Last week I introduced my trip to Japan, and talked about the Arcades. You can find

Last week I introduced my trip to Japan, and talked about the Arcades. You can find the article here. This week it is time to catch ‘em all! Being in Japan means being bombarded with popular franchises. On every corner of the street you can find references and merchandise from Studio Ghibli, Shonen Jump and the likes. I even saw an art theater in Kyoto which had a play based on Naruto! Two franchises stand out however and can be found literary everywhere: Hello Kitty and Pokémon. The little white cat with the red ribbon combats the yellow mouse with the red cheeks for most exposure: You can find them on food, toothpaste, shampoo bottles, umbrellas, as plush figures in the claw games or as tiny figurines in the gashapon (toy capsule machines). Throw a rock and chances are you hit something with Pikachu or Hello Kitty on it. I could write a whole column about Hello Kitty, but let’s not do that and instead focus on the worldwide phenomenon that is Pokémon, and exactly how big it is in its home country.Pokémon in the StreetsAs I said before, it is hard to wander around a Japanese city without seeing some reference to Pokémon. Kids go by wearing their Pokémon hat or backpack. G...

Memphis City Council now considering ban on plastic bags

Council member Berlin Boyd said the revised ordinance aims to get around a new state law limiting cities’ regulations of food containers. This conversation is moderated according to USA TODAY’s community rules. Please read the rules before joining the discussion. Many cities across the country consider banning the use of plastic bags. Here are a few facts about the impact the bags have on the environment. Statesman Journal Key members of the Memphis City Council have dropped the idea of imposing a plastic bag fee, and are now proposing an outright ban on many plastic bags used at store checkouts.  The ban would sidestep a new Tennessee law intended to stop local governments from regulating plastic bags and other food containers.  The ban proposal is sponsored by council members Berlin Boyd and Kemp Conrad. It would impose a $50 fine for every use of a single-use plastic checkout bag at a retail establishments.  Boyd said plastic bags are a big drain on the local economy, since the government has to spend millions of dollars to get rid of them. In April, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a law that aimed to stop Memphis and other cities from regulating disposable contai...