Tattoo too?

There are tattoos, and then there are tattoos, and the young lady pictured below is undoubtedly sporting those of the latter variety.

Japanese tattoo

However not to be outdone, her body art loving friends are the proud owners of some equally impressive but more manly designs.

Japanese tattoo

The look perfectly complemented by some equally manly underpants.

Fists at fifty paces

Whilst remaining illegal, dueling once again appears to be in vogue when it comes to settling disputes. As despite the arrest of several youths last year for breaking the 1889 law forbidding such practices, 12 teenagers from Tokyo and nearby Yokohama were recently apprehended and charged with causing bodily injury and dueling.

It turns out the duels were over the sale of a motorbike, and six pairs were formed to fight each other and resolve the disagreement. The rules of each bout stating that hair-pulling was (understandably) forbidden, and the contests would continue until one person gave up, or alternatively a severe pummeling resulted in an opponent ceasing to move. An added clause also ruled that fighting to the death, whilst not compulsory, was acceptable.

When the police arrived on the scene, one dueler had suffered injuries to his arm and head, yet the protagonists were decidedly unrepentant. One of the teenagers asking, “What’s wrong with hitting each other with consent?” A question that understandably cut no ice with the arresting officers.

For anybody interested in the results, the upstarts from Yokohama were beating the kids from the capital by 3 wins to 2. Meaning they were very close to victory when the police arrived, and (whilst I’m not sure about dueling etiquette) will presumably be awarded the victory by default.

Facial grease findings

It’s not uncommon to see young women in restaurants or coffee shops dabbing their faces with (for want of a better description) grease removing paper. And as the humidity begins to rise, getting rid of this unwanted and shiny substance is deemed ever more necessary; with the little pieces of paper used becoming almost transparent due to an excess of, erm, facial matter.

One manufacturer however claims that not only will its product result in the skin being nice and dry, it will even feel like that of a baby. And what better way to emphasise this than by using the photograph of a toddler on the packaging?

freaky baby

On closer inspection though, I’m not sure that the little chap pictured was the ideal choice. Far from it in fact. As whilst he may have a cute little face, rather worryingly he appears to have the upper torso of an old man. Plus an unusually large left hand.

Or do all babies look like that?

Modish minister

From the beginning of next month, all government officials will be urged to dress casually in a bid to save energy. Cool Biz as it’s been dubbed, aims to save electricity by changing the ministry buildings air conditioning settings from a cool and comfortable 25-degrees, to a slightly more stuffy 28. With the shedding of ties and jackets intended to help bureaucrats and ministers stay comfortable in the warmer climate.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosada is a keen supporter of the summer saving campaign, and told reporters that, “The important thing is to save energy by raising the temperature of air conditioning.” But not everyone is so enthusiastic. Veteran politician Toranosuke Katayama voiced concerns that, “It would be rather hot at 28-degrees.” Also adding, “There could be problems of dignity.”

And right on cue, Hosada-san stepped out in this casual Okinawan top yesterday. Shirt and tie nestling stylishly underneath.

japanese politician

(Apologies for the low quality picture. I couldn’t find an online image, and had to scan the one posted from a newspaper. Thankfully though Hosada’s acute sense of fashion still shines through.)

Erroneous etiquette

After extensive research, condiment maker Ajinomoto has found that only a meagre 20 percent of married women follow traditional etiquette standards in relation to the laying out of eating utensils. The shocking discovery being made after 235 respondents were asked to provide two pictures. One of an evening meal they had prepared during the week, and another of a dinner they made at the weekend.

Japanese table setting

Proper etiquette (which I’m sure the majority of you are acutely aware of) dictates that the rice bowl be placed on the left, and the soup bowl on the right. But the photographs Ajinomoto received proved that many women showed scant regard for such customs. And if the misplacement of bowls wasn’t bad enough, chopstick positioning was even more haphazard. Instead of being placed horizontally in front of the eater, with the wider of the two ends on the right, they were spread seemingly willy-nilly over the table. Some women placed them on a stand, others had them resting on dishes, and rather shockingly, 2 percent of respondents lined the eating utensils up vertically. Yes, vertically!

Yet whilst such etiquette errors can perhaps be excused to some degree due to busy schedules and irregular eating habits, even the simple act of serving beverages was muddled by the majority of those observed. Instead of waiting until the end of dinner to serve drinks as tradition demands, most women served them at the beginning of the meal. And scandalously, 20 percent of families had to endure drinking green tea out of mugs, rather than from refined and respectable cups.

japanese green tea cups

Arguably the only positive note from Ajinomoto’s findings is that 24 percent of families enjoyed eating dinner on a cloth covered table, with a further 8 percent having their dining experienced enhanced by decorations such as flowers or a plant. But even this encouraging sign was tempered by the fact that 27 percent of respondents subjected their family to a meal served on a table festoon with objects such as personal computers and power cords.

A disgraceful state of affairs it has to be said, and one the participants should be thoroughly ashamed of.

Sleeve related slumber

With an early (but very strong) entry for the dullest and most pointless research project of the year, Bunka Women’s University professor Teruko Tamura studied the relationship between summer temperatures and the length of men’s sleeves.

In a report that must make for an absolutely riveting read, it was found that about 20 percent of men still wear long sleeves when the temperature exceeds 30 degrees. Women on the other hand are quick to adopt more suitable summer wear. Captivating stuff I think you’ll agree.

japanese shirt
A long sleeve shirt

To acquire these frankly fascinating facts, Tamura-san and her team spent 10 days in June 2001 filming near Tokyo’s busy Shinjuku station. And from their footage they were able to check the clothing of 7,132 sweltering and sweaty men, and 3,699 cool and collected women. This sleeve-based information was then meticulously matched with temperature data from the Meteorological Agency.

japanese shirt
A cooler short sleeve one

Needless to say no life altering findings were uncovered, but Teruko “Temperature” Tamura did conclude that, “Men still seem to be bound by the custom to wear long sleeves even when it’s uncomfortable. Wearing long sleeves when the temperature goes above 25 is unpleasant and is bound to decrease productivity.”

So there you go. Research money very well spent.