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New EU president wins fans in Japan - as a poet

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JAPANESE TREND / Japanese Society (69)

Taking up herewith Japanese Social Trend News by Media in last week.
Recent Social Trend in Japan will be read via these News.
Interested in "New EU president wins fans in Japan - as a poet", "Ichihashi lawyers slam interrogation methods", "'Nobu' fever: Japan falls for a blind piano prodigy" and etc.
Nov 21 New EU president wins fans in Japan - as a poet (Reuters)
 Herman Van Rompuy, the European Union's new president, may not be very well known around the world but he's already winning fans in Japan - as a poet rather than a politician. Belgium's low-key prime minister is fond of writing haiku - three-line Japanese poems of just 17 syllables - and is building a reputation with Japanese poets less than 24 hours after he got the newly-created job.
Nov 21 Prefecture serves up nuts to the nation (Yomiuri)
 The next time you shell out for a packet of peanuts, cast an eye over the small print on the bag and it is highly likely the words "Made in Chiba Prefecture" will figure somewhere. Chiba Prefecture produces more than 70 percent of the nation's peanuts, with Yachimata, in the north of the prefecture, topping the list.
Nov 20 Maria Ozawa, other acclaimed AV actresses on auction as stagnation sticks (Tokyo Reporter)
 Buried in the back of Weekly Playboy (Nov. 23) is a report claiming that the lingering recession is resulting in popular adult video (AV) actresses increasingly being auctioned off at top-class sex establishments with none other than starlet Maria Ozawa appearing on the block. A conventional deri heru (out-call) sex service, the tabloid explains, has an image of being inexpensive, but one staffed with AV ladies is quite the opposite, commanding fees between 30,000 and 50,000 yen a pop for run-of-the-mill actresses and three or four times those figures for top-name talents.
Nov 20 Woman linked to Tottori deaths, partner indicted on fraud charges (AP)
 A 35-year-old woman with links to six men whose suspicious deaths were recently uncovered in Tottori Prefecture and her 46-year- old male roommate were served fresh arrest warrants Friday for fraud after previously being indicted on separate fraud charges. The six deceased had been acquainted with or had financial troubles with the woman, who was an employee of a bar in the city of Tottori, and police are investigating their deaths with a view to building murder cases.
Nov 20 Man on probation following lay judge trial unaccounted for (AP)
 A 21-year-old man who is on probation after receiving a suspended prison term for arson has gone missing, probably the first case in which a former defendant in a lay judge trial has disappeared after going on probation, legal sources said Thursday. Under the newly introduced lay judge trial, several defendants were sentenced to suspended terms and have been put on probation, as citizen judges together with professional ones expect them to rehabilitate in society.
Nov 20 Ichihashi lawyers slam interrogation methods (Japan Times)
 Lawyers for Tatsuya Ichihashi urged prosecutors and police Thursday to improve their interrogation methods, arguing that a prosecutor had told the suspect during a grilling that he could be hanged for the 2007 murder of Briton Lindsay Ann Hawker. "It is illegitimate to investigate by making up scenarios," one of the lawyers told a news conference, during which they quoted Ichihashi as saying he was told by a prosecutor at the Chiba District Public Prosecutor's Office that the death sentence is a possibility.
Nov 20 Beaujolais nouveau hot in Japan - literally (AFP)
 Japan's craze for Beaujolais nouveau has beaten the global recession, with tourists taking a dip Thursday in a hot mountain spring coloured red with the fruity wine. The Hakone Kowakien Yunessun spa resort celebrated the annual uncorking of the seasonal drop by having a sommelier pour a few bottles into an open-air hot spring bath as holiday-makers enjoyed soaking themselves.
Nov 20 Coin-operated parking zones for motorbikes to open (Yomiuri)
 Coin-operated parking zones for motorcycles will open for the first time in the nation along Omotesando in Tokyo on Nov. 30. Under the 2006 revision to the Road Traffic Law, punishments for parking offenses have become stricter, with the result that greater attention has been paid to the maintenance of parking lots for passenger cars. But to date, almost no parking zones have been provided for motorcycles.
