Commercial reminds Japan’s tired commuters about the drawbacks of living far away from work

Commercial reminds Japan’s tired commuters about the drawbacks of living far away from work

Mouth agape, eyes rolled back, head bobbing – when home is an hour or more away and work continues late into the night, the only place for many Japanese office workers to lay their weary head is against a train car window. This phenomenon is not unique to Japan, but the combination of overwork and limited affordable housing in big cities like Tokyo give rise to crowds of sleepy commuters just trying to get to their futon. If you have never witness the varied sleeping positions of Japan’s overworked commuters, take a look at the following video created by real estate website HOME’S.

Our favorite sleepyhead has got to be this guy:

Commercial reminds Japan’s tired commuters about the drawbacks of living far away from work

If you found yourself bobbing along to the simple, yet pleasing melody featured in the video, you’re not alone. It’s nursery-rhyme-like lyrics are quite clever, utilizing the Japanese alphabet in order:

“あ”したはすぐにやってくるのに
“か”えり道は長すぎる
“さ”っさと靴下脱ぎたいよ
“た”くさんの録画溜まってる

あいうえお かきくけこ さしすせと たちつてと

“な”かなか家には着かないよ
“は”やくお風呂に入りたい
“ま”っすぐ布団にすべりこもう
“や”っぱいい夢みたいよ

なにぬねの はひふへほ まみむめも やゆよ

In English, it doesn’t have quite the cuteness of the original, but the meaning is perfect for the video of dozing riders:

Tomorrow comes so quickly
The road home is too long
I want to hurry up and take off my socks
There’s a lot of shows recorded on my DVR

A-I-U-E-O  Ka-Ki-Ku-Ke-Ko  Sa-Shi-Su-Se-So  Ta-Chi-Tsu-Te-To

It’s taking forever to get home
I want to take a bath already
And dive straight into my futon
I want to have sweet dreams tonight

Na-Ni-Nu-Ne-No  Ha-Hi-Hu-He-Ho  Ma-Mi-Mu-Me-Mo  Ya-Yu-Yo

The video ends with a reminder that companies don’t compensate employees for commuting time and prompts viewers to try out HOME’s commute time search engine. The real estate company is aiming straight for the tired and weary in their commercial; we wouldn’t be surprised if they played this on the trains, giving fatigued workers a mirror image of their own commute.

Source: Kai-You
Images: YouTube ( ホームズ )

Commercial reminds Japan’s tired commuters about the drawbacks of living far away from work

Amazing aquatic artwork transforms water into sky, aquariums into fantasy realms

Amazing aquatic artwork transforms water into sky, aquariums into fantasy realms

Compared to cats and dogs, fish do have a couple of undeniable drawback as pets. You can’t really play fetch with them or take them on walks, and while there’s nothing physically stopping you from holding a goldfish on your lap and petting it, the sight of it desperately flopping around makes it far less relaxing than petting a purring kitty.

That’s not to say fish don’t have anything going for them. For example, they’re far less likely to pee on the sofa or cough up a hairball than a dog or cat. Plus, since they live in the confined space of a tank of water, you can create amazing scenery for them, like these amazing artistic aquariums.

Like any aquarium equipment supplier, Aqua Design Amano can set you up with tanks, lights, and filters. The Niigata Prefecture-based company goes one step further, though, by also seeking to cultivate the creative spark necessary to transform a purely functional aquarium into a beautiful creative endeavor.

Amazing aquatic artwork transforms water into sky, aquariums into fantasy realms

Every year, Amano sponsors the International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest. In 2013, entries came from 2,164 aquarists (which we didn’t know was a real word until just now) from around the world. For 2014, 100 creators will receive a certificate of honorable mention, with another 27 being awarded monetary prizes totaling 1.46 million yen (US$14,455), with one million yen going to the grand prize winner.

Amazing aquatic artwork transforms water into sky, aquariums into fantasy realms

While the results of the 2014 contest are yet to be finalized, if the efforts showcased in previous iterations of the contest, seen here, are anything to go by, we can expect another batch of intricately detailed, otherworldly surreal backdrops for aquatic life.

