Comedy for gaijin

Via Simon, I’ve discovered a fabulous column in a Japan magazine geared towards foreign nationals. It’s satire at its finest, and it’s called The Negi.

Get it? :D

Here are a few nuggets:

The Japanese vintage clothes industry is outsourcing labor to China as a means of cutting costs, The Negi can reveal. Traditionally, clothes manufactured in China have been shipped to the USA, worn by Americans and then donated to charities, before being repurchased and sold to Japan at a higher price. However, more and more shirts are now being produced and worn in China, before being sold directly to bulk buyers in Japan for sale at vintage clothing stores.

An industry insider explained that, aside from the obvious cost savings, the system solves another key problem: the increasing scarcity of used American clothing in a size that fits Japanese people. The new Chinese pre-worn clothes are reportedly much closer to Japanese sizes.


As a steel pole was set in concrete near the Hachiko Crossing this past Sunday, Hisao Saito worried if this might put his long career in advertising to an end.

For the past 10 years, Saito has stood on the corner wearing a sandwich board advertisement for the “Golden Ball!” pachinko parlor. However, recent months have seen signs of a shift in the industry, partly in reaction to Japan’s protracted economic slump.

Cost-cutting moves, along with advances in technology, have led to a sharp increase in metal poles replacing low paid, homeless men.


Last Square Meter of Japanese Wilderness Found, Paved

Construction Ministry officials expressed excitement last Tuesday as they watched the nation’s last patch of wilderness get covered in concrete. The day also saw the unveiling of architect Daisuke Mori’s nationwide “Let’s Enjoy Wild” project, which uses plastic sheets and lights to “convey the peaceful aura of pure nature.”
“Some people are worried that this event will end the steady flow of irrelevant construction jobs and cash to rural Japan,” said Minister Kenichi Ebisawa; “but much of the concrete that we have already laid has become cracked from plant life desperately trying to push through. A second layer of concrete is obviously required.”

Scientists predict that by 2047, the combined weight of concrete will cause Japan to sink into the ocean. Undersea concrete reinforcing pillars are already being planned.


Morning Musume to Hire Fetus

In its unflagging search for new and younger talent, J-Pop girl band Morning Musume has reached out to an as-yet-unborn demographic for its next member. The still-unnamed prodigy was discovered during ultrasound auditions in Harajuku, where expectant mothers queued for hours in the hope that their progeny would be chosen for the big time.


Shrapnel-Absorbent Officers in Bid to Thwart Terrorists

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police department is to mobilize shrapnel-absorbent officers on the city’s train and subway system. The move comes in response to recent reports warning that Tokyo might be the site of a terrorist attack.

The highly absorbent officers will be deployed throughout the Tokyo transport network, and are intended to shield travelers from shrapnel in the event of a terrorist bombing.

The officers will also act as a deterrent to would-be bombers. Police Chief Kazuo Nobutaka explained that the force’s latest weapon against terrorism had been trained in the art of standing on a box while looking around. Officers were apparently instructed to look for people with an expression that said “I have dynamite strapped to my body.”

No arrests have been made yet. However, Nobutaka is confident that the scheme will prove a success. “Suicide bombers will think twice about exploding themselves on our trains, for fear that the police will arrest them,” he said.

In pure Onion style, each column ends with “News In Brief”. Here are a few examples:

Police Crack Down on Wave of Legal Immigrants
Hostess Overcome by Ennui
Timid Couple Visit ‘Like’ Hotel
Many People Unaware Niigata Is Famous for Rice
Kyoto Retracts Protocol Declaring “Chou Samui Desu Ne!”

It looks like I’m going to have to become a regular reader.

Apparently the author, Kevin Cooney, is affiliated with a comedy troupe called Tokyo Comedy Store. They do acts in Shibuya and at Tokyo bars. It’d be fun to check them out sometime.