Anta, baka?: Japan’s best April Fool’s Day pranks

In a world of ‘fake news’, April Fool’s Day can feel like another normal day. Japan’s in on the joke, in a big way. Ever seen the 8-bit Google Maps video?

Take 2017 as an example. That was a great year for April Fool’s announcements in Japan.

Yoshinoya’s gyudon vending machine, Ilohas water‘s ‘coriander’ flavour, the Domino’s ‘pizza that only people with a pure heart can see’ and MOS Burger’s ‘Simple Is Best’ burger (100% lettuce). And that was just the food. Pepper learned to swim, Godzilla turned into a smartphone, and Red Bull created an idol group.

Those were all cool, but they’re not even the best ones. It takes a lot to properly trick us, but we give props where someone’s put in major effort to make a joke work.

Yahoo! Auctions opens a museum

Since Y!A started in the late 90s, there’s been enough stuff sold on there to fill… a dome. Good thing Yahoo! already owns one.

The (fake, but fun) museum would’ve seen Yahoo! Dome in Fukuoka repurposed as an archive. Each area’d have items from a different era on display, from the 1970s to the 2000s.

People wanting to buy and sell could’ve come straight to the dome to do it. Convenient – if you live in Fukuoka-ken. For everyone else, it’d be easier to keep on using Yahoo! Auctions Japan online anyway.

The museum, if it ever came to pass, would open in summer 2020, just in time for the Tokyo Olympics. An excuse for visiting tourists to see more of Japan, for sure. Who knows what Fukuoka’s really gonna have waiting for us by then.

Pony Canyon Donuts

The Pony Canyon music label’s put out singles and albums by w-inds, A.B.C-Z, Linked Horizon, Love Live! Sunshine!! voice actress Mimori Suzuko, and loads of other solo artists, bands and idol groups.

It’s an unusual name, but let’s ignore that for a second. Their logo… kinda looks like 3 donuts.

What better way to diversify a business than by opening a donut shop? Our love for this joke is based on a big love for sugar. Whoever first saw donuts in that logo could well be our soulmate.

Sadly, almost all evidence of this prank’s been scrubbed from the ‘net. We know it happened, but not what those musical donuts tasted like.

Kirin beefs up their afternoon tea

Kirin makes a range of bottled tea called ‘Gogo no Koucha’ (午後の紅茶). It’s good stuff. There’s ‘straight’ (black) tea, lemon tea, milk tea, and some weird ones like acai yoghurt tea.

The first ‘go’ kanji (午) in ‘Gogo no Koucha’ is only 1 line different from the kanji for ‘cow’ (牛). Some smart guy at Kirin noticed, got in touch with Yoshinoya, and the April Fool’s cow tea was born.

Is this tea milkier than normal? Does it ‘moo’ when you hold the lid next to your ear? It’s a shame we can’t find out.

Ultrasonico (Super Sonico x Ultraman)

So the fake story goes, one day Super Sonico managed to ‘become one’ with Ultraman. She’d spend half her time saving the world, and the other half trying to juggle being a gravure model, music artist, and totally normal high school student.

Super Sonico makes superhero outfits look super kawaii. And think of the merch crossovers!

The TV anime’s never gonna air, but if it does it’ll be from April 4th 2106. Put it in your diaries now, kids.

Jetstar invents Uber for airplanes

The airline’s imaginary smartphone app would let frequent flyers board their next plane from their front door. Great for everyone who’s got a runway-sized front garden. If you live in a block of flats or on a narrow street, be prepared to get your pick-up from a nearby field.

We wish this was real. It’s exactly what we expected Japan to invent. Plus, trekking to the airport 2 hours early to drop suitcases is no fun.

The ‘everyone who books a flight to Hong Kong or Taiwan gets a year’s supply of xiaolongbao’ bit sounded awesome. As long as they don’t count towards our baggage weight allowance.

Chu-hai flavoured beer

Or ‘chu-bi-‘. A name we’re kinda glad didn’t catch on.

Japan loves chu-hai. And if you try it, maybe you will too. The name’s short for ‘shochu highball’, but some are made with vodka instead. And you’ll discover so many flavours! Lemon, grape, cola, strawberry, lychee… but don’t do grapefruit. Trust us, never choose grapefruit.

Japanese beer doesn’t get experimented on as much, so fruit beers are rarer. Except for the ‘red eye’ with tomato juice in.

This is the joke product we’re relieved doesn’t exist. Our parents always told us not to mix beers with spirits. And at 7% alcohol, a chu-bi- could get you drunk kinda quick. A time-saving, fun idea in theory, such a bad idea when you start chugging.

The Office: Dragonball Edition

Better meet that deadline, or your boss is gonna go Super Saiyan.

For 1 day only, the official homepage for Dragonball Super changed. Goku and the gang got new suits: business ones.

Huh, people really do look better in a suit. Frieza’s got some ‘epic angry salaryman’ vibes going on, and Goku’s ready for that important lunch meeting. Not sure how easy business suits are to fight in – we’ve never tried.  Maybe that’s an Instagram Live video for another day…

Japan’s a weird place every day

Crazier April Fool’s jokes in Japan (like these ones) make other days feel a bit more normal… but only a bit.

Whenever you’re searching for the coolest, weirdest, funniest Japan stuff, come check out DEJAPAN.

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