Friday, February 01, 2008


The bosses of beleaguered TV station TIT are once again under fire this week, after a TV show on the Nazis smashed the complaints record and has put the President in a surely untenable position.

Billed as a history retrospective, "The Nazis" was supposed to be an in-depth look into the motives of the upper ranking members of the Nazi Party. However, when the show aired on Wednesday night, viewers were stunned to find that it nothing of the sort.

"I couldn't believe my eyes," said Pritchard Rembleson, a long term resident of Fukuoka City, and whose father was killed during the fall of Berlin. "There was a couple of minutes of historical fact at the start, but with crass cartoon animations and joke voice overs. Then, unbelievably, the remaining 55 minutes of the show was about Nazi food."

Mr Rembleson went on to mention that the guests "were dressed as the SS, Luftwaffe and Gestapo, including numerous idols wearing provocative uniforms". As if that wasn't enough, the guests openly praised the Nazi Party for their delicious food, and one of the idols even went as far as to say that her skimpy swastika costume was "cute" and that she wanted one for her wardrobe.

At time of writing, Mr Rembleson is preparing a legal case against the station, and seems to have the backing of the majority of people interviewed. "My legal partners and I requested a meeting with the President of TIT, but he declined. We shall see him in court, though."


Following a much-hyped and sponsorship-laden promotional campaign, the highly anticipated Japanese version of the hit American show "24" hit the screens last Friday, but already it looks like being the latest in a long list of crossover flops.

The main problem with the show, according to Jun Kaneda, the founder of, the premier 24 fansite in the country, is the chronic lack of action.

"In the American original, there was action, intrigue and gripping drama," he moaned. "In the new Japanese version, most of the show takes place in the boss' office, with the Jack Bauer character listening to his boss talking, and patiently waiting for him to authorise and stamp his requests."

This, as well as the "dog-amateur" approach - an example being the ludicrous idea to have the main character wearing an ill-fitting blonde wig - has led to thousands of fans swearing they will boycott the show in the future.

Norinobu Masatsuru, President of TIT television, the TV station that secured the rights to make the show last March, refused to comment.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Shop worker Kazuko Miyagenko left work at 5.30pm last Monday, but at the time of writing she is still at the security entrance of Omuta Youme Town, embroiled in what the local media are calling "The Red Hand Game".

When she left work, she wrote in the time on the workers sheet, but as she was writing "5.31" the clock actually changed to 5.32. As quick as a flash, the security guards chastised her and demanded that she write the correct time. At first not understanding what they meant, Ms Miyagenko consented and started to write the right time, but by this time the clock had moved on again to 5.33. More confusion ensued, and once again the clock moved on, and on and on. It was only when the clock was at 6.26 that the chief security guard attempted to put an end to the matter and sign Ms Miyagenko out himself. Unfortunately though, he himself wrote in the wrong time, and, as the security regulations state, "all information entered incorrectly by security personel must be hankoed and the hanko must be hankoed itself to officialise the correction."

The chief security guard took his regulation rather too literally, however, and not only did he hanko the hanko, but he also hankoed that hanko, and then hankoed that hanko and so on, until within 5 minutes, the security entrance was nothing but security guards furiously hankoing eachothers' hankos in a neverending cycle. Ms Miyagenko, naturally, stood patiently by and awaited the resolution to the matter, but as Monday passed into Tuesday, and Tuesday to Wednesday, all that had been resolved was that more paper and red ink was needed.

Ignoring a passerby's suggestion to just walk away and get some sleep, Ms Miyagenko is reported to have said that she was confident that the matter would be resolved quickly and that it was important to follow procedure.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


A local high school teacher is in hospital this week, having broken his leg during an unorthodox morning meeting. 55 year old Mentaiko Ketsuyama, a mathematics teacher at Kazushodan Senior High School in Chikushino, suffered multiple fractures after he sidestepped a table and slipped on the slippery floor.

However, all is not as it seems, as there was in fact no table. With all the tables being used in the school gym to accomodate the hundreds of Junior High School students there for an open campus, the teachers found themselves with only chairs. Despite the Principal's suggestion that orderly rows be formed, there was a general agreement that the chairs should be set out exactly as they always were, which took "a considerable amount of time and meant the meeting didn't start until well after 10am," according to Ketsuyama.

With the chairs in the correct positions, the meeting could begin, and it was then announced that there were no announcements, and so sorry, the teachers should have been informed by email that a meeting wasn't scheduled for today. With most of the teachers leaving immediately, the Mathematics Department elected to stay on to discuss important departmental issues, which couldn't wait. When they finally decided to leave, Ketsuyama "started to make a slow jog towards the door, but then he seemed to panic and tried to avoid the imaginary table in front of him, slipping on the floor and landing awkwardly on his leg," claims eye witness and fellow teacher Ieyasu Tamago.

With Ketsuyama out of action until the end of term, Kazushodan Principal Niteru Aramaki told this reporter that "every precaution will be taken in the future, but accidents do happen".

Thursday, March 02, 2006


At last the mystery of the bowing men of Fukuoka has been solved, thanks to local English teacher Koala Rern, who having already solved the mystery of the 77 salarymen last year is making a name for himself as a Mr Fixit.

For the past few months, Harimutsu Zakiume, a Fukuoka clothes store owner, had been confounded by the seemingly random appearances of a handful of men in suits who ascended the steps to his shop, looked upward, bowed, and solemnly departed.

Despite the rules of Japanese society dictating that he shouldn't interfere, Mr Zakiume was determined to catch one of the men in the act and demand an explanation, but unfortunately they had always left by the time he had turned off every light and put on his shoes. However, Mr Zakiume got lucky yesterday afternoon when Koala Rern, who happened to be in the shop, witnessed the act and was quick to point out what was going on.

"It was obvious really," the American said, genially. "The men in question are all school principals, and Mr Zakiume has a Japanese flag above his door. Their climbing of the stairs and bows were their natural reactions."

In light of the solution, Mr Zakiume offered to give Mr Rern any item he desired from the shop, which turned out to be an orange and green velvet suit. "A small price to pay for peace of mind," Zakiume said afterwards.

Friday, February 17, 2006


More than 2500 pensioners in Kyushu have been hospitalised for heatstroke-like symptoms during the last two months, according to a survey carried out by the Japanese Association of Medicine. Whilst there are usually a few isolated cases every time there is an unusually warm winter, this is a stark increase and surely poses serious questions that the authorities will need to address.

