Random Japan


Astronaut Takao Doi has called it a day, putting down the space suit for good at the age of 54. He will serve in a UN post in Vienna in the “Office for Outer Space Affairs.”

Diplomat Yukiya Amano was chosen to head up the International Atomic Energy Agency, also in Vienna, marking the first time a Japanese person was picked for the job. I see a Doi-Amano lunch date down the road here…

“Green” comedian Kampei Hazama made it to New York on his Earth Marathon, part of an undertaking in which he plans to sail and jog around the world.

Four Chinese were collared in a ¥300 million operation that was producing thousands of fake passports and alien registration cards.

Ishikawa Prefecture enacted a law banning the use of cellphones by elementary and junior high school students.

Makoto Yuasa, the unofficial “mayor” of the tent village set up for jobless and homeless people last year in Hibiya Park, is now out of a job himself after the organizing committee that started the venture disbanded.

More than 84,000 people attended a memorial service at Tokyo’s National Stadium to pay their respects to actor/singer Yujiro Ishihara, who died in 1987 at the age of 52. Ishihara was the younger brother of Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara.

Pieces of an Islamic vase dating back to the eighth century were uncovered in Nara, leading one professor to claim that the area was part of the ancient “Silk Road of the Sea.”

In other archeological news, a wooden “baggage tag” from the seventh century was unearthed in South Korea, leading researchers to conclude that Korea had close links back in the day with what is now Osaka.



Number of cracks found in the steel beams that hold up Tokyo’s elevated roadways, according to a Metropolitan Expressway Company study


Kids on daycare waiting lists in Tokyo’s 23 wards, according to an Asahi Shimbun poll


Average value of a square meter of land facing a major street in Japan, down 5.5 percent from a year ago, according to the National Tax Agency


nanometers Thickness of the Nano Bansoko, the world’s thinnest band-aid, developed by Waseda University, the National Defense Medical College and other institutionsf applicants last year


A Japanese manga about wine entitled Kami no Shizuku (The Drops of God) won the Hall of Fame prize at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Paris.

Government officials in the Saitama town of Warabi are selling T-shirts that show people how to write the city’s name properly in kanji.

Chefs at the Phoenix Seagaia resort in Miyazaki Prefecture cooked up a 136.2kg hamburger, called the “Great Dangan Burger,” which is being billed as the world’s largest. In an odd twist, squid ink was injected into the bun to give it a nasty, tar-like appearance.

Popular soft drink Calpis celebrated its 90th anniversary. The beverage was invented by a man who traveled to Mongolia and tried a similar drink there that cleared up some medical problems and allowed him to get a better night’s sleep.

A ramen shop in Yamanashi Prefecture has introduced noodles made by a robot. Customers can program in how much soy sauce or salt they’d like in their soup.

The Roads To No Where

Return. Corruption And Stupidity Live On  

Smoking A Blunt  

In Defense Of The Country

Maids, Cafes And


 Firms marketing products for single women spending time at home


Japanese firms are targeting a variety of new products, including a low-alcohol drink, casual house wear and cosmetic goods, at single women in their 20s and 30s who prefer to stay at home and indulge in ”nest consumption.”

Makers of a range of goods are focusing on women who prefer to spend their leisure time at home rather than with family members or friends and find pleasure in ”sugomori shohi”-staying in their ”nests.”

A 25-year-old woman company employee in Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture, said she is happy to have a beer in her six tatami mat room. She also orders cheesecake online from a popular confectionery store and enjoys painting her nails for hours on her days off.

Professional evictors target working poor

New people spawned by new times breed new terminology. “Working poor,” borrowed from American English, is now solidly entrenched in Japanese. Then there are the types who prey on the working poor-“oidashiya,” for example. Professional evictors.

Friday (July 31) introduces them and the hardship they cause to people whose lives are pinched enough to begin with.

The descent from temporary work into unemployment accelerated last year in a tailspinning economy. Gaps in Japan’s safety net have left many in a desperate plight. A parallel phenomenon is a weakening of human relationships that makes it difficult for apartment renters to produce a personal guarantor. Filling the void are profit-oriented companies that provide the service. By Friday’s count, 29 companies dominate the field. It’s a new, risky business, largely unregulated. The line between it and the “oidashiya” is a fine one, not clearly drawn.The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry says it is working on regulations. That’s too late for “Mr. A,” one of several “oidashiya” victims the magazine speaks to.

1 comment

    • RiaD on July 25, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    thank you for Random Japan!

    i must ask about your next to last story…

    do young women normally NOT stay home on their days off?

    i hope the remainder of your weekend is restful!

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