Ginza gaming

Ginza’s famous brands, fancy restaurants, and fashionable boutiques may appeal to many adults. But for a gang of young boys, none of them can hold a torch to the trusty old Game Boy Advance.

gaming in ginza

Launderette loiterer

Tochigi Prefecture Government official Takayuki Oka took the afternoon off work on April 19th. But it wasn’t to visit his doctor or meet up with friends. No, the 35-year-old cross dresser thought his time was best spent loitering outside a local launderette.

Obviously this in itself is no crime, but dressed entirely in women’s clothes, Oka-san unwisely decided to show more than a bit of leg. As when a 25-year-old woman entered the building, he demurely lifted the hem of his itsy-bitsy miniskirt and exposed his decidedly un-ladylike member.

During questioning the accused admitted to the allegations, but in his defence a Government official said (with or without a cheeky grin in reference to their double entendre) that, ahem, Oka had always been “a hard worker.”

Smoking manner #4

Since the last mention on Tokyo Times of the decidedly relaxed approach to smoking in Japan and the emphasis on manners more than anything else, things have actually changed. A little bit. Many restaurants, coffee shops, and fast-food eateries have actively embraced no-smoking areas, with some of them (well, I’ve seen one) even going smoke-free.

But thankfully this hasn’t stopped Japan Tobacco from continuing its (unintentionally) funny and often-unfathomable smoking manner campaign. And as the nation’s biggest cigarette manufacturer is partly owned by the government, this presumably isn’t about to change anytime soon either.

Yet I shouldn’t let such cynicism get in the way of the smoking related gems below. With the promotion of portable ashtrays being a particularly popular topic of late.

smoking manner

And then there’s this offering, which I’m guessing alludes to the same thing. Or there again, maybe not.

smoking manner

And the last one also seems to be along the same lines. But it is of such a surreal nature that I can’t be completely sure.

smoking manner

In fact you could argue it’s even Zen-like in its approach. The sound of one hand clapping however pales into insignificance when compared to the sound of children scolding adults with paintbrushes. A mystery that would surely challenge even the greatest of minds.

Mildly amusing English usage #10

Unfortunately the label on the garment pictured below failed to say if its rather unforgiving use of English was aimed at any major in particular.

japlish fashion

But dedicated followers of fashion and high-ranking military personnel haters needn’t worry about causing offence. The colourful language is attached by velcro, allowing it to be removed when in polite company.

Public performances

Whilst attempting to clear some junk from my hard drive over the weekend, I came across a story told to me by an ex-colleague that I had stored for posterity about four or five years ago. And with the recent introduction of women only carriages in Tokyo, plus the continued rise of commuter related misdemeanours, it’s relatively topical. Yes, I realise that topical and Tokyo Times aren’t exactly regular bedfellows, but they are today. And what’s more, the tale is a rather shocking one too.

Now before I start it has to be said that none of the unsavoury events about to be recounted were (thankfully) witnessed by me personally. But what I can say is that the woman whose story this is was a trustworthy type, and her distress and discomfort whilst recounting the details of her late night commutes means I didn’t have any reason to disbelieve her.

As a final bit of background information, the unfortunate lady in question lived in Tokyo, but right on the outskirts of the city and at the end of a train line. And as busy as most trains are, when you get towards the end of the line, the number of commuters dwindles enormously. Especially on late night trains during the week.

Ok, with all that out of the way, we can finally get to the meat of the tale. Which I’m afraid to say involves masturbation. Yes, what surprised my ex-coworker most about her late night journey home was the number of sleepy yet noticeably stimulated salary men. Apparently the first time she witnessed such activities, she was more amused (or perhaps bemused is a more accurate description) than anything else. And without going into too much detail, she basically had the decidedly dubious pleasure of seeing the movement of hands shuffling up and down under trousers. With it being very clear that rummaging around for loose change was definitely not the order of the day.

Now obviously such sexual shenanigans aren’t what one expects to see on the way home, but our intrepid traveller was (like I said earlier) initially more amused than appalled. This didn’t last long though, as glancing down an almost deserted carriage one night, she happened upon another bold-faced basher. Only this man wasn’t quite so reserved, and in no way was he respecting the unwritten rules of masturbating manner. No, not by a long shot. As with his trousers undone, there was no mistaking what he was up to.

Anyway, not wanting to see the man get to the end of his journey as it were, she got up and moved down to another carriage. But this turned out to be a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire, because upon entering the next compartment she was confronted by an old man urinating in the corner! Now arguably the latter is more acceptable (or at least understandable) as beer and bladders aren’t always the best of buddies. Plus it appeared to be a one-off, and an emergency of the kind many of us can probably relate to. Openly masturbating in public however is quite the opposite. Although from the gist of the tale, for some passengers it seemed to be almost mandatory.

In my time here I have heard similar-ish stories, but they have always been along the lines of, “A friend of a friend saw…” But hearing this one straight from the horse’s mouth as it were, means I’m inclined to believe it. And even allowing for a few embellishments, it’s a shocking tale to say the least. Whereas most of us are content to read or listen to music during our daily commute, others it seems have a very different approach to passing the time. I suppose you could say different strokes for different folks. But I won’t.

Sobbing sumo

Saturday saw Tokyo’s Sensoji Temple host its annual crying sumo event.

crying sumo

A competition that pits wailing and whimpering babies against one another, with the loudest bawler taking the top prize. Although the organizers will probably claim it’s not as cruel as it sounds, considering that the real purpose of the event is to wish the children good health.

crying sumo

However whilst the granting of good health through such a practice is hopeful to say the least, what isn’t is the infliction of deep and disturbing mental scars. As the memories of being held aloft in front of a crowd by an overweight and near-naked stranger will surely haunt these youngsters for many many years to come…