Top Japan Monthly Laughs of 2009

January
Canon Japan employees leave early to make babies

Canon lets workers leave early twice a week to encourage them to have more babies. The 5:30 p.m. lights-out program at Canon addresses the declining birthrate problem while also reducing employee overtime costs.

February
‘Doorplate mania’ man arrested.

A 42-year-old Tokyo man is arrested for stealing about 290 nameplates from house entrances. "I loved to collect plates of rare names. I repeatedly stole nameplates in Tokyo, Chiba and Saitama prefectures from about five years ago," the man told police March.

March
Teacher forced student to wear maid costume

A 51-year-old male high school teacher in Odate, Akita Prefecture forces an 18-year-old female student to wear a maid costume in the school’s art club and makes other club members take pictures of her.

April
Doctor admits lacing tea with sleeping powder

Kyoto University Hospital doctor arrested on suspicion of putting a sleep-inducing drug in a female graduate student’s tea. The doctor said he was fond of the student and wanted to attract her attention.

 

May
Horror-themed Toilet Paper from Japan Puts You on the Edge of Your Seat

Novel printed on toilet paper rolls. Written by Koji Suzuki, who also authored the horror novel "Ring".

June
Dead tadpoles fall from sky

Ishikawa Prefecture, located on the Japan Sea Coast experiences raining tadpoles. One resident finds 13 dead tadpoles each around 3 inches long, on and around his car. Another reports hearing a strange noise in a nearby parking lot, then finds 100 tadpoles covering cars in the lot.

July
Love hotels not touched by recession.

Japan’s love hotel industry thrives while other businesses suffer. (Love hotel finder.)

 

August
Elderly American tourist jailed for holding small pocketknife

Man asks Tokyo cop for directions. Cop asks if man has a knife. Man says yes. Man jailed for 10 days.

September
Blue lights soothe suicidal in Tokyo train stations

Blue lights installed on train platforms in Tokyo to prevent people from jumping into oncoming trains. "Blue lighting was selected because there are claims the color blue calms emotions," an official from East Japan Railway’s Tokyo office said.

October
Airline passengers told to use toilet before boarding

All Nippon Airways positions staff near the boarding gates in terminals to ask passengers waiting for their flight to relieve themselves before boarding the aircraft. ANA claims empty bladders means lighter passengers, which in turn means lighter aircraft and lower fuel use. ANA said that it may expand the October toilet-trial if results are positive and it is well received by passengers.

November

Dead pets come back as bracelets

A Shiga, Japan company advertises it will pickup a dead pet, mix its ashes with the clay from the bed of nearby Lake Biwa, and bake the ashes into jewelry for the owner of the deceased pet. The clay from Lake Biwa is commonly used to produce traditional Shigaraki pottery and stoneware.

December
Hotels with train view entice train spotters

Hotels near stations try to attract railway fans with rooms marketed as having a "rail view". There are estimated to be 20,000 railway buffs in Japan. (Odakyu hotels rail fan stay plan; Keikyu hotels rail fan stay plan.)

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