Thursday, March 02, 2006


At last the mystery of the bowing men of Fukuoka has been solved, thanks to local English teacher Koala Rern, who having already solved the mystery of the 77 salarymen last year is making a name for himself as a Mr Fixit.

For the past few months, Harimutsu Zakiume, a Fukuoka clothes store owner, had been confounded by the seemingly random appearances of a handful of men in suits who ascended the steps to his shop, looked upward, bowed, and solemnly departed.

Despite the rules of Japanese society dictating that he shouldn't interfere, Mr Zakiume was determined to catch one of the men in the act and demand an explanation, but unfortunately they had always left by the time he had turned off every light and put on his shoes. However, Mr Zakiume got lucky yesterday afternoon when Koala Rern, who happened to be in the shop, witnessed the act and was quick to point out what was going on.

"It was obvious really," the American said, genially. "The men in question are all school principals, and Mr Zakiume has a Japanese flag above his door. Their climbing of the stairs and bows were their natural reactions."

In light of the solution, Mr Zakiume offered to give Mr Rern any item he desired from the shop, which turned out to be an orange and green velvet suit. "A small price to pay for peace of mind," Zakiume said afterwards.


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