Reasons for the high numbers are varied and different factions seem to have different theories. The Japanese Association of Medicine, for example, cite the rise of new strains of bacteria, thought to have been brought to Japan by foreigners. In a similar vein, a spokesman for the Japanese Commercial Sector suggested that it was due to an increase in the numbers of foreigners, whilst the Japanese Environment Agency implied that pollution from China was wreaking havoc with Japan's air.

Kurume-based English teacher, Ken Misterken, has an alternative explanation, however. "It's simple. The old biddies are incapable of equating February with anything but cold weather, so they stubbonly wear their hats, coats and gloves despite the temperature being 30 degrees. Nothing to do with foreigners or Chinese air, just pigheadedness on the part of the obatallions."

More on this story when it happens.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


A bank robber trying to rob a Fukuoka branch of the Heehee Nippon Bank was arrested yesterday. 40 year old Hokuto Shinken, a resident of the city, is said to have walked into the bank and queued for about 5 minutes. At the counter, he then placed his starting pistol on the table and calmly asked the clerk to put all the money "in a bag of her choice". The clerk is then said to have pointed out to the man that the bank can only deal with registered customers, so would he mind filling out an application form and coming back in the morning.

Incredibly, he agreed, and when he left the bank, he was apprehended by two police officers that were tipped off by suspicious colleagues when the gun wielding man first walked in.

A lengthy prison term is expected to accompany the red face when the trial begins next month.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


An ALT working at a private Highschool in Fukuoka prefecture has been sacked this week, following an administrative error that has meant the rescheduling of hundreds of Junior Highschool entrance exams.

The teacher, Ken Misterken, who had been working at Willow River High for 9 months, spoke to this reporter yesterday and offered the following statement:

"I have been fired for no good reason, though I must say that I'm not sorry to be leaving. Despite genuinely enjoying teaching some of the students, the vast majority of my time here has been one long exercise in misery. I have nothing more to say."

A very different statement was offered by Mrs Hyakusencho Ryu, the head of administrative accounts:

"Mr Misterken used an orange pen to mark the student exams he was given, instead of the mandatory red. We were therefore forced into an untenable position and had no option but to terminate his contract."

Things worsened for the school when a number of valid exam papers were mistakenly destroyed with those marked by Misterken, allegedly as it was virtually impossible to distinguish the dark orange ink from the red. This error means that the whole exam process will have to be rescheduled and held again, at tremendous cost to both the school and local community.

When asked what he was planning to do about future employment, Misterken simply said that he would rather "lap milk from a pig's arse" than teach at a highschool again.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


The Japanese version of the British entertainment show The Generation Game has spectacularly flopped, with only three viewers on it's debut screening and costing TV station WTF a reported 20 billion yen in advertising and promotions, creating serious fears that the station could very well go under.

It seemed so promising for the station as they successfully fought off competition from 3 rival comapanies to acquire the rights to the British show, which during it's heighday in the 1970s used to draw primetime Saturday audiences approaching 25 million.

As if things weren't bad enough for the company executives, the three people that did watch the show are roommates, and were only watching the TV whilst they were waiting for a pizza to be delivered. This reporter spoke to 32 year old Bhand Chakshi, 26 year old Sonny J'Piker and 35 year old Michel E Vicar this morning.

"It started off pretty well," Chakshi offered, "and the host looked like he knew what he was doing, despite the fact that, disappointingly, he didn't do the Brucie pose."

According to J'Piker, things began to go wrong when the contestants were introduced. "Although I've never seen the original, Bhand always bangs on about it, so I kinda knew what to expect. But when the contestants came on, they were all - without exception - prickly old harridans with plump, ineffective sons. Coupled with the fact that they all were wearing identical hats, coats and gloves, and carrying black parasols - presumably in some daft attempt to combat the sunlike glare from the studio lights - it laid the shaky groundwork for what was to come."

And what came next was neatly summed up by Vicar, who like J'Piker was a first time viewer but has strong opinions nonetheless. "The first game started, and this being Japan it was inevitably some form of cooking. To put not too fine a point on it, half an hour went by and all that had happened was a lot of declarations that things were oishii and most of their aprons were on. Clearly receiving instructions from upstairs, the host wrapped up the game, and incredibly moved on to the finale - the conveyor belt challenge."

Chakshi picks up the story. "With no one victorious from the one and only game, all 8 teams sat down before the conveyor belt, and there was tangible relief in this very room. Then again, we'd just spent half an hour watching old women and their sons failing to put on aprons, so anything would have seemed good. Imagine the disappointment we faced when the belt started, and it was clear that every single item was wrapped in identical paper boxes, thus negating the point of the game and leaving the old women to mutter amongst themselves."

According to the three, it was at this time that their pizza arrived, so there was a mass rush to the door. When they came back, the show had ended.

In a night of embarrassing slaps in the face for WTF, perhaps the biggest was that even though there were officially no audience members (due to a reliance on canned laughter and heavy use of computer editing), five soundmen from the adjacent studio decided to stay on after their shift, which meant that more people were in the non-existent audience than those watching at home.

Having asked the three men for their thoughts on WTF and the possibility of them imploding, J'Piker summed it up rather well: "If this was a sample of things to come, it'll probably be a mercy killing."

Friday, February 03, 2006


By their very nature, Highschool teachers meetings can be long and rather drab, but a public highschool in Kurume has well and truly taken the cake this week.

When the 50 teachers of Chintukku Highschool assembled on Monday for their 8.30am meeting, little did they know that come Thursday evening they would still be there. Having survived with no food or drink for almost 86 hours, and like his colleagues never once moving from his seat, English teacher Tasoru Judojo issued the following statement this afternoon:

"Well, it was Monday morning, and having just bowed and sat down we were given a short address by the Principal. After this, one of the teachers asked the Principal a question about the school budget. Settling back in his chair, the Principal said "Let me think about that for a moment" and closed his eyes. So we all waited patiently for his response, which never came. It wasn't until Thursday evening that we considered the possibility of something being amiss, and after a discussion one of the teachers examined the Principal and found that he was dead."

When asked why noone had thought to check on the Principal before, Judojo said that it was quite common for him to take a few minutes to compose his thoughts and that it would be unthinkable for anyone to disturb him. Despite spending such an inordinate amount of time sitting down, Judojo said that he would be more than willing to do it again, if the new Principal required it.

Chintukku's ALT, Australian born Ade LeDia, who was absent from work all week with influenza, gave a slightly different analysis, which is not suitable for print.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


A Kurume branch of Lawson was the scene for a bizarre attempted crime yesterday, as a man's plans to rob the store backfired. Arriving in a large sedan car, the man, according to witnesses, swerved dangerously and crashed into the store front window. With the crimes of dangerous driving and damage of public property under his belt, 42 year old Kenshiro Sarubuta is then said to have staggered from his car wearing a black hat, a Zoro-style eye mask and black and white stripey jumper and carrying a crowbar and a brown sack marked "SWAGU" (sic). According to eye-witness Sonny J'Piker, "he then tiptoed across the car park in an exaggerated way, and used his crowbar on the door, despite it being open. Once inside he seemed to panic and tiptoed out again, mumbling something."

