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Depending on your point of view, the snooze button can be your best friend or your worst enemy. We’ve all struggled with waking up on time, and the snooze button can often lull us into a false sense of security, making it okay to jump back into your warm, comfy bed and ignore the outside world for another ten minutes or so. One Japanese iPhone app seems to have solved this conundrum with a time-tested method: public shaming.

Japanese iPhone app OKITE might not seem that unique. At first glance OKITE (“wake up!” in Japanese) looks like just another phone alarm clock. Even old flip phones (RAZR, anyone?) had alarm clocks built in. What makes OKITE different is that every time you hit the snooze button, the app sends out embarrassing tweets to all your followers on Twitter.

OKITE punishes you with some choice tweets for continuing to hit that snooze button. It covers everything from embarrassing fashion choices (“I’m wearing a sailor suit right now”) to the shamefully boastful (“The world needs more smart people like me”). But maybe the most condemning tweet of all from OKITE is “I can’t ride a bicycle.”

Oh God how did this embarrassing picture get here I am not good with computer

But what I think is scariest thing about OKITE is that you don’t really know what it’s going to say. As far as I can tell, there’s no list of phrases it uses, so you’re really putting your life in your own hands when you sleep in. If that’s not incentive to wake up, I’m not sure what is.

From today on I’m going to head to work via unicycle

I want to buy a fast red Ferarri and a horse!

Huh? 30 centemeters isn’t normal?

I can’t ride a bicycle…

Just as I thought, I want to become a stewardess

penis penis vagina vagina

I want friends… / I want a friend…

The interesting cultural thing about this app is the whole public shaming thing. In America when you do something shameful it’s all about the person doing the shameful thing. “What’s wrong with you?” “Why would you do that?” etc. In Japan, it’s kind of the opposite. When someone does something shameful, it’s always “What will the neighbors think?” and “What will your classmates think?” Public shame is the most terrifying motivator of all in Japan, and this app plays right in to that.

But, will this open the way for more shame-based apps? To-do lists might post about your bed-wetting problem on Facebook if you forget to go grocery shopping, or an app might post embarrassing childhood pictures on Tumblr if you forget to call your parents.

You can find OKITE on the Apple app store here, and you can check out all the tweets with the hashtag #OKITE here.

P.S. Want to see embarrassing tweets from Tofugu & Team? You should follow us on Twitter.

P.P.S. Would you rather be able to Like the shame? Like us Facebook


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  • http://meroigo.wordpress.com/ Meroigo

    Too bad the tweets actually contain advertisement for the app… That makes it easy to understand that the tweets are not true, and thus not being shameful. Just funny.

  • Ms. N’Donna

    Yeah…this definitely reminds me of Silent Library – especially the one episode where for punishment, the guy gets a hot tea bag placed on his face, and cries out in pain.  Meanwhile, the patrons look at him like he’s out of his mind. 

    The Japanese never cease to interest me :)

  • Ms. N’Donna

    As for potential messages…maybe something like “I’m texting from a Love Hotel” or “I only like Pancake-flavoured drinks”, or even worse “I’m secretly a NEET” or something like that.  I’m just breaking into Japanese culture, so I don’t know what’s “embarrassing” quite yet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Leisslie-Agis/100002593747500 Leisslie Agis

    Wow, is it strange to say I love this and find it fascinating? haha I want this app xD

  • Hailey

    If I had an iPhone I would so get this app. But the tweets aren’t that embarrassing (well, not embarrassing from a western standpoint…)

  • Eri

    This is why I just press the off button on my alarm clock instead of the snooze. No way of getting into a habit that way :D I’m only 17 though, so my mother still gets me up in time for school (though I seem to have an uncanny ability to wake up with just enough time to get ready and still not be late for school >>)

    This are kinda funny though, especially the second last one ;D Some of them don’t sound like they’d be embarrassing though… maybe that’s just because I’m not from Japan (I know someone who can’t ride a bicycle, and while it’s rather shocking, I don’t see how it’s embarrassing…?)

