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Rampage suspect said he topped Akihabara

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Jul 03Meet the party gods on our small island(Japan Times)
I've always gotten along well with my neighbors on the island. This is especially important because my neighbors are all gods: the Mountain God, Kompira-san, Juichimen Kannon, Senju Kannon and Myoken-sama. I have to put up with a few loud parties every now and then, but overall, we get along extremely well.
Jul 03Repairs afoot to keep remote Okinotori afloat (Japan Times)
The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry said Friday plans are afoot to repair the typhoon-beaten concrete bulwarks of remote Okinotori Island, which Japan claims as its southernmost point, ministry officials said. The concrete bulwarks, which protect part of rocky outcrop from being submerged, were put in place 20 years ago.
Jul 03Interest in growing veggies on rise (Japan Times)
More people are growing vegetables on balconies and rooftop gardens, even at a train station, to feel more at ease about what they are eating and to take advantage of their supposed healing powers. There are now vegetable cultivation sets that come with a pot, seeds and culture soil. On top of JR Ebisu Station in Shibuya Ward overlooking Tokyo Tower and Roppongi Hills, there is a 500-sq.-meter vegetable garden for rent in a corner of the roof, where a lawn and flower beds spread.
Jul 02It's all in the wrist: Ice cream with a twist (Asahi)
"Wow! Just look at this!" is a typical reaction when customers get a look at the unusual ice cream served at a shop in Tokyo. There is the cone, of course, and the coiled ice cream above, and something that looks like a tail rising higher, aiming for the ceiling. Many customers find the shape so amusing they snap away at their ice cream cones with cellphones. Two women in their 50s happened to pass by and entered the store on a whim. One says, "The shape is really interesting." Her friend smiles and adds, "It's not like the usual soft ice cream. It tastes like sherbet."
Jul 02Hoods sucker sumo grapplers with sex business swindles (Tokyo Reporter)
The media has been full of reports about ties between professional sumo and the Japanese underworld. The first question that comes to almost everyone's mind is, how could these guys be so dumb? Nikkan Gendai (July 1) looks to Alexandre Dumas for the answer, and - voila - comes up with Cherchez la femme. As reported in the ongoing weekly column "The Dark Side of the Sex Business," an ex-sumo grappler who opened up a "pink" shop after retirement tells the tabloid, "Sex shops can be profitable...
Jul 02Osaka city asks state to review visas of Chinese living on welfare (AP)
The Osaka city government said Thursday it has asked the state to consider revoking the visas of 46 Chinese people currently living in Japan on welfare, calling into question the immigration screening process. The Chinese involved are relatives of two elderly Chinese sisters with Japanese nationality and entered Japan in the last two months. The Osaka city government subsequently accepted applications for welfare benefits from 32 of them while those from the remaining 14 are still under scrutiny.
Jul 02High alert for 'The Cove' launch / Police, theaters brace for protests as dolphin-hunt film opens Saturday(Yomiuri)
Theaters planning to screen controversial dolphin-hunting documentary "The Cove" from Saturday are working closely with police to develop high-alert security measures against threatened disruptions by protesters. The U.S. film, which won the 2009 Oscar for best documentary, contains secretly filmed footage of a dolphin hunt in Taijicho, Wakayama Prefecture. Twenty-four theaters have decided to screen the film, and six will begin on Saturday.
Jul 02Hole-in-the-wall thieves hit Tobu (Japan Times)
Some \5 million worth of watches and other items were stolen before dawn Thursday from Tobu Department Store Co.'s Ikebukuro store in Tokyo, and the thieves apparently got in via a hole they cut in the outer wall of the seventh floor - a tactic similar to a heist in the Ginza district earlier this year for which a group in Hong Kong was charged, police said. A burglar alarm was set off around 3:20 a.m., and security guards determined some 70 items had been stolen.