Amazing aquatic artwork transforms water into sky, aquariums into fantasy realms

While many of us are satisfied with tossing a sunken chest of pirate treasure or toy sea monster into our aquariums, many of the contest entries draw their inspiration from somewhere other than the briny depths of the seas. Many recreate what looks like a dense forest from a fantasy role-playing game.

Amazing aquatic artwork transforms water into sky, aquariums into fantasy realms

▼ We know there’s a dragon hiding somewhere back there.

Amazing aquatic artwork transforms water into sky, aquariums into fantasy realms

Others bring to mind lush jungles, with schools of tropical fish looking almost like flocks of migratory birds.

Amazing aquatic artwork transforms water into sky, aquariums into fantasy realms

With the proper lighting, the ripples on the surface of the water produce an effect like stratus clouds.

Amazing aquatic artwork transforms water into sky, aquariums into fantasy realms

You know what? All this borderline alchemic visual trickery of changing water into air has us asking ourselves what sounds like a Zen riddle: What would the dusk sky look like if the sun was setting underwater?

Thankfully, this puzzle has an answer.

▼ It’d look awesome.

Amazing aquatic artwork transforms water into sky, aquariums into fantasy realms

Related: International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest
Source: Spotlight
Top image: Twitter
Insert images: FC2 , Style 4 , FC2 ( 2 ), One Project ( 1 , 2 , 3 )

Amazing aquatic artwork transforms water into sky, aquariums into fantasy realms

Chinese Guy Mails Himself in a Box to Surprise Girlfriend, Arrives Unconscious From Oxygen Deprivation

Chinese Guy Mails Himself in a Box to Surprise Girlfriend, Arrives Unconscious From Oxygen Deprivation

There’s a lot of things you can put in a box to please your girlfriend. And to the loving boyfriend, that smile of anticipation as she unwraps the box and the gasp of delight as she sees what’s inside is insatiable.

Earlier this week in China, one such loving boyfriend decided that he wanted to surprise his girlfriend with a box containing the most joyous gift he could think of: himself.

Yet when the package arrived at his girlfriend’s office, it was not a gasp of delight she let out but a shriek of terror, for inside the box lay her boyfriend, unconscious and deathly pale after passing out from oxygen deprivation.

Here’s how the tragedy played out. Before attempting the ill-fated stunt, the boyfriend conspired with a friend to be on the scene with a camera to photograph his girlfriend’s expression of unadulterated joy as she opened the box containing him.

The boyfriend then arranged for local parcel delivery service to pick him up from home and deliver him to his girlfriend’s office while she was at work. When the time for his delivery approach, he climbed in the box, had his friend seal the lid and made himself comfortable. Surely this would give her a surprise to remember!

An adorable, if not slightly narcissistic, sentiment to be sure, but there was one problem: he forgot to open up air holes in the box, trapping himself in a cardboard prison with a very limited supply of oxegyn.

The package arrived at his girlfriend’s office and the friend was there with camera on hand. Everything seemed to have gone according to plan. But when the girlfriend opened the package, she found her beloved curled up in the fetal position, unmoving and unconscious.

Luckily, he had just passed out and regained consciousness soon after. Still, he certainly succeeded in giving her the shock of a lifetime!

Source: Sina Weibo @叨特冷2世 (Chinese)

▼ The package arrives at the office Chinese Guy Mails Himself in a Box to Surprise Girlfriend, Arrives Unconscious From Oxygen Deprivation

▼ “Hey look! It’s from your boyfriend!” Chinese Guy Mails Himself in a Box to Surprise Girlfriend, Arrives Unconscious From Oxygen Deprivation

▼ “I wonder what it could be…” Chinese Guy Mails Himself in a Box to Surprise Girlfriend, Arrives Unconscious From Oxygen Deprivation

▼ “Baby, is that you? You so crazy!” Chinese Guy Mails Himself in a Box to Surprise Girlfriend, Arrives Unconscious From Oxygen Deprivation

