1. A drunk dancer stole a taxi in Shin-Okubo and then drove it to Setagaya Ward
See? Thefts do happen in Japan! Last Friday, one very intoxicated professional dancer decided that it would be a great idea to nab a taxi near Shin-Okubo and drive it himself – by first throwing the actual driver out. The poor cabbie is said to have held on to his car for a good 35 metres and ended up with hand and head injuries, while the drunken dancer was arrested in the stolen vehicle somewhere down in Setagaya, an hour and a half later. The suspect claimed that he was too inebriated to remember anything – of course.
2. You can ride the Tokyu Ikegami line for free on October 9
Yes, you read that correctly: free train rides all day! On the Tokyu Ikegami line, which runs from Gotanda Station all the way out to Kamata Station in Ota-ku. That line reached the grand old age of 90 in August this year, and to celebrate operators Tokyu will be putting on events throughout the anniversary year.
Taking the train on what is supposed to be Health & Sports Day sounds like a less than perfect match, but hey, who are we to turn down a free ride... Note that you will actually have to use a ticket; pick up the 'one-day free pass' from staff near the ticket gates.
3. Starbucks' very own Hojicha Frappuccino goes on sale this week
Matcha latte, move over: there's a new leafy drink in town. Starbucks Japan may have touted green tea Frappuccinos and limited-edition hojicha lattes for some time now, but this is their first hojicha Frappuccino.
On sale from September 15 and retailing for ¥540, it features a base made from five different types of the roasted green tea, topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce plus a sprinkling of sugar, just for good measure. We predict even longer queues, even with temperatures slowly dropping again. Better get in line fast, as this one's only available until October 1.
4. You might be able to overland it from Tokyo to London in the future
Another train, another day – and this time round, the Russians are in on it. No, seriously. A plan has been conjured up to create a bridge between both Sakhalin Island and Hokkaido and Sakhalin and mainland Russia, meaning that in the future you could technically travel all the way from Tokyo to London without having to fly or boat it along the way. Ingenious, we say; just take some reading materials and a lot of backup batteries along – and prepare to shell out quite a bit for all the tickets along the way.
5. The smoking ban is looking more likely
A victory for proponents of clean lungs: the Tokyo Metropolitan Government just announced that they are very seriously considering putting in place a complete indoor smoking ban before the Rugby World Cup hits our shores in summer 2019. The ban would include restaurants and bars – although smoking rooms would be considered acceptable – but allow smoking in bars that are too small to be divvied up (although all employees at such establishments would have to agree with it).
On a national level, the health ministry is currently looking to ban smoking in government buildings and facilities used often by the general public, such as hospitals and schools. Perhaps Tokyo won't be hazy for much longer...