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May 29Harnessing cuteness to cut plastic bag use in Japan (guardian.co.uk)
How one environmental activist in Japan used manga to raise awareness of unnecessary waste caused by disposable items, such as packaging, plastic bags and wooden chopsticks. Born in England and raised in Spain, Charles Ward arrived in Japan with no idea that his new profession would be a springboard to activism. However, a year and half into his work as an English conversation teacher he felt he had yet to scratch Japan's surface, so he decided to bike the length of the country to obtain a fuller understanding of the land and its people.
May 29Harnessing cuteness to cut plastic bag use in Japan(guardian.co.uk)
How one environmental activist in Japan used manga to raise awareness of unnecessary waste caused by disposable items, such as packaging, plastic bags and wooden chopsticks. Born in England and raised in Spain, Charles Ward arrived in Japan with no idea that his new profession would be a springboard to activism. However, a year and half into his work as an English conversation teacher he felt he had yet to scratch Japan's surface, so he decided to bike the length of the country to obtain a fuller understanding of the land and its people.
May 29Nightclub boss held over hiring of illegal aliens (Japan Times)
An employee of Dentsu Inc., the country's largest advertising agency, has been arrested for allegedly employing four Philippine nationals without appropriate visas at a nightclub he operates, police sources and Dentsu said Friday. The suspect, identified as Shuichi Suzuki, 48, a resident of Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, has admitted to the allegations, the sources said. Police arrested Suzuki on May 20. The four workers have also been arrested for allegedly staying in Japan without proper visas.
May 29The other poppies were sold (Japan Times)
A flower grower in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, unknowingly grew 722 illegal opium poppies and 401 were shipped to dealers in seven prefecture by mistake, according to Kanagawa. As of Wednesday, 204 of the shipped flowers had been confiscated, as well as 321 still at the grower's, according to Shunichi Kondo of Kanagawa's pharmaceutical division. The rest are unaccounted for.
May 28Woman arrested over breaking leg bones of baby girl(AP)
A 28-year-old woman was arrested Friday for allegedly deliberately breaking the bones in both legs of a 3-month-old baby girl of an unacquainted woman Wednesday at a kids store in Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture, police said. Yuko Sotome allegedly told the 26-year-old mother around 11:30 a.m. that the baby is cute and asked if she could hold her. Sotome is suspected of holding the baby for about five minutes and breaking the girl's legs near her thighs, then returning the baby and leaving the store.
May 28Kyosho jutaku: Small house living in Japan (Tokyo Reporter)
On one of Tokyo's crisper mornings, ride the elevator up to the lounge on the 41st floor of the Park Hyatt building in Shinjuku and gaze in the direction of Mt. Fuji. The view will be of a nearly uninterrupted blanket of concrete and infrastructural morass that is likely unmatched anywhere in the world for its enormity and unsightliness. Blending to fill much of this scene are massive apartment buildings and smaller, block-like "mansions," their bland concrete facades and uninspired designs resembling hospitals or penitentiaries. Some architects, however, are in the process of adding small bits of color to this picture.
May 28Frank Lloyd Wright's Japan (Wall Street Journal)
For Frank Lloyd Wright, Japan was a muse and possibly a savior. The architect's love of ukiyo-e woodblock prints is well-known. But his 1917-22 residence in Japan, where commissions such as the Imperial Hotel helped revive his flagging career, is not so widely documented. Nor is his huge influence upon generations of Japanese architects. So a tour of Wright's Japan -- the place where he regained a foothold on the way to becoming "the greatest American architect of all time" (according to an American Institute of Architects survey) -- offers fascinating insight into this eccentric genius.
May 28The young find new way to live / 'Share houses' with communal areas a hit with the 20s and 30s crowd(Yomiuri)
You only get a six-tatami-mat room to yourself, and the kitchen, bathroom and toilet you have to share. This used to be common in boarding houses and low-rent apartments, but recently a style of living called "share houses" has become popular among people in their 20s and 30s. Residents can communicate with others in the common living room and kitchen, but maintain a private space in their personal rooms. Some companies have transformed vacant employee condominiums into this kind of communal housing.
May 27Pole-pulling pro perfected palm performance at her maternal parent's patella (Tokyo Reporter)
For a long time, Japan boasted a legendary lady whose hand job technique was so spectacular she was known in the trade as "the mythical shaft master" or "the wizard of jism." Her name, reports Shukan Asahi Geino (June 3), was Reiko Oikawa. Some two and a half decades ago Reiko gave birth to a daughter, who grew up to be a lovely lass indeed. And you'll be happy to learn that the daughter decided to follow in her mother's footsteps. Asagei tracked down the young woman, who goes by the professional name of Nana, at a sex shop in Tokyo's Kinshicho district called "Ikenai Shika Eiseishi" (the naughty dental hygienist).
