Man, what is wrong with Millennials?

Eating laundry detergent. Snorting condoms. Putting avocados in milk—or something. I’m not entirely sure. I stopped reading that article about 15 seconds in.

Chalk it up to a short attention span. For I, myself, am a Millennial, too.

However, I couldn’t take my eyes off of this: a YouTuber receiving a nightingale poo facial. Check it out:

Right now, you may be thinking, “I’m too good for a poop facial.” Well, I implore you to keep an open mind, your highness. It's an ancient Japanese tradition, after all.

Let’s take a look at why YouTubers—and by now I assume all Millennials—are just so keen to experience this Japanese spa eau de toilette.

“Joyance! ‘Tis the Merry Nightingale”

I don’t know much about women. Anyone who knew me in high school or college will easily attest to this. I was like a living, breathing incarnation of the movie Weird Science. But with acne.

Nevertheless, I do know that, boy oh boy, you ladies will slather almost anything on your faces: snail slime, Korean boy foreskin purees, placenta juice. You name it, as long as it’s for the sake of health and beauty. In the scheme of things, I suppose it’s not surprising that bird poop made the list.

And as much as it pains me to admit, there may actually be a good explanation. Back in the day, Japanese geishas needed an effective way to remove their heavy makeup. Containing zinc and other heavy metals, their cosmetics were dangerous if left on the skin. Taking a cue from kimono makers, who used guano to remove dyes and stains from cloth, they began mixing nightingale feces with rice bran, and the "Geisha facial" was born.

Uguisu no fun うぐいすの糞, nightingale feces, contains a bunch of goodies for your skin. A high concentration of urea, guanine, and proteolytic enzymes, for starters. Many users claim the treatment makes skin clearer, softer, and brighter while clearing acne.

The modern-day version is also thoroughly sanitized. The precursor material is laid under UV light for weeks at a time. This kills any unwanted microorganisms crawling around and ensures safe poo.

Rest assured, the birds used to make uguisu no fun products are free-range. They are fed a special diet of seeds and berries, so their healthy, happy, cage-free poop is entirely guilt-free. Because who would want to feel guilty about rubbing excrement on their face?

More Bizarre Spa Culture: Adult Swaddling

While researching this article, to my delight, I discovered that there is much more to Japanese spa and relaxation culture than I’d ever imagined. For example, if you happen to have recently regressed to your infancy, therapists in Japan have you covered.

Otonamaki おとなまき, "adult swaddling," is a relaxation technique popular in recent years. During a 20-minute session, customers are wrapped in a full-body cotton cloth. Looking something like a cocoon, they are rocked from side to side.

The idea is based upon ohinamki おひなまき, baby swaddling. It is meant to provide relaxation while improving posture and releasing muscle tension. It's also an unearthly sight. A room full of adult swaddlers feels like a scene from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Unsettling, to say the least. You can see for yourself below:

While it's creepy, otonamaki apparently feels pretty good. Customers report feeling warm and comfortable. They clearly finish the session relaxed. While chiropractors don't endorse the practice, citing a lack of evidence, it seems like harmless fun. Just make sure you trust the person tying you up.

Mimikaki: Ear salons

Did you know Western and Asian people have different color earwax?

There are all types of things you can learn on the website of Yamamoto Mimikakiten, one of many ear salons in Tokyo and throughout the country. At these places of business, patrons can receive detailed and thorough ear cleanings.

High-end salons have professional clinicians and equipment. They will display the inside of your ear on a video screen, trim your ear hairs, and even apply a special kind of ear lotion. They also have elaborate mimikaki 耳かき, a type of ear swab with a small shovel to scrape away debris.

Despite having a truncheon of a Q-tip work its way through your ear canal, the experience looks relaxing. Some aestheticians throw in a massage with fragrant oils, making the service seem akin to a facial. If you're feeling a little "backed-up," it might be worth a try.

If you’re feeling lonely, on the other hand, some seedier shops have an air of romance. Japanese couple’s sometimes clean each other's ears as an act of intimacy (in the same sense as, say, a back rub is intimate). The back-alley shops attempt to recreate that connection.

And if you’re kinky, at least one ear salon offers a face-slapping service. I’ll let you Google that on your own.

Cuddle Cafes

In Japan, platonic companionship is for sale. So if ear picking and face-slapping aren’t for you, a gentler option would be cuddling.

The business model of a cuddle cafe is simple enough. Pay about 3000 yen, and you can lie next to a young lady. No funny business allowed.

For stressed-out businesspeople, a brief lie and a quick hug could be precisely the way to unwind. It's noteworthy, however, that cuddle cafes have managed to monetize the minutiae of an intimate relationship.

Indeed, cafes have detailed menus. Want to lay your head down on your cuddler’s lap. 1,000 yen. Fancy some gentle hair stroking. Just 1,500 yen, please. Other eyebrow-raising services include tickling, whispering sweet nothings, using your cuddler’s bottom as a pillow, and so on.

Although they sound strange, cuddle cafes likely provide a valuable service for the increasing number of perennially single adults in Japan. And with no shoulder to cry on, can anyone blame them for needing a hug?

By - Luke Mahoney.

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