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ByLike Nagoya Admin

You put WHAT in your curry? Japanese netizens reveal their favourite secret ingredients

“Don’t knock it till you try it” comes to mind for some of these!

Japanese curry is pretty simple to make. Just pick your favourite roux, add meat and vegetables and that’s it! But, much like other comfort foods from around the world, Japanese curry isn’t limited to just one recipe. Each person has their own individual way of making it, right down to the specific way they cut their veggies or how long to cook the curry for. And even if the same curry roux is used, the taste may vary from family to family, as people use their favourite secret ingredients to give their curry a unique taste.

We’ve seen some strange curry ingredients before, like matcha and sakura petals, but surely these are just trendy ingredients to attract foodies, right? Regular Japanese households don’t use such unorthodox ingredients… right?

A survey by Japanese lifestyle portal Kufura asked 437 Japanese women what secret ingredient they used in their curry, and the top ten results were posted.

10. Yoghurt
9. Tomato
8. Milk
7. Ketchup
6. Honey

5. Soy sauce

Perhaps not so surprising, soy sauce was the fifth most popular response. Proponents said they liked how it shifted the flavor balance from spicy to rich, and also how it added a traditional Japanese taste to the dish.

4. Garlic

Another pretty orthodox ingredient, garlic, comes in at number four. Because this is a ranking of “secret ingredients” though, respondents aren’t tossing in whole cloves and eating them like the large chunks of potato or carrot you find in Japanese curry. Instead, the trick is to grate the garlic before it goes into the pot, so that it melts into the roux.

3. Chocolate

Yes, a surprising number of respondents (36) said they added chocolate to their curry. Dark chocolate was favoured over milk, in order to give the flavor extra depth without making it sugary sweet.

2. Worcestershire sauce

Ketchup made an appearance in the top ten, but the second most popular secret ingredient was what’s simply called “sosu” in Japanese, a savory liquid seasoning most similar to Worcestershire sauce. Because the sauce itself is made up of a mixture of various spices, it can added to curry to enhance the flavor without overpowering the roux’s inherent taste.

And finally…

1. Instant coffee

Taking the top spot in the secret ingredients was instant coffee, for those who want a sweet caffeine hit with their meal. With Japanese curry already representing spicy, salty, and sweet notes pretty strongly, the addition of a bitter element really makes for a complete, maturely sophisticated eating experience for fans.

The top ten most popular responses have a couple of unusual ingredients in there, but other less common but equally unusual answers included Calpis (“It gives the curry a refreshing taste,”) and leftover jam (“It’s eco-friendly,”). Equally, a number of respondents replied that they didn’t use any secret ingredient at all, preferring to enjoy the taste of the roux on its own.

Next time you make yourself some Japanese curry, why not try one of these ingredients for yourself? You might end up discovering your new favourite flavour! Just… whatever you do, don’t call it katsu curry unless there’s some actual breaded cutlets on the top!

Source: Kufura via Yahoo! Japan News via Jin
Featured image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso (1, 2) Pakutaso
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ByLike Nagoya Admin

Lawson now giving customers who bring their own tumblers an even better discount on coffee drinks

It’s nicer than Starbucks’ 20-yen discount!

If you’re someone who always has to stop and get coffee on the way to work, take note! Lawson’s budget-friendly convenience store coffee shop “Machi Cafe”–whose staff insist on handing you your coffee even if you don’t want them to–is now even more wallet-friendly, because they’re offering customers who bring their own travel mug or tumbler an even better discount than usual!

Since the introduction of Machi Cafe in Lawsons around the country in 2011, the company has always offered a decent 10-yen (US$0.09) discount to customers who bring their own container in an effort to help reduce their single-use plastic waste. Since 2017, however, they’ve made it their goal to reduce their plastic consumption by 30 percent by 2030, so they have been working to do more to reach that goal.

For instance, in 2019, they switched to selling their iced coffee in a paper cup and replaced the lid with one that doesn’t need a straw. This summer, they’re thanking their customers for helping with that goal by offering a 39-yen discount for coffee fans who bring their own travel mug!

