Some Japanese have abandoned their usual reserve to shout away the frustrations of 1990 in a contest sponsored by an American cough drop company.
"If YOU want a war, YOU go!" screamed Yoshihiko Kato, the 36-year-old father of three who won the contest with a ear-blasting 115.8 decibel bellow - louder than a passing train."President Hussein, please pay my gasoline bill!" roared Yoshihiro Yamanashi, 30.
"I want a girlfriend. I'll do anything to get one!" wailed Takeshi Oohashi, 23, who said he has never had a girlfriend.
The self-employed Kato, who said he probably primed his vocal cords shouting at his children, won the 100,000 yen ($740) grand prize of the 10th Annual Halls Year-End Loud Voice Contest Thursday.
The Adams Confectionary Products Division of Warner-Lambert KK, the contest organizers, asked contestants to shout their feelings about what happened in 1990 in keeping with the Japanese custom of "toshi wasure," or forgetting the past year.
Adams manufactures Hall's cough drops and all contestants received a package of the lozenges to soothe their throats after the contest.
The company challenged the shouters to top a ringing telephone (70 decibels) or, if possible, damage a few eardrums (150 decibels). Decibel readings on a sound meter, facial expressions and gestures all counted.
Kato's scream registered 115.8 decibels, more than 15 percent louder than the roar of a train passing overhead on an elevated railroad.