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    you can download it if you have an iOS device!

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    I dunno… some of them are okay… but you never know what they might add… or you never know what might be there that I didn’t see on the twitter stream…

    That and ‘penis penis vagina vagina’ seems embarrassing enough for me to wake up. Just knowing that one is there would make sure I don’t hit the snooze button, haha.

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    I think in Japan it’s much more common to know how to ride a bike – maybe it’s reversed… in America it’s weird if you don’t know how to drive and in Japan not so much. But, it’s weird if you don’t know how to ride a bike in Japan, and not weird if you don’t know how to drive…

    You should teach your friend how to bike… it seems like teaching someone how to ride a bike would be entertaining for the person not riding the bike! :D

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    I think there was a NEET one, actually… trying to remember if I actually saw that with #okite or if it was something else… hrmmm.

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    Yeah :/ I wish it didn’t have the hashtag and link too… or, at least not the link. Would definitely make it way more embarrassing.

  • Anonymous

    “But, will this open the way for more shame-based apps? To-do lists might post about your bed-wetting problem on Facebook if you forget to go grocery shopping, or an app might post embarrassing childhood pictures on Tumblr if you forget to call your parents.” (from article)

    Only if you buy the apps in the first place :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001079326564 Michael Baltazar

    So, in Japan, you are somehow also bringing shame to your family name when you say something shameful?

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    shame to yourself and _maybe_ those in your inner circle… but I wouldn’t say name…

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    some people are masochistic, I guess

  • http://twitter.com/ultraali453 Ali Akbar

    that would motivate a lot of ppl

  • Super Learn Japanese

    Hey Guys,
    Just thought I’d let you know about my website superlearnjapanese.com. It’s only sort of just up and running for the time being, but I intend on posting loads of content on there regarding how I learnt to Speak Japanese, what I used, and the great resources on the internet :)
    superlearnjapanese.com
    Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Sounds amusing but maybe a bit annoying for the followers.

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    Another reason not to oversleep!

  • Justinpskeen

    This would be great if you could pre load it with shameful pictures and custom tweets before hand. 

  • Justinpskeen

    or it would be awesome if Anki had something like this built in, and it would go off if you don’t finish your reviews for the day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/CoRawrr-Barnard/540721414 CoRawrr Barnard

    But I Tweet ‘Penis Penis Vagina Vagina’ anyway…………………………… *cough*

  • http://profiles.google.com/jonadab.theunsightlyone Jonadab the Unsightly One

    All Americans know how to ride a bike.  Most adults don’t *own* a bike, but they all learned to ride one when they were in gradeschool.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jonadab.theunsightlyone Jonadab the Unsightly One

    Personally I think writing the shame-tweets would be a very amusing past-time.  Maybe they could let users write new ones for each other.  Lessee…

    “Feeling a little bloated. Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten four large pizzas all by myself.”

    “Misplaced my keys, looked everywhere, finally found them.  They’d fallen down my pants.”

    “Gonna be late to work today, boss will yell.  He’s cute when he yells.”

    “Have a really bad itch, down there.  Can’t scratch in public.  Need to find a private place.”

    “Spent the afternoon playing tic-tac-toe against myself.  Kept losing.  Determined to win tomorrow.”

    “I’m not durnk like some thinkle peep I am.  Honest, occifer, I didn’t drop a drink!”

    “Woke up dreaming about Walter Kronkite. It was surprisingly erotic.”

    “Got stopped on the way home by the police.  Now I have to cough up a large fine.”

    “Left the house, got all the way to the corner, realized I’d forgotten to put on pants.”

    Yeah, I would ENJOY amusing myself writing those, especially if I thought they might actually get used by the app on other people’s accounts when they oversleep.

  • Madbeanman

    Well all Irish dont. I learned when I was ike 6 but I forgot. And yes Im aware fo the saying but its lies. Nothing but lies I tel you!

  • Rody

    ハハハハ!むちゃ日本的だねっ!

  • Roentgen Del Mundo

    Oh no!