▼ “…baby?” Chinese Guy Mails Himself in a Box to Surprise Girlfriend, Arrives Unconscious From Oxygen Deprivation

▼ “Okay, looks like he’s still alive. Let’s take more pictures!” Chinese Guy Mails Himself in a Box to Surprise Girlfriend, Arrives Unconscious From Oxygen Deprivation


[ Read in Japanese ]

Chinese Guy Mails Himself in a Box to Surprise Girlfriend, Arrives Unconscious From Oxygen Deprivation

New York As Seen By The Japanese In 8 Random Points

New York As Seen By The Japanese In 8 Random Points

New York. From Broadway to numerous tourist spots like the Statue of Liberty, many Japanese people hold an image as a land of unlimited entertainment. At the same time, many of us may also relate the city with things like high prices and, likely due to the popularity of American crime dramas in Japan, violence.

During a recent trip to New York, I asked several Japanese people who have moved there to share their impressions of the city with the rest of us back home. I’ve also added some of my thoughts, and hopefully this list will give you a good understanding of what parts of New York stick out to Japanese people who have stepped away from the TV and onto the streets.

・There are an unusually large number of Subways
We have Subway in Japan, but by far the largest foreign fast food presence here is occupied by McDonalds. Surprisingly, in New York, it seems to be the other way around – especially in Manhattan, where you never have to worry about finding a place to get a sandwich as there seems to be a Subway on every street. Stores are staffed mainly by cheerful Asian people and sandwiches are stuffed with vegetables for a filling and healthy meal.

・New Yorkers are ‘ Tsundere ’
The Japanese word ‘Tsundere’ refers to the personality of being cold or sarcastic on the outside, but turn warm and extremely affectionate around certain people or in certain circumstances.

This is exactly how we would describe New Yorkers. While they wear an expressionless face and give of a cold impression, they will help someone in trouble without hesitation. Even on the train, they give their seat up to other people without cracking a smile or frown. It’s hard to think of this as an intentional act of benevolence – it’s just what they do here. In this way, New Yorkers are similar to Tokyoites, though there also seem to be a good number of gaudy middle-aged women akin to those often seen in Osaka.

・Taxi drivers are Bangladeshi or Nepalese
Not just that, but many of them are seasoned professionals who have been working in the city for over a decade. There are likely many people who make more here than they could back home and many are probably sending remittances to support their family.

Payment is completely automated so drivers can’t rip you off.

・Store personnel are too friendly
If Japanese store staff were as friendly as New Yorkers, people would see it as being over-familiar and be turned off. However, probably because it doesn’t feel like they’re just trying to butter you up for a buck, the friendly attitude isn’t uncomfortable.

From personal experience, staff at the AT&T store struck up a conversation with me about anime and our hobbies, and the staff at McDonalds enthusiastically consented to my special request for an item not on the regular menu, saying something like: “All right! We don’t usually do this, but I’ll make it this time just for you!”

・Eating out is expensive – even more than Japan.
Coming from a culture that doesn’t tip, the American 20% rule is a difficult adjustment for the Japanese wallet. It seems that restaurants in New York are particularly expensive, and we recommend thrifty travelers stick to shopping at the supermarket and bringing it back to your hotel.

The exception her is steak. Eat steak in New York. It’s amazing.

・New York is safe!
Many Japanese people associate America with crime and violence, but New York is actually a pretty safe place, especially when compared to places like Los Angeles. Police officers can be seen standing in watch here and there, allowing New Yorkers and tourists alike to walk the streets with a feeling of safety. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should let your guard down when walking around – something that is true for any country, including Japan.

・New York smells like pee
Well, not all of it, but even in fashionable downtown shopping areas the smell of urine sometime lingers in the air. We’re not saying that Tokyo and Osaka don’t, on occasion, smell a bit pissy – they do. But your chances of breathing in some fresh ammonia are much higher in New York.

・New Yorkers speak their mind while respecting the other party’s opinion
If they like it, they’ll tell you they like it. If they don’t like it, they’ll tell you they don’t like. And whatever it is they’re telling you, they’ll listen to what you have to say too.