Questioned after his capture a few minutes later, Sarubuta said that he had been so concerned with creating the right image that he hadn't considered what he would do once inside the store. The police officers that caught the tiptoeing ne'er-do-well had no comments to make.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


When the Kuiku Katsu hair salons opened across Kyushu, publicity was one of their priorities, and it enabled the Fukuoka-centred business to flourish. This week, however, the publicity has turned bad, and for the first time in its 5 year history, Kuiku Katsu could be in trouble, all because of one of its salons refusing to admit a non-Japanese.

Accounts differ, but what is known is that last Wednesday, Hazel Rorner, an Englishwoman teaching in Fukuoka, entered the Hakata branch of Kuiku Katsu, but was unable to get a haircut. She claims that the salon workers saw her coming and hurried to lock the door and draw down the blind. Undeterred, Rorner says she opened the letter box and asked them in Japanese what they were doing. Apparently the staff refused to say anything, but eventually a note was pushed through the letter box, saying "So sorry. Our cutting sissars (sic) can not hope to deal with your superly strong hair." Rorner claims discrimination and wants to take the salon to court for defamation of character and racism (hailing from XXX, long considered the home of racism, Rorner appreciates the irony).

Naturally, the salon staff deny all charges, and as the note has been misplaced and there were apparently no witnesses, it seems that it will be their word against Rorner's. Six months ago it would have a been a foregone conclusion for the salon to emerge unscathed, but with anti-discrimination legislation being reviewed in the Diet, this could well be a turning point in Japanese law.

Monday, January 16, 2006


There were angry scenes at Bakabatake Station in Kurume this week, as the long awaited cycle parking facility caused mayhem with commuter cyclists. Having spent close to 3 billion yen of local taxpayers money on the 3 year expansion, rail executives were pinning their hopes on the project, but if they expected a smooth transition they have been sorely disappointed. In chaotic scenes over the past few days there have been neverending queues, piles of unfinished paperwork and scores of parking officials running on the spot and pointing.

Whilst all of the Japanese commuters we spoke to refused to comment on what was happening, a number of local ELT teachers were more than happy to vent their spleens. Gracie Leanberry, originally from England, complained that "the queues are entirely unnecessary - instead of simply cycling in and parking you have to get off your bike and push it around one of those roped off mini-maze things, and then have your credentials checked by a parking attendant who fills out a form. After that, you have to stand on an incredibly slow moving conveyor belt, which takes about five minutes to travel up 20 steps. Once at the top, you have to present your credentials to another parking official and wait whilst he fills in another form, and then you have to park in the space that is designated to you."

Lynn Kiwi, a colleague of Leanberry from Canada, said that she made the mistake of not parking in the designated space. "The parking area was almost empty," she complained, "so I decided to park close to the entrance, at which point a red light started flashing and a parking attendant appeared carrying a torch and a clipboard. He told me that I had commited a grave error and would have to go to my designated space, which was at the very back of the complex and would have taken me at least 5 minutes to get there. I refused and started to lock up my bike but two more attendants appeared, each holding the ends of a small plastic fence and they tried to shut it around me. Fortunately I escaped."

Despite the silence of the Japanese commuters, these experiences can only be the norm. What Leanberry and Kiwi didn't mention was that once your bike is parked and the paperwork completed, you are required to walk on concourse that circumnavigates the train station in a gentle spiral, taking tens of minutes to traverse and meaning that commuters need to arrive at least 2 hours before their train is due to arrive instead of the usual hour.

Rail executives are obviously hoping that the conformity of their Japanese customers will keep things running, but although the holes are plugged and the ship is upright, it's not watertight by any means.

Friday, January 13, 2006


"Let's just say we won't be pursuing links with Kurume in the future."

The understated words of Ryan Aaron, chairman and CEO of Australasian corporate behemoth Aaroncorp, who until last week was about to instigate a multi-billion dollar expansion into northern Kyushu, were the Tasmanian-born multi-millionaire once taught in a conversation school. However, following his impromptu visit to the company he sought links with, Aaron has not only cancelled his project but posted a scathing report on his corporate website,, detailing the reasons for his actions.

In short, Aaron claims that when he visited the Kurume company Ha Ha Miwa last Thursday, he discovered what at first seemed to be "a normal-functioning, work-conscientious office place where everythings seemed to be in place." However, once he started talking to some of the 500 or so workers, he became increasingly suspicious. "I asked to see the boss and had to wait an ordinately long time, before being escorted to a distant office. I then proceded to introduce myself and started to question him, only to be told that he would have to refer me to his boss, which he did, and the waiting process began again. When I met the new boss, I was again referred, and again, and again and again, a total of 10 times in all, and to my surprise I found myself back at the office of the first so-called boss."

It was when Aaron started to investigate the day to day duties of the staff that alarm bells really started ringing. "Every single person I asked was unable to give me a satisfactory answer, and essentially told me the same thing in a hundred different ways - 'I liase between departments'. After a day of questioning and exasperated searchines for company records and information, I can categorically say that Ha Ha Miwa is a non-entity. That is, it doesn't actually function as anything, other than a place for 500 people to spend 10 hours a day in. All the phone communication that I witnessed was between employees in the building, as were faxes and emails. In short, it's a giant piece of red tape that pays people for zippo," he concluded, a little cryptically.

Aaron has reportedly promised to make his findings known to the relevant authorities, though with the status and encompassing corporate membership that his website enjoys he may not have to. Whether the staff of Ha Ha Miwa were fully aware of their situation is unknown, although this is not the first time that such things have happened in Fukuoka prefecture. The Japanese unwillingness to question orders and ingrained desire to be seen to be doing a good job aside, it seems remarkable that such wool gathering could continue unchallenged for so long. How did it start? Who started it? Where does the money come from? What will happen next? These are questions that no one seems to know, least of all Ryan Aaron, who must be mightily relieved to have backed out when he did.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


A Kurume-based conversation school teacher has sparked controversy amongst residents by daring to speak out against a written decree issued by Japan Railways.

