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.