August 16, 2004

From Poo Pockets to Photoshop: Looking into Japanese Diapers

I've got a few Japan-related posts in me:

We started out admiring Japanese Pampers for their thinness and their convenient "Change me!" indicator strip, which would change from yellow [heh] to blue as the diaper filled up. But we came to pity the kids who have to wear these things.

With maybe one exception, Japanese diaper technology lags behind the US by at least a decade. Pampers, at least, are thin because they don't have any wicking or absorbing elements, just padding. Wetness stays against your kid's skin, and they get soggy. The result: your cranky, uncomfortable kid quickly becomes all the "Change me!" indicator you need.

So where is Japan directing its diaper R&D investment, you ask? Poo channeling. A leading domestic brand, Moony Man, touts the innovative "poo pocket" in their newborn diapers.

The packaging makes an offer I just can't imagine in the US: "Runny poop doesn't slosh around!" I remain skeptical. For this to work, you'd need to completely immobilize your newborn with overly elaborate technology. Oh, waitaminnit...

Meanwhile, critics of cultural stereotypes are facing an uphill battle, at least on the diaper packaging front. For once, the people who say "they all look the same," are right.

For these supposedly gender-specific training pants, the manufacturer just Photoshopped the boy into a girl. Check out the folds in the shirt, the shape of his ear, etc. [I'm sure that won't cause him any psychological trauma in middle school.] It makes me wonder just how gender-specific the diapers actually are.

The moral of this diaper tale? For an extended stay, I can't say it would've been worth it to schlep an entire bale of American diapers with us. But it's a close, close call. For less than a week, I'd be really tempted. A service that stocks your foreign hotel with the brands you know and love would be welcome, though. [And no, LA is not a foreign country.]

2 Comments

Very hilarious, made me think of my travels through China (after Japan) and the opposite end of the techno diaper spectrum. Common toddler fashion is crotchless pants. Often parent hold child over side of road and make 'shhsh' water sound to encourage thier child to go. I was often tempted make that sound into the ear of teenage bus riders to see if it still worked.

Here's photo of crotchless pants.
http://www.2020studios.com/chinapg3.html

I like their cute mascot Panpa
http://japansugoi.com/wordpress/japanese-pampers-diaper-mascot-panpa/

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