That beats out Starbucks Japan’s 20-yen discount (which is normally better than Lawson’s usual discount, though Lawson’s coffee is generally cheaper anyway), so if you’re addicted to coffee but on a budget, Lawson is the place to go. The discount applies to both hot and cold coffee and latte drinks (excluding the mega size, which does not count for the normal tumbler discount, either).

They’re calling it the “Thank you” discount (because 3=”san” and 9=”kyuu”, adding up to “sankyuu”), but it won’t be around for long; this nice benefit will only last till August 30, so get your coffee fill while you can! You can even bring your favorite Starbucks travel mug; don’t worry, no one will judge you.

Source: Oricon News via Livedoor News via Otacom, Lawson
Top image: Pakutaso

Insert image: Lawson
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Drunk droning arrest first of its kind in Aichi Prefecture

Friends don’t let friends fly tiny helicopters drunk.

With the wide range of models and increasingly affordable pricing, drone flying has become an extremely fun hobby for many. However, as I always tell my kids, “with great fun comes great responsibility,” which is probably why they don’t like talking to me.

I’m not wrong though, and to prove it we have the arrest of a 56-year-old man who became the first in his prefecture to get busted for violating the newly enacted law against flying a drone while intoxicated.

The incident occurred on 12 June in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, when the suspect consumed eight cans of beer between the hours of 7 a.m. and noon. Interestingly enough, all that morning drinking motivated the suspect to start cleaning his room.

Our Japanese-side writer Seiji clearly needs to drink more.

While tidying, he happened upon a drone which he had bought a few years ago and took it out of the box to see if it still worked. Upon learning that it did, the drunken suspect abandoned his cleaning ambitions to take it for a spin.

However, while in flight, the drone weighing about 540 grams (1.2 pounds) collided with the window of a nearby residence. The neighbor called the police to report the crash and the ensuing investigation led them back to the suspect who admitted to the charges of drinking and droning.

He may have been surprised to learn that such a crime even existed, as a law regarding it had only been passed earlier this year when Japan revised its Civil Aeronautics Act to include various provision for drones. As a result, piloting a drone under the influence became officially prohibited and his was the first arrest of its kind in Aichi.

▼ News report on the arrest

It certainly surprised many readers of the news who had never heard of such a crime before, but could easily understand why it came to be.

“There’s also drunk driving for drones?”
“There’s no drunk flying for drones. I didn’t know that, but they can certainly do harm when they crash.”
“That’s silly. Drones can’t drink.”
“I’ve never piloted drunk before.”

“Just like with a car, nothing good can come of piloting a drone while drunk.”
“It certainly a law we need.”
“Drinking before noon, cleaning, playing with a drone, I can really sympathize with his situation though.”
“At least he just hit a window and not someone’s head.”
“I think you could get away with it in a place like America because it has more space, but it’s probably windier and harder to control too.”

It’s another example of how the law must adapt to keep up with changes in society and technology. However, we too as members of society have to adjust our behavior to adapt with these changes as well.

So the next time you get drunk for breakfast and get the urge to do some fancy flying, remember to do it in a safe and consequence-free environment. After all, that’s precisely the reason that Microsoft Flight Simulator was developed.

Source: NHK, Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: ©SoraNews24
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ByLike Nagoya Admin

Super-expensive capsule toys – Trying out Japan’s Premium Gachapon machine【Photos】

Bandai’s top-of-the-line capsule toys are expensive enough that you can’t buy them with coins,

Part of what makes vending machine capsule toys so popular in Japan is their impulse buy-friendly pricing. Most of them cost somewhere around 400 yen (US$3.60), so as long as you get even a mild chuckle out of, say, a miniature hand sanitizer stand or a chubby panda weighing itself on a bathroom scale, it’s pretty easy to buy one with whatever loose change you’ve got in your pocket.

