The boys learn a valuable lesson in pranking after importing two tablespoons of loose coarse fibers from South America for US$30.
On a typical day at our offices our Japanese-language writers were hard at work scouring the internet for interesting and unique happenings from around the world to present to the people of this great nation of ours. It was then that they stumbled upon the following “prank” video, in which the host says he sprinkled itching powder on an iPhone, and capital-H hilarity ensued.
There was something about this perfectly framed “hidden camera” gag-cum-sting-operation that really made an impact with the Japanese staff here.
Overall, most western novelty goods like the Groucho glasses and whoppee cushions (with the superior name of bu-bu cushions) are also widely available in Japan too – most that is, except for itching powder. None of our writers had ever had an experience with the stuff as children nor have they ever seen it sold anywhere in this country.
This inexperience, combined with a video that appears to show itching powder causing its victims to throw themselves into an unbridled frenzy as it spreads throughout the body at the speed of a weaponized parasite, made our Japanese staff want to try some as soon as possible.
That was to be easier said than done, however. Much like in their youths, itching powder was still nowhere to be found in the Tokyo area as far as they could tell. Luckily, they managed to track some down on Amazon at 3,300 yen (US$30) for three nine-gram (1/3 ounce) packs.
At that price it had to be good…
Since this itching powder was made in Chile, it took about three weeks to arrive at our office. Each pack was comically adorned with a wall-eyed safari guy who must be “that special friend” we are recommended to surprise.
However, it was our writers who received a surprise when they opened one up and found that it wasn’t even a powder. It was more like a collection of tiny fibers from fabrics and plants.
Nevertheless, the men were highly cautious around the itching powder as the entire backside of the package was taken up by a warning that it should be kept as far away from eyes and mouths as possible. It was a warning much larger than those found on cigarette packs in Japan, meaning this stuff was not to be taken lightly.
Taking the precaution to heart, the testing was done off-site in a nearby park to avoid contaminating the office. The bravest of our writers, PK, Yoshio, Nagahashi, and Seiji all answered the call and willingly submitted themselves to the itching powder.
One by one they sprinkled some on the backs of their hands…but nothing happened. There was a slight prickly feeling, but it was far from what could be described as “itchy”, and far from the fit-inducing itchiness depicted in the YouTube video.
Taking things a step further, they began rubbing the powder into their skin. This yielded some results but it was more of a prickly, stabbing pain that one might be able to define as “itchy.” It certainly sucked though.
▼ Our itching powder video turned out to be much less dramatic, but slightly sexier
Thankfully, running some water was all that was needed to ease the pain, and the men were extremely careful to keep it all off of their clothing so that they could return to their normal lives. They were thankful they didn’t use any more that they had because it turned out to be more of a burning powder than an itching powder. Apparently, those guys in the “prank” video were really writhing in pain rather than squirming in itchiness.
Anyway, that was enough of a taste of foreign culture as they needed for one day, but they were glad to have gotten their horizons expanded from it. Join us next time when they take on the mysteries of X-ray Specs and attempt to raise a family of Sea Monkeys.