Random Japan

Welcome back to the grind…

More than 350,000 commuters were delayed-and many were forced to walk down a stretch of tracks in the rain-when a brake malfunctioned on a JR Yokosuka line train on the first day after the Golden Week break.

Roughly 1,500 people joined a protest against pluthermal nuclear power in Saga Prefecture, forming a human banner that read “NO MOX.”

A group of earth-lovers protesting a dam project in Aichi Prefecture carried their canoes through the streets of Nagoya.

The Wall Street Journal announced plans to launch a Japanese website by the end of the year.

Time magazine named Japanese Nobel Prize-winning physicist Yoichiro Nambu one of the world’s 100 most influential people.

Writer Eriko Momose has crowned the term “mother harassment” to describe moms who get reamed out for putting their children in daycare; letting their kids get low grades; or allowing their children ride the train alone.

It was reported that a group of Japanese hikers have taken to going on nocturnal strolls through forests and urban areas. Seems they feel the darkness “sharpens the other senses, heightening… sounds and smells.” Watch out for that cliff…

Even with Swine Flu-itis sweeping the nation, the Mini Buta Derby went ahead as planned in Mie Prefecture. Participants chased 3-month-old piglets down a 100-meter track.

A deputy police chief in Aichi Prefecture who headed up a task force promoting traffic safety was busted for driving drunk.



Percentage of their time that Japanese people spend on leisure activities, according to a survey of 18 countries by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development


Percent of time spent on leisure activities by Mexicans, the only group that scored lower than Japan


Percentage of Japanese homes that have a flat-panel TV set, according to a Cabinet Office survey conducted in March

¥428 billion

The predicted revenue generated by kaiten-zushi shops in 2009, according to market research firm Fuji-Keizai, a 4.4 percent increase over 2008

Maybe next year

Tokyo’s National Museum of Western Art, designed by French architect Le Corbusier, will have to wait a while to be deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site. The council that makes such decisions said the museum is among “the structures that have not proven to be of outstanding universal value.”

Calling Google “one-sided” and “arrogant,” poet Shuntaro Tanikawa knocked the search engine for copyright infringement.

Over 75 percent of high school guidance counselors polled by research firm License Academy said some of their students had dropped plans to go to college because the tuition costs were too high, an increase of 62 percent from 2007.

Talk about a flight that really sucked: a baggage container used to transport cargo was whooshed into the engine of a JAL 747 as the jet taxied along the runway at LAX prior to takeoff. Everyone got off the aircraft in one piece and were transferred to another flight.

Shibuya girl makes good! Emiri Miyasaka, a 24-year-old model who hails from the center of gyaru culture, was crowned 2009 Miss Universe Japan and will represent the nation in the Miss Universe competition in the Bahamas this summer.

Professional golfer Seita Matsumoto was arrested for stalking his ex-girlfriend after he called and/or emailed her 152 times between March 14 and April 18.

In Okayama, a 39-year-old man stabbed a woman in the chest and then drove the victim around in her car for nine hours. The woman survived the ordeal.

Shoji Tsuji of the University of Tokyo and Tatsushi Toda of Kobe University put their heads together and discovered that people with a mutation in a gene called GBA are 28 times more likely to contract Parkinson’s disease. The next step: come up with a way to combat the disease.

A Matchmaker

With Some Else’s Money  

Partially Guilty?  

Is That Kind Of Like Being 1/3 Wrong


One Defense Against Economic Meltdown

The Latest Japanese Trend  

The Drive Right Though It Convenience Store

Amnesty slams Japan’s prisons, death penalty


Japan was criticized by human rights campaigners Thursday for its treatment of prisoners and increasing use of the death penalty. In its annual report, Amnesty International highlighted the fact that the number of prisoners in solitary confinement has continued to rise and that they have few rights. More generally, prison inmates have ”inadequate access” to medical care due to a shortage of doctors and guards to escort prisoners to medical facilities, the London-based rights group stated.

To back up its point, Amnesty reported the case of 20 prisoners filing a criminal complaint against one prison doctor for abuse over a three-year period.

The group criticized Japan for its continued use of the death penalty and noted the number of executions rose last year to 15-the highest since 1975. A total of 100 prisoners are currently on death row.

Amnesty is deeply concerned about the condition of those facing the death penalty, pointing out that they are only notified of their execution on the morning that it is going to take place and relatives are told only afterwards.

In its report, the rights group highlighted the execution of Tsutomu Miyazaki in June. The man’s lawyer claimed Miyazaki was mentally ill and had been receiving treatment for the last 10 years

Aso backtracks on division of ministry

Prime Minister Taro Aso has apparently backtracked from a plan to split up the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, renewing concerns within the ruling coalition that he has a tendency to waver on important policy matters.

At question is Aso’s proposal to divide the ministry into at least two entities, with one handling social security matters and the other overseeing labor and other issues related to people’s day-to-day lives.

At a May 19 meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, Aso said: “There has to be better efficiency. I want the state minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy to properly organize the matter.”

At a meeting of his Cabinet on Friday, Aso said, “There appears to be some misunderstanding. I never made any order in that vein and I am not wavering.” Aso was defending a statement made Thursday, when he said he had not insisted that the ministry should be split up.

1 comment

    • RiaD on May 31, 2009 at 1:32 am

    ver busy today, but i finally got a chance to sit down & read this…. thanks!!

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