May 27Child porn victims write about their distress(AP)
Some Japanese women who in their childhood were victims of pornography have written about their fears and anguish in being betrayed by adults they had trusted, and in imagining that lewd images of themselves as young children could be still circulating around the world on the Internet. In a letter to the Japan Committee for UNICEF, a college student in the Kanto region says she was sexually abused by her uncle, who took photos of her for six years from the age of 5.
May 27Access to child porn sites to be promptly blocked (AP)
A working group of nine ministries and agencies has reached an agreement that Internet access to child pornography sites should be blocked as soon as they are discovered, rather than waiting for site operators to comply with requests to delete them, government officials said Thursday. The accord came after the communications ministry, which argued that the government should be cautious about taking the blocking step, was persuaded by the National Police Agency and other ministries that protecting children should come first, because online images can be easily copied and spread, exacerbating the potential damage to victimized children.
May 27Narita airport to ban smoking in all restaurants from June (AP)
Narita International Airport is to ban smoking in all restaurants at its two passenger terminals from June 1, the airport operator said Thursday. However, restaurants with smoking areas that are completely enclosed can continue to operate them for the time being, Narita International Airport Corp. said. The operator will also retain the 34 existing smoking areas at the airport.
May 27Sea Shepherd member pleads guilty to most charges over whaling block(AP)
An antiwhaling activist from New Zealand who allegedly obstructed the activities of the Japanese whaling fleet in the Antarctic Ocean pleaded guilty to most of the charges against him when his trial began Thursday at the Tokyo District Court. The trial of Peter Bethune, 45, former captain of the antiwhaling vessel Ady Gil of the U.S.-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which has run a campaign to disrupt Japan's "research whaling" activities, is being closely watched, as it is the first time a member of the group has appeared in a Japanese court.
May 27A Japanese director's world debut(New York Times)
Haruki Murakami's books top bestseller lists worldwide, and the filmmaker Takeshi Kitano is a regular hit at Cannes. But contemporary Japanese theater remains by and large terra incognita. Abroad, Japanese theater directors are mainly known in the form of Amon Miyamoto's Broadway hits and Yukio Ninagawa's kabuki Shakespeare productions. Performances of new Japanese theater are rare, leaving a gaping hole in the world's understanding of the country's performing arts scene. That is beginning to change with the translation into English and other languages of recent works by the theater company Chelfitsch and the playwright and director Shu Matsui.
May 272 Japanese men held for human trafficking(Bangkok Post)
Two Japanese nationals have been arrested in Bangkok for smuggling Thai and Chinese people into Japan and the US. Shinsuke Tanaka, 66, and Koichiro Bekku, 61, were detained in Bang Khen and Laksi districts on Tuesday. Their arrests followed a request from Japanese authorities. Pol Maj Gen Wuthi Liptapallop, commander of the Immigration Police Bureau, said the two men were members of a human trafficking gang made up of more than 10 Japanese and Thai nationals.
May 27Geisha Chikako Pari(Japan Times)
Chikako Pari, whose stage name is Ichizuru, is the last geisha, also known as geiko, of a small town in Kyoto Prefecture. Her unusual last name, Pari - written in kanji - refers to the city of Paris and her French ancestry, although the details of her French great-grandfather's life were never revealed to her. Pari's happy childhood came to an abrupt end at age 12, when she was sold to a geisha house to pay off her father's debts. Today, she has plenty to smile about: She recently married a police officer who stole her heart 43 years ago.
May 27Nemuro otters charm tourists, vex fishermen(Japan Times)
Tourists and residents in Nemuro, eastern Hokkaido, love watching the local sea otters float on their backs and use stones to crack open clams on their stomachs. But the marine mammals are a headache to fishermen and are even threatening their livelihood. The fishermen say the otters in the Sea of Okhotsk have ruined three of seven fishing grounds, eating about 18 tons of "uni" (sea urchins) and causing a loss of about \31 million.
May 27Pet lovers grieve over poor funerals (Japan Times)
Despite surging demand, pet owners are finding it difficult to hold funerals for their dogs and cats. There are no specific regulations governing this kind of service, and several animal funeral operators have come under fire for charging grieving pet owners extremely high fees and providing shoddy work. In Hanno, Saitama Prefecture, one such operator has been arrested on suspicion of dumping dead dogs and cats in a mountain forest.
