Random Japan


Space President Newt


       Making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter, large posters at an Osaka department store trumpeted a “Fuckin’ sale” with everything 20 percent off.

   Also from the good people in Osaka, a burger joint was advertising a “Fuckin’ yummy hamburger!!” We’ll take two … fuck yeah!

   Coming of Age Day in Japan saw a record-low 1.22 million people who will turn 20 this year, the fifth straight year the figure has decreased.

   The decline marks the first time the number has been less than half the record of 2.46 million set in 1970.

   “The roughly 620,000 men and 600,000 women comprise 0.96 percent of Japan’s population, down for the eighth consecutive year,” according to an estimate by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.

   An ornery 65-year-old Japanese man was arrested by FBI agents in Hawaii for assaulting a flight attendant on a Delta flight from Tokyo to Honolulu. Apparently, the guy “hit the flight attendant once with an open hand and once with a closed fist after drinking multiple glasses of wine.” So he hit the bottle then hit the stew.

   A court in Kobe found a former president of West Japan Railway not guilty of professional negligence over the 2005 high-speed train wreck in Hyogo Prefecture that left 107 people dead when a train hopped the tracks and hit an apartment building.

   The US magazine Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which created the so-called “Doomsday Clock” in 1947, said in a statement there are still “approximately 19,500 nuclear weapons [in the world today], enough power to destroy the Earth’s inhabitants several times over.”

   A researcher in Hokkaido has concluded that marimo balls-“a type of green algae that grows in a round shape”-have been spread around the world from Japan through migrating birds.

   ANA passengers who flew on the airline’s Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” on New Year’s Day got a nice greeting from staff wearing long-sleeved kimonos while bearing gifts and souvenirs.

   A marathon in tsunami-hit Ofunato in Iwate Prefecture was held once again this year, attracting some 1,500 runners, although the course did have to be altered due to the events of March 11.

   A very pissed-off Chinese dude threw four Molotov cocktails at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul because, he says, “his great grandfather on his mother’s side died of torture while fighting against Japan’s colonial rule,” according to a report from the Yonhap News Agency.

   Three crew members from a disabled North Korean fishing boat found drifting off Shimane Prefecture were shipped back home via China. A fourth man, who had died, was also heading home in a body bag.


   30,513 Suicides in Japan in 2011, down 1,177 from 2010

   14 Straight years Japan’s annual suicide rate has been over 30,000

   ¥5 billion Loss in annual operating profits Toyota expects for every ¥1 the yen gains against the euro

   29 Stations currently on the Yamanote Line train loop

   40 Years since the last time a station was added to the Yamanote Line, that being Nishi-Nippori in 1971


   A 269-kilo bluefin tuna caught off the coast of Aomori Prefecture sold for a record ¥56.49 million at the Tsukiji fish market, beating the record ¥32.49 million set a year ago.

   Kiyoshi Kimura, whose Kiyomura company runs the Sushi-zanmai chain that bought the pricey tuna, said that in order to break even on the record fish, they would have to charge about ¥15,000 per piece of sushi. But, he said, it would go for “the usual price, between ¥134 and ¥418 per piece.”

   Meanwhile, fishermen in the Hokkaido port of Wakkanai are not too happy that a colony of spotted seals has decided to hang out on the beach there for the winter. Tourists seem to enjoy checking out the cuddly creatures but fishermen there claim the seals eat some 200-300 salmon a day out of their nets.

   A new JR train station proposed on the Yamanote Line between Shinagawa and Tamachi could begin construction in fiscal 2014.



Have Debts?

Fake a Death    


We Don’t No Stinking Reords

There’s more to Akihabara than nerds and maids

 By Tim Hornyak

After about an hour in Akihabara, it always hits me. My senses get saturated with the saucer-eyed anime girls, maid café touts and plastic figurines, and it’s time to split. Tokyo’s electronics shopping district is always fascinating but the AKB48 overload can pull you down like a Vegas hangover.

It was a welcome surprise, then, to find a retail experience that’s worlds away from Akiba, yet just off its northern fringe.

After dropping in at my favorite robot shop Technologia, past the UDX Building, I stumbled upon a gem of a mall tucked under the JR train tracks.