Random Japan


A research group led by a professor of neurophysiology at the University of Tokyo claims to have identified a chemical in the brain that “creates effects similar to those of marijuana.” The scientists say their findings could eventually help people lose weight, which makes us wonder what they’ve been smoking.

A new book called The Great Tokyo Air Raid: Records of Korean Victims, Part III is being described as the “first comprehensive study of the damage done to Korean residents in wartime Tokyo.” We suppose parts I and II were about the fun that the Koreans had during the war.

The newly established Consumer Affairs Agency is mulling whether to cancel an information hotline that was intended to combat a rise in food mislabeling scandals. The agency said that most of the calls “were general consultations or complaints, such as being tricked into buying an expensive item.”

It was revealed that the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties allowed a museum in Niigata to display 14 Buddhist statues designated as national treasures even though an earlier exhibit was riddled with “spiders and other bugs.”



Number of foreigners who took part in the annual natto speed eating contest in Mito City


Winning time, in seconds, of Masaki Nakamura, a 44-year-old salaryman who wolfed down 350 grams of the sticky stuff


watts Power generated by J. League fans at a soccer game in Kobe, which was played in a stadium that had been fitted with a crowd-generated electricity system


Countries around the world where TV stations have picked up the rights to Japanese game show Nokabe, in which contestants must “contort themselves to fit through cutouts in a large Styrofoam


It was reported that the operator of Kansai’s airport wants to change its nickname from “Kanku” to “KIX.”

In a bid to lure overseas fans of Japanese subculture, the city of Kitakyushu is planning to build an “otaku complex” that will house a manga museum.

Sony announced that it would release 46-inch and 40-inch versions of its 3D Bravia TVs in the US in June.

At the same time, JVC said it would shutter its flat-TV manufacturing plant in Tijuana, Mexico, due to poor sales.



Artist shares culture of paper-cutting in U.S.


Kyodo News

NEW YORK – Armed only with an art knife, Shu Kubo over the last few months has single-handedly built up a fan base after battling blizzards and floods to introduce thousands of Americans to the intricate art of paper-cutting.

The Japanese government appointed the 58-year-old in 2009 as special adviser for culture to reach out to citizens on the East Coast. He hoped to pique their interest in things Japanese.

“I am passionate about delivering my message about ‘kirie’ to as many people as possible,” the contemporary artist, whose work has appeared on postage stamps and on New Year’s greeting cards in Japan, said recently.

Child benefits signal rosier future, but some kids remain ineligible


Japan may be able to look forward to European-levels of social welfare in the years ahead and more babies being born amid the aging of society following Friday’s enactment of a child benefits law.

But it looks like the government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama still has a lot of work to do before it can implement the policy, a key campaign pledge that helped the Democratic Party of Japan win a sweeping victory in last August’s general election.

Hatoyama’s DPJ plans to hand out monthly benefits of 13,000 yen per child in fiscal 2010 starting April 1, irrespective of household income.

The party aims to provide 26,000 yen a month, or 312,000 yen a year, in fiscal 2011 and beyond but has yet to secure sufficient financial resources to cover the allowances that are expected to cost over 5 trillion yen each year.

While praising the cash benefits policy in principle, Sophia University Professor Masanobu Masuda pointed to several problems in addition to the lack of funding.


  1. Ryota Hama, former Sumo wrestler, defeated Satoshi Kojima last weekend at Sumo Hall in Tokyo.  Hama, part of SMOP (Super Megaton Ohzumo Powers) with Akebono – they’re All-Asian Tag Team Champs – won after a Shining Wizard and a Ryota Hammer (Jackhammer in the US).  He joins a stellar list of TC Champions including Keiji Mutoh!

    • RiaD on March 28, 2010 at 14:18

    yesterday was Saturday…

    our girl & her girl are here visiting.

    please… what is satto?

    is 350 grams of it a lot?

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