Zoo hullabaloo

Following in the footsteps of Ueno Zoo, workers at western Tokyo’s Tama Zoo held a training exercise this week to practice capturing animals that may break-out during a natural disaster or an especially audacious escape bid. And, like their downtown counterparts, the staff utilised the latest in make-up methods and animatronics technology to make the drill more realistic.

japanese zoo

Perhaps understandably, the ultra life-like orang-utan outfit sported by Morita from marketing put the fear of God into the majority of those present, but eager to please her new employer, recent recruit Nakamura-san risked life and limb by bravely attempting to coax the confused animal back towards its enclosure.

japanese zoo

The rampaging beast’s refusal to play along however resulted in the arrival of gun-wielding young Goto-san,

japanese zoo

who, as the rest of the staff cowered behind protective fences, promptly halted the primate’s potter about.

japanese zoo

A result that whilst delighting zoo officials had a decidedly different affect on two visiting school children.

crying kids

Tokyo twaddle

Although the Japanese indulge in a spot of dog fighting now and again – albeit on a small scale – indulging the dog itself is far more common, with the likes of mud baths and canine size kimonos. A trend that has recently been taken even further by El Perro, a Tokyo based aqua fitness centre.

tokyo dog centre

Here, pampered pooches can receive remedies for bone and sinew problems, along with a nice splash about in the pool.

japanese pampered pets

And for those looking for something a little bit extra, post-paddle pool-side ear massages are an extravagant option.

tokyo massage

Plus, for a pet a little on the plump side, weight loss programmes are available, with the company’s website highlighting the diary of Momo – El Perro’s dieting dachshund.

momo

A touching story that has seen the once colossal canine lose almost half its weight, slimming down from a sizeable 26.8 Kg to a rather more svelte 14.5 Kg. Quite an achievement in just under a year.

fat dog

However the centre’s plan to stop at nothing to please its customers has led to reprehensible rumours regarding alleged genital licking and arse sniffing services; an issue Tokyo Times attempted to get to the bottom of, but a phone call regarding such practices was met with nothing but a stony silence – neither quashing nor confirming the allegations.

Mascot mayhem

”This could only happen in a country that is so open to immaturity. Authorities here feel it’s easier and less threatening to use characters to get the public to accept them, rather than explain the facts”

Psychiatrist and author Rika Kayama’s somewhat scathing attack on the use of cartoon character Prince Pickles as Japan’s Self-Defence Forces mascot.

japanese character prince pickles

Whilst the rather unusually named Prince Pickles may indeed be a little on the cute side to be representing the nation’s trained troops, Kayama-san’s comments do seem a little over the top. I mean, it’s not as though, say, the police force have a similarly silly symbol.

Well, apart from perky wee Pipo that is.

japanese character pipo

However in his defence he does have the important role of reminding the more forgetful members of society what the force’s emergency number is – making him much more than a mere mascot.

japanese character pipo

And then admittedly the fire and ambulance fleet do have cuddly young Kyuta, but as well as offering the same number based service as Pipo,

japanese character kyuta

the fearless little fella is dedicated to detecting emergency calls with his antenna-equipped headwear, tirelessly tending to the teeming masses of Tokyo.

japanese character kyuta

Clearly proving that Ms Kayama doesn’t have a clue what she is talking about.

Japan Unwrapped #3: Bikini bother

Dear Tokyo Times

As a regular reader of Japan related websites, I’d like to ask why so many seem to have more than their fair share of bikini models? But, if that must be the case, as a woman a few similar pictures of hunky men wouldn’t go amiss.

Thanks!

Debs

Well, I can’t vouch for the others Debs, but personally speaking it’s not necessarily planned, rather something that just sort of happens. In fact, before I’m even aware of it sometimes, a picture has inexplicably popped up.

reon kadena

Then the appearance of one inevitably leads to another.

yoko mitsuya

And then another.

morishita chisato

Creating a situation that is almost out of hand (so to speak) and very difficult to stop, invariably working its way up to a crescendo of sorts.

eriko sato and koike eiko

And it’s not even a desperate attempt to attract truckloads of traffic either, as it’s mechanical masturbating machines that do that. But, just for a change, things will be different today, so to abruptly nip this one in the bud, here’s a rare picture of a handsome hunk to redress the balance somewhat.

Japanese hunk

(As ever, questions can be submitted to Japan Unwrapped by using the contact form or leaving a comment below.)

Tokyo trends

Appearance is arguably everything in Japan, with clothing often clearly identifying a person’s role in society, all the way from subdued suited salary men to elegantly turned out elevator girls. Possibly the best known of these outfits outside Japan being the skimpy-skirted schoolgirl’s sailor suit; an ensemble particularly popular with the cosplay contingent – both female,

Japanese schoolgirl

and male.

Japanese schoolgirl cosplay

Yet for the man who works but doesn’t wear a suit (or indeed a schoolgirl uniform), there is fortunately a one-stop shop, which, rather appropriately, is called Workman.

Japanese shop

A retailer with racks of stuff to rig-out even the most fashion conscious contractor – regardless of his profession.

Japanese work wear

But as good as Workman’s garb undoubtedly is, it surely can’t compare to the company’s commercials, which are so criminally bad they are good.

Almost.

Tokyo trickery

The relatively short life-span of Japanese houses – twenty-five years is a figure often banded about – means that having a domicile of some description or other being built nearby is far from uncommon, especially in Tokyo. A situation that unfortunately means getting woken up at 8 a.m. every morning by a bevy of banging, baggy-panted builders.

Yet whilst the noise is unfortunately unavoidable, the new structure itself is. Well, sort of, as the clever concealing technology adopted by some construction companies makes it almost impossible to tell where the new home is being built. In fact, it took me the best part of two weeks to finally work out the whereabouts of the gradually growing erection pictured below. And then I only stumbled upon it by mistake – its camouflage capabilities almost military-like. A technology that could surely have a whole host of uses, with its cloaking qualities even more evident when placed next to the real thing.

So, whilst you may have to look long and hard, can you tell which is the cover and which are real clouds?

A:

japanese construction

B:

Japanese construction

Take your time now, I know it’s tricky.

The answer, for those struggling a bit, can be found by clicking here.