Freaky figurine

I’m guessing that the opticians displaying the bizarre looking character below was aiming for the cute look. But as you can see, things didn’t quite work out that way.

freaky japanese statue

Pervert pandemic

“Conditions are so bad, it’s fair to say that railway carriages are virtual groper incubators.”

Samu Yamamoto, author of Chikan no Hyakka (Encyclopedia of Groping).

Quotes like this, and a recent announcement by Tokyo’s largest train operator that it is begrudgingly considering women-only carriages, show how bad the situation has become. But there again, perhaps such information isn’t really necessary, as if it’s possible to produce an encyclopedia on the subject, then there must be an awful lot of it about.

Cop a feel

With crime on the rise, the local police force has adopted a rather unconventional approach to strengthening its relationship with the community. It looks like it will be a roaring success too. I mean, how can the heady mix of miniskirt police and all-you-can-drink draft beer be anything but?

sexy police

Sock selection

In a decidedly pointless poll, among other things it has been found that 96.7% of Japanese women are irritated when they see men wearing trousers that are either too short or too long.

The survey was conducted by Fukuske Corporation (a maker of socks), which in regards to trouser length makes some kind of sense. But the company was inexplicably joined in its research by the drug-manufacturing firm Janssen Pharmaceutical.

Anyway, regardless of the tenuous link between trousers, socks, and pharmaceuticals, the survey also looked at key areas such as dirty shoes and faded creases in the centre of trouser legs. All based around the topic of male grooming and appearance.

The women questioned had the option of four responses ranging from “It doesn’t worry me” to “It bothers me a lot.” In regards to faded trouser creases, the ladies were quite forgiving, with 24% saying they weren’t especially perturbed. Dirty shoes also managed to escape the wrath of those surveyed, getting away with relatively light criticism.

But like the aforementioned ill-fitting trousers, un-sartorial socks were widely condemned. As when asked, “What item can cause you to become disillusioned and think that the person has no style?” a surprising 18.4% of women said, “socks.”

So there we go gentlemen. To get a bit of action, sock selection is of the utmost significance. Choose carefully.

And with this in mind, maybe I should delay buying these traditional tabi socks I was looking at recently.

tabi socks japan

Cultural cake contest

Yesterday saw Kyoto’s Daigo Temple host its annual rice cake lifting contest. But don’t for a minute think that the lifting of cakes is easy and not worthy of being classed a sport.

For starters the desserts in question aren’t light and fluffy sponge cakes, rather two big and hefty rice cakes. Weighing in at a gut-busting 90-kilogrammes for the ladies, and 150-kilogrammes for the men.

cake lifting

And to make the event even more challenging, competitors have to lift the cakes in the air whilst not resting or balancing them on their stomachs. Then when this unenviable feat has been achieved, whoever can hold the cakes up the longest will be crowned cake-lifting champion. A title that presumably grants the winner a lifetime of respect, honour, and financial security.

Media miscreants

Public broadcaster NHK has recently been having a torrid time due to a well publicized embezzlement scandal, and allegations of censoring a program due to governmental pressure. And now to add to its woes, a company employee has been arrested for allegedly molesting a 17-year-old high school girl on a Tokyo commuter train.

It turns out however that 36-year-old Ko Sasaki’s ignominious arrest might be merely the tip of a very large iceberg. As a blacklist currently being circulated details numerous cases of disciplinary action within the company over the last 6 years. Incidents involving prostitution, peeping Toms, molestation, and sexual harassment.

Due to the disproportionately large number of cases, I’ve only listed a few below. Most of which never made the news, and the majority of the perpetrators escaped prosecution due to pressure allegedly asserted by NHK.

nhk japan

October 1999. An employee was dismissed and fined 500,000 yen (2,500 pound) after paying for sexual favours from a high school student he met through a telephone club.

May 2000. A department manager caught stealing ladies underwear from a nearby stadium locker room. The man was eventually dismissed, but charges of breaking and entering were dropped.

February 2001. A department manager again, which makes you wonder what kind of training they are given. This one was found guilty of molesting a female student on the train. He was suspended from work for 5 days (although there’s no mention of demotion) and penalized 50,000 yen (250 pound).

November 2001. An employee caught filming up a woman’s skirt at a train station. Resulting in a 5 day suspension and a similar 50,000 yen fine.

February 2003. Another upskirt aficionado. This worker was rumbled whilst in action with his digital camera. He too was suspended for a week, but received a heftier penalty of 200,000 yen (1,000 pound).

July 2003. More train groping to finish off with. This media molester received a 5-day suspension and a 50,000 yen fine.

Never a dull moment at NHK eh? Apparently many of the suspensions were/are covered up so fellow staff members don’t find out. But with this information now doing the rounds, any employee taking a couple of days off for a bout of the flu will surely have tongues wagging upon their return.