Recently, though, our Japanese-language reporter P.K. Sanjun found out about toy maker Bandai’s Premium Gachapon line. These high-end capsule toys have trinkets priced at 800, 1,000, and even, he’d heard, 1,500 yen (US$13.60). So with his journalistic juices flowing and his expense account-exploiting emotions surging, he went out to try a Premium Gachapon for himself.

Because of their higher price point, the Premium Gachapon is less about quirkiness and more about quality, and that translates into a lot of anime character figures. Sure enough, when P.K. looked at the 1,500-yen machine, it was offering figures of Dragon Ball’s Goku charging up a very cool Kamehameha energy blast.

Instead of pumping 1,500 yen’s worth of coins into the Premium Gachapon machines, they work with one of Japan’s chargeable train ticket/shopping cards, like Suica or Passmo, or smartphone payment apps, like Line Pay or Pay Pay. Near the machines was a charging terminal, with written instructions in multiple languages.

But just as P.K. was about to purchase a 1,500-yen Goku, he noticed that a machine selling even more expensive capsule toys, priced at 2,000 yen (US$18.20) each!

Now, as proper capsule toy machines, there’s a degree of randomness as to exactly what toy you’ll get. However, Bandai realizes that even the most enthusiastic gacha gamblers desire some degree of certainty about what they’re buying before they’ll part with that much money. So while this 2,000-yen machine had four possible toys you can get, they were all figures of the same character, Azu/As from tokusatsu series Kamen Rider Zero-One, but with different hairstyles, facial expressions, and poses.

Back at the SoraNews4 headquarters, P.K. opened up the capsule to see what he’d gotten.

Some assembly is required, since the figure can’t fit inside the capsule without being broken down into pieces. Putting them together is pretty simple, though, and doesn’t require any special tools or adhesives like a model kit would.

After a few seconds, the job was finished, and the figure even comes with a stand to help keep Azu upright on your desk or shelf.

The quality is honestly pretty impressive, far better than the suspect seams and dull paint some more cheaply made capsule toys occasionally have. Honestly, there was only one problem…

…P.K. has never watched Kamen Rider Zero-One, and so has no pre-existing attachment to or affection for Azu.

Honestly, though, that’s on P.K., not Bandai’s designers, and considering that we’ve got some pretty big otaku on staff, we’re sure she’ll find a good home with a more appreciative owner soon enough.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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ByLike Nagoya Admin

Japan to begin process of distributing vaccine passports, Chief Cabinet Secretary says

The passports are meant to be used strictly for travel purposes.

Though Japan’s vaccine campaign was off to a slow and somewhat hectic start, efforts to increase the number of vaccinated citizens have begun ramping up, bringing Japan’s vaccination rate up to nearly 20 percent.

With the progress remaining steady, the government considered it good timing to initiate the much-disputed idea of a vaccine passport to use as proof of vaccination. On July 11, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato announced on an NHK TV program that applications for vaccine passports will begin to be accepted at all municipal city and ward halls in the country starting on July 26.

The main purpose of the passport, which was apparently requested by the business community, would be to help Japanese citizens traveling overseas and domestically avoid strict epidemic control measures imposed by countries and airlines, like two-week quarantines or mandatory negative test results.

However, the government is also considering implementing additional benefits to having a vaccine passport, such as allowing private enterprises to provide special privileges to vaccine passport holders.

Since for many that seems to be a slippery slope leading into forced vaccinations or preferential treatment for vaccinated individuals, Secretary Kato did say that they’re looking into potential issues concerning this idea. “We have been working on identifying ways to keep this from resulting in unfair treatment or coercion,” he said. “As to how we’ll manage it will require separate consideration.”

For now, though, the government seems intent on restricting the use of the passport to travel to prevent any undue discrimination and improper use from happening. Applicants will have to present proof of a flight in order to receive the passport, for example, and must bring their travel passport to the application window as well.

