Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Shop worker Kazuko Miyagenko left work at 5.30pm last Monday, but at the time of writing she is still at the security entrance of Omuta Youme Town, embroiled in what the local media are calling "The Red Hand Game".

When she left work, she wrote in the time on the workers sheet, but as she was writing "5.31" the clock actually changed to 5.32. As quick as a flash, the security guards chastised her and demanded that she write the correct time. At first not understanding what they meant, Ms Miyagenko consented and started to write the right time, but by this time the clock had moved on again to 5.33. More confusion ensued, and once again the clock moved on, and on and on. It was only when the clock was at 6.26 that the chief security guard attempted to put an end to the matter and sign Ms Miyagenko out himself. Unfortunately though, he himself wrote in the wrong time, and, as the security regulations state, "all information entered incorrectly by security personel must be hankoed and the hanko must be hankoed itself to officialise the correction."

The chief security guard took his regulation rather too literally, however, and not only did he hanko the hanko, but he also hankoed that hanko, and then hankoed that hanko and so on, until within 5 minutes, the security entrance was nothing but security guards furiously hankoing eachothers' hankos in a neverending cycle. Ms Miyagenko, naturally, stood patiently by and awaited the resolution to the matter, but as Monday passed into Tuesday, and Tuesday to Wednesday, all that had been resolved was that more paper and red ink was needed.

Ignoring a passerby's suggestion to just walk away and get some sleep, Ms Miyagenko is reported to have said that she was confident that the matter would be resolved quickly and that it was important to follow procedure.