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.