Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Joshua Lee
4 min read
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Dateline: Japan

ontestants in the 12th World Chabudai-Gaeshi Tournament were judged on their ability to flip tea tables angrily. The tournament—named after the Japanese expression which translates as “turning the tea table upside down”—was held earlier this month in a shopping mall in Yahaba, Iwate Prefecture. Sora News 24 reports contestants were asked to take a seat in front of a tea table set with imitation food. A woman who is seated next to them would then ask them to “stop,” at which point they were expected to angrily flip the table over while exclaiming in frustration, anger or hope. Some outbursts this year included “I deserve a raise!” and “What’s wrong with me?” As part of the contest, a plastic fish was included among the assorted false food items laid on the table. Contestants were judged on the performance of their shout as well as the distance covered by the fish. The winner of this year’s event was determined to be Shinya Chiba of the Iwate Big Bulls basketball team. Chiba sent his fish flying 27.2 feet while shouting “Go Big Bulls!”

Dateline: Algeria

In an attempt to combat cheating on high school diploma exams, Algerian officials turned off the nation’s internet last week. According to
ABC News, the reaction followed an incident in 2016, when questions from the exam were leaked. The following year, attempts to limit social media sites reportedly failed to curb cheating. This time around, the Algerian government decided to escalate their response and asked local internet providers to shut down the internet across the country for several hours each day during the exam periods. Access to Facebook was also blocked during this time. Education Minister Nouria Benghabrit told reporters that while the Algerian government was “not comfortable” with the move, it felt extreme measures needed to be taken. The shutdowns affected both mobile and fixed line services. In addition to the blackouts, mobile devices of any kind were banned at exam locations—for staff as well as students—and exam printing presses were outfitted with surveillance cameras and mobile phone jammers to keep leaks from occurring. Many of the exam sites had metal detectors installed to ensure cell phones were not brought in. Over 700,000 students took the exams this year. Results from the tests are expected July 22.

Dateline: India

Authorities at the State Bank of India are blaming rats for shredding banknotes inside an ATM.
Reuters reports technicians sent to repair a malfunctioning cash machine at a bank in the Indian state of Assam discovered the shredded debris of more than 1.2m rupees worth of notes ($17,600) after the machine was opened. Police suspect the damage was done by rats who entered the ATM—which had reportedly been out of service for 12 days—through a hole in the back used for wiring. Photos taken at the scene depict a large pile of shredded notes inside the machine as well as the body of a dead rat. The technicians found destroyed banknotes of 2,000 and 500 rupee denominations, but were reportedly able to salvage 1.7m rupees from the debris. Despite the presence of a closed circuit surveillance camera attached to the ATM, bank officials were unable to find any footage of rats entering the machine. They say they are investigating the matter. SBI is India’s largest bank with more than 50,000 ATMs located across the country.

Dateline: China

A restaurant offering an all-you-can-eat-deal had to close down after customers ate too much. According to
CNN, the owners of the Jiamener Hotpot Restaurant in Chengdu thought they could increase business by introducing an all-you-can-eat subscription model to diners at the beginning of June. For 120 yuan (about $18), customers could purchase a membership that afforded them unlimited meals for the entire month. The campaign reportedly brought nearly 500 customers into the restaurant every day since its inception. Some were reportedly lining up hours before the eatery opened its doors. By June 11, the restaurant reported making more than $15,000. But owners said some of the customers were sharing their non-transferable membership cards as well as packing away food to take with them, leading to a higher demand than had been expected. On June 12, the restaurant posted an “emergency notice” that it was temporarily shutting down and would offer membership card-holders a discount or refund if it ever reopens. The endeavor reportedly resulted in more than $76,000 in debts for the restaurant’s owners, who blame their mistake on a lack of business knowledge. While they had anticipated taking a small loss, they believed the promotion would inspire repeat customers. They also thought the increased business would be spur suppliers to offer better deals.

Compiled by Joshua Lee. Email your weird news to josh@alibi.com.

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