In essence, Ben Treeskin, originally from England, is upset at the way he is being charged for ten shinkansen tickets instead of one. The decree, which is written on gold-leaf paper and is reportedly handcrafted over a period of weeks, states that on the 4th of November, ten Japanese passengers abandoned their seats when Treeskin sat down next to them, and the English teacher is thus liable. The decree goes on to say that in addition to the reimbursement of 400,000 yen to Japan Railways, Treeskin is encouraged to make personal calls to the passengers' homes to formally apologise.

In the history of Japan Railways' fabled golden decrees, this is the first time that one has been questioned, much less refused, but Treeskin is determined to see that proper justice is served.

"I wholly refute the so called decree," Treeskin told this reporter yesterday, "and categorically refuse to pay the money and apologise. The so-called victimised passengers in question should be apologising to me - the manner in which they fled when I sat down was highly discriminatory and xenophobic, and just shows how backwards this country can sometimes be."

When asked for his comment on the recently proposed train regulations from Tokyo (that foreigner-only trains should be introduced, following the death of an office lady that jumped up and broke her neck on the overhead rail when an American teacher sat down opposite her), Treeskin said something not suitable for print.

Whether Japan Railways will pursue this case is unknown, as in the past it hasn't been known to get involved with legal precedents. One thing is certain, however - be it a drawn out court battle or a swift settlement, Treeskin won't be welcomed on any JR train anytime soon.


The Nagasaki arm of Japan's National Self Defense Force has suffered a humiliating defeat against US soldiers from Sasebo, in what was supposed to be a friendly tactical exercise to showcase the former's progress as a military force. In a manner more akin to Police Academy than Bravo Two Zero, the Self Defensers managed to squander a 4 to 1 man advantage in a farcical mock siege that was over almost before it started and was broadcast live across Japan.

That the exercise lasted only 6 minutes is even more remarkable when you consider that the Self Defensers - poised to breach the American stronghold - all paused for 4 minutes to remove their boots and shout "Ojamashimasu!" as they entered the premises. Once inside, the 20 man strong Japanese contingent came face to face with a venerable Japanese elder in a grey kimono (actually one of the 5 marines in disguise), who reportedly told them to hand over their weapons and go into the next room, which the bowing, humbled Japanese soldiers quickly did. It was then simply a case of the costumed American locking the door and walking outside with his four companions and arm fulls of fully loaded Japanese guns, the victors of perhaps the fastest and easiest military exercise in the history of modern warfare.

Faced by the nation's media immediately after the exercise, a high-ranking and rather red-faced representative of the National Self Defense Force promised that he would do his best in the future and said that the 20 gullible men in the 6x8 room would remain there overnight as punishment.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Black smoke still billows over the hills of Yamato Town today, but even after it clears, the events of Sunday evening will live long in the memory of its 1000 residents. Details of the blaze that razed Muimi Syuugou High School to the ground remained unconfirmed until this morning, and it was thought that the fire was either due to a faulty electrical appliance, or "foreigners!", in the word of three local pensioners this reporter spoke to yesterday.

Now however, a startling confession has emerged from the depths of Tosu gaol, which in part proves the pensioners right. If the confession is to be believed, the fire was started deliberately and with premeditation by Louisa-Ann Sittle, the ALT that worked at the now destroyed High School. The confession, in its entirety, is reprinted below:

"I, Louisa-Ann Sittle of Chuuhai Machi, Kurume, originally of Edinburgh, Scotland, hereby confess to the deliberate starting of the fire that consumed Muimi Syuugou High School on Sunday. Whilst I must admit to not expecting the fire to completely destroy the school, in the wake of learning that no one was injured or killed I am wholly satisfied with the result.

"What are my reasons for doing what I did? Where to start... could it have been the petty bureaucracy that meant I had to stay at my desk for an extra 3 hours a day regardless of finishing all my work? Or perhaps it was the daily meetings in which the same things were said every single day with slightly different wordings that lasted for an hour and made me want to kill myself. Or maybe the fact that despite being fluent in Japanese and holding degrees in management and education, I was passed over for promotion for a simpering imcompetent who can't find his arse with either hand but knows how to say "hai!!" 20 times in a row when on the phone and how to speak like a pouting 5 year old when answering a question he doesn't know the answer to. Or even the fact that the whole school was made of wood, and the first year students were made to polish it day and night, with stick beatings befalling them if they missed a spot. No, in the end it would have to be the memo library, in which every single written memo - be it on lined paper, the back of a receipt or beer mat - had been pointlessly catalogued and filed away for the last 20 years, never to be seen again.

"I don't regret what I did, and I believe wholeheartedly that the world is a better place without Muimi Syuugou. So punish me how you see fit. I really don't care, as anything has to be better than spending the next 25 years in that place. To paraphrase the Beatles, so I lit a fire, isn't it good Japanese wood?

With *warmest* regards,

Louise-Ann Sittle, Tosu Gaol, December 2005"

Ironically, were it not for the fact that Ms Sittle's alien registration card was not in its required plastic wallet - a grave offence in Fukuoka prefecture - she might have escaped incarceration and received no more than a warning and endless paperwork for the much less serious charge of grand arson and endangerment. More news on this as soon as it comes.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Kurume Post Office, controversially closed earlier this year after a case of foreigner mistaken identity, has reopened in a new location. Situated on the 10th floor of the Soyama building in Jojima town, the new Post Office will carry out all the duties of the old one, but a number of new changes have angered local residents in droves. Local shop owner Yatsukeru Mushitachi was vocal in his condemnation for the new system when he spoke to reporters yesterday.

"I had to take an afternoon off work, drove to Jojima town, then discovered that the building was closed. When I returned the next week, after taking another afternoon off, I found that there were no elevators, so I traipsed up 10 flights of stairs, and found myself in a ten foot by ten foot room with around 60 other customers, with one person serving behind the counter. When I was eventually served, I was told that in accordance with the new protocol, my credentials needed to be checked, and that I should come back in 4 months. When I asked for a timetable of their opening hours, I was refused - apparently as a safety measure. I only wanted to send some christmas cards, but now I have to wait until March to be able to send them."

An interview was sought with the new chief of Kurume Post Office, but there was noone available to answer their phone.

Friday, November 25, 2005


Kurume's City Hall was the scene for a pensioners' protest on Monday, after it was revealed in a local paper that there are plans to cut back on the already dwindling numbers of hat shops in the area. The Kurume Ponderer's lead article claimed that "a further 2 hat shops will be closed over the course of the next two years, which will bring the total number of shops down to a worryingly low 417."

It is reported that close to 10 pensioners, 4 men and 5 women, descended on City Hall to complain about what they termed "the death of civilisation as we know it". All protesters were wearing unmarked baseball caps and low-pulled hats respectively. Eye witnesses report that the protest was entirely peaceful, although there was a 2 hour delay to enable the elderly activists to make some miso soup on site.

