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.