Random Japan

Money troubles

   *  Police in Osaka and Kobe are warning cashiers to be on guard against con men who claim to be collectors of rare Japanese bank-notes, but who then use sleight of hand to make off with wads of cash. Cops say that ¥1.22 million has been stolen in such ruses.

   * The driver of a cash transport vehicle in Fukuoka told a fellow worker to get out of the truck because there was a mechanical problem, and then drove off with an estimated ¥72 million.

   * Sentence of the Week™: “A 60-year-old woman has been swindled out of ¥1.98 million by a man who pretended to be her flu-stricken son and asked her to pay off his debts because he was too unwell to move, the police said.” (via The Daily Yomiuri)

   * A Panasonic factory in Shiga Prefecture was busted for employing some three dozen illegal Chinese laborers.

   * A Kanagawa-based alcoholism research center found that 60 percent of homeless people around Ikebukuro station are suffering from some kind of mental disorder.

   * It was reported that the Yamaguchi-gumi crime syndicate is forcing members to take an exam on the ins and outs of the revised Anti-Organized Crime Law, out of fear that non-compliance will lead to costly lawsuits.


   *  16  Consecutive months that sales of import cars have fallen in Japan, according to the Japan Automobile Importers Association

   * 795,000 Number of people around the nation who took part in emergency preparedness drills held on the September 1 anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake

   * 15,000 Railway passengers affected when a fire at a yakiniku restaurant knocked out power cables servicing the Kyoto line

   * 300 Number of internet supermarkets expected to be operating in Japan by the end of fiscal 2009, an 80 percent rise over the previous year

Masked men

   *  An industry association announced that Japanese makers of protective masks would produce some 3.6 billion units this year, nearly double the number from last year.

   * One manufacturer is marketing a mask that “adheres to the user’s face without the need for ear straps.”

   * Headline of the Week: “Hatoyama’s Wife Says her Man is no Alien, but he Loves Foot Massages and Prawn Crackers” (via The Mainichi Daily News)

   * An 11-year-old fifth-grade student in Kobe who was forced to shoplift by his divorced parents told authorities that he was “afraid of being hit by his father” if he didn’t comply.

   * A group of researchers led by Kumamoto University professor Yuichi Oike announced that they had identified a protein thought to cause obesity.

   * Some 45,000 commuters were inconvenienced after a Narita Express train hit a railway track maintenance vehicle earlier this month.

Free Petrol

Free Trip To Jail

I’m So Elite  

Elite Enough For Stupidity  

Your Hands

Belong To You Not Me

Increasing number of people staying in farm houses under WWOOF system  


Growing numbers of people are staying in farm houses under a system called ”WWOOF,” in which they are provided accommodation and meals in return for helping farmers with harvesting crops and daily chores.

The system brings together people wishing to learn about agriculture and farm households battling labor shortages and some foreigners are staying in such households to learn about Japanese culture.

”It required a lot of strength to harvest vegetables and to weed, but it was pleasant,” said 30-year-old chef Tomoko Takahashi from Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture, who stayed in the home of Noriko Kawai, 59, in Nasukarasuyama in the same prefecture and worked in a watermelon field for three weeks in July.

WWOOF, or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, originated in Britain in 1971 and there are currently secretariats in about 40 countries, including Japan. Under the system, labor is exchanged for accommodation and meals without monetary transactions.

Honda rolls out ‘Segway’ of unicycles


Staff writer

Honda Motor Co. unveiled on Thursday a new compact self-balancing vehicle that looks like a futuristic unicycle.

Unlike other self-balancing devices like the two-wheeled Segway or Toyota Motor Corp.’s Winglet, Honda’s U3-X is a one-wheeler. It can move back and forth and even side to side, thanks to a ring of small perpendicular wheels lining the outer edge of the main wheel, Honda said.

The vehicle has a seat on the top and a tiny footrest on each side of the wheel. Riders steer by shifting their weight, while balance-control technology developed from research for the Asimo, Honda’s bipedal humanoid robot, automatically keeps it upright, Honda said.


Skip to comment form

    • Miep on September 26, 2009 at 6:10 am

    protect people from?

    • Edger on September 26, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Sen. Paul Kirk (D-Mass.) was sworn in on Friday as Massachusetts’ junior senator, filling the seat of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).

    The ceremony officially gives Democrats in the upper chamber their full 60 seat representation as the body prepares to vote on healthcare reform, changes to financial regulations, and other high-priority legislation.

    Poor f’ing Harry. His “freedom” to get away with his lame “we don’t have the votes” whining has vanished.

  1. It’s exactly what I need right now, as I currently have some contact with some Japanese people living in the United States. It seems to me that they wish to present an image of a Japan with no problems like the US has. That’s understandable, and I have no intention of spouting the latest crime story from Japan when talking with them.

    Yet it’s helpful to me to understand the type of issues Japanese people are dealing with. It’s a window into understanding the culture a tiny bit more.

    Thanks again.

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