The Japanese 'Jo Baiden'

Updated: 15 November, 2020 08:58 IST | Agencies | Washington

A mayor from a town in Japan has become an overnight celebrity because his name sounds just like that of the US president-elect

The mayor of a remote town has become an Internet sensation for having a name that can be pronounced the same as that of the US president-elect.

Yutaka Umeda, the 73-year-old mayor of Yamato—a town of 15,000 in southwestern Japan—first realised that the Chinese characters used to write his name could, if said differently, sound like "Joe Biden," while watching the television coverage of the US vote count with his family.

Joe Biden was declared US President elect last week. Pic/Getty Images
Joe Biden was declared US President elect last week. Pic/Getty Images

Japan uses kanji characters from China along with phonetic Japanese script, especially for names, and the characters can sometimes be read in different ways. In Umeda's case, his first name, Yutaka, can also be pronounced "Jo," and his surname becomes "Baiden."

His name has made him an overnight Internet sensation. "I'm really surprised," Umeda told Reuters. "I was told I was in the news in Japan, but I was in Tokyo yesterday, and I heard from people that I made news in the US, too."

Yutaka Umeda
Yutaka Umeda

People have suggested Umeda fly to Washington to meet Biden or invite him to Yamato, but for now, Umeda said he will be content with a congratulatory letter. "To me, the president of the US was someone far away," said Umeda. "But coincidentally, because our names are phonetically the same, I feel much closer to him when I watch his speeches and videos."

Bowling on wheels

Michigan entrepreneur creates world's first mobile bowling alley that can be rented out, too

Bowling on wheels

For years, Michigan-based businessman Terence Jackson Jr has been working on converting a 53-foot semi-trailer truck into a mobile bowling alley, encountering several obstacles. Last month, he unveiled Luxury Strike Bowling, the two-lane facility—making it the world's first mobile bowling alley on wheels. Inspired by companies like Amazon and Uber, which rely on convenience to achieve business success, the Detroit entrepreneur decided to bring bowling to the masses.

"It was a difficult process to build the bowling alley because lumber, certain materials and products weren't available because of the pandemic, but we eventually got it done," said the 34-year-old. The trailer consists of a dual automatic bowling lane, scoring system, temperature control, neon lighting, 80-inch theatre screen, a sky lounge and a state-of-the-art sound system. It is available to rent for $500 (R37,294) for two hours.

Wall that fights pollution

Wall that fights pollution

As part of their city-forests campaign, Sportswear company Converse has painted an artwork on a building in Warsaw, Poland. An ingenious way to tackle urban pollution, it has been painted using photocatalytic paint with titanium dioxide that attracts airborne pollutants before converting them into harmless nitrates through a chemical process involving sunlight. The mural's co-designer Dawid Ryski said, "My vision of a better future was well reflected in our project. I see it as a symbiosis of the city and nature, complementing each other perfectly."

Bear-scaring wolf-bots are keeping farms safe

Representation pic
Representation pic

Dozens of red-eyed monster wolf robots were set up in Takikawa Japan to scare off the bears and deer that were overrunning local homes and destroying crops there. The 3-foot-tall by 4-foot-long contraptions were erected to avoid friction between residents and bears that destroy crops.

A sparkling cookbook for those who love Dew

Ahead of the brand's 80th anniversary, Mountain Dew is publishing a 96-page book of recipes called Big Bold Book of MTN DEW Recipes. The book will have about 40 recipes either made by fans, inspired by fans or just enjoyed by fans.

Man plants Xmas trees in potholes

Man plants Xmas trees in potholes

Fed up with potholes, Massachusetts local Kevin Martin planted tiny Christmas trees in the holes on a busy road. This was after he was hit by a series of potholes and ended up with all four of his tires flattened. Previously he had complained to the town and state governments about the potholes, no action was taken.

Is that you, Mr Trump?

Is that you, Mr Trump?

An artist hired to restore a decades-old Spanish sculpture has been mercilessly mocked with critics dubbing it "The Potato Head of Palencia'. The botched job is even drawing unflattering comparisons with the outgoing US president Donald Trump.

Like your girlfriend's hand

Like your girlfriend's hand

Feel like a walk in the park with your girl, but you don't have one? Try this high-tech device My Girlfriend in Walk developed at Gifu University, Japan. With a microcomputer, pressure sensor, motor, film heater and soft, skin-like material, as well as a companion smartphone app, it aims to recreate the experience of holding a girlfriend's hand.

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This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

First Published: 15 November, 2020 08:38 IST

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