A spokesman for City Hall is expected to make a statement tomorrow afternoon, which will be shown on every television channel in the area. Until then, the city will remain on the edge of its seat.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Masuko Nagashiru, a pensioner from Chikugo, has won the annual Grandmother of the Year contest, beating over 8 million other contestants and bringing the coveted golden bicycle mitts back to Fukuoka Prefecture for the fourth time in the last 10 years.
As always, contestants were judged on 10 distinct categories, namely right-angled back, pointing, protection from the sun, bicycle danger, hat pulled down with a face like a slapped arse, use of the word "ne", impatience in a queue, production of miso soup, fruit squeezing and spatial unawareness. Mrs Nagashiru only dropped four points throughout the entire contest, which is only one behind the all time record, set by Chiyoko Toranaga in 1977.
In light of her victory, a miso soup gathering will be held in Chikugo community centre every night for the rest of this month, and will feature supermarket comparative analysis, a bring-and-buy hat fayre and a workshop on meddling.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Futsukaichi based O-Denki, having over a period of 60 years established itself as Kyushu's premier electrical supplier, has gone into receivership this week, leaving thousands jobless and no viable contingency plans. Although the company had been slowly losing money and influence since the end of the economy bubble, it took a bizarre turn of events to finish off the Company that was forged in the ruins of World War II. In a statement delivered yesterday at midday, the Chief Officer of the Futsukaichi Police Department, Masamitsu Metsumotsu, had the following to say:

"O-Denki has been shut down indefinitely after it was discovered that they owed close to a trillion and a half yen to a number of major banks. After further investigations, it is thought that much of the money owed was lost through the purchase of a pouch of magic beans ten years ago, although this is unsubstantiated. What is substantiated, however, is the fact that due to a clerical error in 1996, an umbrella shop owner from Omuta has been receiving a yearly Presidential salary of 200 million yen for 6 years, despite the fact that she is not the President of O-Denki and has never even left her home town. Naturally, we are doing all we can to investigate matters further."

It would appear that their fear of confrontation and losing face prevented O-Denki from taking action during the last 10 years, although Chief Officer Metsumotsu had to cut his statement short when a number of press members asked him to explain why his investigation had taken almost 4 years, and a further 2 billion yen of taxpayers money. As was expected, no one from O-Denki or the Futsukaichi Police Department were available for further comment.


A Kurume branch of the popular 100 yen shop chain Daiso has made the headlines this week, after an instore fistfight between the store manager and a Canadian ELT teacher.
According to eyewitness reports, Rinda Rinder, 25, who was born in Calgary, became visibly angry when 43 year old Ryuonna Tokunaga refused to let her put her goods in the basket on the counter. Rinder was told that as the basket in question was used by the previous customer, she was unauthorised to use it, and would have to go and get her own. When Rinder pointed out that she only wanted to buy a lightbulb, and thus wouldn't need a basket, Tokunaga apparently made a derisive comment and told her to go and fetch one.
At this, the Canadian allegedly threw a left at the store clerk, who in turn grabbed the younger woman's pigtails and, in the words of an onlooker, "tugged them passionately". The same eyewitness reported that a pensioner tried to intervene, but was floored by a "professional" right from the bellowing Canadian.
When police arrived at the scene 6 hours later, they found the two slugglishly wrestling in the miso soup bowl aisle, and it was a further 3 hours before their fingers could be extricated from eachothers hair.
A trial of some sort is expected to begin in the new year.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


For possibly the first time in its history, Yanagawa City was gridlocked with traffic yesterday afternoon, after a stand-off between a Nishitetsu bus driver and, in his words, "a pesky kid". The incident began at 4pm, when Australian born Karma Sollins, who has lived and worked in Fukuoka Prefecture for 5 years, refused to get off the bus at Kyoumachi. Speaking from her cell in Tosu Gaol, Sollins issued this statement to reporters this morning:

"It was an innocent mistake - I wanted to get off at Mihachira Jinja Mae, which is the stop after Kyou Machi, but I pressed the button too early. When the bus stopped, I went to the driver and explained my mistake, but to my surprise he produced his transport manual and informed me that as the button had been pressed, a passenger was legally required to disembark. When I refused, he turned off the engine and remained perfectly still, staring straight ahead and clutching his manifesto to his breast. He stayed like that for the next 4 hours, when the police arrived. In hindsight, perhaps my correcting his grammar in front of 5 other passengers was uncalled for, but do my so-called crimes justify my incarceration here and the cancellation of my visa?"

Miss Sollins' trial, dubbed Busgate in native speaking circles, begins in April.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


A new English Language school opened its doors to the public yesterday, but this was far from a normal opening. The school in question, Big Lemon School of Terrifical Spoken Club, about 20 minutes outside of Kurume, actively teaches the sort of English normally seen on t-shirts and stationary - popularly known as Engrish.

Co-founders Bhan Chakshi and Sonny J'piker have already received an overwhelming amount of both protest emails and letters, and applications to join the school, the former of which question the validity of teaching fundamentally flawed English. Mr Chakshi offered the following statement this morning:

"Out of the many thousands of students here that learn English, only a relative handful of those will go on to real fluency - and naturally the number drops significantly once you factor out the students that go to an English speaking country. We aim to play to the strengths of the Japanese student - encouraging flawed grammar and unnatural sounding communication, with a strong emphasis on cuteness and superficial vim. By doing so, we believe that almost all of our students will become completely fluent in record time."

Reaction amongst local English teachers was mixed - Darren O'Darren from Kurume said that "the gentlemen concerned will have to consider closely their business model and identify a clear customer and service provider blueprint", but Ken MrKen, also from Kurume, said that he was "quite tempted to jack in my high school job and go and work with Bhan and Sonny, if they'll have me".

Only time will tell if Big Lemon School of Terrifical Spoken Club will prosper, but with rumours of all night queueing for lessons and phones running off the hook, the future certainly looks bright.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


A Yanagawa Pensioner is back home this evening having been missing for two days. Seventy One year old Yasuko Ichikawa left her home in chibi-machi on Monday morning to take a local train to Daizenji, and simply disappeared. Her family, worried by her absence, waited patiently at home, fasting for almost two days. When asked whether this was some sort of gesture to wish the grandmother a speedy return, her son allegedly laughed and said that "she is the cook, so it didn't seem right to eat anything."

