September 8th, 2008

Chinese Bootlegged Merchandise – Superhero Package

I receive a lot of submissions containing bootlegged merchandise from China – DVD covers, toys, etc. The toys are not always covered in Engrish, but they are funny amazing to look at because of the blatant disregard of copyrights.  

Here we see Batman (DC Comics) mixed with The Hulk, Thing, Spiderman (Marvel) and incredibly – Mr. Incredible! (Disney/Pixar).  Superman is all over the printing on the package, but the doll is nowhere to be found inside.

Photo courtesy of Anonymous

Is it just me, or does Batman have way too many abs here?


You’d think that they couldn’t market this stuff in the US, but this picture was actually taken in San Francisco!  To make a plastic cast of these figurines costs way too much money unless you are producing tens of thousands at a time, so my guess is that the existing factories being subcontracted out to by Mattel, etc. are throwing these things together and reselling them in a new box.

September 8th, 2008

The Manner Posters of Tokyo Metro

Tokyo Metro Manner Poster - Aug 08

Tokyo Metro Manner Poster - Aug 08

Tokyo Metro is Japan’s largest subway system, and they have come out with a new series of “Manner Posters” so that we can all just get along better when riding the subway. I thought that this new series was good enough for a chuckle. 

Since it is all about doing the right thing, every month a new poster asking you to “Please do it at…” appears. To our left is the one of the funnier ones from August. People do try and run into the trains as the doors are closing – the illustration tries to put a humorous tone to this bad practice. 








Tokyo Metro Manner Poster - April 08

Tokyo Metro Manner Poster - April 08





April’s Manner Poster is asking the boy to do it at home. He is just chillin’, making himself home on the train. No harm done. 


Other “Please do it at home” posters from past months include, not putting on your makeup, not blasting music on your headphones, and making what appears to be frantic phone calls while on the subway. You can see them all here (click on an image to enlarge).

September 6th, 2008

Waterfall that draws pictures and characters (cool video)

Judging from the amount of hits this video has you may have seen it already, but I had to share the coolest manmade waterfall ever (from Japan of course):

The Japanese title of the video says: “Pictures made of falling water”.  The video was taken from the opposite side, so the characters are mirrored.

The waterfall is found in “Canal City“, a large shopping and entertainment center in Fukuoka (Southern Japan).

September 5th, 2008

Piggy Hunk… I Mean Bank

The newest in piggy bank technology from Japan – this one, called “Ikemen Bank” is for lonely women who want to save money but are looking for extra incentive from a hunk who talks to you while you save. The tagline for the bank reads: “Save 50,000 yen ($500) in no time, while you feel all tingly inside!”



Here’s how it works: you can pick from 5 different studs (outlined below), who talk to you each time you place a 500 yen coin in the bank. In this diagram, the guy on the left says, “Hey you” while the guy on the right says, “I’ll make you happy, baby”.  There are over 100 sayings to keep you hooked, until you save 50,000 yen in the bank – leading to a ‘happy ending’. If you don’t keep putting money in the bank however, after 5 days they will leave you.



What is fascinating are the bios on the dudes themselves: 

1. Hayato is a ‘cool model’. He wears the best clothes, but they cost only 500 yen each. 

2. Ryo is an upbeat aspiring comedian. He never has more than 2629 yen in his wallet (about $26).

3. Shun is a kindhearted rich boy. He spends a lot of money, but ironically he works part time making cheap imitation roses as a sort of hobby. 

4. Takeru is a sports man that is younger than you. He is the best at saving money in the entire group. He goes as far as putting his soap in a net and using it until it is completely gone. 

5. Kanetsugu is an ‘open-minded’ older president of an IT company. Right now he is a bit stressed out from the latest shareholders meeting. He doesn’t talk too much.

Other features found on the bank include: 

  • Putting money in the bank puts your studs in a good mood. You can check their mood at any time.
  • Wake up to their sweet voices using the alarm feature. 
  • They’ll ‘beg you’ to put more money in (saying things like: “come on!” & “thank you!”)
Watch the interactive Flash demo here (in Japanese only). Some of the comments from the studs that show up on the bed include: “Let me caress you”, “Let’s meet at the bank. I’ll be waiting for you”, “You are so cute, I worry about you” and “Can I hug you? I want to kiss”. 
September 5th, 2008

Change you can beleeve in…

Now I don’t want to get political here at, but I couldn’t pass up posting this pic from the Republican Convention. That guy must figure that McCain is such a ‘mavrick’ that he doesn’t even need to spell the word correctly…

Change you can beleeve in...

Photo courtesy of Katahar.

September 4th, 2008

Snot-Crying Statue and other quirky photos…

Quirky Japan Blog is a photo blog showcasing a lot of cool and yes, quirky photos from Japan. 

I thought this entry from today was interesting – the boy in the statue is crying so hard that he actually has snot dripping from his nose. Gotta love the attention to detail. 















In another entry from today we see a “Harajuku Goth”. The make up is cool, and the colorful clothespins have a sort of je ne sais quoi


So what are you waiting for? He has a lot more cool pics to look through.

September 3rd, 2008

Japan – More Pets than Kids

With all the depressing talk about declining birth rates and whole towns dying in Japan (there aren’t enough crematoriums to keep up!), there is one population that is rising – pets!  According to this article (in Japanese), pets now outnumber children in Japan. 

