Japan Tokyo Manuscript writing cafe

Customers work on their manuscripts at the Manuscript Writing Cafe, which is designed for writers who are working on a deadline, in Tokyo, Japan, on 21st April. PICTURE: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Writers facing deadlines go to Tokyo's "Manuscript Writing Cafe" with an understanding - they can't leave until their work is done. Oh, and there's prodding thrown in to make sure they buckle down and finish. The clean, well-lit place in western Tokyo has 10 seats reserved for writers, editors, manga artists and anybody else grappling with the written word and deadlines. Coffee and tea are unlimited and self-serve, and high-speed wi-fi and docking ports are installed at every seat. Customers enter, write down their names, writing goals and the time they plan to finish. They can also ask for progress checks as they work, with "mild" just asking them if they have finished as they pay and "normal" being a check-in every hour. Those choosing "hard" will feel silent pressure from staff standing frequently behind them. Owner Takuya Kawai, 52 and a writer himself, said he hoped the strict rules would help people focus. "The cafe went viral on social media and people are saying the rules are scary or that it feels like being watched from behind," the genial Kawai said, displaying a board with the names of customers who completed their tasks and left. But actually instead of monitoring, I'm here to support them...As a result what they thought would take a day actually was completed in three hours, or tasks that usually take three hours were done in one." 
- IRENE WANG and ELAINE LIES/Reuters.

An 118-year-old French nun has been named the world's oldest person following the death of Japanese woman Kane Tanaka at the age of 119 years and 107 days old this week. Guinness World Records named Sister André, a nun born Lucile Randon on 11th February, 1904, as officially the world's oldest person. Guinness said on Monday that Sister André, at 118 years and 73 days-old, was officially the third-oldest French person and the third-oldest European person ever recorded. Sister André, who has worked as a teacher, a governess and looked after children during World War II before spending 28 years working with orphans and elderly people at a hospital in Vichy, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region, and later becoming a Catholic nun. She has lived at her retirement home for 12 years. Recently, Sister André took out another world record, this time for the oldest COVID-19 survivor.  

Australia Sydney Elvis impersonators

Elvis Presley impersonators Steve Fletcher and Len Connolly board a train at Sydney Central Railway Station before departing for the Parkes Elvis Festival, as the event returns following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Sydney, Australia, on 21st April. PICTURE: Reuters/Loren Elliott.

 Thousands of hip-shaking Elvis Presley impersonators and fans of the late King of Rock and Roll returned to the Elvis Festival in the Australian country town of Parkes last week. Now in its 29th year, the Parkes Elvis Festival was cancelled in 2021 because of COVID-19 and then also pushed back from January this year, Presley’s birthday month, to April. The Elvis Express train pulled into Parkes last Thursday packed with sideburn-sporting Elvis imitators, welcomed by jubilant fans who posed with them for photographs. The festival holds a special place in the hearts of the Elvis impersonators. "I love it every time I come to Parkes. It's the only festival that the whole town is immersed in Elvis," said Elvis tribute artist Kingsley Rock. "When you sing a song and a genuine Elvis fan really reacts to that and enjoys it, that's the reward."
- CORDELIA HSU/Reuters.