Just when the family were beginning to think that she had gone forever, she turned up on the frontdoor step with two policemen, who were quick to offer the rather peckish family an explanation. As it transpires, Mrs Ichikawa caught the train on Monday morning. However, there was an electrical fault with the on board announcements, and Daizenji's announcement was omitted. Mrs Ichikawa, not wanting to be conspicuous, elected to remain on the train rather than get off at Daizenji, as it was announced as Hanabatake, and thus incorrect. She ended up travelling to Tenjin, and then realising that she would have to disembark and report her error, she decided to secrete herself under a pile of coats that were left on the seat, rather than face the humiliation of admitting her problem.

How Mrs Ichikawa remained hidden beneath the coats for 2 days is something of a mystery, and unfortunately Nishitetsu Railways were unavailable for comment. It can only be assumed that she kept very still and travelled back and forth as the train traversed the line between Omuta and Tenjin. According to Mrs Ichikawa, she was discovered first thing this morning, when a group of salarymen sat on her in Ohashi, but incredibly both she and the salarymen ignored the incident and remained in their uncomfortable position for another 25 minutes, at which point the salarymen left the train. It was only this evening, when two policemen happened to board the train in Shinsakae Machi and noticed two frail legs peeping from under the coats that the resolute pensioner was discovered and returned home.

According to the policemen, Mrs Ichikawa exchanged a few words with her son, before making her way to the kitchen to prepare the evening meal.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


DaiYama, the electronics superstore chain, is making the wrong kind of headlines again this week, after angering a customer in Kurume with its strict adherence to company policy. On Wednesday evening, Weave Statson, an Australian studying at Kurume University, headed to the electronics store after his tutorials to pick up a pre-ordered digital camera. He arrived at 6.30pm, safe in the knowledge that the store was open until 9pm.

However, when he presented his receipt and asked if he could have his camera, the clerk apologised and told him that the store had just closed. Looking to where the clerk's finger was pointing, Mr Statson saw that the store clock was incorrect, having stopped at 9.01am that morning, but he was unable to persuade the store clerk to hand over his goods.

Despite Mr Statson showing the clerk his watch, and making him look at his own equally correct watch, he was told that all employees must go by the official store clock, and was politely asked to come back tomorrow. When the Australian refused to back down, the clerk disappeared to find the company policy manual, and painstakingly pointed out all the relevant points to a very frustrated Mr Statson.

Ironically, by the time heaccepted that he would have to come back the next day, the time was in fact 9.01pm.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


It should have been a routine 5 minute stop at a local convenience store, but for English conversation teacher Hose Jansaphine it turned into "a nightmare, a pure bloody nightmare". Bystanders report that Mr Jansaphine asked for a 2kg pack of ice cubes, to which the attendant, jogging back and forth from the freezer, brought the dumbfounded customer 2000 individually wrapped ice cubes, one at a time. Despite requesting for a single bag of the cubes, the attendant seemed determined to carry out his duties "as befits the status of this franchise and the quality of service that we all enjoy", a spokesman for the store said yesterday.

Mr Jansaphine is reported to have stormed out of the store after half an hour, leaving the attendant to his duties, which, if eyewitness reports are to be believed, carried on for a further 5 hours.

Friday, September 09, 2005


The Umecha Highway in northern Kysushu is in the spotlight today, as a Local Council meets in Fukuoka to decide whether events taking place yesterday were justified. According to the Council, three motorists travelled the length of the 30km highway, only to be turned back at the toll booth because today was a "bus and truck only day". The motorists protested that there were no signs warning them of this, and that they would be willing to pay the full toll and pass through. However, highway personel are alleged to have consulted their manuals and turned the drivers back, the latter of whom faced a close to 100km round trip to their destinations. Whether they attempted to charge the angry drivers for their mistake was not disclosed. The meetings are scheduled every day for the next 10 days, where more news will no doubt surface.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


American graduate, Mack Drewcreary, is on his way back to his native California this morning, having been fired from his instructor position at a conversation school in Fukuoka. Fearing being unable to find work without a visa, Mr Drewcreary decided to head home, having apparently broken several company rules on Monday.

Australian instructor, Sean Empiache, until yesterday a colleague of the American, claims that the incident happened during a 10 minute morning break.

"Mack went to the front of the school to get a coffee from the machine," Empiache told this reporter this morning. "He stood there for a few minutes, drinking his coffee, and then the Japanese manager came outside and told him that he had to come inside, because he was scaring away potential customers."

His first broken rule established, Mr Drewcreary re-entered the school, and returned to the teacher's room. Here he broke his second, by telling another instructor about what had happened. The fact that there was no evidence of any complaints, the fact that people who want to go to foreign countries and talk to foreigners wouldn't be intimidated by a foreigner anyway, and the fact that the converstaion was picked up on illegally installed hidden recording equipment, thus breaching untold privacy laws, didn't sway the company's regional boss, who fired Drewcreary via email.

The company were unavailable for comment.

Monday, August 01, 2005


Residents of Kurume can sleep easily tonight, as the baffling mystery known as the "77 salarymen" has at last been solved. For the past two weeks, local people have been confused to see 77 business men walking in unison to the train station, getting on the train without speaking, leaving on the train and then coming back on the next train, and walking away in silent unison again. Rumours were abound, ranging from the far-fetched (a form of corporate punishment for misdemeanours) to the outright ridiculous (government-led brainwashing conspiracy). In the end, it was a local English teacher that solved the riddle.

"It's quite simple really," Koala Rern, from the USA, said yesterday. "The company that employs the salarymen found out that they had mistakenly shaved a minute off each day for two weeks in April. Thus, the salarymen were required to come into work for one minute, each day for two weeks, to make up the difference."

Mr Rern went on to reveal that he had experienced a similar experience at his school, where the Principal asked him to walk more slowly when leaving the building, as valuable working seconds were being lost.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


Bad news for Kurume's residents - the central post office has closed its doors and doesn't show any signs of opening them. The 100 year old building, which has remained a testament to the city's determination and strength, was involed in a major incident on Saturday morning, which officials say is impossible to recover from.

At 9.43am, English-born high school teacher, Ken Misterken entered the branch to collect a parcel from his family in England. However, post office staff were unable to hand over the package, due to uncertainty about the identify of the recipient. "It's a complex, sensitive problem," claims post office chief, Shuryu Goroda, "but one of the major issues is that the gentlemen in question is on our records as "Misterken Ken", whereas the package is addressed to Ken Misterken. Naturally, we are unable to hand over the package, as he is clearly not who he claims to be."

Misterken, adopting a rather different view, told this reporter that "Mr Goroda's problem is about as complicated as a piece of overpriced bread with the crusts cut off." and that "it's bad enough that you can't buy envelopes in there, but now you have to sit around all morning because they think there are two people in this city with my name."

