I know, I know (わかってるって, wakatterutte). It's spring, which follows that this is the ren'ai no kisetsu (恋愛の季節, season of love) all over the archipelago.

It's actually one of the few times in the year when it's OK to think about love, sex and all the garnishings. We've been given the green light, not just from the hanami (花見, cherry blossom-viewing party) festivities but the way the nakazuri kōkoku (中刷り広告, subway and train advertisements) are beseeching the women of Japan to lose all body hair, immediately.

Some of these ads are breathtakingly straightforward: the single word waki (ワキ, armpits) or ninoude (二の腕, upper arms) printed smack in the middle of the ad. Others are even more audacious, exhorting women to clear their bui zōn (Vゾーン, V-zones) before bikini season comes around, or else. So much for the Japanese feminine mystique.