However, several loopholes have distrusting citizens suspicious. For instance, no laws regarding the use of the passport have been put into place, and the government has only strongly requested that citizens apply for one only for travel purposes, rather than requiring it by law. There has also been no indication about what will happen to a vaccine passport after travel is completed. Do citizens get to keep it? Or do they return it? These questions and more leave several gaping loopholes that many critics think could be easily exploited, leading to discrimination.

“Dogs need proof of a rabies vaccine, and humans need proof of a COVID vaccine.”
“The discrimination begins.”
“They should make it okay for you to go to drinking parties at night if you have a vaccine passport.”
“If things go wrong, these would become excellent proof in the vaccine’s harmful side effect lawsuit. This vaccine is super fishy. The government is definitely hiding something.”
“If they’d just give them out when people get their shots, they could avoid people getting any extra doses like that one guy did.”
“No matter what the government does, there will always be those who will use this to discriminate, in the same way that they’ll never get rid of slander on social media.”

While the move doesn’t come without controversy, one can’t deny that having a vaccine passport could certainly come in handy when it comes to travel, but with so few Japanese citizens already vaccinated, and most of them being senior citizens and valuable healthcare workers who may be less likely to travel, it seems quite unlikely that very many people will need one, at least for now. That’s why we probably won’t have to worry about any unfair treatment resulting from their distribution any time soon.

Source: Jiji News via Yahoo! News via Hachima Kiko, Jiji News (2)
Top images: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso (1, 2)

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What to do if your phone battery dies when using a mobile transit pass on a Japanese train

Avoid getting stuck inside the train station forever with these handy solutions.

For many commuters in Japan, swapping an IC transport card for the mobile system that allows you to simply swipe your phone over the ticket reader as you pass through the gates is a big step up in terms of speed and convenience.

However, what do you do if you’ve swiped your phone to get through the gates at one end and your phone battery ends up dying before you get to your destination? That’s the situation our Japanese reporter Ahiruneko found himself in the other day, when he was out on the field with fellow reporters Yoshio and P.K. Sanjun.

While his colleagues swiped themselves through the gates without any problems, Ahiruneko froze in fear when he looked down and saw his phone screen was black. With no power left for him to use his phone as usual, this was a situation he’d never been in before while commuting, and he immediately feared he’d be left behind at the platform forever.

He quickly called out to his workmates, and asked them what he should do, in a panicked conversation that went like this:

Ahiruneko: “P.K.! Yoshio! Oh my God! My iPhone battery’s dead!!”

Yoshio: “Seriously!?”

P.K.: “Hahahahahaha!”

Ahiruneko: “No, seriously — I used my phone to get through the ticket gate at the last station…What should I do!?”

Yoshio: “Hmm, I wonder what you should do?”

 

P.K.:“Hahahahahaha!”

 

With his colleagues being of no help to him whatsoever, Ahiruneko felt a sense of relief wash over him when he saw a station attendant at the window beside the gates, so he went over to them and told them what had happened.

Ahiruneko was told to pay the fare in cash in order to get through the ticket gates, which freed him from the confines of the station platform, but there was still the problem of the trip not being closed off on the mobile app.

Because of this, if he were to use the phone again at the station, it would set off an error at the ticket gate, and even at the fee-paying terminal if he tried to add money to the balance on his mobile. To fix the problem, station staff handed him a slip of paper with “PASMO/Suica processing contact form” written at the top, and told him to hand this over to station staff, along with his iPhone, to have the entry record deleted once his phone battery was charged up.

It was a bit of a complicated process, and Ahiruneko thought it was a shame he couldn’t have the record of his trip fixed on his phone straight away. However, once he got back to the office and did some further delving into the matter, he found there was an easier way to fix the problem, and it had been staring him in the face all along.

According to the official website of East Japan Railway Company, Ahiruneko could’ve exited from the station without having to consult with the station staff, as there’s a section that reads:

“For devices with a reserve battery power option, if the Suica is set as an express card, Suica alone can be used for a certain period of time (even if it says the battery needs to be charged).”

That means our reporter could’ve exited the station by simply holding his battery-zapped iPhone over the ticket gate!

