This Week In Japan #13 (July 3rd, 2020)

This week, Japan experienced a rare meteor falling above the Kanto region, and the candidates for Tokyo political offices show their uniqueness.

July 4, 2020
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A Shooting Star Explodes above Kanto

This Thursday, 2nd July, at around 2:30am Kanto residents experienced something quite unusual. Eyewitnesses reported a large shooting star streaking across the sky. The sighting was followed by a loud explosive sound that many assumed to be the meteor’s impact. One witness reported the meteor was spotted coming from the west headed eastbound before a large crashing sound was heard. A landmass as small as Japan’s makes documented asteroid impacts virtually unheard of.

One of the most famous and destructive impacts in recent history occurred, as many do, over the large landmass of Russia in February of 2013.  The Chelyabinsk meteor exhibited light brighter than the sun before exploding in the air sending many small fragments and a large shock wave over the small Russian town for which it gets its name.

This time, fortunately, the meteor in Kanto seems to have landed without any collateral damage except perhaps shocking fans of Kimi no Na Wa (English Title “Your Name”) into thinking the plot of the movie was real.    

Tokyo Sees Unusual Election Candidates

Candidate Teruki Goto`s campaign poster shows an interesting cosplay of Zero from the Code Geass anime.

The election for the next governor of Tokyo is here! This highly prestigious position places the responsibilities of the largest metropolis in the world on one individual’s shoulders. 

Therefore, candidates will use their experienced and impressive backgrounds to persuade the people of Tokyo why voting for them would be the best choice, or so you would think. One unusual candidate, in particular, would be 37-year old Teruki Goto.

This year will mark his second attempt to run for governor of Tokyo. He first ran back in 2016 and became known for his naked political posters and unique views. During his 2016 campaign run, he paid 3 million yen to give an official speech to the people that was unforgettable. In a 5-minute-long rant, he used so much profanity, mainly referring to male and female genitalia, that over 10% of his speech was bleeped out. This time, Teruki is back, but his approach seems to have changed drastically. He now wears a cape in his political posters, cosplaying as zero from the anime Code Geass, and wishes to change the national slogan to “I love you.” On his website, he states that he aims to make Japan the strongest, kindest, and most interesting country in the world. 

Candidate Kana Shindo holding her controversial campaign poster.

Governor candidates are not the only ones that stand out either. One candidate running for the Metropolitan Assembly, Kana Shindo, is using an interesting campaign strategy. Her campaign posters feature her in a scantily clad bikini top, one that is made from the two Abe masks that were distributed earlier this year in Japan. Her poster claims that if she were to be elected, her bikini top, aptly nicknamed Abe-bra, will be coming off. The effectiveness of this strategy remains to be seen.

Smell Harassment at Japanese Companies

Cup noodles are often eaten right at one`s desk when things are busy.

Have you ever lost your appetite due to smelling something from your neighbors or the person sitting close to you? 

In Japan, lunch is commonly eaten right at one’s desk, and desks are usually all closely connected in one large, open office space. Cup noodles are a popular desk meal of choice, but some people seem to be at their limit with these sodium-filled noodles. A recent discussion board on a Japanese site has gained popularity in talking about cup noodles and the problems they bring.  One user began the discussion with, “…While I occasionally think that the smell of cup noodles is good, the slurping sounds bother me, and I am unable to eat…” 

This quickly ballooned into over 160 separate discussions in the post, weighing in on the pros and cons of cup noodles. While many agreed that the sound of slurping noodles by their coworkers ruins their appetite, a large number of people also said the smell itself stinks and makes it impossible to enjoy a meal.

A new possible harassment, since dubbed “smell harassment,” may soon be under discussion at Japanese workplaces. Smell harassment would include being inconsiderate of your coworkers when choosing what to eat.  Some people cited onigiri or bentos as being less smelly alternatives, but setting standards on smell harassment will be difficult as each person’s standards are varied.

Newly Announced Ride in Japan will put you in the hand of an EVA

The newly announced Neon Genesis Evangelion attraction gets you up close and personal with EVA unit 01.

Have you ever dreamed of piloting an EVA? Well, this may be as close as you will ever get.

Toei Kyoto Studio Park is adding an Evangelion area this fall. Evangelion Kyoto Base is planned to open on October 3rd of this year, and it will feature the first ever rideable Eva attraction in the world. The attraction includes a 15 meter tall replica of Eva Unit 01 rising from a pool of LCL, which is the unique substance the pilots are submerged in while operating the giant EVAs. Visitors will get a choice to stand in the hand of the EVA and strike a pose or ride inside the entry plug on it’s back, just like in the show. Pulling a lever in the entry plug will read your synchronization with the EVA. Pictures are allowed at the attraction, so this is the perfect opportunity to top off your Shinji Ikari cosplay. 

For those too eager to wait until October, there will be a select special opening of the attraction from August 1st until September 27th, where only 120 people will be allowed in per day. Tickets will be going for 1,000 yen per person.

Strategy to Prevent Umbrella Theft

The label reads “criminal psychology experiment B03” to scare off potential theives.

One of Japan’s greatest perks is its safety and relatively low levels of crime. However, even in Japan there is one crime that is all too common: umbrella theft. Most Japanese citizens could attest to being a victim of umbrella theft, although no one would probably ever admit to committing the act themselves. The crime itself is relatively anonymous and harmless which is one reason why it is so abundant. However, one man is countering umbrella theft in an equally simple but effective way. 

A twitter user by the name of SoraF. decided to attach a label onto his umbrella handle which reads “criminal psychology experiment B03”. He claims that this label is enough to make people stop and consider the possibility that this umbrella is being monitored in some way, thus dissuading them from wanting to take it. The user elaborated by saying that sticking more obvious labels such as “GPS tracker” or “under surveillance” on an umbrella is more likely to be laughed off as a lie. 

Criminal psychology experiment B03 provides no information on what the purpose of this experiment is, who the test subjects are, or how it is being monitored. It is just vague enough to unnerve would-be umbrella thieves. On top of that, if the label were to be recognized in public by someone involved in the said “experiment,” the thief would have no reasonable excuse for such a unique umbrella label.

Hosts of This Week In Japan

Julian Domanski

Born in England, Julian is a writer, videographer & musician living in Tokyo. When he’s not drinking copious amounts of English Tea, he can be found studying Japanese or trying to master the surprisingly complex basics of the Jiuta Shamisen.

Yasuharu Matsuno

Founder of Japan Insider (Former Ryu Tokyo). Japanese-born entrepreneur. Yasu spent his life around the globe – Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Australia, and the U.S. He hopes he had more time to play Japanese RPGs. MBA from Columbia University in the City of New York.

Christian Dakin

Christian Dakin is an editor, designer, and video game director currently based out of Tokyo, Japan. Originally from a small town in Georgia, he studied in Japan for a year in college before returning again for work. Christian enjoys studying Japanese and the outdoors. In his off time, he is most likely to be found adventuring to a castle, belting it out in karaoke with friends, or in a gym somewhere.

More articles by Christian Dakin

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