Chinese mushroom picker discovers monstrous beehive

Now that it’s October, fall is slowly beginning to creep up on Japan, which means seasonal favorite dishes including pumpkin, sweet potato, and mushroom will again be arriving on dinner tables across the land in no time. As for the lattermost, people from the countryside are more likely to pick or grown their own rather than buy mushrooms from the supermarket, and some varieties like matsutake can easily retail for a few hundred dollars.

Unfortunately matsutake and other kinds of mushrooms don’t fetch quite as high of a price in China, but while one man was gathering mushrooms, he stumbled across something that was worth much more: a giant bees’ nest.

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Top 11 tweets to make you feel glad you don’t work in Japan

It’s no secret that working in Japan can be pretty miserable. Long hours, unpaid overtime, power harassment, and mandatory drinking parties with coworkers are just some of the factors that contribute to workers all over Japan leading stressful lives.

But misery loves company, so that’s why we present the top 11 tweets to make you feel glad you don’t work in Japan. Some of them are attempts at encouragement, some of them are commiserating, and some of them are so painfully sad that you can’t help but cry. So read on and see how your own work compares to Japan!

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Cat wanted to join management team of Tokyo workspace

Once relegated to menial tasks like mousing or appearing in commercials, cats have been recently begun making huge inroads to other labor sectors such as service industries. Pioneer felines like Tama the station master and his successor Nitama along with Kuzya the assistant librarian cat at Novorossiysk Library in Russia.

Granted, those are only three, but those three cats alone amount to a staggering 7,560-percent increase in the employment rate for the species as a whole from the previous decade. And now one workspace in Tokyo is trying to get ahead of this trend by recruiting a cat for a management position. Humans need not apply.

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Giant statue of a bull and a bear appears in China, financial district rejoices

We all have our little idiosyncrasies that we fall back on when things aren’t going that well, like when you’re watching your favorite sports team and they are losing. So you have to sit in your lucky chair with your legs crossed, holding that shirt you haven’t washed because it was what you were wearing the last time your team made that huge comeback.

With the recent financial crisis in China affecting markets around the world, everyone is doing what they can to encourage a comeback. For one sculptor, it meant easing the woes of investors with his huge sculpture of a bull and bear, doing what looks like the birds and the bees.

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Young and pretty “programming cheerleaders” aim to boost male programmers’ productivity in China

The college I went to was really big on group assignments, under the logic that being able to function as part of a team is a critical skill for working professionals. On the few occasions where I found myself in a group made up entirely of male students, though, I couldn’t help but notice that hardly anybody would put in anything more than the minimum required effort at the very last possible second.

See, barring life-or-death responsibilities, guys tend to get sort of lazy without a female presence around, prioritizing personal comfort and instant gratification over more ambitious goals and projects (for an example, check out the levels of cleanliness and basic hygiene in an all-male dormitory). The opposite phenomena can occur too, though. Throw an attractive female or two into the group, and suddenly several dudes will have their alpha male instincts awakened as they try to show what energetic and capable dynamos they are, which is exactly the ploy some tech companies in China are betting on by employing young women as “programming cheerleaders.”

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Japanese Twitter user reveals why taxi drivers flock to Big Sight during Comiket

Comiket 88 is over now, sadly enough, but the Internet is still awash in the afterglow of dojinshi and cosplay. Of course, everyone is already looking forward to the next event this winter, from cosplayers to artists to taxi drivers.

Yes, you read that right, it seems that fans and artists aren’t the only ones who love Comiket! Apparently the massive event draws taxi drivers from all over Tokyo because it’s the best place to make money, according to one tweet that captured a ton of attention in Japan last weekend.

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Rules of tea, business cards, and bowing – 10 Japanese business manners young people are tired of

The corporate culture at RocketNews24 is pretty casual, but before I joined the team I spent several years working in the service and hospitality sectors. As a country that takes both work and etiquette very seriously, it’s probably not a surprise that Japanese business etiquette has a detailed code of proper conduct, all in an effort to foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and smooth cooperation.

Still, even for some people born and raised in Japan, the list of dos and don’ts can feel a little too long, and those who’d rather not have to stand on ceremony compiled a list of their own of the top 10 Japanese business manners young adults could do without.

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“Got caught cheating.” 10 of the weirdest reasons Japanese store owners closed shop for the day

Running your own store and being your own boss can be tough. You have to work long hours, pick up the slack of any slacking employees, and if the customer isn’t happy it’s on your head. But not having to answer to anyone but yourself also has its perks, because you can close up shop at any time and for any reason you want! And the following store owners did just that, as evidenced by these hilarious “closed” signs.

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Top 10 acts of customer service that Japanese men would rather do without

In Japan customer service can be pretty unreal. Little things like taxi doors opening or closing automatically and complimentary reading glasses at check-out counters are harmless and go unnoticed by many locals, and are probably under-appreciated. Sometimes, however, the desire to please the customer and attend to their every need is a little over the top and some people find it just down-right annoying. 

Online research group iResearch surveyed a group of 200 male 20-somethings for their thoughts on “Which services do you secretly wish people would stop providing?” Some of the results are pretty understandable, but some of them make you wonder if the guys surveyed just hate people in general!

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Clock in with a kitty at this shared workspace in Japan where you can play with the resident cat

As information technology continues to evolve, telecommuting is becoming increasingly feasible and popular in Japan. Still, sometimes mobile workers find themselves in need of more business-oriented facilities than their home office has, and make use of shared workspaces like the ones we previously looked at.

But while all of those communal offices have amenities such as Wi-Fi, power outlets, and meeting areas, only this one has a resident cat that you can play with when you need a stress-relieving break from work.

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“What would happen if all Japanese people could speak English?” Net users duke it out

Who doesn’t love debating hypothetical scenarios about the future of a country, especially in the anonymity of the internet?

In fact, a recent Japanese Twitter exchange has led to such an economic debate. One Twitter user with a large following sparked the initial discussion by posing the question “What would happen if everyone in Japan learned how to speak English?” That post has now been retweeted thousands of times, with hundreds of people eager to share their own opinions on the topic.

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10 Japanese words you know now that irritate some Japanese businessmen (because they’re English)

One day in college, my business operations management professor was talking about Japanese automaker Toyota, and about the huge impact of its production processes and corporate culture on the business world. “Toyota owes much of its success to its kaizen system,” he told us, and while I largely agreed with what he was saying, I didn’t really agree with how he was saying it.

See, while Toyota’s ideal of continually looking for better, more efficient ways of handling tasks is nifty and all, there’s nothing particularly special about the word kaizen, which just means “improvement.” Even as someone who’s spent most of his life looking for excuses to speak Japanese, insisting on using the word kaizen, when otherwise speaking English, has always seemed a little odd to me.

Oddly enough, though, right now there’s probably a Toyota employee sitting at his desk and scratching his head over one of his Japanese coworker’s penchant for using foreign loanwords, many of which might be on this list of the top 10 commonly used English business terms that Japanese businessmen wish their colleagues would use Japanese for.

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Girls-only karaoke offers songs, foot massages, Japanese take on gender roles

For most of us, the free mixing of men and women in our societies has been around long enough to have become completely ordinary, but in Japan, you may find some unexpected things segregated along gender lines. You’ve probably heard about the women-only train cars and capsule hotels that only allow male customers, for example. Now we have another: a karaoke place that’s just for women.

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Rolling suitcase with built-in desk is perfect for mobile businesspeople and cosplayers alike

Modern technology makes it easier than ever for people to work anywhere, not just in a traditional office setting. But every telecommuter or creative type knows the frustration of grabbing your laptop and any other necessary items, then carrying them to your local cafe, anxious to punch in and get some projects done, only to discover there’re no available seats.

Sure you might not need a whole office, but not even having a small desk to work on can really hurt your productivity. Here with a solution is ambitious and creative design house Bibi Lab, which is now selling a wheeled suitcase with an attached desk and chair that’s not only great for mobile professionals, but for artists, cosplayers, and all sorts of other people on the go.

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Make your wedding a day to remember, by cutting the head off a tuna together

For many people, a wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event. For many others it’s a twice or three-time occurrence, but still pretty rare in the grand scheme of things. As such, it’s only natural to want it to be something truly memorable for all in attendance.

And now a new business in Japan’s Wakayama Prefecture has just the thing to do that. For a rather large sum of money, they will come to your reception with a huge freshly caught fish and proceed to cut it apart in front of everyone. Of course this doesn’t happen until the bride and groom get a romantic picture taken making the first slice together with a meter-long blade.

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And now, a heartwarming corporate anecdote featuring Nintendo and Bandai

Nintendo and Bandai are two of Japan’s biggest companies with the former really needing no introduction. Although Bandai (now under the auspices of Bandai Namco) is not quite the household name that Nintendo is, its name should be instantly recognizable to even modest video game and toy fans.

As such, you might expect these two organizations to be cold, merciless machines of corporate greed pursuing nothing but the fuel of money to continue their heartless existences…and you might be right. However, here is a small anecdote that says different in a classy chance exchange between these two titans of toys.

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Want to be an animator in Japan? Brace yourself for long hours, poverty as you start your career

To many anime fans, working in the industry itself seems like a dream job. The chance to spend all day immersed in the medium they love, helping to add to the collective body of work from which they’ve drawn so much enthusiasm and enjoyment obviously holds more appeal than some bland corporate or service sector profession. Being a professional animator also means you get paid for your passion, to the tune of roughly a cool million a year!

Except, that’s yen we’re talking about, which means the average animator’s annual salary is well under US$10,000.

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McDonald’s Japan faces largest deficit ever, closing 190 stores and retiring 100 HQ staff

We have said it many times: 2014 was not a good year for McDonald’s in Japan. Ever since being involved in an expired chicken scandal last summer, the Japanese public at large has held a grudge so deep against the restaurant you’d think Ronald himself left a flaming bag of dog poop on everyone’s doorstep and keyed their cars on his way off the premises.

Now as the new fiscal year in Japan begins we can see that this anger wasn’t limited to mere online whining either. Japanese people seem to have united and hit McDonald’s where it hurts most: the bottom line.

In an announcement on 16 April, McDonald’s Holdings Company Japan President Sarah Casanova announced that the company currently sits on the largest deficit ever at a super-sized 38 billion yen (US$319M).

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Chinese company Ninebot buys out Segway

It’s hard to imagine life before 2002 when the Segway standing scooter thing hit the scene completely revolutionized the way we get about, just like everyone predicted it would.

Its staggering success has made it an American institution. Like many of you, I have fond memories of making out with that special someone in the back of my Segway at the Segway-in movies during those hot summer nights.

But now, the vehicle we have all welcomed into our lives is entering a new chapter having been bought out by Beijing-based Ninebot Inc. I guess we won’t be able to use the old cliché “it’s as American as a Segway” anymore.

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Five ways to piss off your older Japanese coworkers at a new job

Going out to see cherry blossoms, regardless of the weather, is by far Japan’s favorite springtime activity. But there’s another tradition that’s almost as enthusiastically followed: veteran employees complaining about the new hires at their company.

The business year starts in April in Japan, which means that right now at companies across Japan older employees are grumbling about how the younger generation just doesn’t get it. But with Japanese homes not having lawns for their upset elders to yell at them to get off of, just what are young professionals in Japan doing that’s rubbing their coworkers the wrong way?

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