Never forget the Heisei period

If you’re a fan of Japanese Twitter, one account to follow right now is @HEISEI_love_bot, an account that reposts silly things from the Internet during the Heisei era submitted by Twitter users.

They’re kind like memes, except they’re not memes because these are all objects that apparently existed IRL.

Here are some of my favorites so far, with some context.

This is a present a person received from their parents when they turned 20. (Twenty is (was) the age of majority in Japan.) It’s a letter asking the recipient for 20,000 yen to cover rent, board, and utilities if they want to continue living in the house, and that interest will accrue on any loans made from parents.

The letter ends with, “Please enjoy the rest of your life”.

This is a list of inexplicable social trends that exist in Japan. They are:

  1. The forced assertion that “labor is virtue”
  2. The extremist opinion that “entertainment is evil”
  3. The unspoken agreement to “read the air” (to be socially aware of yourself at all times)
  4. The fact that people see reformed delinquents as more admirable than normal, hardworking students
  5. The forced assertion to be ‘ladylike’ or ‘manly’
  6. The unsubstantiated saying that “even if you hate your job, you should stay for three years”
  7. Work managers who look down on people who take paid leave, maternity leave, and paternity leave
  8. The excessive seniority-wage system
  9. The rule that you have to handwrite your CV
  10. The unnecessary recommendation that “men should learn how to drive stick because it’s lame to get a licence for automatic transmission”
  11. Corporate cultures that do not allow people to show up to work late, but allow people to work overtime
  12. Adults who say that your own personality is important, but then dismiss people who try to appeal to their personalities
  13. Men who think not sleeping and being busy all the time is manly and cool
  14. Women who scream “kawaii” even at things that are evidently not cute
  15. The misunderstanding that it’s okay to steal the plastic umbrellas in the convenience store umbrella stands
  16. The collective thinking that “if everyone does it, then it’s okay for me to do it as well”
  17. The thinking that people who are being bullied, rather than the people who bully, are the problem
  18. How people see you as an otaku if you sing vocaloid songs at karaoke
  19. A Japan that deems women who look like gyaru to be ‘bitches’ but if the woman has black hair and looks studious / hardworking she’s a proper woman
  20. Adults who are only able judge people by their numbers, like people’s test scores or sales figures

In Japan, every bottle of the familiar Ito-en green tea comes with a haiku. (Ito-en has even published a book. This haiku says that Ayakata (a competing green tea product by Coca-Cola Japan) and Sokenbicha (also another tea product by Coca-Cola Japan) tastes like river water. So Ito-en really wants to fight with Coca-Cola.

Notice what the melon farmers care about when a bunch of melons is arrested. The full translation of the newspaper article is this:

The Asahi City Police in Chiba Prefecture announced on the 20th that they had arrested 6 Vietnamese men suspected of stealing 112 melons from a field.

Among those arrested were Tran Kuan Kai [an approximation based on the katakana available], 29, apparently unemployed, of Yotsukaidō City. Kai denied the charges. The other 5 admitted to the theft, saying that they “stole the melons because [they] wanted to eat them.”

According to the police, the 6 suspects are accused of stealing 112 of the famous Iioka Melons that Asahi City is famous for from a field. The melons are worth approximately 67,000 yen in total.

A spokesperson for the Iioka Melon Division of JA Chiba Midori said, “The melons aren’t ripe enough yet for eating.”

The 6 people had to have carried around 18 to 19 melons each. That’s quite a feat.

This person slipped on some bayberries on the ground while running towards the bus stop from his house, causing him to look like a victim of some grievous bodily harm.

This is a screenshot of a doctor’s appointment where a boy seems to have injured his shoulder. The conversation goes something like this:

Doctor: what sports do you do?
Boy: I do Beyblade.

I have tried countless times to find the original clip (and judging from the YouTube search suggestions, so have many others) but I don’t actually know if this dialogue actually exists. It’s kind of too funny to be real.

Finally, a list of differences between when you’re 18 and 81 (the list sounds more poetic in English than Japanese):

  • 18 year olds engage in reckless driving; 81 year olds drive backwards
  • 18 year olds have brittle hearts; 81 year olds have brittle bones
  • 18 year olds worry about their grades; 81 year olds worry about their blood sugar levels
  • 18 year olds are fighting examination hell; 81 year olds fought with America
  • 18 year olds drown in love; 81 year olds drown in bathtubs
  • 18 year olds still know nothing about the world; 81 year olds already remember nothing about the world
  • 18 year olds think about competing in the Tokyo Olympics; 81 year olds think about staying alive until the Tokyo Olympics
  • 18 year olds travel to find out more about themselves; 81 year olds do not know that they left home, and everyone is finding where they went
  • 18 year olds think of Matsumoto Jun when they think “Arashi“, 81 year olds think of Kanjurou Arashi (a film actor in the 1930s) when they think “Arashi”