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.


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