Charles Grassley is a Republican Iowa senator, and he’s angry. Angry at AIG execs for paying themselves $165 million in bonuses even after the federal bailout; something even Prez Obama opposes. Instead of trying to paraphrase, let me just quote him:
…the first thing that would make me feel a little bit better toward them if they’d follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, I’m sorry, and then either do one of two things: resign or go commit suicide.And in the case of the Japanese, they usually commit suicide before they make any apology.
Hmmm. Okay. Later, the guy’s spokesperson explained that Grassley didn’t actually want the AIG peeps to commit suicide; he simply wanted them to take responsibility. But he still maintained that the Japanese have a tendency to commit suicide.
There’s a major distinction that Grassley should be aware of here—Japanese execs who fuck up kill themselves when they feel that their shame is too heavy for them to carry on living; in the AIG case, clearly the execs are acting completely shameless even after all the screwing up they did.
Weird news of the day: a middle school basketball coach was fired after it became clear that he forced two kids to behead a pair of pigeons that were getting in the way of practice in December. The dead pigeons were found floating in a pond on campus; when questioned, the coach admitted that it was his doing. He must be a really scary coach. The kids are still traumatized and the pigeons are still headless.
In 1985, a group of excited Hanshin Tigers baseball fans stole a Colonel Sanders statue from a Kentucky Fried Chicken and threw it in Osaka’s Dotonbori River. Sanders was wearing star hitter Randy Bass’ uniform at the time, and the fans did it to celebrate the Tigers’ championship. Bad move. The Tigers haven’t won a title since, causing frustrated fans to call this the Curse of the Colonel Sanders.
The awesome news is that, earlier this week, Colonel Sanders miraculously appeared near the riverbank. He was missing his arms and legs, but investigators found those nearby, too, and put him back together again. Randy Bass, who has since returned to the US and is now a Democratic senator from Oklahoma, says:
“Now that they’ve found the Colonel, the curse is over and it’s time to put your money on the Tigers.”
What’s the most elaborate thing you can buy in an online auction? Probably this 15+ million dollar castle in Ehime Prefecture. It’s being sold, surrounding forest and all, because the owners are stricken by the shitty economy. The only caveat: it used to be a love hotel until five years ago. But hey, if that doesn’t bother you, this is your chance to have your very own 30 bedroom home in the mountains of Matsuyama, which is very close to a hot spring. Bidding starts tomorrow and goes through the 26th.
Talk about bad cooking and fire safety skills. A fire station in Japan was set on fire by an absent minded firefighter who left the cooking stove on when he responded to a call. It took ten fire trucks from another fire station to put out the fire. A Nagoya fire department official apologized and said they are considering eating take out instead. Seriously guys, stick to combini food from now on. (by Emily Co)
This might be the geekiest competition in the world, but damn those calculating hands are fast! The 12th quick calculator calculation contest welcomed 263 participants young and old, male and female. Not sure what the merits of winning such a competition are. Guaranteed job as a cashier? Number-cruncher for life?
A 54-year old Tokyo father was caught taking a pharmaceutical licensing exam while pretending to be his son. He put glasses on and straightened his hair, but he wasn’t fooling nobody—the exam administrators quickly realized that he was too old to be the guy on the ID card and called the cops.
The guy confessed—apparently, he himself had this license already, ran a company that distributes meds, and wanted his son to be eligible to work alongside him. I guess he didn’t have the balls to tell him that, though, because the son claimed he knew nothing about this plan.
I love the audacity of people who think they can get away with stuff like this.
53-year old Takuo Shigehisa made headlines today when he discovered how to turn Indonesian brown coal into a viable source of electricity by using “tempura technology.” He discovered the technique back in 1993 when he was trying to reduce water content from brown coal; when he deep-fried it in kerosene (in his kitchen at home, much to the dismay of his wife and kids), the coal turned crispy and reusable. He brought the idea to Kobe Steel, and the company then built a pilot project in Indonesia. Today, a real coal plant is being built in Satui, a village in southern Indonesia, founded on the principles of Shigehisa’s love for tempura.
Hiroshi Nohara is a mini-celebrity in Mexico City. Why? The Japanese traveler visited Mexico City, and then, on September 2, headed to the airport to fly home but never flew home. He’s been living in Terminal 1 of Benito Juarez airport ever since, surviving off of fast-food donations. Apparently, neither Mexican nor Japanese authorities can make him leave until his visa expires in March. He’s been there for nearly three months now—the media caught on, and now he’s regularly asked for autographs and has even been on Mexican TV. When asked why he’s doing this, he said:
"I don’t understand why I’m here. I don’t have a
Apparently, airport vendors have been giving him clothes and mugs to carry when he’s on TV to promote their brands. An interesting twist on the concept of free promo swag!
Satoru Takeda, a 58-year old unemployed Gifu man, spend three days without food in a valley off of a mountain road after swerving to avoid running over a bunny rabbit. He was injured, and it was cold, and he couldn’t get back up the cliff to seek help, so he just stayed in his car until Day 3. When cops finally discovered him, they found another car in the same valley, with a dead guy inside.
I don’t really know why I’m posting this—I guess the idea of a random little bunny rabbit creating such extreme hardship for a well-intended man somehow caught my attention.