▼ Who knew a phone could still work with a dead battery?

Apparently, this “Power Reserve mode” was introduced with iOS 12, and it reserves just enough power on your phone to support Express Card transactions for around five hours on a seemingly dead battery. Unfortunately, the service appears to be limited to some iPhones, but to see if it works on yours, simply press the side button on your iPhone when it’s out of battery, and if you see a message appear on the screen that says you can still use Express Cards, you’ll be able to use cards in Apple Wallet, like that all-important transit card.

▼ Sure enough, that message was there on Ahiruneko’s screen, and now he knew what it meant!

As long as you don’t manually power down your phone, this reserve power mode can be accessed, so Ahiruneko made a note of this for future reference. He was surprised to learn his phone had such powers, and after asking around the office to see if other iPhone owners knew about this feature, he found that only two out of around a dozen people knew about it.

▼ One of those people was Shinji Kawarano, who was surprised Ahiruneko didn’t know about it, saying, “Isn’t this common knowledge?”

It certainly wasn’t common knowledge to Ahiruneko, nor to the majority of the office, so our reporter made it his mission to spread the word with our readers too. Even if you don’t own an iPhone with a Power Reserve mode option, it’s always handy to know the procedure involved in exiting the station and clearing fare data from your phone when it runs out of battery.

Because getting stuck inside a train station, particularly when you’re not familiar with the area, can be a nerve-wracking experience. But don’t worry – rail staff are so kind and helpful they’ll even pop out of walls to help you!

Related: JR EastApple
Photos ©SoraNews24

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ByLike Nagoya Admin

Ocean’s 11: heist of over 2M yen in sea cucumbers thwarted by Japanese coast guard

Like they always say, stealing sea cucumbers doesn’t pay.

A surprisingly growing problem in Japan has been the poaching of those gelatinous-looking echinoderms sea cucumbers. While they may not be much to look at, these creatures can fetch a fair price on the black market for their use in cuisine and holistic medicine.

▼ People really seem to enjoy the squishy-but-crunchy texture of them.

This, combined with the relatively lax regulation on their fishing and export, make them an ideal low-risk-high-yield target for yakuza fishermen, who are not only a real thing, but fairly common if the number of arrests over the years are any indication.

However, in the early morning of 8 July the Rumoi Coast Guard in Hokkaido uncovered a unique sea cucumber heist, not only in its scale but in the perpetrators involved. Having received a tip that poaching may have been going on off the coast of Tomamae, Hokkaido, the Coast Guard were out on patrol when they spotted an inflatable raft with an outboard motor.

By the time the small craft made it to shore, officers were already waiting for its captain. All in all they rounded up 11 people who were well equipped with diving gear, submersible machines, and cars. They also had 688.3 kilograms (1,500 pounds) of sea cucumbers in their possession with a street value of about 2.2 million yen (US$20,000).

▼ News report showing all the equipment and sea cucumbers seized

The men involved in this crime, however, were not yakuza members but residents of various cities such as Sapporo and Otaru with different levels of employment and ages ranging from 19 to 53. They were all said to have been previously acquainted with each other and share a knowledge of the area. During the theft they were all stationed in different positions from lookout posts to transportation to actual sea cucumber plucking.

The investigation is still ongoing, however, and links to organized crime may be uncovered later on. The authorities still need to confirm that this group was planning to smuggle the sea creatures outside of the country. Preliminary charges have been pressed but the details haven’t been disclosed while the investigation is ongoing.

▼ They may have just wanted to make a bunch of key chains.

One member in particular may escape the full force of the law though, because at the age of 19 he is still considered a minor. If this arrest were to have taken place the same time next year, when the age of adulthood is lowered to 18, it would be a very different outcome.

While it’s still possible this crew were recruited by yakuza henchmen sick of waking up early to go jump in the ocean themselves, it’s also likely they just heard about the money that could be made and decided band together for one big score of their own.

While that admittedly could make for a whimsical indie film plot, the fact is that these increasingly gigantic hauls of sea cucumbers must be endangering their populations and need to be curbed as soon as possible.

