Yokohama yippie-kay-yay cowgirl

As Arjen wrote in the “Gadgets” section of 3yen.com in “Rodeo enters Japanese living-rooms… Japanese often complain about “koshi”/hip-waist pain. Of course this is actually lower back-pain, but Panasonic aka Matsushita’s solution is a rodeo horseback riding machine, called the Joba (tm).
Methinks the actual sales point and need is different than “fitness” judging from this picture.
Joba horseback riding machine
Joba horseback riding machine

Groping, Tokyo’s favorite pastime on the trains

Don't grope sign
Japan is reporting a big increase in sex assaults on their hyper-crowded trains. This a “crime wave” is not new as much as women are finally reporting sex assaults after centuries of silence. One annoying aspect of life here is the trite Japanese conversational gambit of always asking me in the first minute after an introduction what my “hobbies” are. For 20 years I have replied that my hobby is being a CHIKAN, a molester (actually molesting is impossible for me to do without falling down on my crutches). Not one women ever gasped or thought I was joking—Yikes!

TOKYO — Women travelling on Tokyo’s packed commuter trains are reporting increasing levels of groping and sexual assault, city police say….. 2,201 such incidents were reported in 2004, the worst level on record and three times the figure for 1996.
About 60 percent of the victims of more serious sexual assaults, which involve the threat of rape and are sometimes carried out by groups of men, were female high school students.…more…
Anti sexual assaults poster
Japan Railways poster: Don’t molest!

‘Oni wa soto!’ Devils out!

Today, February third, is Setsubun, which literally means the dividing of the seasons day in Japan. This is the day before traditional “spring” begins on the Japanese lunar calendar. Now it’s a just a fun holiday for children at school and home the festivities were a male teacher or father wears an Oni (devil) mask, representing a demon, evil and bad luck, and everybody else throws roasted soybeans at the devil to drive out bad luck and evil shouting “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!” (“Out with the demons! In with good luck!”)
Let’s all fling parched soybeans at Tokyo’s foreign-devil hating Governor Shintaro Ishihara and shout….
“Oni wa soto. Fuku wa uchi.”

Full of beans, devil Gov. Ishihara celebrates Setsubun
Full of beans, devil Gov. Ishihara celebrates Setsubun

SUSHI SHOOTERS shot down

The Internet and TV news has been awash with Canadian stories about the ”
Restaurant under investigation for goldfish shooters
” steming from the weird complaint filed with the Calgary Humane Society about a bar serving live goldfish in drinks. Now in Japan, eatting live fish at the table is normal enough that there’s many names for it such as “o-dori ebi” (dancing shimp). Eating live shimp is not one of my favs but tweezing out live lobster with my chopsticks is grrreat. Read a fun description of it from the LA Times: Live seafood, available in better sushi bars for some time, is increasing in popularity.

Fishy concoction shot down
CALGARY-
…Just don’t order the goldfish shooter.
“The goldfish story ends today,” says a fatigued Lance Hurtubise, owner of the popular downtown Calgary restaurant and nightspot…..
That’s because on Tuesday city health inspectors ordered the six-year-old establishment to cease and desist its practice of serving up live goldfish in shooters filled with either tequila or Jagermeister, a bitter German liqueur….
Jason Pongi's goldfish shooter

Yokohama is in the middle of a metrological reality distortion field

NHK News, Japan’s public TV channel, has been full of the Great Blizzard of ’05 stories but the sun is shining here. I ate my lunch on the quay of the Red Brick Warehouse here in Yokohama in my wearing my wraparound Raybans and long-sleeve t-shirt.
My friend in the Hongo-Hiroshima area in the snow zone wrote on his website website today that, “It’s cold as crap.. -1C and dropping… I am freezing.. We had snow this morning.. I couldn’t believe it. My lips are getting chapped and I am realizing why I hated living in Indiana.”

Storms in Japan bring heavy snow, high wind
MSNBC – Feb 2 — TOKYO – Severe winter storms that brought strong winds and heavy snows across Japan turned roads icy, caused a train to derail and disrupted air travel … Public broadcaster NHK said at least 648 people had been injured, many in road accidents.

