clinics opened up specificly for cleaning ears.
The guy goes in and a nice young attractive lady places your head onto her lap and cleans your ears for you... sounds very silly but its dead serious :)
by Kevin rate this post as useful

.. 2007/8/15 10:25
For those interested in the place that does the ear cleaning.
Ats in Akihabara
by Kevin rate this post as useful

earwax 2007/8/15 12:46
There is another factor to be taken into account.

Asian earwax tends to be flakey, while causcasian ear wax tends to be more sticky or "gooey", or even quite runny.
So it's possible that sticky ear wax is more disgusting looking than flakey ear wax when it comes to cleaning someone else's ears.

Also, sticky ear wax is easier to clean out by yourself than flakey ear wax, which may explain why earwax cleaning of someone else's ears is more common in Japan.
by Sandy rate this post as useful

... 2007/8/15 12:53
I agree with John's post quoting "Culture." My mother used to clean my ears regularly when I was small, or even a bit later when I felt my ears were itchy :) After that I got into the habit of cleaning my ears with cotton buds, I don't ask my husband to clean my ears for me. By now it might be one of those cliche "things that newly weds do" type of things, as it involves contact, pleasant but somewhat ticklish sensations, etc. I've heard about the "dry" and "wet" earwax, too, it also might explain things a bit.
by AK (Japanese woman) rate this post as useful

I'll 'lend an ear'... 2007/8/15 17:50
Not the usual topic but...
When i was married my ex would clean my ears regularly [she is Filipino]. until this post i did not consider it to be a widespread practice in Asia.
Still, it seems a nice ritual for bringing one's relationship warmer and closer.
-Just don't flinch!
by Mart rate this post as useful

... 2007/8/15 17:57
Sandy's post really got my attention because I always wondered why I couldn't easily find earpicks abroad. Having flakey ear wax, cotton buds are not effective for me. When I have no option but to use buds, I need to add a droplet of baby oil to the bud so as to collect ear wax.

And yes, I still clean my husband' ears from time to time but I don't let him do it for me. That's the downside of having a clumsy husband...
by J Lady rate this post as useful

hiza-makura...is the point 2007/8/16 00:19
Hey, how come no one has mentioned the hiza-makura? Cause that's the whole point of getting your ears done.

A lot of Japanese people have the childhood memory of getting your ears cleaned on your mother's LAP. Your mother sits in "seiza" style, you lay your head on her lap (hiza) as if it were a pillow (makura), and you get your ears done one by one WITH a bamboo ear picker in which one end is shaped like a tiny spoon and the other furry. Now, this feels good!

So men dream that one day when he grows up, he will get his ears done the same way but by his sweatheart instead of his mom. Actually, this cleaning is generally done by the female, since it's not common for men to sit in seiza style, therefore the knees wouldn't be as comfortable.

So bottom line, all he wants is to rest on your lap and feel good, and perhaps doze off. Just let him rest his head and tickle his ears with a very soft Q-tip for a few minutes. You don't really have to dig into that dirty junk.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Very interesting! 2007/8/29 03:30
Thanks to everyone for their input. It was really interesting to read all the different points of view on this practice. People on this forum are really great!
by JLo rate this post as useful

Ear Cleaning a Bad Idea? 2007/9/19 08:33
I'm telling this story as a lesson to others. Kind of morbid, but here it is:

I used to clean my ears very carefully. In fact, being a lifelong "Japan-enthusiast", I used the japanese "ear-spoon" for doing so.

One evening, I was watching a movie at a friend's house. I had a few beers, & seeped into the couch. Suddenly I jumped up; "Oh, my God, there's a gnat in my ear!"

There was. I could hear him buzzing around my eardrum clear as KISS in your closet. Exceedingly perturbed, I paced the room like a caged animal, deplorably hasty ideas of how to evict my tiny tormentor crowding my already crowded head.

Lucky for me, my hostess was a veterinary technician. She led me to the bathroom, held my head over the sink, & poured a small amount of saline solution into my ear.

"Oh, my God, I heard it drown!" ('BZHllbzhbllbbll'!)

So, she tilted my head & flushed it our a few times. Horrible experience, but thank the stars she knew what to do!

I found out that earwax is a natural bug repellant. Nowadays I just swab around the outer ear with a Q-tip. Leave me a bit of earwax, Baby, won't you please? ;)
by Jakku rate this post as useful

Interesting 2007/9/19 09:08
Hmmm, I find this topic very interesting.
When I clean my ears, I find it extremely pleasurable, so naturally the thought of having ones lover giving you this kind of pleasure is ideal, right?
So we've established that it is more common for the girls to do the cleaning.....but what is the mens view of cleaning the girls ears? (as a girl, I am very inretested in this)
by N.D. rate this post as useful

Ewwww 2007/9/19 09:10
Jakko, thank you very much for dredging up my worst nightmare! I was listening to a radio contest once where people called in to describe the most disgusting thing that ever happened to them, and one girl described waking up from a sound sleep to discover a bug crawling around in her ear. Ever since then there has been a lingering fear in my mind about that happening to me... Well, at least I know now how to handle it if it ever happens!
by JLo rate this post as useful

haha 2007/9/19 09:12
Jakku, on a simmaler note, my sisters ex once found a dead spider in his ear.
by ... rate this post as useful

Common to clean eachother ears? 2007/12/19 09:23
Well, here in Finland I think we finns do not like when people picks their nose or ears but I have experienced that it is very common that couples in relationship do clean eachother ears, and it is deffinately a way to show your affection.

Anyhow I like it ... love it. :)

by Salmanteri rate this post as useful

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