Nov 19 Scant welcome for refugees in Japan (BBC)
 In a cramped apartment in Tokyo, volunteers are teaching Burmese asylum seekers how to make clothes combining Japanese fashion with their own traditional embroidery. They hope the project will give women like Lu [not her real name] a way to make ends meet. It has been three years since Lu fled Burma, leaving her husband and children behind. She claimed asylum on arrival in Tokyo and was sent straight to an immigration detention centre where she spent almost a year.
Nov 19 Lindsay Ann Hawker suspect attracts support from Japanese women (telegraph.co.uk)
 Tatsuya Ichihashi, the man suspected of killing the British teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker, has become a bizarre object of admiration among a number of online communities of Japanese women. Posting on social networking sites such as Mixi and 2Channel, some have even taken to referring to Ichihashi as The Fugitive Prince or Lord Ichi. Others have claimed that he could not possibly have committed the crime because he looks so kind.
Nov 19 'Nobu' fever: Japan falls for a blind piano prodigy (Time)
 As Nobuyuki Tsujii finished the last note of Andante spianato et Grande Polonaise brillante by Chopin, the packed audience in Tokyo's Kioi Hall broke into an emotional applause. Executing each piece with energy and concentration, the 21-year-old classical pianist, who has been blind since birth, mesmerized the typically reserved Tokyo crowd in a two-hour solo performance on his latest tour. Kumi Araki, a 25-year-old from downtown Toyko, gushed. "I am so moved. Before I knew it, I was standing to applaud!" she says, wiping at tears.
Nov 19 Man barred from China lives in Japanese airport (canada.com)
 Feng Zhenghu's life resembles a movie, but it's not quite as glamorous. For one thing, he's an awful lot smellier than Tom Hanks was when he played the part of an airline passenger caught in the no man's land of an international airport. The environmentally friendly washrooms at Tokyo's Narita Airport are so stingy with the water they apportion at each sink that Feng says he has not been able to have anything resembling a bath for the two weeks he's been living in the international arrivals area, in the space between the airline gates and the immigration booths.
Nov 19 Fewer Korean residents seek Japanese citizenship (chosun.com)
 Four out of five Koreans in Japan have no desire to become naturalized Japanese citizens, a straw poll suggests. Japanese Justice Ministry statistics show around 10,000 Koreans became naturalized between 2003 and 2009. Around 62,000 North Koreans and around 486,000 South Koreans have settled in Japan with permanent residency status as of July 2009.
Nov 19 Police determine U.S. serviceman involved in fatal Okinawa hit-and-run (AP)
 Police have determined that a U.S. Army serviceman was involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident in Okinawa Prefecture and are seeking the U.S. military's cooperation in urging him to present himself to the Japanese authorities, police sources said Wednesday. The 27-year-old staff sergeant at the Torii communication station in Yomitan, Okinawa, has refused to face Japanese investigators, claiming their investigation is not being carried out fairly.
Nov 19 Ichihashi given nutrient shot after staggering on way to questioning (AP)
 Tatsuya Ichihashi, the prime suspect in the 2007 murder of British woman Lindsay Hawker, received a nutritional supplement shot Monday after staggering on his way to an interrogation room, his lawyer said Wednesday. Ichihashi, 30, who is believed not to have eaten anything since his arrest on Nov. 10, lost his balance when he was heading to the room from his cell, prompting the police to give him the injection, the lawyer said after meeting with him.
Nov 19 Acid mishap on Tokyo train injures passengers (Reuters)
 Several people were injured when a stone worker riding on a Tokyo subway train accidentally broke a container of hydrochloric acid he was carrying, the fire department and media said Wednesday. Television showed emergency vehicles and rescue workers in protective gear at Nihonbashi station in the crowded center of the Japanese capital. The fire department said three people had been taken to hospital, while media reports said four were injured.
Nov 19 Ex-hostess linked to sleep-induced car crash (Yomiuri)
 A deceased man whom police have linked to a former hostess suspected of involvement in the deaths of two other men fell asleep at the wheel and caused a traffic accident after eating a meal cooked by the woman, it has been learned. Kazumi Yabe, 47, was found drowned off Hokueicho, Tottori Prefecture, on April 11, about a month after the traffic accident. Traces of a sedative and sleeping pills were discovered in his body.
