The Weekly Bulletin: Week 8, 2017
It’s been a busy couple of weeks, with even more busyness as we head into March, but I hear that’s supposed to be a good thing…right?
- Spoon & Tamago did a nice roundup of “buildings that look like the things they sell” the other week. I think my favorite is the chocolate factory.
- Also on Spoon & Tamago: cats like you’ve never seen them before! An artist called Kazuaki Horitomo paints cats tattooing other cats, as well as cats with tattoos.
- For Japan-visiting hay fever sufferers, this pollen map on Tenki.jp serves as an easy to understand guide to the pollen count here. Red indicates a lot of pollen, orange means a moderate amount, yellow means there’s not so much, and green tells you your nose will be a happy chappy.
- In other news, a pampered pup from the 7th century has come back to life…as a flying puppy drone. Yukimaru was the beloved pet of prince Shotoku and even has his own gravestone in Oji, Nara prefecture. Oji has used the dog Yukimaru as its official mascot for a few years now, but only recently gave him the power to fly (see first video). Before that, he had to make do with his own theme song (see second video).
- As mascots go, Yukimaru is pretty cute, but one of my all time favorites will always be Melon-Kuma, a melon and bear hybrid from Yubari city in Hokkaido. He terrifies children and this amuses me greatly.
- I popped up a few pieces on Kabukicho, Shinjuku’s entertainment district and home of the Godzilla hotel for JapanTravel this week. My favorite is Girls’ Day Out because it involves a ton of food as well as one of my fave stationery shops. Golden Gai Golden Tips has good advice on how not to be “that guy” when sightseeing around the area. You can see all of them in the Kabukicho Day and Night series.
- I finally made it out to spot some plum blossoms, just as the season’s coming to an end. I ended up doing a cherry blossom viewing before I saw plum blossoms this year, which was a pleasant surprise.
- Japan rolled out its new (optional) work culture policy, Premium Friday, this past week. It involves encouraging employees to leave work a few hours earlier on the last Friday of every month. It’s intended to help stimulate the economy somehow, but I wouldn’t know about that since YJ stayed at the office until midnight as usual. As is always the case, this kind of stuff has to start at the top for it to even have a chance to have any effect on the majority of employees. My bet is that it’s another empty promise.
(This is a bit of a sour note to end on, but it’s hard not to get bitter over Japan’s occasionally ridiculous work culture. Here’s a photo of the view from my favorite shrine, Udo Jingu, in Miyazaki prefecture to make up for it:)