steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

Japanese Diary 38: The End of an Era

Well, it's now April in Japan, which means that today is the day they will announce the name of the new era that's due to begin with the current (Heisei) Emperor's abdication in a month's time. The name has been kept under wraps, which must have been a real headache to everyone who needs to prepare for the change: e.g. by updating computer programs, printing stationery, etc. (It's not an abstruse matter: in Japan, in case you don't know, the regnal/imperial number is commonly used as a way of writing the year, rather than the Christocentric Western system.)

Anyway, word is that this time, in a break with protocol, the era name will for the first time be sponsored. McDonalds and Starbucks are both said to be interested, with ハッピーセット and スターバックスラテ among the bookies' favourites、but all eyes are on the Imperial Palace.

In totally unrelated news, it appears that, although the term "April Fools Day" is known in Japan, the practice of planting false news stories, etc., is not at all widespread. This gave me the opportunity the other day to tell my friend about the 1957 spaghetti harvest. Let's all relive it, shall we?

Tags: links, nippon notes
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