Smelly Headphonesは?。。。

I’ve always had a slight fear of being “the smelly kid.”  I don’t think I’m a very vain person or anything, but I have always had this particular fear.  You know the type of person I’m talking about–they do exist, no matter how much we try to pretend that they don’t.

So, the result of this fear is a slight obsession.  I have to take a shower once a day (just like everybody else).  If I don’t get that one shower, I freak out a bit (though that’s pretty normal, too).  Similarly, I MUST wear deodorant.  If I don’t, the result is probably worse (mentally and physically) than my reaction to the no shower situation.  I end up having a nervous, paranoid, everybody-be-lookin-at-me-and-laughing-and-talking-behind-my-back-and-I-might-as-well-shoot-myself-now breakdown.  Still, this isn’t that bad.  Oh yeah, and we can’t forget the toothbrush; I used to have more of an obsession with this than I do now, but there are still fragments of it hanging around.  Though I brush them every morning, once in a while I’ll get a random urge to brush my teeth later on in the day.  If I’m traveling I like to carry my toothbrush (preferably in secret) with me wherever I go (sort of like a security blanket).  Whatev.

Anyways, the point is that my obsession isn’t INCREDIBLY bigger than most other people’s obsession with personal hygiene (the Japanese ofuro at night tradition, for example,  happens to be a nationwide obsession–not that big of a deal).  Still, with all this in mind, you can imagine my horror when I recently began to notice a certain smell following me wherever I go.  


I was seriously stressing people.  My first thought was my feet.  It had to be the feet.  I scrubbed those suckers like there was no tomorrow.  What other body part has such a notorious history of raunchy stench and foul odor?  Let’s not go there…

But that wasn’t it.  I was perplexed.  I was in a state of quandary (I just learned that word [in English] the other day when I was going through RTK–don’t you hate that?  makes me feel so baka…)  Then I thought it was the pits.  The armpits, to be precise.  

Nope.  Solved that problem months ago when I got deodorant/anti-perspirant with more Aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex Gly.  

Then it had to be the hair.  Maybe my hair had just gotten smelly for some reason.  You never know.  A change in diet or something could have caused anything.  So I washed my hair like crazy and got a haircut (actually I got all of them cut).

Could it have been my jacket?  Let’s be honest with ourselves.  Who has honestly washed their jacket more than twice?  Seriously people.  Anyone?  Anyone?

Close, but no cigar.  I just couldn’t figure it out.  Just as I was about to give up and go all emo on my stinky self, I realized something.  Since I started AJATT and created an “immersion environment” for myself in Japanese, I’ve been wearing my headphones wherever I go.  There are plenty of exceptions (believe me), but I still wear them A LOT.  I even wear them at night when I go to bed (these are the nice, cover-the-whole-ear, earmuff-like headphones that I mentioned in an earlier post).  They are starting to get smelly.

For a moment, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief; I’m so glad I’m not the smelly kid at school.  Then I was worried again.  How in the name of Densha Otoko do you clean headphones?    I am NOT gonna get water anywhere these $52.49 beasts.  Also, if I’m not smelly, how can they be smelly? (oh no, maybe I am smelly…)  Then I remembered something that my host family did while I was in Japan.  At night, they insisted on putting a small towel over the pillow that you sleep on when you’re on your futon.  I never found out why, but I’m guessing it has something to do with sweating at night (gross, I know).  Maybe the headphones are starting to smell from being with them like this 24/7?  I just don’t know.  

Anyway, just thought I’d share my thoughts on something that is in some weird way tangentially related to Japanese and this blog.

Okay, I feel really, really bad that I just spent this entire post talking about weird, personal hygiene things.  So, I thought I’d make this worthwhile with the picture below:


Sora, Kairi, Docomodake, and friends...

Sora, Kairi, Docomodake, and friends...


3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    2nihon said,

    Cool poster. With most headphones, you can replace the pads. Have you tried looking on the manufacturer’s web site, or calling them?

  2. 2

    igordesu said,

    Maybe I’ll do that. But I might just end up buying new ones since they ended breaking in one place :(. They’re still functional, but I have to tape them. Whatev.

  3. 3

    Emily said,


    I’m having the same problem! I was actually online searching around for ways to get the nasty smell out of my headphones, which are similar to what you described. They’re panasonic earmuff type headphones that I’ve had for about three years. I wear them pretty much every day and every night and they still work fine, but it’s just the smell that really bugs me. I feel grossed out every time I put them on, even though they still look clean and everything. Have you found a way to clean them yet? I don’t want to replace mine just because they smell weird. I’m sure there’s a way to do this without destroying them.

    If you find anything please let me know. thanks!

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