April Fools’ Day traditionally doesn’t mean much in Japan. But it seems as though a number of companies have jumped on the bandwagon this year, publishing some interesting online pranks. We’re not fans of screwing with our readers, so you won’t get any fake articles from us. But we do still have a sense of humor, so here’s a quick summary of some of the more notable ones from around the Japanese interwebs today. But be warned, some of them are better than others!
1. Au’s zzzPhoneBed ¶
Au’s April Fools effort is simultaneously the best and the worst joke of the day in Japan. The premise is that since we use our mobile phones in bed so much, that the company just decided to produce a bed-sized smartphone. It lets you exercise by running on top of it like a treadmill as it scrolls, and you can even buy sheet covers for it if you like. It’s called the zzzPhoneBed, and no, it doesn’t actually exist.
Regrettably, the promo video for the zzzPhoneBed does exist. Remember that awful Domino’s x Hatsune Miku promo video? Yeah, well this is worse. I realize it’s for a Japanese audience, but man, it’s painful to watch. Truly cringe-worthy.
2. Domino’s Pizza in a can ¶
Speaking of Domino’s Japan, the company has a new April Fools page set up today to promote its special ‘Pizza in a can’. Priced at just 401 yen (i.e. 04/01). This is actually a smartly executed April Fools joke, because when you try to buy it, Domino’s apologizes and gives you a 20% off coupon! (h/t ascii.jp)
3. Google ‘Patapata’ text input system ¶
It’s becoming something of an April Fools tradition for Google Japan to roll out a new text input method. this year is no exception, with its ‘Patapata’ version of its Japanese input editor. Essentially, it’s scrolls characters rapidly in front of you, and you’re to push a button when you see the one you wish to type. Fun, hey? You can see Google’s official explanation in the promo video below. And for anyone who wants to try it out, there is a functioning web version online that you can try!
4. Japanese movie site transforms into ‘Forcebook’ ¶
Here’s a fun page from Japan’s movie-focused website eiga.com. Today it has a fun landing page presenting users with a Star Wars style scrolling text intro, explaining how the internet has affected even Jedi Knights:
Not so long ago, in a galaxy far away.
Episode X. Forcebook.
As information technology swept across the galaxy, even Jedi Knights began to familiarize themselves with the internet. But it has caused social isolation and depression among the Jedi Knights, sending them one after another to the dark side of the internet.
Master Yoda takes the matter seriously when Luke Skywalker is forced to shut down his blog after a nasty smear campaign. To improve the Jedi Knights’ communication skills Master Yoda hires IT consultants from Coruscant and sets up a new social networking service called Forcebook.
Clicking anywhere on the page, however, presents you with an apologetic message saying: ‘Sorry, today is April Fools. May the force be with you!”.
5. Dwango’s i to Tunes ¶
Japanese internet company Dwango has a fun April Fools product called ‘i to Tunes’, which claims to be a music streaming service that involves the use of tin cans and yarn (I’m pretty familiar with this technology from back in kindergarden, actually). Signing up for the supposed application brings you to a page that says i to Tunes is undergoing maintenance, with a footnote explaining that today is also April Fools.
6. Ameba Pigg overrun with pigs ¶
If you’re a member of the Amebe Pigg virtual world, you’ll notice when you sign in today that avatars have been changed into actual pig faces. Chiho Komoriya has some fun screenshots over on VS Media, if you’d like to learn more about this April Fools overhaul.
7. Cross-dressing clock ¶
Readers might be familiar with a fun web service called ‘Bijin Tokei’ or ‘beautiful girl clock’, which uses pretty models holding up signs showing you what time it is. Today there’s a weird parody of Bijin Tokei from the folks over at web production company core-tech.jp. It’s called Cross-dressing clock, and similarly, it features women holding up signs to show the time. The only thing is, these women are not actually women at all.
If you’d like to browse even more fun April Fools jokes from Japan, check out CNet Japan’s extensive round-up, or search for #4fooljp on Twitter.