Source: NHK, Hokkaido News UHB
Top image: Irasutoya
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Nagoya man driving stolen Lexus RX steals Lexus LX

Brand loyalty among thieves.

While there’s been a dramatic decline in car thefts over the past decade by nearly 50 percent, it remains a problem in Japan, and for at least the past three years one of the top three most stolen brands has been the Lexus luxury vehicles from Toyota.

It was certainly the vehicle of choice for one thief in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, who was first spotted stealing a Lexus RX mid-sized car-based SUV from the driveway of a residence in the middle of the night last January.

▼ A news report showing surveillance footage of the theft

As the footage shows, two suspects swooped right in and peeled back the fender, presumably to hot wire the engine. Later, one suspect appears to start the luxury car with relative ease. Shortly after, both the thief and car vanished never to be seen again…

Until the following month, when the stolen Lexus RX – valued at about five million yen (US$45,000) – drove up to a parked Lexus LX full-sized luxury SUV worth about 10 million yen ($90,000) with the intent to steal it. As a result of that theft, police arrested 37-year-old restaurant owner Shogo Matsuda for his suspected involvement in it.

▼ Maybe he too dreamed of one day driving through the cramped cobblestone streets of Europe in one of these gigantic machines

However, they arrested Matsuda again on 7 July when they confirmed the Lexus used in that theft was indeed the one stolen in January. Police are now investigating further to find any links to an organized car theft ring, or if this guy just really likes Lexus cars. Meanwhile, readers of the news were amazed at how frequently people steal these kinds of vehicles.

“He never made it to the Land Cruiser.”
“Stealing a Lexus to steal another Lexus. It’s a vicious cycle.”
“They really like Lexus.”
“I bet that ‘restaurant’ of his is a fraud to get social benefits.”
“I was thinking of buying a Lexus, but now I’m scared to.”
“The police should just plant Lexuses randomly around the city that have taser chairs when someone tries to steal them.”
“Moving up in the world one Lexus at a time.”
“Any time I see a Lexus now I assume it’s a stolen car.”

A lot of comments also saw similarities with the Japanese folk tale Warashibe Choja (Straw Millionaire) in which a peasant starts with a single piece of straw and gradually trades it up to a fortune.

However, when comparing the gas mileage between the RX and LX, it’s safe to say that Matsuda was allegedly stealing from himself in the long run. That and the fact that he was arrested for all this makes it considerably different from the fable.

Source: TV Asahi News, YouTube/ANNnewsCH, Kurukura
Top image: YouTube/F run & 日本車応援TV
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Ibaraki woman arrested for attacking Olympic torch with water gun

And not just any water gun; it was a Fancy & Toy Tonari.

It’s getting hard to believe that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are only a few weeks away – mainly because it’s 2021 now. But despite a global pandemic and widespread public opposition to the event itself, the Games will indeed go on.

And right on schedule, the torch run passed through the northern prefecture of Ibaraki on 4 and 5 July. However, during a leg in Ibaraki’s capital, Mito City, a brazen attempt on the torch’s flame was made. The entire incident was caught on video.

According to police, the woman shouted out “Olympic opposition! Stop the Olympics!” and began firing her weapon at the torch’s flame as it passed by. The runner’s security detail were well prepared, however, and even had these cool little arm shields to help repel the attack before restraining her until the police came to make the arrest for obstruction of business.

The suspect is said to be a 53-year-old woman from nearby Hitachi City. She was armed with a Fancy & Toy Tonari Splash Water Gun that boasts a five-meter (16-foot) range, 130-cubic-centimeter (4.4-fluid-ounce) clip, snubnosed 21-centimeter (8-inch) design ideal for concealed carry, and four colors of which she allegedly chose pink.

Feelings about the incident were mixed online. Many people agreed with the fundamental point the suspect was trying to make, but some felt she could have gone about it a better way. After all, harassing a torch runner in this way to oppose the Olympics is a bit like throwing ketchup at the menu at McDonald’s because you disapprove of the company’s contribution to deforestation.