May 26Assistant inspector under arrest for molesting girl used police database to track her down(Mainichi)
An assistant police inspector under arrest for molesting a 15-year-old girl used a police database to obtain her contact information, senior officials said. Tsuyoshi Nishimura, 45, an assistant inspector at Niigata Prefectural Police's Chuo Station, was arrested last Saturday for allegedly molesting a first-year high school girl at a hotel room in Niigata on May 15, knowing she was still under 18 years old.
May 26Severed torso, legs found in ditch near road in Niigata (Mainichi)
A severed torso and legs that appear to be from a young man have been found near a national road here, police said. At around 10:35 a.m. on Tuesday, police received a call from a 58-year-old man who said that he had found a person's legs in a ditch while passing by in his car. The ditch was located at the side of a U-turn zone near Route 7 in the Niigata Prefecture city of Murakami.
May 26Court orders J-pop producer Komuro's firm to pay $40,000 (AP)
The Tokyo District Court on Tuesday ordered a firm operated by Japanese pop music producer Tetsuya Komuro to pay $40,000 out of $140,000 in contract fees demanded by an apparel agency. Komuro's talent agency, TKCOM, signed a $200,000 contract with an apparel agency in Tokyo to sell in Japan a children's clothing line founded by U.S. actor Charlie Sheen, according to the court. Last year, Komuro was convicted of swindling an investor by attempting to sell copyrights for songs he no longer owned.
May 26Ex-Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu arrested in Gardena on suspicion of DUI(Daily Breeze)
Former Major League Baseball pitcher Hideki Irabu, a one-time rising star from Japan, was arrested in Gardena for allegedly driving while intoxicated, police said Monday. Irabu, 41, of Rancho Palos Verdes was stopped for a possible traffic violation about 1:30 a.m. May 17 in the 3100 block of Redondo Beach Boulevard, according to Lt. Steven Prendergast. He was booked just after 2 a.m. and released around 10:30 a.m. after posting $5,000 bail, according to Sheriff's Department jail records.
May 26'Akiba' pedestrian zone may reopen (Japan Times)
Tokyo's Akihabara district is seeking to bring back its pedestrian-only zone as early as mid-July after it was suspended following a stabbing rampage in 2008 that left seven people dead and 10 injured. A committee on city planning in Akihabara made up of residents, shop owners and police, hopes to re-establish the shopping zone by July 18 by having Chiyoda Ward file a request with the Tokyo public safety commission, which has the final say.
May 25Traffic deaths in Japan slip below 5,000 for 1st time in 57 years(AP)
The number of traffic accident deaths in Japan fell in 2009 to 4,914, declining for the ninth straight year and slipping below 5,000 for the first time in 57 years, government officials said Tuesday. The improvement came amid a rise in the rate of seat belt use to 93.3 percent and a fall in reckless driving among young people, Cabinet Office officials said in outlining a white paper to be formally released at a policy meeting with the ruling parties in early June.
May 25Thai police nab 2 Japanese men wanted for human smuggling(AP)
Two Japanese men wanted in Japan on charges of human smuggling have been arrested by Thai immigration police, police said Tuesday. Koichiro Bekku, 61, from Beppu, Oita Prefecture, was arrested when he contacted Thai immigration authorities to renew his visa, according to the police. Bekku's arrest led to the arrest of Shinsuke Tanaka, 66, from Tokyo, who was staying at an apartment in Bangkok.
May 25Jackson fans spend night with possessions (postchronicle.com)
Some Michael Jackson fans in Japan spent Sunday lining up for the chance to spend the night in a Toyko landmark along with a collection of the King of Pop's possessions. The Michael Jackson exhibition opened May 1 at the Tokyo Tower and the world�s only official exhibit has already welcomed more than 300,000 fans through its doors during the past month.
May 25Hyogo police arrest man for copying PSP software(Yomiuri)
A 45-year-old unemployed man was arrested Monday on suspicion of having illegally copied and sold software for a PlayStation Portable game device, according to the Hyogo prefectural police. According to the Association of Copyright for Computer Software, this is the first time police have taken action against unauthorized copies of PSP software. According to the police, Yuji Endo of Asaminami Ward, Hiroshima, allegedly copied five games, including "Monster Hunter Portable 2," without permission from the manufacturer.