The problem posed by Mrken ended up bringing about the downfall of the city's most established institution, as executives got deeper and deeper into legal and bureaucratic wranglings. Mr Goroda made the solemn, simple announcement yesterday morning:

"Due to unresolvable difficulties beyond our control and a lack of sufficent manpower, I regret to inform you all that as from this moment, Kurume Central Post Office has ceased trading."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


There was a fracas in the Kurume branch of electronics superstore DaiYama on Friday afternoon, when a foreign shopper accused a shop staff member of being "facetious and lacking any kind of common sense."

Kurume-based English teacher, Ben Treeskin, alleges that he asked DaiYama employee, Sato Kyojima, to show him their range of multi-region DVD players.

"He told me that no such thing existed in the world, and that I was mistaken," the Englishman fumed. "I politely told him that I have one in England and know for a fact that they are commonplace across The States and Europe, but he just kept saying the same thing."

Things turned bizarre moments later, when Treeskin found not one but three multi-region DVD players on display, some 10 feet from the rigidly unmoving Kyojima.

"I pointed them out to him, but he refused to look at them, first saying that he had something in his eye, and then, when I lifted the box to his face, he told me that the company had made a spelling mistake."

"I suppose writing 'THIS DVD PLAYER PLAYS ALL REGION DVDS!', 'ALL-REGION DVD PLAYER!' and 'ANY REGION OK!' instead of 'JAPANESE DVDS ONLY!' is an easy mistake to make," Treeskin added, dryly.

Monday, July 25, 2005


The bi-annual public forum survey results are in, and if popular opinion is anything to go by, Japan is facing a grim future. An astonishing 86% of the population feel that standards in Japan are "not OK", whilst only 14% think that standards in Japan are "OK". Reasons cited include: housewives not wearing aprons (41%), red and black bowls not being used for miso soup (57%), not enough food programs on TV (61%) and a shortage of Louis Vuitton accessories (82%).

The survey, which is compulsory for all Japanese citizens, contains 5 yes/no questions and 5 multiple choice questions, and has been proven as the the most useful survey of its kind, according to Japanese scientists. A full breakdown of the survey results will be published tomorrow.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


For female pensioners in Kyushu, Saturday night means only one thing - Wistfully Grows the Wishing Tree, the ever-popular Korean melodrama that has become a firm favourite following the axeing of Winter Sonata last year. However, last Saturday saw a program scheduling error that left broadcast controllers shaking their heads and the old ladies grumbling en masse.

Instead of the usual screening of the 3 and a half hour weekly show, TV station WTF inexplicably screened a three hour extreme lotion catfight from 1995. In desperation we can only imagine, old ladies from every corner of Kyushu hurriedly organised central Miso Soup Kitchens and spent much of the night talking about Wistfully Grows the Wishing Tree.

Ironically for TV station WTF, Saturday nights viewing figures were the highest since records began, and there were unconfirmed rumours that a schedule change could be on the cards. When this reporter asked WTF spokesman, Furakazu Morimoto, whether he was concerned about the possible backlash from fans, he replied, curtly: "Old ladies will complain whatever happens. We need to think of the ratings."

Friday, July 22, 2005


Maverick architect-cum-artiste, Same-chan Ichibishi, has "stepped over the line, with both feet," according to Kitakyushu residents opposed to his latest project. The 36 year old Kitakyushu native has drawn up plans to build a giant chess game over the city of his birth.

"I plan to personally oversee the construction of two vast marble schoolgirls, who will sit above our city in an epic battle of the board," Ichibishi said to the press yesterday. "The unique layout of Kitakyushu means that it can become the board in this game, with prominent buildings as some of the pieces. In fact, one of the schoolgirls will have her fingers on City Hall, preparing to move it to kings pawn five to consolidate her king side attack, as it were."

As the opposition gathers momentum, Ichibishi would be advised to remember his last project in the city, Paradise Beneath the Waves, which was universally derided and cost the artiste much of his family fortune.


Blossoms the Flower, the Fukuoka-set melodrama has swept onto Japanese national television, attracting rave reviews from local viewers and critics alike. The story centers around Umeko, a forty-something housewife struggling to cope with her absent, weak-minded husband and her overbearing mother-in-law and her sisters. Perhaps in an attempt to break into the Toyko-dominated melodrama scene, Blossoms the Flower's plot seems to closely follow the formulaic storylines of established classics Melody of the Pink Petals, Mother for All Time and F is for Family.

Local TV fan, Hanako Hori, from Ogori, said it is "very nice", and that the husband is "a lovely young man". Okawa resident, Suneko Tanaka said it is "very, very nice" and Yamato pensioner, Mariko Kaida, said that the husband is "a lovely young man with nice hair".

There was one negative review however. Kurume business owner, Norifumi Torininjin, was firm in his criticism of the show. "If I want to sit around and watch ugly women in aprons crying and eating, I'll stay with my inlaws," he said, rather bravely.


Yanagawa social club, The Practical and Useful Society, is celebrating one hundred years of memories today, and invites non-members to come along and join in the festivities. Club Chairman, Kune Akunio, promises an evening to remember, with name tag making, travel route analysis and practicing writing next years date on letters the pick of the activities. Admission is free.


Kumamoto's traditional July Art Competition opened yesterday morning, but what should have been a gentle appreciation of the pastoral arts was rocked by the late, unpopular entry of Shikazu Ginkami, controversial only child of former Kumamoto Mayor, Shinehide Ginkami.

Famously suspended from high school in 1996 for refusing to draw a red sun as opposed to a yellow one, and for sketching peaches the right way up on a plate, his entry - "Kurt Russell holding a pickled egg" - has set tongues wagging amongst the competition organisers and participants. Several ladies have threatened to boycott the competition if Ginkami's entry is allowed to be judged, and are prepared to take their 15 paintings of flowers somewhere else.

The organisers plan to make an announcement within the next few days.


Preparations are being made for the 402nd annual sports festival between local cities Kurume and Omuta, in a rivalry that goes back to the time of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Last year, Omuta pulled off yet another victory to reduce their arrears to a repectable sounding 196 - 206, bringing them their 10th straight victory.

Hisorically Kurume has always been marginally stronger, although it's modernisation and urban growth has hampered its prowess in recent times, and Omuta has prospered in the very local-minded games. Fukuoka city man Sho Akaboshi, this years Grand Score Keeper, provided some predictions for the festival. "Expect Kurume to dominate the more modern events - 'The Salaryman Teeth Sucking', 'The Beautiful Girl Overreacting to Mundane News', and 'Dressing like a Whore in the Dark' to name three. For the traditional events, Omuta seem stronger than ever and will be hard to beat. In particular, they are looking to set new records in 'The Reiteration of the State of the Weather', 'The Gratuitious Use of the Word Delicious', 'Open-mouthed Staring' and 'Identical Old Ladies in Identical Hats'. I predict a convincing win for Omuta yet again."