Tokyo English teacher up for big British literary award

Damn. I never knew anything about this guy even though I get the feeling we’ve been at the same parties several times last summer. His face sure look familiar to me: He says he’s been living in Tokyo for ten years, and he tells a pretty good Tokyo noob story.
Does anybody know anything about this engrish teacher or what else he has written?

Five authors shortlisted for oldest literary award
A GLASGOW doctor, an English teacher in Japan, an Irishman once jailed
as a republican activist,…. all joined the shortlist yesterday for Britain’s oldest
literary award. The James Tait Black Award, administered by Edinburgh
University since 1919, has in the past been won by such luminaries as
EM Forster, DH Lawrence and Graham Greene.
This year, the hopeful novelists include Dr Suhayl Saadi, for Psychoraag, Tokyo-based Yorkshireman David Peace, for GB84, a political thriller set against the background of the miners’ strike….
David Peace< --David Peace

Jenkins Settling Well In Japan

Charles Jenkins the incompent North Korean traitor is now enjoying his life collecting 300,000yen—a little less than $3,000— per month Japanese welfare (when the average Japanese social security type of penion only pays 60,000yen a month). I hope he enjoys his dumplings. Arrrrg.

Jenkins settling well in Japan
Charles Robert Jenkins, the former US soldier who deserted to North Korea, has said he is adjusting well to his new life in Japan.
Mr Jenkins told reporters that he was enjoying watching television and going for strolls, and that his favourite food was dumplings…..

Dumbo-Jenkins

New bill to punish whistleblowers at Japanese nuke plants

The real purpose of the bill is to gag whistleblowers with inside information under the guise of so-called counterterrorism rather than ‘to maintain confidentiality’ for security. By silencing anybody in the “know” who has links to nuclear facilities, Japan can continue to be the world’s largest buyer of plutonium. Certainnly the Japan government does not want any leaks about their plutonium “science projects.”

Bill would punish leaks on nuclear info
The Japan Times Online
The government is planning a bill designed to punish private-sector individuals who leak sensitive information on nuclear facilities……..Violators could receive up to a year in prison or a 1 million yen fine. This is in line with the National Public Service Law, under which government employees who leak information face penalties of up to one year in prison….

Also see the report: Dr. Strangelove, His Bombs and Blondes
Simpsons' nuclear family

Boy Finds Y15 Mil yen Floating in an Irrigation Ditch in Saitama Japan

The weird thing is that money is found like this ALL the time in Japan and Japanese folks ALWAYS turn it in to the cops. Sheesh, I would not want to wait the required six months for the “owner” to claim the money in accordance with Japanese law. However Japanese do not see any logic in finders-keepers-losers-weepers.

Boy finds Y15 mil in cash floating in Saitama irrigation ditch
SAITAMA — A 13-year-old boy found about 15 million yen in cash floating in an irrigation ditch in Hasuda, Saitama Prefecture, on Saturday…the boy, who was training with a junior baseball team, found the cache, consisting mostly of 10,000 yen bills, at around 10:30 a.m. and police officers later collected it, they said.

Losers keepers; Finders weepers.

Chirac proposes “international” taxes on airline tickets to fight AIDS

UN's anal probe

Noooo, not the anal probe again!?

I’m big fan of the UN and international aid but….
I ‘m already paying over 20% of the price of my airfare home in taxes now: tax on fuel, sales tax, landing fees, Federal Excise Tax, state taxes to support my airport bonds, and special terminal taxes to improve anal probes. That’s lower than typical US taxes on products like cigarettes which governments want to discourage.
Damn, my “step”-brother died of AIDS but these wackjobs want to internationally tax me for African “NHS-style healthcare” when I cannot get NHS-style healthcare in the USA. I’m denied health insurance in America because I’m handicapped.
Maybe I should get AIDS so I can receive “NHS-style healthcare” in the US!?

Chirac proposes 50p tax on airline tickets to fight AIDS
JACQUES Chirac yesterday joined the international clamour to produce ideas to help Africa, proposing a 50p-per-flight tax on airline tickets to help tackle AIDS…. Addressing the World Economic Forum by videolink… The levy could be imposed on international financial transactions without hampering markets, he said, but could also be raised by taxing fuel for ships and aircraft – or on every airline ticket sold….. and the more ambitious plan of Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, to double world aid to Africa for goals such as education and NHS-style healthcare”….