♪It’s beginning to look a lot like …♫

Damn, it ain’t Columbus Day yet but in Tokyo

Christmas arrived in 7-Eleven already.″

— JapanBlogList (@JapanBlogList) October 12, 2015



It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Not.

The rest-of-the-story is that the above photo of the sign is for preordering these 7-11 Christmas Cakes for Christmas Eve delivery/pickup. However, the industrial bakeries have been baking the Angel food, sponge cake, and gingerbread for these Christmas treats since last August. Yum, freezer burnt cake for Christmas!


Hello Chucky™

Longtime collaborator with the 3Yen, RobPongi, gave us this heads-up on the new Hello Kitty/Chucky Mashup Doll that the Universal Studios theme park in Japan was selling for this Halloween.

Universal Studios Japan Selling Hello Kitty/Chucky Mashup Doll

Hello-Chuckie via ihorror.com

RobPongi further reports: left_quoter_14x24Annnnndddd….IT’S GONE!right_quoter_13x24

However, the fact that the Hello Chucky™ doll isn’t listed on the website may be a sign of it being sold out rather than it pulled off the market.

Other strange Chucky and Hello Kitty occurrences spotted in Japan include:

Creepazoid Kitty (3Yen / 2012-04-23)
hell no kitty

Hello Kitty tombstone (3Yen / 2014-09-17)
hello kitty grave

Chucky on the Tokyo subway with his bride (3Yen / 2013-08-05)
chucky subway


Naming rights offer for ‘Tokyo Gas Toxic Waste Site & Fish Market’ declined

After long debate, the city of Tokyo declined the naming rights offer for the ″Tokyo Gas & Petrochemical Fish Market*.″

After long debate, new Tsukiji fish market to be called Tsukiji Fish Market (築地魚河岸)
gas-fish-market_640xmulboyne twitterhttp://t.co/9ufW91CMVU — (@Mulboyne) Oct. 6, 2015

The-rest-of-the-story is that the new Tsukiji fish market is being built on top of the toxic waste site of Tokyo Gas Company—Tsukiji being the planet’s premier place for sushi.
Refer to The Japan Times report…
           New Tsukiji site highly toxic: panel (2008/05/20):

Note that the above picture contains the farty fun slogan, “MY CITY—MY GAS©.” This was Tokyo Gas Company’s slogan that they slapped on the side of thousands of their company’s trucks here in the city. Created for the 1970 Osaka Expo for use at the Japanese Gas Industry Pavilion, the slogan was used actively until the mid-1980s and it is still found in various versions today such as ‘myTokyoGas’ shown below.
Refer to 3Yen / 2008-09-24 : MY CITY—MY GAS©
My Tokyo Gas, logo


‘Robo-taxis’ are coming to a Japanese beach town


Automatic driving “robot taxi” is coming to a town near you in Japan.
国家戦略特区で自動運転の実験小泉進次郎氏「できるとこからガンガンやる」—Yuri Kageyama on Twitter Oct. 2, 2015


japan-robot-taxiMONOist / 2015-Oct-2 (ç)
Automatic-driving technologies for “taxi robots” are coming to a town near you in Japan. The government has decided on national strategic zones for self-driving taxisThe first zone will in Kanagawa Prefecture just outside Yokohama in the city of Fujisawa. Plans are for passenger tests on about 3km of the main road of the beach district of the Shonan shoreline
in these tests “robot taxis” will drive autonomously but there will be a human driver that can manually override the robot’s system for safety.


Here’s a new article in English with more/better details than goofy Google Translate.
Quartz (2015-Oct-2): Japan is experimenting with driverless, robot taxis


Previous hi-tech taxi reports on the 3Yen include:


Kristmas Kumamon


left_quoter_14x24Kumamon manages to disturb the unveiling of the new plane of the Amakusa Airlines today — Mon ☆ right_quoter_13x24
kumamon-tweet今日は天草エアラインの新しい飛行機のお披露目におじゃましたモン☆ — くまモン【公式】 (@55_kumamon) September 29, 2015

The rest-of-the-story about the Santa suits and the Christmas colors of red and green, is that Amakusa Airlines—Japan’s smallest airline*—has outfitted their planes with plush red leather seating and green accents such as seat-belts. Somewhere along the line in the design process someone quipped that the airplane is in “Christmas colors”—Everyone laughed and the boss said, “Go with it!”
So they put their local mascot of Kumamoto Prefecture, Kumamon, in a Santa suit and they slapped his image all over the planes as this Youtube video shows.