Nov 19 Japan's obesity association may revise controversial metabolic gauge (AP)
 Japan's obesity research association is considering revising as early as next year the waistline threshold, a key gauge used to diagnose obesity and metabolic syndrome, to better reflect the reality of health conditions among the Japanese, sources close to the association said Wednesday. The Japan Society for the Study of Obesity currently sets the benchmark waist size at 85 centimeters or more for men, and 90 cm or more for women to diagnose obesity. Japan's health ministry has been using the criteria in metabolic syndrome check-ups.
Nov 18 Tokyo Metro Police create dedicated anti-child porn unit (Mainichi)
 A special Tokyo police unit to combat the spread of child pornography on the Internet will begin work Thursday. The unit will also operate a 24-hour hotline, hoping that citizens' reports will help expose child pornography violations. The hotline will be the first in the country dedicated to combating the banned material.
Nov 18 Fan held for stealing pop group's mail (Asahi)
 An obsessed fan of all-female pop act AKB48 has been arrested on suspicion of stealing mail sent to members of the group by having it fraudulently redirected to his Tokyo home. Kota Shibuya, 28, unemployed, was quoted as saying, "I wanted to get my hands on anything that belonged to members of the group."
Nov 18 Soldier decries hit-and-run probe (Japan Times)
 A U.S. Army sergeant suspected of being involved in a fatal hit-and-run in Okinawa has claimed the investigation by Japanese police is not being carried out fairly, his lawyer said Tuesday. The 27-year-old staff sergeant at the Torii communications station in Yomitan has also refused to face Japanese investigators unless a video recording of the interrogation is permitted, his lawyer, Toshimitsu Takaesu, said.
Nov 18 Suspect in murder of British woman administered nutrition (AP)
 Tatsuya Ichihashi, the prime suspect in the 2007 murder of 22-year-old English language teacher Lindsay Hawker, was administered nutritional supplements Tuesday as he has not eaten anything since his arrest on Nov. 10, investigative sources said. The Chiba prefectural police called a doctor to Gyotoku police station in Chiba where Ichihashi, 22, is being held to administer nutritional supplements to him, fearing that he may become ill if he continues to eat nothing, the sources said.
Nov 18 Internet cafes to name names / Anonymity leads to increased crime, hinders police investigations (Yomiuri)
 Anonymous use of Internet cafes may soon be a thing of the past, partly due to the case of recently captured fugitive Tatsuya Ichihashi. Customers are not currently required to provide proof of identity at some Internet cafes--a situation that can hinder police investigations, as seen in the case of Ichihashi, who was arrested on Nov. 10 on suspicion of abandoning the body of an English language teacher. Ichihashi was on the run for more than two years and is believed to have used Internet cafes during that time.
Nov 18 Users of Net cafes on dangerous ground (Yomiuri)
 From high school girls to foreign nationals, a growing number of people in downtown Tokyo are taking advantage of the anonymity of certain Internet cafes in dangerous ways. Some people want to conceal their identities and these cafes have given their tacit approval. Others just want to feel safe when using Internet cafes. Will confirming users' identities really become standard at Internet cafes?
Nov 18 Abducted Japanese man still held by Yemeni tribesmen (Reuters)
 A Japanese man held hostage in Yemen was not released late on Tuesday because of a last-minute dispute between Yemeni tribesmen and mediators, a provincial official said on Wednesday. The same official had told Reuters on Tuesday night that the tribesmen had handed the hostage to mediators and that the man, an engineer abducted in an area northeast of the capital Sanaa, was expected to arrive soon in Sanaa.
Nov 17 Police suspect arson as fire at mahjong parlor kills 4 in Shizuoka (AP)
 Four men were killed and three people were injured and hospitalized in a fire that gutted a two-story mahjong game parlor early Tuesday in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, local police said. The police are looking into the possibility of arson in connection with the fire that broke out at around 3:30 a.m., as it followed a case of suspected arson on Oct. 14 that burned part of the building's outer wall and used tires on the premises.
