Let's talk about Japan's Sanitary towel problem..

03:16:00






Now Japan is getting warmer, I have been spending a lot of time on the beach. 
The other day, as I was gazing into the Seto Inland Sea, one of Japan's first national parks, something caught my eye.
A bulbous, white membrane bulged in the water, pulsating with the tide. Using a stick, I fished it from the sea.
It wasn't a fish, or some other organism. It was a used babies nappy, doubled in size from sea water absorption. 
Nappies and sanitary towels are a daily fact of life for many people. Sanitary towels are so widely used, 
that you often don't think twice about their environmental impact, on the first day of your period. 
However, sanitary towels take around 300 years to decompose. 
If you use 4 sanitary towels a day, for 5 days of your period, in one year you have used 240 towels. 
Multiply that by the number of women in the world, and by the number of years they will have periods, 
and that is a lot of sanitary towels slowly decomposing somewhere. 
Of course, we usually don't see this pile of soiled tampons very often, 
as they rarely spill into Japanese natural parks, but that pile exists somewhere. And we can easily change it. 
Sanitary pants are readily available in most Lawson convenience stores. 
Made by Peach John underwear, these pants are super absorbent. They work just like a sanitary towel, 
but they're reusable. It's just like putting on your normal underwear, 
and you can forget you're on your period.





 I have been using these for about a year now, and I have had absolutely no leaks!
 The aftercare is easy too... just wash them with boiling water, and they're good as new. 
The best thing about these pants is that they're actually quite stylish compared to other Japanese underwear.
  You can find them in most Lawson shops (called サニタリー in Japanese) or online too. Plus, if you friend them on LINE, they always send discount codes.
If you're a bit worried about relying just on pants, 
or want something that supports a more active lifestyle, like swimming, hiking, or playing oni goko
I recommend using a menstrual cup. 
Menstrual cups have been a hot topic in western press over the last year,
 but in Japan, there is not so much hype. 
However, you can still buy menstrual cups in Japan, very easily, from Amazon, using their English search.  
As someone who travels a lot, menstrual cups are super convenient, 
as you can just slip one small cup into your bag. 
Hiking to a remote temple, and you get your period? No problem. 
Plus, it's a one off purchase, so it's better for your wallet too. 

Also, making the switch to eco-friendly sanitary wear is way more comfortable than walking around with a Japanese sanitary pad. Forget your always super thin feels like silk western luxury... it's like having a soggy carpet in your panties, amiright???

I don't want to see any more pads and nappies when I'm exploring this beautiful country, 
and it's so easy to switch to a more ethical, comfortable and affordable period. 
The Seto Inland Sea


Will you try it? What do you think of Japanese sanitary wear?  Do you have any tips for an ethical lifestyle in Japan? 
Let me know in the comments below. 

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4 comments

  1. I'm sorry, but this is just not something I would try. Maybe I'm just too westernized...but the idea of washing it is super gross, and with boiling water is super inconvenient.

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    1. Sorry I didnt see this comment... yeah you just get used to it i guess hehe :)

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  2. These sound like they would be good as a back-up, but I guess you'd need to change them several times a day! I use these, they fold up small and are easy to carry around :-) http://nunona.jp

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    1. They look great too :) thanks for sharing

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