Even looking at internet forums, there doesn’t seem to be much ungrounded accusation and slander – unless someone really deserves it.

Photos: RocketNews24

New York As Seen By The Japanese In 8 Random Points

We ride the Honey Toast Train to a paradise of massive, decadent desserts

We ride the Honey Toast Train to a paradise of massive, decadent desserts

Spend some time walking around Tokyo, and you’ll soon see that the city is packed with karaoke joints. But with so many competing chains, how do you pick which one to go to?

For those looking for some tasty food as they belt out their favorite tunes, it’s hard to beat Pasela. Aside from their tropically styled rooms, the chain is best known for its extensive menu, with the most popular item being its famous honey toast dessert.

But what if you’ve got a special occasion, and even the whole-loaf-sized ordinary honey toast just doesn’t have enough impact? That’s when you call ahead and order a massive Honey Toast Train, a dessert so massive it’s garnished with other desserts.

Being gluttons, we’re no strangers to Pasela’s standard honey toast lineup. Each version features plenty of butter and honey, and comes topped with fruit and ice cream.

We ride the Honey Toast Train to a paradise of massive, decadent desserts

We’d heard rumors, though, that you aren’t limited to what’s listed on the menu, and that Pasela will whip up a custom version of their famous dessert that’s even bigger than the extra-large size they usually offer. The chain has about 20 branches in downtown Tokyo, with a few not far from the RocketNews24 office, and since we were planning a birthday party for a friend, we decided to kill two birds with one delicious stone by making a reservation at our nearest Pasela.

We ride the Honey Toast Train to a paradise of massive, decadent desserts

We picked up the phone and made the call, getting a reservation for later that night. At first, we were worried this might not be far enough ahead of time to order the custom-made honey toast, but the employee on the other end of the phone told us that same-day orders aren’t a problem, and asked us just what sort of honey toast we’d like.

“Well, it’s our friend’s birthday, so we were thinking of going with something kind of flashy,” we explained. Right away, the employee came up with the perfect suggestion, a triple-sized version called the Honey Toast Train.

We then got down to some of the finer details, like whether we wanted it to be heavier on ice cream or fruit. Just like there’s no such thing in life as a free lunch, you have to pay for dessert, too, so the employee also asked us what kind of budget we wanted to work with. Since we had five people in our party, and we figured asking everyone to pitch in 1,000 yen (US $9.90) for the special dessert was fair, we settled on a 5,000-yen Honey Toast Train.

Since this was a karaoke party, after all, we imagined we’d each want to get one song in before eating, so we asked for the dessert to be brought in 20 minutes after our arrival. Right on time, the waitress knocked on the door to our room, then entered with her arms trembling from the weight of the immense collection of sweets on her tray.

We ride the Honey Toast Train to a paradise of massive, decadent desserts

Seriously, it makes such a visual impact it might be the best thing for kicking a party up a notch aside from copious amounts of hard liquor. Actually, considering the sugar rush the Honey Toast Train promises, there’s probably nothing more effective at amping your guests up.

We ride the Honey Toast Train to a paradise of massive, decadent desserts

To start with, our platter held cute, edible animals, strawberries, and gobs of whipped cream. Atop the central loaf of toast was a pile of cream puffs

We ride the Honey Toast Train to a paradise of massive, decadent desserts

…and flanking the happy birthday sign were fanned out slices of apple pie.

▼ The pig is both adorable and appropriate.

We ride the Honey Toast Train to a paradise of massive, decadent desserts

So how did it taste? Every bit as sweet and decadent as it looked. At 5,000 yen ($46), this isn’t a budget-priced dessert, but for that price, these are some honestly generous portions. Even with five, full-grown adults working away at it, it was more than we could finish, but we enjoyed every moment of struggling in vain to clean our plates.

We ride the Honey Toast Train to a paradise of massive, decadent desserts

Related: Pasela
Photos: RocketNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]

We ride the Honey Toast Train to a paradise of massive, decadent desserts