Ninjas — not pirates — sent to fight tourism slump

ninjas-kill-peopleNine ninjas have been sent to Honolulu to lure visitors from Japan. No, I am not making this up. The stealthy killers were hired by Hawaii Tourism Japan and come from Iga City, a castle town in Japan which apparently specializes in all things related to the ninja art.

Officials said it was the first time the ninja group has come to Hawai’i to promote a historically accurate depiction of a Japanese art popular in Hawai’i and worldwide. The tourism authorities emphasize that this ninja group is faithful to the ancient traditions. The black-clad specialists show off skills in swordplay, sickle work, juggling, throwing stars and even “piercing objects with flying chopsticks.”

Who knew that “piercing objects with flying chopsticks” was part of the ninjitsu tradition? Equally obscure is why Japanese would be lured to Hawaii by the chance to see something developed and practiced in their backyard. Would people from Illinois come to Hawaii for the chance to see one of their corrupt (redundant?) politicians take a bribe?

Related — and true — story: Friend of mine got a call from kindergarten her daughter was attending. Seems the teachers were concerned because the little girl kept insisting her father was a ninja. When told this issue of lying was a problem the friend replied with complete accuracy, “Her father teaches ninjitsu — what would  you call him?”

I would call him “sir” unless told otherwise.


Disney now also stalking boys

Well, that’s one way to read this headline: “Disney chases older boys with adventure toys, shows.”

Walt Disney Co. is turning up the speed and power to balance its tiaras and flowers, as boys who have grown beyond Mickey Mouse are seeking fun and adventure outside the entertainment studio’s kingdom. Disney, whose two strongest franchises until 2001 were the gender-neutral Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse, has seen product sales skew toward girls since Disney Princesses, launched that year, has turned into a $4 billion phenomenon among 3- to 6-year-old wannabes.

In other words, after years of pretending that this market didn’t exist The Mouse has found that Pirates of The Caribbean is bringing in the boys. I say “pretending the market didn’t exist” because three years ago the head of their consumer products division explained their all-girl approach by saying no one had success connecting with older boys. It was such a preposterous statement from such an otherwise smart guy that I translated it to mean, “we haven’t come up with it yet.”

BTW, one question for the honchos at The Mouse: WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO PUT OUT PINOCCHIO ON DVD??? It’s one of my all time faves and I can’t wait to terrify CollateralDamageJr with it.