The festival begins on August 20th and concludes on the 31st.


A small Christian elementary school in Saga prefecture is facing legal proceedings and probable closure, after their annual school play landed them in some very hot water with local authorities. Staff and students of St Matthew's Elementary made a break with tradition by performing a stirring reimagining of the first James Bond movie, Dr No. Despite a standing ovation and unanimous praise for the piece, Headmaster Graham Tanks was shocked to learn that he was being taken to court for "gross negligence and disregard for public safety", in the words of the Saga Council.

According to them, the school's performance was "unnacceptable", because in the finale there was no designated assembly point when the klaxon went off. Tanks patiently explained that the original movie was similarly lacking an assembly point, but he couldn't sway the Council.

The trial is expected to begin in September.


Downtown Kurume was brought to a standstill on Wednesday, as protesters flocked to the streets in droves to protest the actions of a local girl. According to word of mouth, the girl in question, 25 year-old Yuko Tanushimaru, is responsible for all the chaos. "She referred to her mother in law's rice as 'good, really good' instead of the correct answer of 'delicious!!'. Understandably, people here are furious," seethed protester-in-chief, Suzuka Honda.

With traffic piling up and an angry mob forming, the police stepped in to break things up, and by 11 pm there were only a few dozen hardcore protesters left in a well-coordinated sitdown protest outside The Cakers Donuterie. "We will see justice served," Honda continued, defiantly, "this is an issue that won't and can't be brushed aside."

Tanushimaru was unavailable for comment.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Local Kurume man JinjinchiroTakibashi was sent to Tosu gaol for six months this morning for "attempting to further the photographic development of candid communication", in the no-nonsense words of Chief Justice Sho Nekochan.

Takibashi had climbed into the crawlspace above the ceiling of what he thought was the ladies toilets in City Hall, and was planning to make use of his newly acquired digital camera and microphone. Unfortunately for Takibashi, the ceiling couldn't support his weight, and he fell through the thin plaster. To make matters worse, he had unwittingly taken a wrong turn in the crawlspace and was in fact above an adjoining annex room, where members of Kurume Police Station were attending an inhouse lecture on criminal behaviour. Takibashi falling onto their table with his camera was unexpected but rather apt in the circumstances.

Despite claims that he was a construction worker checking the building for structural damage, Takibashi was unable to convince either the stunned officers or the Chief Justice, the latter of whom summed up sentencing with the decidedly tongue-in-cheek aside: "You would be advised to watch your own bottom as closely in the coming months, Mr Takibashi..."


There was pandemonium at Toshitaka's World of Tea on Saturday, when two table legs were scuffed by "a gang of ne'er do wells". Toshitaka, proprietor of one of the most established tea stores in Kyushu, knew that something was amiss when two youths burst into his shop playing the smooth rock of Kenny Loggins.

"They had big hair and were carrying those keyboards that you play like a guitar, and both had ties that looked like a piano," the shaken owner told police.

Sergeant Miyo Chiori, of the Fukuoka Central Police Station, was quick to remind the public that 1987 has been banned since 2003, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. She also promised to do her best to catch the perpetrators and commiserated Toshitaka on his ordeal.

This isn't the first time something like this has happened. In January, three youths wearing jackets with their sleeves rolled to the elbow burst into Aww Chihuahua and subjected passersby to a synth-aided love ballad, avoiding capture when the police arrived the next day.

Shoppers are advised to stay alert and report any such behaviour to the proper authorities.


The Omuta branch of a well-known curry house chain has been slammed by a visiting foreign dignitary, who has charged the company with "gross bureaucracyism and babyish antics." England born Judge, Sir Gene Bammon, has vowed to start legal procedings against the curry chain, and make sure the same thing doesn't happen again.

On business in the sleepy town, Sir Bammon claims that he ordered a regular curry from the chef, but as he had eaten a substantial breakfast, asked that the rice be left out. The chef reportedly refused, quoting company regulation 25a, part 2, paragraph 4, that "(rice) shall be served with every meal of the curry variation, and shall be no less than 105g..."

Amused more than anything, Bammon agreed and was served with his curry, with the rice in a separate bowl, weighing exactly 105g. Bammon refused to eat the rice, but it seemed that the company's honour had been satisfied. It was only when Bammon came to pay that things took a turn for the worse.

According to Bammon, the chef charged him an extra 100 yen for the rice, which he refused to accept, on the grounds that he hadn't eaten it and didn't even want it in the first place. The chef's attempts to cite the company's manual were cut short as Bammon allegedly called the chef's parentage into question. The chef remained adamant, and by now a crowd of people had gathered to see what was going on. Being already late for an important engagement, Bammon claims he agreed to pay the bill, a not unreasonable 800 yen. Spying two 100 yen coins on the top of the cash register, Bammon gave the chef a 1000 yen note, and went to take the two coins. This is when things "went really salad", as an eye witness noted afterward.

The chef reportedly refused to let Bammon have the coins, and opened the cash register. He placed the note in the tray and closed the register. Then he opened the register again, picked up the two coins, placed them in the register and closed it. He then allegedly opened the register for a third time, took out the same two coins and handed them to an enraged Bammon, along with his receipt.

Having witnessed this, Bammon reportedly threw "something of a hissy fit" and "started tugging at his whiskers". The chef's integrity was called into question, and Bammon stormed out in a foul temper, only to return a few moments later to get his forgotten briefcase.

Whether or not the case goes to court remains to be seen.


A 28 year-old English instructor was arrested in Fukuoka on Friday for brawling with the owner of a popular coffee shop. Cerard Gaheny, an ex-pat from Ireland, "regarded the owner's ribs with his elbows and made poking motions at his left eye," an eye witness claims. Gaheny claims that his actions were brought on by the unacceptable behaviour of the shop owner, who, in the Irishman's words, "wants fucking milking".

The same eye witness reports that Gaheny asked for a coffee without cream, to which the shop owner said that they hadn't any cream, so would he like coffee without milk instead. Gaheny allegedly seemed angered by this and repeated his order, but the owner reportedly wouldn't back down and insisted that if he wanted his coffee, he would have to order it without milk, as opposed to without cream. Then the fighting began.

Mercifully, five policemen were walking past just seconds after the incident and were quick to break things up. After apologising profusely to the shop owner, they escorted Gaheny to Fukuoka Central Police Station, where he awaits charges. The shop owner refused to make any comment.