Even though not all of Japan was hit by today’s 8.9 magnitude earthquake, the U.S. Department of State has issued a travel alert, urging U.S. citizens to “to avoid tourism and non-essential travel to Japan at this time.”
Ever stepped up to a vending machine and scratched your head as you mulled over the options? Now there’s a vending machine in Japan that will recommend certain products for you — based on your face.
See if you can guess before this Japanese ad is over what the product is they’re actually advertising. Go on, I dare you.
Hang needed to ship three large pieces of art to Japan in time for a gallery opening, but UPS had other plans. Rather than weigh the boxes properly or fill out the right customs forms, UPS decided to charge Hang $1,600 for a job that should’ve cost $950. Because the customs forms were improper, one of the boxes was returned as undeliverable, while another was stuck in customs and didn’t arrive until after the opening. Hang only wants UPS to refund the $650 overcharge, but UPS thinks Hang is being greedy.
Looks like the Nintendo DS isn’t just for MarioKart and Brain Age. According to a new report, burger biggie McDonald’s is looking to use the handheld gaming device as an employee-training tool.
Toyota has been criticized–and rightly so–for its handling of the recall clusterfracas in the United States and Europe. But how many cars have been recalled for possible unintended acceleration issues in Japan, where consumer protections are much weaker than in the U.S., Canada, and the E.U.? According to today’s New York Times, that would be zero. Even though some Japanese drivers have had similar runaway acceleration incidents, consumer protection in Japan is weak and the government tends to side with industry. This means that car owners experiencing problems have nowhere to turn.
A man was found dead inside the landing gear of Delta airplane landing in Tokyo enroute from New York. Doctors speculated that he froze to death and had a shortage of oxygen when the plane reached over 30,000 feet. Sheesh, we know the seats are cramped but this is ridiculous. What happens when you climb into an airplane’s fuselage and it takes off? This clip from “1000 Ways To Die” explains:
More prawn udang crisps? How about some Chocolate Collan? These and other exotic delights can be found in Steve Portigal’s Museum of Foreign Groceries. Zipping around the world as a product consultant, Steve snaps pictures of kooky food packages from foreign lands and uploads them to this Flickr set. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a craving for Pringles, Wild ConsommÃ© flavor.
Museum of Foreign Groceries [Flickr]
Japan has raised the stakes in the couch potato wars, and is producing a sleeping bag with legs. It’s like a snowsuit. For grown-ups. Except you can’t use your arms.
A worker at a McDonald’s branch in Japan died of “karoshi” — the Japanese term for death from overwork — according to officials at the local government labor bureau. The employee, a 41-year-old woman, had put in about 80 hours a month in overtime for six months before she died. “We determined her work caused the illness,” said an official at the agency.
What could be more American than celebrating the launch of a new product with an almost comically unhealthy fast-food product? Unfortunately, the seven-patty Windows 7 Whopper is only available in Japan.
Would you like your morning coffee with a side of Domo-kun? In one of those odd twists of globalization and marketing synergy, the mascot of Japanese public television network NHK has found his way onto 99 cent cups of coffee and special Slurpee cups at 7-Eleven stores in the United States.
Last month, the New York Times Magazine ran a fascinating story by Lisa Katayama about the popularity of body-pillow girlfriends in Japan. Apparently, an unknown fraction of men – a subculture of a subculture – adopt “2-D” lovers as a substitute for the real thing. They take them out to restaurants, treat them tenderly, and bring them home to bed at night.
I like to make fun of white people (and, really, who doesn’t). Even McDonald’s likes to make fun of white people if the white people live in Japan. A new McDonald’s advertising there campaign centers on one Mr. James, a bespectacled idiot who tortures the Japanese language and is quite literally crazed for McDonald’s burgers.
Here’s a story that we missed late last week, probably because we were busy having nightmares about snake heads. Toyota lost $7.74 billion this past quarter. That’s more than GM (though less than GM pre-bailout), and much more than predicted. It’s the company’s first annual loss since Elvis was in the Army.