Tag: Japan

Random Japan


Kagoshima’s Mount Sakurajima broke its own record with its 550th volcanic eruption this year-two more than it had in 2009.

A teenage girl died and three of her relatives were hospitalized after likely inhaling volcanic gas on a trip to an onsen area in the Hakkoda Mountains in Aomori.

The butler really did do it! A 69-year-old Japanese man and his 67-year-old wife were stabbed to death at their home in Jakarta, allegedly by a recently fired servant and his buddy.

New archeological evidence suggests that some higher-ups in eighth century Nara were indeed meat eaters, despite a Buddhist ban on such practices.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai paid his respects at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park. After all that has happened in his country, he wanted to see first-hand how an area can bounce back from devastation.

Clad in kimono and carrying samurai swords, 200 Japanese and Americans took part in a parade in New York’s Central Park to mark Japan’s first diplomatic mission to the US 150 years ago.

Japan’s Cabinet Office said the country’s economy bottomed out in March 2009, but the drop was still not quite as bad as the post-Bubble dip in the early ’90s.

It was reported that 707,824 marriages took place in Japan in 2009, 18,282 fewer than the previous year.

Random Japan


A 34-year-old salaryman from Osaka and his 24-year-old OL bride became the 10,000th couple to get hitched at Tokyo Disneyland. Mickey and Minnie Mouse were on hand to witness the nuptials.

A 41-year-old Sendai man won the annual cherry pit-spitting contest in Higashine, Yamagata Prefecture, with a 15.95-meter effort.

Hanshin Tigers outfielder Tomoaki Kanemoto was recognized by Guinness World Records for playing 1,492 consecutive games without missing an inning.

It was reported that a 41-year-old pet owner in Utsunomiya is applying to have his 25-year-old mixed-breed male dog certified as the world’s oldest living canine.

Festival-goers in Gifu set a new world record when they sent nagashi-somen (“flowing noodles”) down a 2,500m-long bamboo chute.

A Gallup poll revealed that China has replaced Japan as “the most important partner for the United States” for the first time in 25 years.

Random Japan


A forward-thinking Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force major-general had his pay cut after trying to dig up a 4m-tall fir tree on a Shizuoka base to use as a Christmas tree.

A weekly magazine claimed the Imperial Household Agency asked administrators at Princess Aiko’s elementary school to add ADD medication to school meals to calm down “unruly” boys who were scaring the little princess. The agency denied the story, and demanded an apology and a correction.

Police in Beppu were on the lookout for a sicko who placed a plate of dog food spiked with nails in a local park. An unlucky dachshund had to have a dozen nails surgically removed from its stomach after eating the food.

The president of a cutlery company in Hyogo was busted for producing “double-edged ninja-style knives,” which are illegal in Japan.

Tadashi Nakauchi, the former owner of the Daiei Hawks ballclub and son of the founder of the Daiei group, was arrested in Saitama for dodging about ¥200 million in gift taxes. Seems he forgot to declare some ¥500 million his old man gave him before his death.

Random Japan


A 45-year-old cop in Niigata was arrested for molesting a 15-year-old girl whose contact info he gleaned from a law enforcement database.

Police at Narita arrested a former diplomat from the Ivory Coast for running a gambling ring out of his apartment in Minato-ku.

The 73-year-old wife of former Education Minister Takashi Kosugi was busted for a string of investment scams that are thought to have netted some ¥90 million.

Two Japanese men were arrested in Bangkok for running a human smuggling ring that “exported Thai people to Japan [and] exported Chinese people to United States or Canada.”

Talk about chutzpah: police say that a Tokyo-based internet advertising company released a virus that leaked users’ details online, and then demanded money from victims who asked the company to delete the info.]

Police arrested a 45-year-old Hiroshima man for mailing a memory stick containing copies of five PlayStation Portable games to a friend in Tokyo.

Random Japan


A 42-year-old Defense Ministry official found himself in hot water after dressing up as a woman and attempting to enter the ladies’ bath at a Shibuya sento.

Giving new life to the term “You go girl!” 11-year-old go prodigy Rina Fujisawa came up short in her professional debut, falling to 20-year-old Mitsunari Horimoto.

The Japan Electric Vehicle Club set a record for an EV car running on a single charge: 1,003.184km, on a test course near Tokyo. Musta been exciting to watch that one unfold…

Guinness World Records also recognized Nintendo’s Dragon Quest 9 for having “the world’s most popular ad-hoc wireless game feature”: a system whereby different players can exchange info through their consoles simply by passing one another on the street.

Struggling clothing maker Renown has become the first blue-chip company on the Tokyo Stock Exchange to get a cash injection from Chinese investors.

An art exhibition in Paris featuring the works of comedian/director/actor Takeshi Kitano includes a mannequin holding its own brain in its hands. Yuck!

Two years after a knife-wielding nutcase killed seven people on the streets of Akihabara, the district will once again have car-free public shopping roads on certain days.

After residents in the library-less Fukushima village of Iitate made a plea for used children’s books, over 10,000 books came pouring into the small mountain town from around the country.

Random Japan


It was reported that a group of rice farmers in Gifu Prefecture who have revived a 1,000-year-old technique of planting crops in a circular pattern are wont to chant, “The rice fields here are round, not square.”

A self-published book of poetry by a 98-year-old first-time author in Tochigi Prefecture has sold an astounding 40,000 copies. In one of the poems, the woman “confesses her hidden love for a doctor paying her house visits.”

A team of researchers at Osaka University have discovered that “something in red wine helps rats have erections.”

The shogi world was abuzz after former champion Naoko Hayashiba announced her return to the game following 15 years of semi-retirement.