“It was a crime of conscience the likes of which have not been seen in recent years.”
“So if the torch was extinguished then they cancel the Olympics? That’s how it works?”
“If you got something to say, just make a sign.”
“Even if you don’t agree with it, you have to give her some respect for taking action rather than just whining about it online.”
“The torch goes out all the time and there’s constantly a spare fire nearby. This was a pointless act.”
“It feels about a step away from terrorism. Who knows what could have been in that gun?”
“The guards were right on top of her in about three seconds though. Good to see they’re doing their job.”
“She got the runner a little wet though. He might catch a cold now.”

Indeed, it was an irresponsible act, no matter what the reasoning behind it. And interfering a man who just wanted to live out his once-in-a-lifetime chance to run with the Olympic torch is a rather selfish and ineffective way to make your voice heard.

Furthermore, I worry that the politicians in Tokyo might enact stricter water gun laws in the wake of this incident, such as by raising the legal age of ownership to five years old. In anticipation of this, I ran down to my local 100-yen store and bought out their entire stock. If the powers-that-be ever try coming for them, they better be ready to get super soaked.

▼ I always aim for the socks, and my boy Kirby doesn’t miss.

Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, and when this is all said and done we can remember that water guns don’t terrorize public events, people do.

Source: NHK News Web, Hachima Kiko
Photos ©SoraNews24
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Engrish mistake turns innocent sign into X-rated notice at Japanese store

This isn’t the type of self-service they were meaning.

Japan is scattered with well-intended English-language signs that contain seemingly obvious translation mistakes, with even big companies like Pizza Hut and Osaka Metro proving that the simplest of messages run the risk of becoming lost in translation.

These “Engrish” mistakes, as they’re known, often make native English speakers smile, but one recent find had people blushing in embarrassment instead. That’s because a chainstore in Japan decided it was okay to display this:

Image: Aaron Sompong 

That’s right — a section of the Arakawaoki branch of the Joyful 2 hobby specialty store, located at Tsuchiura in Ibaraki Prefecture, had a sign that read “Self-Sucking Corner“. And that’s not the only branch where the sign was displayed, as it was also photographed at the chain’s Chiba New Town branch in Inzai, Chiba Prefecture.

Image: Blain Armstrong

While the English sign was intended as a nice gesture designed to help English-speaking customers, it no doubt left them scratching their heads instead. While “self-sucking corner” gives a whole other meaning to “Joyful 2”, the actual act of self-sucking in a corner of the store would be legally off-limits, and likely physically impossible, so what were they really aiming to convey with this sign?

The reason for the mistake is revealed in the katakana message printed next to it, which reads phonetically as “self-sacking corner“. The problem occurs with the word “サッキング”, as the (sa) sounds similar to the “su” in the English word for “suck”, so much so that a search for “サッキングパッド” (read phonetically as “sacking pad“) on Google will take you to “sucking pads”, a product designed to be added as an attachment to baby carriers for babies to suck on.

With the katakana word for “sack” being used to mean “suck” in some cases, and “sack” at other times, the confusion between the two words becomes understandable. Still, the store sign was so noteworthy for its hilarious mistake that it even made its way to Japanese sites, where Japanese commenters had a laugh at the sign as well.

“So…what happens if I self-suck at the self-sucking corner?”
“My body isn’t supple enough for this store.”
“Mistaking “u” and “a” can make a huge difference!”
“Businesses should really avoid posting signs they don’t understand themselves!”
“It’s hard to tell the difference in pronunciation between ‘sucking’ and ‘sacking’.”

It’s true that these small nuances in pronunciation make it difficult for Japanese speakers to differentiate between the two words, especially when it comes to speaking and listening. It’s one of the many reasons why Engrish exists and continues to this day, even creating blunders that include making Kyoto the enemy of the world. Oops!

Source: Hachima Kikou
Featured image: Pakutaso
Insert images used with permission
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Source soranews24.com