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.