Yesterday Roy posted on Census-kun, the Giant Baby whose cuteness will compel all ethnic Japanese (and from the look of things, quite possibly Daniel Carl) to participate in counting Japan’s declining population, which is expected to peak at 127.74 million in 2006.
Not to be outdone, today I’d like to introduce readers to a valuable online resource that is not without its own brand of cuteness…The Ministry of Finance!
That’s right, The Ministry of Finance.
Seeing Census-kun reminded me of a user-friendly tax brochure the Ministry of Finance put out several years ago. The brochure, called “Let’s Talk About Taxes,” featured a cute claymation-like family of six who explores the wonderful world of government income and expenditure.
Who, us? Cute?
Don’t let the cuteness fool you however. The contents of the brochure are excellent and provide a great introduction and overview to Japan’s current fiscal situation that most people might otherwise shy away from if it weren’t for the cartoon characters. Think of them as sugar coating on a bitter pill, or the lime wedge following a tequila shot.
But worry not dear reader, for the cuteness doesn’t end there. In visiting the MOF site I noticed a curiously cute button just above the one that takes you to the aforementioned tax guide. I clicked on it and the next thing I know I’m in Finance Town!
Go! Go! Finance Town!
In Finance town, visitors join the Finance kids, Noboru, Wataru, and Hikaru along with their two mouse-buddies and a lazy-ass cat called Doranyago, who wears a cape and superhero get up and apparently never pays his taxes. You can go fishing, perform high-flying acrobatics on the trapeze, or play dodge ball. Play the games, learn about the importance of paying taxes, and then go take the Finance Quiz. Perform well and make Doranyago pay his taxes!
Here again, don’t let the cuteness fool you. I actually learned a few things from the quiz. I don’t want to reveal too much for those of you who haven’t taken it yet, but I had no idea that there was 入湯税 in Japan, or that the symbol for a tax office on a map is patterned after the bead on an abacus!