Golden shower

In a move reminiscent of bubble era boldness, Japan’s biggest bullion house Tanaka Kikinzoku has created an 18 karat gold bath. The twinkling tub weighing a whopping 50 kg and worth a staggering 120 million yen (600,000 pound).

gold bath

It turns out a large hotel chain commissioned the rather tacky tub. The company hoping that it will become something of an attraction and help draw more visitors. However the constant presence of an eagle-eyed guard could well be a bit off-putting for the more bashful bather.

Musical meltdown

At a time when the music industry is still reeling from illegal downloading, and sales of singles continue to sag, middle-aged rockers Southern All Stars may well have obliterated any remaining interest (or indeed relevance) in regards to the Japanese Top 100 chart.

In an achievement that smashed the previous record of 16, the group made musical history by having 44 singles enter the current top 100. Yes, you read that right, 44! The band’s moneymaking scam of simultaneously re-releasing its entire catalogue of singles paying off in grand style.

southern all stars

The move also increased sales of the melodic rockers’ biggest ever hit ‘Tsunami’ to 2.91 million copies. Officially making it the third-biggest selling Japanese single of all time. The profits of which will go directly to the band and its thoroughly delighted record company.

Elderly effigy

Not to be outdone by the new and frankly bizarre sex education dolls, the Sakamoto Model Company has manufactured a decidedly disturbing effigy of an elderly patient. The rather ghoulish object designed to help train nurses in the care of the old and infirm.

It is claimed that the dolls are so realistic that they appear almost alive. The skin quality, joint movement, and facial expressions giving them an unnerving realism. Even if they do resemble something from the infamous Roswell incident.

roswell doll

In fact the models are so convincing and anatomically correct that training in urination and excretion is possible. With space for a foraging finger should the latter prove especially troublesome.

japanese excretion doll

All these features come at a cost though. A bowel loosening 480,000 yen (2,400 pound) to be exact. But as the picture below boasts, pajamas are included.

japanese elderly doll
japanese elderly doll

Which is perhaps just as well.

naked doll

More whale whoppers

Amid all the controversy surrounding Japan’s whale hunting programme – which of course is for research purposes only – restaurant chain Lucky Pierrot last week made the mammoth mammal part of its regular menu. A company official stating that the eatery was merely utilizing stock obtained for study purposes.

The hunting of whales is usually defended in Japan by claims that it is traditional, and Lucky Pierrot spokesperson Miku Oh followed a well worn path by saying, “People in other countries may think eating whale is strange, but it is our culture.” However part of the culture or not, the divisive delicacy is presumably not the most scrumptious and sweet smelling of foodstuffs, as Oh-san was quick to point out that it is cooked in such a way that, “it tastes like beef and tuna, and since it is deep fried, it has no odour.”

The latter point especially could lead many opponents of whaling to suggest that simply eating beef or tuna instead would be a whole lot easier – and far less trouble. Yet such a proposition would presumably fall foul of the aforementioned ‘it’s traditional’ argument.

A point clearly emphasised by Lucky Pierrot and its decision to serve whale in that time-honoured Japanese dish – the burger.

whale burger

Melon mania

This week saw farmers from Zentsuji in Kanagawa Prefecture begin to sell the year’s first square melons. With around 800 of these ‘ideal for the freezer’ variants of the popular green fruit shipped to Tokyo, Osaka, and China. Priced at a decidedly un-mouthwatering 10,000 yen (50 pound) apiece.

square melon

This announcement, coupled with the recent sale of a 280,000 yen (1,400 pound) black melon, means that these are heady days indeed for melon maniacs.

A pity the same can’t be said for those of us in search of the regular and reasonably priced variety. In fact the way things are going, I may have to compromise and make do with a pyramid-shaped one instead.

pyramid shaped melon

Political passion

It’s probably fair to say that a Hyogo Gubernatorial Election doesn’t usually garner much attention outside the region, and posters informing people of the event even less so. Until now that is, as due to the use of popular idol Eriko Sato, the date of the upcoming election is very well known; and the promotional posters have become much sought after commodities.

Young Sato-san you see is pictured sporting a shichisan (7-3) hairdo. A style generally favoured by middle-aged men, and one that gets its name from the position of the parting. Meaning that a centre parting could conceivably be labelled a 5-5, and a comb-over a 9-1 – although sadly they aren’t.

sato eriko

However as you can see from the poster, the shichisan is more than just a hairstyle. The numbers relate to the election date of July 3. Clever eh?

Arguably not so clever though, was the choice of Ms Sato. Her popularity has meant that the posters are being stolen at an alarming rate. Large numbers of them turning up on internet auction sites and selling for around 1,000 yen (5 pound) each. A situation that prompted one official with an unidentified haircut to say, “It’s not appropriate for them to be sold.”

Yet when all is said and done, the 7-3 isn’t the most flattering of hairstyles – regardless of how pretty young Sato is. Especially when you consider what could have been on the posters.

eriko sato