Jan 7, 2009

Jan 7, 2009

All the news that we can imagine


Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on January 2010


Japan Ushers in Post-Wendy’s Era with Uncertainty, Grief
Wendy’s Japan, 1980-2009

Wendy’s Japan, 1980-2009

The mood was somber at the site of the former Wendy’s restaurant in Ginza, where mourners came in droves to express their grief, lay flowers, and light chili-cheese scented candles. A very different scene took place the previous evening, when customers mobbed Wendy’s shops in an attempt to stockpile burgers, fries and Frosties ahead of the chain’s withdrawal from the Japanese market at midnight. But with the cold chill of dawn, Tokyoites awoke with a sense of despair, and there were reports of spontaneous memorials springing up across the city. Choking through sobs, one middle-aged Japanese man in Shinjuku held up a sign that read, “Where is the square-shaped beef?” A volunteer at the Tokyo English Lifeline support center told The Negi that he has been inundated with calls from foreigners despondent at the thought of facing another year in Japan without triple-decker burgers and self-serve ketchup tins. Fresh graffiti on a Wendy’s storefront in Ikebukuro spoke volumes for the fast-food chain’s legions of fans: “Wendy, I loved you, you bitch!”

NOVA Brand still Strong Among Alzheimer’s Patients, Coma Victims

Nova Corp., once the leading chain of English conversation schools in Japan, hit rock bottom in late 2008 following a series of financial scandals. Yet in a recently concluded study, Nova marketers were delighted to discover that the eikaiwa’s iconic pink bunny mascot still has a remarkably positive image among patients who have just awakened from long-term comas or are suffering from memory issues associated with Alzheimer’s. The study showed that over 90 percent of such respondents expressed either a “positive” or “somewhat positive” reaction to the Nova brand, though it was also noted that “a statistically insignificant minority” suffered panic attacks when shown pictures of the pink bunny. In a further effort to rebrand itself, Nova has dropped the slogan “Eki Mae Ryugaku” in favor of “No… no, That Was a Different Nova”

Pretentious Travelers Protest Opening of Abercrombie & Fitch in Tokyo

Since opening its first Tokyo store last month, Abercrombie & Fitch has suffered a backlash from globe-trotting Japanese who want it to be known that they regularly travel abroad to do their shirt shopping. “My Aba-Kuro sweatshirt was like wearing a huge sign on my chest that said, ‘I’m international. I’ve been to Hawaii,’ one customer told The Negi. “But now I’ll have to pepper my Japanese with more unnecessary English so people nearby will know that I have a passport.”

International Couple Agree on Lame Name for Child

After an arduous series of deliberations involving parents, grandparents, extended family members, a numerologist and a kanji expert, Mark and Yuko Swanson-Kobayashi have finally decided on a name for their newborn son. The difficulties arose due to all family members wanting to insure that both sides of the child’s bicultural background were duly represented. Using part of the paternal grandfather’s name alongside a kanji from the Japanese family, a plurality of votes was secured for the boy’s new name: Benji Meredith Swanson-Kobayashi. The happy, healthy child seemed entirely unaware of the horrors he would face during his middle school years, regardless of which nation his parents decide to raise him in.

Futenma Relocation To Be Delayed Until Okinawa Sinks Below Sea Level

Following a series of tense negotiations with the United States, the Japanese government has compiled a secret white paper that outlines a plan to solve the thorny Futenma Base relocation issue once and for all. The report, which takes into account the medium- and long-term effects of global warming, recommends that Japan relocate the base to an area of Okinawa that will largely be submerged by the year 2025.

“We plan on just handing over the land around 2020, which will fulfill our obligations to the US,” said a politician familiar with the report, who requested anonymity. “Our scientists assure us that before the base is operational, it will be 70-80 percent under sea level. Given the difficulty of landing military fighter planes in water, we foresee little in the way of noise complaints from local residents.”

Government analysts are also expecting a significant economic boost for the local snorkeling and diving industry, as many American service members will be able to access their SUVs and living quarters only with scuba apparatus.

News in Brief
  • Millions Examine First Bowel Movement of the Year for Signs of Good Fortune
  • Gaijin Dude Upset Police Found Ichihashi Before He Did
  • Future of Sumo Feared as Wendy’s Closes
  • Christmas Scandal Fallout Continues: “Santa Loves Little Asian Boys and Girls”
  • Heroic Citizen Smoker Ashes into Own Pocket to Keep Streets Clean
  • Tokyu Hands to Release DIY Large Hadron Collider