A few of the many previous 3Yen reports of Kumamon’s flights of fancy include:run kumamon run

Softbank Japan’s contractual obligations for ROBO-SEX

Since Softbank “Pepper” robot costs* 198,000 yen ($1,654 USD) to purchase and then the owner has to then pay another 24,600 yen ($206 USD) per month for the service contract, the bitchin’ bot better do a lot more than just, “shaking its hips and moan.”


No sex please, we’re robots!
Buyers of hit new ‘emotional robot’ Pepper to sign contract vowing it won’t be used for sex

DAILY MAIL | 22 September 2015
Japan-based SoftBank included a clause in the ownership contract which said using the robot for ‘the purpose of sexual or indecent behavior’ breaks this rental agreement…Computer pranksters have already reprogrammed the iPad hanging from its neck to give Pepper ‘virtual breasts’ which makes it shake its hips and moan when touched..more


Previously the 3Yen has reported on Japanese robosex including:


Furoshiki for your feet

First there were traditional Japanese jikatabiaka “ninja shoes”.
are still used today by Japanese workers who need more agility, safety and grip than regular construction boots.

Then there are the rip-offs of Japanese jikatabi such as Nike’s “Air Rift” split-toe shoes (L) barefoot-shoes-124x85.jpgand Vibram’s fucky “FiveFingers” footwear (R)
that have a dedicated fanbase of freakazoids who love playing with their toes (3Yen / 2007-12-31).

Now there is the freakier Furoshiki* wrap shoe.

Created by Japanese designer Masaya Hashimoto for Vibram, the company describes it as:

Latest and greatest innovation in alternative footwear…the Furoshiki! The concept for this type of footwear was derived from the Japanese custom of packaging items by wrapping them in cloth fabric. Furoshiki is the only sole on the market that wraps around the entire foot.vibram.com | Furoshiki

furoshiki is actually a traditional
Furoshiki are an oversized square wrapping cloths, dyed in a variety of colors and patterns. Japanese use them to bundle and carry anything, often gifts such this red cloth bundle of 3Yen bribe money (above left). The use of the furoshiki goes back to the 14th century but in recent years furoshiki have fallen out of favor and sadly are thought of as old-fashioned (rather than clever and ecological shopping bags).



Question posed on reddit:

I was wondering automation and its effects on the workforce. Given that Hitachi has now introduced the first AI managers. Will automation change “employment” as we know it in the coming years?

My answer:
┏[-_-]┛ WELCOME TO OUR ROBOT OVERLOADS …not. ┗[-_-]┓

The AI [artificial intelligence] of those “AI managers” does not mean they are bosses. The so-called “AI managers” are just software schedulers of logistics tasks using some AI. All major shipping companies have been using such software for years—the same for taxi companies, auto parts warehouses, and gambling casino management.

According to Hitachi’s press release (2015-09-15), the company is just trying to smooth out allocation production resources using better scheduling and prediction of factory job orders. These are not robot “managers” bossing humans around—just fancy computer calendars tied into Excel spreadsheets, <yawn>.

By integrating artificial intelligence technology into Hitachi’s automation for logistics tasks, they were able to verify an 8% improvement in efficiency. Cool! However, that’s what Amazon.com, UPS, Walmart, and every supermarket chain has been doing for the past 20 years.

The key point is that Hitachi’s AI technology is trying predict glitches in their production and figure out whether improvements/keizen actually work together to boast production. For example, a 200% improvement in the Widget bolt tightening also must have a 200% improvement in the Widget locking washer placement and picking/fitting of bolts before they’re tightened.

Bottom line: Move along folks—Nothing to see here, yet.

Previous 3Yen reports on the myths of Japanese robotics include:


Is Pink Soy Sauce really Japan’s best?

The Pink Soy Sauce using red beets* from Tottori Prefecture took first place in the “So there! Awards 2015.” That competition of local specialities was run by CLUB 47 representing the newspapers of Japan’s 47 prefectures.
The prefecture’s precious pink puke sauce was judged the best because of its, bright pink features qualities that are concealed in regular soy sauceSankei News (2015-Sept-17).pink-vs-black

Previous saucy reports on the 3Yen include:


Plastic Pumpkins vs Plastic Snowmen

It only September 13th but already there are huge piles plastic pumpkins and plastic Olaf the snowman for sale.


Oh my Buddha, it’s already Pumpkin Festival.
pumkpin-fest #TeamNatcho pic.twitter.com/LcojNLQthn— Anthony Davis (@ozAntinnippon) September 13, 2015


That is, both Halloween and Christmas goods are for sale everywhere even though neither Halloween nor Christmas are real Japanese holidays.

Previous pumpkin reports on the 3Yen include: