#OddlyEnough:  New Era Name Grips Japanese

REIWA- Banner in shopping arcade. Image Courtesy: Japan Times

A new name created a major flutter in Japan, according to a report.

Japanese printers rushed to turn out calendars emblazoned with the new imperial era name as the public tried to make sense of the meaning of “Reiwa” a day after its unveiling gripped the nation, says a Reuters report.

The new era begins on May 1 when Crown Prince Naruhito ascends the Chrysanthemum Throne a day after the abdication of his father, Emperor Akihito, brings to an end the 31-year Heisei era.

The name, or “gengo”, figures in daily life on coins, drivers’ licences and official paperwork, as well as in counting years, though many Japanese also use the Western calendar.

But Reiwa’s meaning has generated confusion and controversy.

The first character, “rei,” is often used to mean “command” or “order,” imparting an authoritarian nuance that offends some. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his government prefer “good” or “beautiful”, a less widely known sense.

Household Cats Respond To Own Names

Hey Kitty! Yes, you. A new study suggests household cats can respond to the sound of their own names, says a report.

No surprise to you or most cat owners, right? But Japanese scientists said that they’ve provided the first experimental evidence that cats can distinguish between words that we people say, says the AP report.

Atsuko Saito of Sophia University in Tokyo says there’s no evidence cats actually attach meaning to our words, not even their own names. Instead, they’ve learned that when they hear their names they often get rewards like food or play, or something bad like a trip to the vet. And they hear their names a lot. So the sound of it becomes special, even if they don’t really understand it refers to their identity.

Saito and colleagues describe the results of their research in the journal Scientific Reports. In four experiments with 16 to 34 animals, each cat heard a recording of its owner’s voice, or another person’s voice, that slowly recited a list of four nouns or other cat’s names, followed by the cat’s own name.

Many cats initially reacted — such as by moving their heads, ears or tails — but gradually lost interest as the words were read. The crucial question was whether they’d respond more to their name.

Sure enough, on average, these cats perked up when they heard their own name.

Man Stuffs Stolen Chain Saw In Pants

A man in the US found a novel way to hide a stolen item, a chain saw, says a report.

A California business owner says store surveillance video recorded the man stealing the small chain saw by stuffing it down his pants.

Jeff Bennett of RG Equipment said his security camera caught the theft.

The video shows the man take the chain saw from a display, stuff the blade down his pants and cover the engine assembly with his jacket.

Bennett says the man drove off in a pickup truck. He believes an accomplice was watching the store earlier.

Lithuanian Gets Airplane Surprise

A Lithuanian man flying to Italy got a pleasant surprise when he boarded the plane: He was the only passenger on the Boeing 737-800, says a report.

Skirmantas Strimaitis, who was flying from capital Vilnius to the northern Italian city of Bergamo for a skiing holiday, had the whole plane — which can usually sit up to 188 people — to himself. The only others onboard were two pilots and five crew members, says the AP report.

The Novaturas travel agency said it had chartered the plane to fly a group home from Italy, and to avoid flying empty, one-way tickets were sold. Only one person bought one.

Strimaitis said the flight, which lasted more than two hours, was “a once in the lifetime experience.”

Cop Catches Fugitive In The Buff

There’s no escape from the long arm of the law in Sweden. Not even sitting naked in a sauna, says a report.

Police spokewoman Carina Skagerlind says an off-duty police officer found himself sitting in the same sauna in Rinkeby, a Stockholm suburb, as a fugitive who had dodged a jail sentence for aggravated assault, among other offences.

Skagerlind says after recognising each other, “the naked police officer calmly told the man that he should consider himself arrested.”

She said the officer called colleagues to pick up the fugitive, adding “the arrest was undramatic and the wanted man didn’t try to flee.”

~~

Comments

comments