May 25Shikoku, Kinki hit by deluge (Japan Times)
Torrential rain hit the Kinki region and Shikoku on Monday, causing a mudslide in Kobe and disrupting railway services across wide areas, but no injuries were reported. The Meteorological Agency said the low-pressure system that caused the heavy rain in large parts of the country Sunday developed further, and rainfall of 367 mm was recorded in Kochi Prefecture and 188.5 mm in Hyogo Prefecture for the 24 hours to 10:40 a.m. Monday.
May 24Japan's 'slowest train' has best views (BBC)
Japan is known for its high speed bullet trains, but one of the most spectacular lines in the country has a top speed of only 20 kilometres an hour. It runs through a gorge in the north of the country, an area which is so mountainous and snowy, the service can only run in the summer.
May 24U.S. Marine admits robbing taxi driver in Okinawa(AP)
A 19-year-old U.S. Marine admitted Monday to charges that he injured a taxi driver and robbed him of money in Okinawa Prefecture last August, in what is believed to be the first lay judge trial of a U.S. serviceman since the system was launched in Japan last May. The serviceman, from the U.S. Marines' Makiminato Service Area in Urasoe, injured the taxi driver with a knife and robbed him of 21,000 yen and $100 in cash on the night of Aug. 1, according to the indictment.
May 24Tokyo furikome fraudsters go from princes to paupers (Tokyo Reporter)
Kotaro Nishijima, which is not his real name, smiles in acknowledging his female passenger, who is young enough to be his daughter. He currently earns 300,000 yen each month transporting gals in the deri heru trade (out-call sex) to their clients - a far cry from his days as head of a group of 80 that carried out frauds via phone communication (furikome sagi), which typically involves deceiving victims into wiring large sums of money to the group's bank account. With Tokyo cracking down on such activities, the 41-year-old tells Spa! (May 25), in an article that profiles a selection of former shammers, that in his previous line of work he reeled in 700 million yen a month.
May 24Economy no damper on weddings (Yomiuri)
People are spending more on weddings despite the economic downturn, a recent survey has found, with some even paying meticulous attention to individual guests at their receptions. According to a survey by bridal magazine XY (pronounced Zekushi), couples spent an average of 4.33 million yen in 2009 on series of marriage-related events stretching from betrothal ceremonies to honeymoons. This was up 127,000 yen from the previous year. The survey showed that spending on wedding ceremonies and receptions increased 133,000 yen, while outlays for honeymoons and other wedding-related matters remained about the same.
May 24Ibaraki's hidden lure (Japan Times)
Barely an hour north of Tokyo by road or rail, Ibaraki Prefecture is a place few people may consider for a day trip or an overnighter. But with its wealth of history and natural appeals, it's surely time it took its rightful place on the traveler's map. Lake Kasumigaura, with a surface area of 220 sq. km and a 252-km shoreline, is Japan's largest lake after Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture, near Kyoto (674 sq. km). The greatest attraction of the lake, besides the sport fishing it offers for alien species such as channel catfish and large-mouth bass, are its hobiki-sen trawlers with their gorgeous and unusual sails.
May 24Snapping with SMAP in Setagaya (Japan Times)
"Pussuma" (TV Asahi, Tues., 11:15 p.m.) started way back in 1998, making it one of Japanese TV's longest running variety shows. Eternally hosted by aging idol Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and loud-mouthed actor-comedian Yusuke Santamaria, the nonsensical title is meant to cash in on Kusanagi's membership in SMAP. This week fellow SMAP member Shingo Katori and idol Satomi Ishihara join Kusanagi and Santamaria for the first half of a two-part tour of Tokyo's Setagaya Ward. The idea is to conduct a "one-day photography" excursion of the city's leafiest, most suburban ward.
May 24Chinese seaman takes a wrong turn (Japan Times)
A foreign crew member of a cargo ship has been arrested for not having the necessary travel documents after getting lost during a port call in Nagoya and failing to return to his vessel, police said. The sailor, a 47-year-old Chinese man, was arrested late Saturday in Yokohama after going to a police station to get directions to Hokkaido, the ship's next destination. The man reportedly disembarked May 14 to take a walk, two days after the ship arrived at Nagoya, but got lost and missed the vessel's departure.
May 23Marine arrested over taxi theft in Okinawa (AP)
Police arrested a 20-year-old U.S. Marine on Saturday night for allegedly stealing some 2,000 yen from a taxi in the city of Okinawa, Okinawa Prefecture. Jesse Mudo was apprehended near where the theft allegedly took place by police officers responding to a report from the driver, but has denied the allegation, the police said.
By J.S. on June 4, 2010

tag : Japanese Society



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