Tomoki Matsuyama, 32, is a master purse snatcher. Since 1997, he is thought to have stolen 1,025 purses in Saitama prefecture with a total of 79 million yen in them. That means he started when he was 21! He’s jobless and has no fixed address, but he did carefully log each theft in a little notebook so that he could avoid hitting up the same spots when cops might be on the lookout for him. Seriously wow. He finally got caught and is now on trial for robbery, inflicting bodily in jury, and theft.
About a month ago, a 41-year old port worker named Nobukazu Kashiwagi called an ambulance, claiming he had been bitten by a poisonous snake. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. When police searched his condo near Harajuku station, right in the heart of Tokyo, they found 51 poisonous snakes, including super-venomous cobras.
Apparently, the guy kept all the snakes in boxes. The one that bit him was a six-foot mamba from the African Savannah, one of the most poisonous snakes in the world. Kashiwagi is inviolation of the Law Concerning the Protection and Control of Animals, and was promptly arrested after he recovered. Nobody knows why he had so many poisonous snakes in his house.
Every August, millions of Japanese go to their ancestors’ graves in honor of the obon holiday, when spirits of the dead are said to come back to earth. It’s also one of three major stretches where the whole country goes on vacation (the other two: Golden Week and New Years). This year, dozens of families were horrified to find that someone had stolen urns from under the gravestone. The victims were all women, and some of the urns had been replaced with ominous notes that said: "I have it." As in, I have the remains of your wife, your sister, or your mother. Ugh. What a sick-o.
What do you do when you work for the judiciary branch of the government and you find out that the person who has been sending you freaky stalker-ish emails was a judge? The guy in this pic, Yoshiharu Shimoyama, is a 55-year old judge at the Utsunomiiya District Court. He was convicted of sending over a dozen anonymous sexual emails to a twenty-something year old subordinate.
He must have defended his case pretty well, though, because he only got a six month sentence, and also got it suspended for two years. There is still a possibility that he might be impeached. I mean seriously, this guy presides over the district and family courts there. Would you really want some stalker weirdo dude deciding whether you should have custody of your kid? The Mainichi quotes the presiding judge over his case as saying: “It was a truly shameful crime that ran counter to the people’s trust in judges and the judiciary.”
A broke sweaty Kyushu man was arrested on Saturday for stealing electricity from his neighbor’s house. His had been cut off, so he snuck onto the property next door and drew an extension cord from one of its outlets on Friday night. Then he plugged in his fan an cooled off for a few hours, and presumably fell asleep. Then the cops came the next morning after the neighbor noticed the cord.
A Tokyo man died late into the night Saturday when a bookstore worker accidentally closed the storefront iron shutter on him. 51-year old Hideo Hiruma was found trapped between the shutter and the ground around 2am. I think he may have fallen asleep drunk under the store awning, and the storekeeper just closed the thing without looking, never suspecting that a human might be immediate underneath. A fair assumption under normal circumstances, I’d think. But people fall asleep in random places all the time late at night in Tokyo. The trains stop running anywhere between midnight and 1:30am, even on Saturdays, so people who get drunk, live far, don’t have enough cash, and finish drinking at a half-assed hour have to somehow kill time until the first train starts up the next morning. I once called the cops from my cell phone at 2am because a guy was sleeping (passed out drunk) at a parking lot entrance in Meguro. Sooo dangerous.
Death from overwork. You hear about it, but I have actually never heard of a real case of this until now. A 32-year old manager at a branch of Denny’s competitor Skylark in Saitama has been proclaimed officially dead from overwork by the local labor office. It’s the first time a non-permanent employee has ever died of this cause. The victim, Takayuki Maezawa, worked more than 100 hours of overtime a month and was given way more responsibility than he was paid or recognized for. He had been working for Skylark since he was 15, first as a part-time worker.
Maezawa died in October of a brain hemorrhage induced while on the job.
The image shows a placard that reads: Death from overwork. Be careful not to work too much.
Awful doggie news from Nagoya—a 44-year old Chihuahua-hater kicked another man’s 4-month old, 2-kg puppy to death on a sidewalk on Sunday. The dog was being walked by its owner in the late afternoon. When questioned, the man said: "I was scared of the dog." WTF?? If anybody even tries to assault Ruby on the street, I will beat him to a pulp.
On June 28, a man in Nagasaki was caught with a DIY Digg bot in his house. The robotic arm dugg more than 3,000 stories in 2 days through sophisticated story detection mechanisms. You can see it at work in this video. I don’t know why the commentator talks like a robot, too. It’s a little strange. Also a little strange that it’s illegal to make Digg bots. People rig Digg manually all the time. Besides, why do Japanese police care if he’s violating Digg’s user policy? I don’t understand, but maybe I’m missing something.
A 28-year old man was caught on tape while robbing convenience stores in Osaka in a dog mask. His motive? To feed his two dogs, five cats, five turtles, two snakes, and his fish tank full of tropical fish. The guy, Takaharu Kuwata, managed to get over $5,500 in total from three hold-ups before he was arrested in March. Kuwata was on welfare and he claims that the monthly checks he was getting weren’t enough to pay for his pet expenses.
Now the guy is in police custody, and his pets were handed over to a local pet shop.