Life in Japan with CHIBI CHATTO

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Updated October 12, 2005

iconPatent Office sniffs at "Buddha Boogers"

iconLive Lobster Arcade Games Called Cruel by Activists

Schools OK Short Skirts

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Patent Office sniffs at "Buddha Boogers"
Yomiuri Shimbun May 15, 2004 :

Nara, Japan- "Buddha Boogers", a candy inspired by the giant statue at Todaiji temple in Nara had it's registered trademark revoked by the Patent Office following the temple's claim that the name is insulting, The Yomiuri Shimbun learned Thursday.

The candy, which has been manufactured by a firm in Yamatokoriyama, Nara Prefecture, for the last three years, is nevertheless still being sold at souvenir shops.

According to a statement fom the temple, the statue is an object of worship and the candy's name disgraces the image of Nara, so the firm should stop selling the product as a matter of conscience.

Made from starch syrup and raw sugar, the round candy is about 7 centimeters in diameter and takes its shape from a spiral curl on the statue's head. It sells for 500 Yen (about $4.50).

The temple learned that the candy's trademark was registered two years ago an filed an objection with the Patent Office. The registration was revoked last August.

"We never intended to insult the Buddha statue. We hoped it would be accepted with open minds, a spokesman for the firm said.

Live Lobster Arcade Games Called Cruel by Activists
Yomiuri Shimbun February 12, 2000 :

A new arcade game in which players try to catch live lobsters in a tank is drawing fire from activists.

In one game arcade in Shinagawa ward, Tokyo, about 20 genuine lobsters crawl around in an artificial marine environment created in a 90 centimeter square aquarium.

Sabumarin Kyaccha (Submarine Catcher) is a game designed for arcades in which players try to catch live lobsters and other sea creatures in the tank by maneuvering a small crane. The introduction of the game in arcades this month has stirred controversy.

While animal protection activists say the game torments living creatures, the maker of the game claims it is no crueler than fishing in a pond and that it is completely hygenic. The firm is considering introducing abalone and turbo into the aquariums.

The secret of the games popularity, it seems, is the enjoyment that players get from "virtual fishing" for living creatures.

a 30 year old man watching the game said "If I am drunk when I catch a lobster, I will probably eat it".

The Osaka based maker claims to have sold 100 of the games, which cost 1.8 Million Yen each and to have received orders for 50 more.

Under the Food Sanitation Law, firms must apply for a permit to sell marine products.

Schools OK Short Skirts

Chiba - Starting in April, four public high schools in the city of Chiba, will officially allow girls to wear uniform skirts as short as five centimeters above the knees, it was learned Thursday.

The four schools - Chiba Prefectural High School, Chiba Shogyo High School, Chiba Minami High School and Chiba Municipal High School-told department stores and uniform specialty shops that they have approved shortening the skirts to a "reasonable lentgth" of five centimeters above the knees.

The schools have requested that such stores which had complied with previous school requests not to hem uniform skirts higher than five centimeters below the knees, to alter uniform skirts to within the new parameters if requested to do so by students.

Short skirts are currently a fad, and many students at the four Chiba high schools have gotten around school regulations by simply rolling up their skirts' waistbands, with the schools having tolerated the practice.

The schools said they came to the decision because they considered freedom of choice to be important.

Many students reacted by saying it was an obvious and belated decision.

The Chiba prefectural board of education admitted that the current regulations on the length of skirts were out of date. "In the end, schools couldn't prevail over fashion," one board member said.

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