A daily look at life's oddities by Ana Samways

Sideswipe: March 19: Fax haven in Japan

Spotted on Queen St yesterday . 'Didn't appear to be part of an ad campaign, or a hidden camera show. Oh, and I checked - it wasn't real!' writes Abby. Photo / Supplied
Spotted on Queen St yesterday . 'Didn't appear to be part of an ad campaign, or a hidden camera show. Oh, and I checked - it wasn't real!' writes Abby. Photo / Supplied

Fax haven in Japan

Fax machines, almost obsolete in the United States and other Western countries, are still central to many tech-savvy Japanese families and companies (who bought 1.7 million units last year alone), reported the New York Times in February. Families prefer faxes' superiority to email for warmly expressing Japan's complex written language, and bureaucrats favour faxes' preserving the imperative of paper flow. (Source: News of the Weird)

The great Cornetto battle

Have you ever been in a fight? Here's one tale of innocence lost: "It was 1984 and I lived with my grandparents in Urmston just outside Manchester. The only activity there was the local swimming pool with its soup of plasters, bits of old floats and toe scrapings. My brother, our mate Gerrard and I had been for our weekly splashabout and departed homewards. We were being followed. As a treat we all bought Cornettos, the god of ice creams in the day.

We were young, spirited and about to partake in creamy, nutty, cone goodness. A boy and his 'gang' of two 7-year-olds had different plans. First he tried to trip me up, I laughed and we all walked faster. Then he grabbed my coat and tried to pull me over, I remained on my feet with my heart racing. Then he knocked my Cornetto out of my hands ... That was it! I grabbed his hand and bent his finger round. He tried to push me off but I had a firm grip of his middle finger. My brother, Gerrard and his crew stood and watched as I grappled with my assailant's finger. Then he tried to get me in a headlock but I was too quick and pushed his arm away and grabbed his head. Holding it under one arm I gave his forehead an almighty slap. He started crying so I released him and apologised. Our crews departed, each to our own homes. With the fight fresh in our minds we wondered how society could have gotten so bad as to allow today's events to have taken place." (Source:

Basketball losses

Sandra writes: "My 13-year-old son left a bag with his prized basketball gear in it on a seat at Middlemore train station while catching the train back to Auckland. It is a navy bag with new basketball shoes, Breakers shorts, white shirt, socks, towel ... I know there is only a slim chance of getting it back, but I would love to think there are more honest people out there than not."

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* Got a Sideswipe? Send your pictures, links and anecdotes to Ana here.

- NZ Herald

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