If you've ever noticed that walking into bookstores makes you suddenly — as if by magic — need to poop, you are not alone.

Michelle Rial / Via buzzfeed.com

As it turns out, it's a common enough occurrence to have been named: the Mariko Aoki phenomenon. Allegedly, the naming dates to 1985, when a woman named Mariko Aoki wrote a letter to the Japanese book-themed magazine "Han no Zasshi" about the connection between bookstores and her bowel movements. The editor printed her letter, and was surprised to receive many responses to the effect of, "Same!!"

Those responses echo still, especially on Twitter.

Strong evidence of causation doesn't exist, but some (weak) hypotheses include a laxative effect of the smell of ink or paper, an association between bookstores and reading on the toilet, and the likelihood that people drink coffee in bookstores. But even if science can't explain it, that doesn't mean some book browsers don't experience it.


But how prevalent is it, really?

Happy browsing!

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