Random Japan


Nineteen Seibu Railway employees were caught cheating the system out of more than ¥1.5 million in scams involving commuter passes.

A 44-year-old woman and her male friend in Iwate were detained for fraudulently pretending to be doctors when they tried to get jobs at a local hospital.

After golfer Yuko Mitsuka was penalized two strokes and fined ¥2 million for slow play at the World Ladies Championship in Ibaraki, she quit the tournament in a huff and then pulled out of her next 11 scheduled events.

A survey ship from Taiwan was warned by the Coast Guard after sailing over 300km inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone in the waters off Kagoshima Prefecture.

Nagano Prefecture’s Matsumoto Juvenile Prison is selling T-shirts designed by the inmates that feature a pair of hands gripping the bars of a jail cell.

A new book revealed that a former SDF officer was given hush money by the Japanese government because he had inside knowledge of the 1973 kidnapping of future South Korean president Kim Dae Jung by Korean agents in Tokyo.

Police in Tokyo asked website operators around the country to delete sites that refer users to child porn on the web.

Random Japan


For the first time in history, Tokyo’s population topped 13 million. According to the TMG, 13.01 million people were living in the city as of April 1.

A recently released Cabinet Office study predicts that if a major inland quake were to strike the Tokyo area, 11,000 people would die, 850,000 buildings would be destroyed, and the damage would total ¥112 trillion.

The report also said that over 1.5 million households would “still be living as evacuees” one month after the quake.

The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology predicted that global warming may cause the “frequency of violent typhoons whose winds exceed 194kph” to increase 1,000 percent by the year 2100.

The transport ministry is mulling whether to increase the number of international flights in and out of Haneda Airport to 120 per day by 2013.

Random Japan


In an attempt to cash in on the old and decrepit from the rest of Asia, the Japanese government is mulling a “medical visa” that would allow rich folks from places like China to seek long-term medical care here.

A 29-year-old conductor from Israel has been picked to replace Seiji Ozawa as opera director at the Saito Kinen Festival in Nagano. The 74-year-old Ozawa is recovering from treatment for esophagal cancer.

A man who says he was drunk when he snapped a maraca off a statue of popular manga character Ryotsu Kankichi in Katsushika-ku turned himself in after seeing how much attention the incident received.

Osaka cops, rejoice! Krispy Kreme and Mister Donut’s Cafe Andonand have ignited a doughnut war after opening their first outlets in the region.

Ace pitcher Mika Konishi led the Hyogo Swing Smileys to victory over the Kyoto Asto Dreams 8-0 in the first game of the Girls Professional Baseball League.

Random Japan


A survey by the BBC and the Yomiuri Shimbun revealed that Germany and Japan are, for the second year in a row, the two most “favorably viewed” nations in the world. Something tells us that a similar poll taken 65 years ago would have yielded significantly different results.

It’s believed that whale meat confiscated by South Korean police from a Japanese restaurant in Seoul may have been smuggled into the country from one of Japan’s “research” whaling expeditions.

A travel website called ToCoo has begun offering stays at ryokan and other accommodations for free. Hotels and inns are scrambling to participate in the program in the hopes of getting repeat customers.

A tie-up between Mister Donut and Mos Burger means that customers will be able to enjoy cheeseburgers and donuts on the same plate. OK, maybe “enjoy” isn’t the best word…

Random Japan


A British environmentalist with the International Tropical Timber Organization in Yokohama is facing up to 20 years in jail after a drunken outburst on an American Airlines flight from LA to Tokyo. The ornery and inebriated man fought with crewmembers and threatened to “kick the pilot’s ass” after being refused more booze on the flight, which was diverted to Anchorage after the incident.

Shiro Kameda, the father of boxing punks Koki and Daiki, was banned for life from the sport by the Japan Boxing Commission after his tirade against officials when Koki lost a recent WBC title fight to Thai boxer Pongsaklek Wonjongkam.

It was reported that incidents of groping on JR Saikyo Line trains have dropped some 60 percent since surveillance cameras were installed on the trains last year.

Japan Post is getting rid of some 18,000 cameras that were being used to monitor post offices throughout Japan because being spied on by their bosses was apparently damaging employees’ morale. Maybe some other JR lines will be in the market for those used cameras.

Sharp’s new solar cell technology and KEPCO’s hydropower plant technology earned their respective organizations prestigious Milestone awards from a US-based electrical engineering group.

A lucky bettor won nearly ¥25 million by picking the top three finishers in a horse race at Oi Racecourse, a Japanese record for sports gambling payouts (legal sports gambling, at least).

Random Japan


The 70-year-old president of the metalworking company that built the roof of the Fukuoka Dome was found murdered in a container in his firm’s stockyard.

Police across the country are stymied by the growing number of incidents involving sewing needles found in food products. Reports have come in from Kitakyushu (cabbage), Kochi (bread), and Ibaraki (dorayaki).

The National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan says that it has seen a two-fold rise in the number of scams involving unlisted stocks during the past year.

The Central Disaster Management Council said that rising sea levels caused by global warming might lead to an additional 7,600 deaths in Tokyo in the event of a tsunami caused by a strong typhoon.

A scientist at the Tokyo-based Institute for Industrial Science has developed a unit of measurement called the water footprint, or WF, which takes into account how much H2O is used to produce everyday items like beer, cellphones and bicycles. The International Organization for Standardization is said to have “begun to work on the establishment of international standards for WF calculations.”

Sentence of the Week: “Ten countries, including eight in Africa, do not have embassies in Japan and have their embassies in China take charge of diplomatic operations involving Japan, a trend that likely reflects China’s increasing, and Japan’s dwindling, global presence, an upper house committee meeting revealed Thursday.” (via Kyodo)

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