Nov 17 Marriage fraud case puts spotlight on online dating sites (Mainichi)
 A 34-year-old Tokyo woman arrested for marriage fraud has been linked to a string of mysterious deaths of men she met on Internet dating sites. Such sites are a mainstay for marriage hunters: they're cheap, and it's easy to get to know a potential partner by exchanging messages. But they're also open to exploitation, and the diversifying marriage industry is feeling the pinch as a result. There are some success stories. A 43-year-old Kyoto woman ended up marrying a man she met on an Internet dating site after two years.
Nov 17 'Hot spring' claims don't hold water (Yomiuri)
 Hot springs resorts across the nation have been found to have misrepresented the amount of actual spring water used at their facilities, but efforts to resolve this problem have ended up being little more than a drop in the bucket. Under a 2005 revision, spa operators must acknowledge whether tap water, heat or spa powder has been added to their hot spring baths. However, the revision does not stipulate how much spring water must be used at a facility that claims to be a hot springs resort. In theory, a facility can become a hot springs resort by adding a single drop of hot spring water to a tap water bath.
Nov 17 Bloody bag handle found near student's body parts (Yomiuri)
 A bloodstained plastic bag handle has been discovered close to where mutilated body parts of a 19-year-old university student were found on Mt. Garyu in Hiroshima Prefecture, police sources said. The police believe the bag might have been used to carry the body of Miyako Hiraoka, a freshman at the prefectural University of Shimane from Hamada, Shimane Prefecture, and are conducting a DNA analysis of the item.
Nov 16 2 U.S. Marines arrested for attacking taxi driver in Hiroshima (Mainichi)
 Two U.S. Marines were arrested on Sunday for allegedly attacking a taxi driver in downtown Hiroshima, police said. Bradley Arthur Gutierrez, 21, and Ilene Renae Garcia, 20, both belonging to the Marine Corps Air Station in the Yamaguchi Prefecture city of Iwakuni, were arrested at the scene on suspicion of destruction of property and assault, and destruction of property, respectively, according to police.
Nov 16 In binge-tolerant Japan, alcoholism not seen as disease (Reuters)
 As liquor consumption grew sixfold over the last 50 years in Japan to match its economic affluence, alcoholism became a growing but poorly grasped problem. Alcoholic beverages are readily available at convenience stores and vending machines, liquor ads are often on evening television and building work ties by going drinking is common. Some 800,000 people, or 0.6 percent of the population, are estimated to be alcoholics.
Nov 16 Japanese chef scoops top award in London (AFP)
 Tomoyuki Abe of Japanese restaurant chain Sushizen was named best chef at a sushi awards ceremony in London late Saturday. The Eat-Japan Sushi Awards 2009 featured seven of the world's best sushi chefs preparing their favourite dishes. Invited guests then tasted the foods before picking the winner through a ballot.
Nov 16 Busan gun range fire likely killed eight Japanese (Japan Times)
 Eight of the 10 people killed by a fire at an indoor shooting range in Busan, South Korea, were likely Japanese, local fire officials said Sunday. Eleven Japanese were using the shooting range Saturday when the fire occurred - nine from a group from Unzen, Nagasaki Prefecture, that was touring Busan as part of a school reunion, and two men from Fukuoka and Miyazaki prefectures who were in a different tour group.
Nov 15 Japan's reaction to Obama bowing before the Emperor (examiner.com)
 During Barack Obama's first presidential visit to Japan, he managed to work in a private lunch with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. The lunch, which lasted about an hour, was reported to have just been the three of them plus one interpreter. While the topics of their lunchtime conversation remain a mystery, the Japanese media delightedly reported on the event, stating how Obama made a polite short English greeting before entering the palace.
Nov 15 Mouth-watering plastic food at Tokyo restaurants (AFP)
 In Japan, a good restaurant will display replicas of what's on the menu. Craftsmen perfectly reproduce the food - it takes as much skill as the real thing.
By J.S. on Nov 25, 2009



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