Japan is officially pet crazy. As in – almost as crazy and pampering to their pets as Americans. Along with such craziness comes the various “wacky inventions” to accommodate pet owners. I’ll try and outline a couple below. 

This same article points out that Japan’s aging society doesn’t apply only to humans. Dogs and cats are starting to live longer and longer: cats in Japan live to 16 – a 50% jump over 20 yrs ago and dogs live to 15 – a whopping 100% increase over 20 years ago. Which begs the question: what were they doing to their dogs back then?

OK, so what is a pet owner to do to take care of these ‘elderly’?  You can start with this contraption – shorts to help keep doggie diapers on.  Sounds like a good idea right? (although the look on his face says: “please put me to sleep now”).

I realize that doggie diapers have been around in the US for a little while, but that doesn’t mean that the Japanese can’t make better doggie diaper technology!




Vending machine selling drinks for dogs

Vending machine selling drinks for dogs


Another item rising in population is the ubiquitous vending machine.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could buy specialized drinks for our dogs in a vending machine? Wait, there is one!

This vending machine sells “doggie water”, doggie sports drinks, doggie tea (called “wan-cha”), and even special DHA enhanced drink for your pooch. They range from 210 to 240 yen ($2 to $2.30 – more than the human equivalents!)



Sports Drink (like Gatorade) for dogs

Sports Drink (like Gatorade) for dogs

With a logo like this, what dog wouldnt want it?

With a logo like this, what dog wouldn't want it?

Wancha - Tea for Dogs

Wancha - Tea for Dogs

DHA Drink - makes them smarter?

DHA Drink - makes them smarter?

September 2nd, 2008

Japanese police find dead body… wait… a blow up doll

Apparently someone in Japan had no-where to throw away his life sized blow up doll, so he tied it up and threw it in the forest. A mad scramble ensued when someone mistook it for a corpse: 

Fifteen officers were dispatched to the scene, where they discovered a human form wrapped in plastic and tightly bound around the neck, midriff and ankles, with hair protruding from one end.

The body was left untouched and taken away for examination, and the crime scene duly secured by a police cordon.

Back at the local police headquarters, officials notified reporters who had turned up early the same morning to cover an annual earthquake drill. They began preparing to write up the launch of a major murder investigation.

Dozens of extra officers were dispatched to interview potential witnesses, while the evening edition of the local newspaper carried a report of the gruesome find, complete with a photograph of the body’s resting place.

By mid-afternoon, the body was in the hands of police pathologists. But when they sliced open the wrapping, they were confronted not by a decomposing corpse, but by a life-sized sex doll

The article goes on to say: 

Though no crime had been committed, the spokesman could not resist admonishing the doll’s mystery owner. The doll, he told bemused reporters, showed signs of repeated use.

Bad owner! 

Article found on Guardian Website.

September 1st, 2008

We are gardener…

I thought that this video was cute: 

You can only catch all the Engrish in a video like this.

September 1st, 2008

Japanese take the least amount of vacation time…

Given that today is Labor Day in the US and Canada, I thought this article from Business Media Makoto was appropriate (article in Japanese).  It turns out that of 9 industrial nations profiled, SURPRISE! – Japanese nationals take the least amount of vacation from work. The article cites the following data from research done by Expedia Japan (I couldn’t find info in English): 

  • Japanese nationals take an average of only 8 days of paid vacation time from work per year (compared to France’s 35 days [!!], Spain/Italy’s 27, Germany 25,  Holland and Austria’s 24 days, UK’s 23 days, and the US is at 13) 
  • Japanese use only 13% of the paid vacation time they are given (German’s use 81% of theirs, the French 80%, Brits 77%, Spanish 76% and Americans 69%)
Among the most popular reasons the Japanese gave for not using their vacation time: 
  1. 39.5% said they are too busy at work to take time off
  2. 34.1% said they would like to save their vacation time for emergencies or in case they get sick 
  3. 24% said they cannot take time off because of peer pressure at work (their bosses and colleagues aren’t taking any time off). 
  4. 14% said that their bosses and peers actually frown upon taking paid vacation time

Japanese have always had a reputation for being hard workers, and this survey would suggest that this is true to a certain extent. In my personal experience of working for large corporations in Japan for 7+ years however, although I would say that the majority of Japanese are very diligent workers, you do see a lot of slack-offs or people pretending to work harder than they really are. If you walk around the various business districts in Tokyo during the day for example, you will see that all of the coffee shops are filled with “hard working” salarymen who stay for hours at a time – sometimes even catching up on their sleep. I used to go on sales calls with Japanese colleagues who would set up 1 or 2 brief meetings where we would sit around and chat for a while over tea and coffee, and then we would promptly head over to a coffee shop to ‘unwind’.  Oh good times… 

Working too hard?

Working too hard? (photo courtesy ZenzenOK)

Another factor to consider in the above survey is that Japanese have more national holidays (15 official days, compared to 11 in the US).  Just with Golden Week (a cluster of 4 holidays during the same week in late April/early May) and New Year’s alone (where the whole country shuts down for a week) there are two full weeks of time off. Most people seem to take a paid holiday around the remaining holidays, or in summer during Obon season when it is more acceptable to take time of (since everybody seems to be doing it!).  In most cases, people don’t take more than a week off at a time. 

The workplace in Japan is as political as any other office around the world, but peer pressure is especially high to stay as late as your colleagues – heaven forbid you leave before your direct superior without any extenuating circumstances.  This also applies toward taking vacations, so I suspect that reason #3 above is actually much higher.

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