Light saber similarities

I took this picture fairly recently during a kendo tournament at the school I work in.

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Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it’s fairly easy to see where a certain Mr. George Lucas got a hefty chunk of inspiration from. If you take away the crappy gymnasium interior and the judges. Oh, and the school kids watching. Plus I suppose the outfits. And it’s right there before your eyes. A scene that would slot straight into any of the Star Wars movies.

No?

Upskirt picture perverts

With a massive increase in the availability of cheap digital cameras, coupled with the huge number of camera equipped phones on the market, the danger of mischief is now never far away. Although to be fair, the mobile phone makers in Japan were quickly on to the pervert potential of the camera and phone combo, making each handset produce an inordinately loud noise every time a picture is taken.

But with Japan’s seemingly vast underground network of peepers (even University professors are at it), the battle against such deviants is always going to be an uphill struggle. Fairly recently however, the police managed to score a rare point against the dark forces of perversion.

Last week it was reported that during March, the police in Saitama Prefecture (just north of Tokyo) captured six members of a gang dedicated to voyeuristic pictures of women taken with concealed digital cameras. The group came together after meeting through an internet site dedicated to their unique brand of photography. And to make their operations more covert, they each adopted a nickname. One of the men rather optimistically calling himself ‘Beckham’.

But the gang’s downfall came when they were caught trying to ‘photograph’ a 20-year-old shop clerk. One member of the group engaged the unsuspecting woman in conversation, whilst the rest of the members approached her from behind (although presumably not all at once) and captured their desired image. A technique apparently well known amongst upskirt photography aficionados.

After the gang’s no doubt embarrassing arrest, one of the members said, “I wanted to get shots that my colleagues would praise.” Whilst another was quoted as saying, “Normally, a person takes upskirt photos on his own. But we did it in a group in a bid to improve our technique.”

What charges will be brought against these men remains to be seen, but in the future lets hope they don’t get their hands on one of these little wonders.

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Heaven knows what kind of trouble such men could get themselves into with a camera that small.

Fuji foray?

This coming Thursday marks the start of the official Mount Fuji climbing season. Not that you can’t climb it any time you wish, but unless you know what you are doing when it comes to climbing mountains, the next 2 months are the ideal time to give it a go. If you really want to that is.

Ascending Fuji-san has a fair few advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps the main disadvantage (apart from slogging up the mountain for 7 hours or so) is that up close Fuji isn’t all that pretty. Although that’s something of an understatement, as basically it’s ugly and strewn with all kinds of rubbish. Those postcard images of a snow capped conical beauty are hard to imagine when you actually get on the mountain itself.

Also, if you choose to make a bid for the top during August, be prepared to deal with thousands of other like-minded individuals. Get your timing wrong and you are going to find yourself in a slow moving and very frustrating queue for the top.

But like I said, there are advantages. Well, a few anyway. First off, imagine the sense of awe and wonder you’ll feel upon reaching the top and finding numerous vending machines placed there just for your convenience. Dispensing all kinds of tasty hot beverages, and if you are partial to it, canned corn soup too.

But if that doesn’t amaze you, I’m sure the ramen shop that opens just before sunrise will at least raise an eyebrow. I’m not joking here. There is actually a restaurant on top of Mount Fuji. Ok it’s no 5 star establishment, but it serves hot and (relatively) tasty ramen. So in my book that’s a restaurant. And at some ungodly hour in the morning, after just climbing the mountain and finding it a lot colder than that you expected, that humble little shack looks like the most enticing eatery you could ever imagine.

And if these man-made wonders don’t make the jaunt worthwhile, there is always the view.

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Regal Rooney

David Beckham may still be god in Japan, but 18-year-old phenomenon Wayne Rooney is hot on his heels. Rooney’s incredible rise has been so fast that he’s already been crowned king on these shores. And not just any old king either, but a Wonder King.

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The back page of that newspaper is usually reserved for Japanese baseball stars, soccer players, sumo champions, and of course the aforementioned David Beckham. So it looks like Rooney could well be on his way to reaping in bucket loads of cash from Japanese sponsors.

The only problem may be his appearance. In fashion conscious Japan, Beckham fits the bill perfectly with his ever-changing hairstyles and cool street fashion. Rooney on the other hand doesn’t. And on TV last week, one sports presenter said that as much as he admired Rooney’s skill, he couldn’t stop thinking about how unintelligent he looks.

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You know, he does have a point.

Dozing donor

“I warned him to realize the importance of things, but I didn’t think he would really write in blood”

Last week a teacher in Fukuoaka lost his temper with a student who repeatedly fell asleep in class. After calling the boy to the staff room, the unnamed teacher chastised him for continually sleeping during lessons. But as the teacher felt the student didn’t show any remorse, he handed him a piece of paper and a box cutter and told him to write an apology in blood.

Despite the boy’s habit of sleeping when he should be studying, he can’t be accused of not following orders. As when the teacher returned to the staff room a few minutes after giving his bizarre instructions, the boy had already cut his finger and managed to write the first sentence in blood.

At this point the teacher finally realized that he “went too far”, and told the boy to stop. Writing in blood that is. The rest of the letter it was decided could be finished in plain old pencil.

Later in the day the incident was reported to the principle, who not surprisingly wasn’t all that impressed. Although his statement can’t really be described as a forceful condemnation of the teacher’s actions. Whilst presumably not raising his voice, and definitely not banging his fist on the desk, the principle said, “I want to issue instruction so this type of thing doesn’t happen again.”

I certainly hope it doesn’t, as after seeing disturbing numbers of perpetually sleeping students in Japanese schools, such practices would result in a huge rise in the number of anemia sufferers.