Jul 02Beating the heat with classic unagi (Japan Times)
The Great Heat has returned, blanketing the city, sapping our energy and, worse yet, stifling all appetite for food. There's only one solution for lifting that summer lethargy - at least if you hold with local lore: It's time to feast on that supreme summer specialty, unagi eel. Whether or not you believe in its restorative powers to combat the debilitating midsummer heat, there's no denying that kabayaki grilled eel is one of Tokyo's great plebeian pleasures. Or that there's any finer setting for indulging than at the wonderful Myojinshita Kandagawa Honten.
Jul 02Paris opens biggest-ever Japan Expo (Japan Times)
The largest annual Japan Expo showcasing the country's pop arts and subculture opened in a Paris suburb Thursday, with up to 180,000 people expected during its four-day run. Pop idol group Morning Musume will give its first live performance at the event, which will also feature Tsukasa Hojo, writer and illustrator of "City Hunter," a hard-boiled "manga" cartoon series, and Hideo Kojima, creator of the popular "Metal Gear Solid" video game series, among other participants.
Jul 01Tokyo college seniors expelled over project 'to protect ugly women' (Tokyo Reporter)
Tokyo Metropolitan University, or TMU, was formed in 2005 by the merger of four public institutions of higher learning in the Tokyo area. The institution was in the headlines recently when two of its seniors majoring in system design were summarily expelled. The two had come up with a project they named "Dobusu wo Mamoru Kai" (group to protect ugly women). "They went around on the street accosting women, saying they were 'researching an article,'" a source at TMU tells Shukan Shincho (July 8). "Later it was determined that the video, showing the faces of certain women, had been posted on YouTube without the subjects' permission."
Jul 01Imported brides rise as money mixes Asian marriages (AFP)
Asian men from rich countries such as Japan and South Korea are increasingly seeking brides from poorer ones like Vietnam and the Philippines -- as economically liberated local women get picky. Marriages between Japanese men and foreign women shot up 73 percent between 1995 and 2006, to 35,993, according to the latest government survey. Most of the women were Filipinas, followed by Chinese. "Asian brides -- notably Chinese and Filipina -- remain popular in the countryside, where it's quite hard to find young women," said Toshio Esaka, president of dating agency Royal in Osaka, western Japan. "But nowadays, it's getting harder even downtown as a lot of young Japanese women are economically independent and prefer to remain single," Esaka said.
Jul 01Survey shows most Japanese prefer urban life in old age (AP)
Nearly three-quarters of people would prefer to live in urban areas offering easy access to entertainment and medical facilities when they get old rather than in rural areas offering a more natural environment, a government survey released Wednesday showed. The survey by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry on "ideal ways" of living in old age found that 73.9 percent said they want to live in an urban area, although 43.9 percent of those who gave valid answers think "an ideal is merely an ideal."
Jul 01Japanese tourist, unidentified driver die in gas station accident(AP)
A Japanese man and an unidentified motorist died at a motorway fuelling station near Innsbruck, western Austria, on Tuesday after the latter's car crashed into the station at full speed and caught fire, police said. Three Japanese tourists were refueling their rented car at the station when they were hit by the pump that the motorist's car had crashed into. They were all taken to a university clinic in Innsbruck, where one of them died hours later. The Japanese Embassy in Vienna told Kyodo News that the victim was Yamazaki Osamu, 54, who was from Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture.
Jun 30Ex-Japanese Red Army member sues to get prison sentence suspended(AP)
A former Japanese Red Army member convicted of the 1970s hijackings of Japan Airlines planes filed a suit on Wednesday seeking to have his life sentence suspended on the grounds that his prison is not equipped to deal with his failing health. In the suit filed with the Tokyo District Court, Osamu Maruoka, 59, who is serving a life term at a prison in Miyagi Prefecture, is also seeking 10 million yen in consolation money. Maruoka first experienced heart problems in 1996, and his condition worsened after his sentence was finalized by the Supreme Court in March 2000, according to the lawsuit. He was later diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy.
Jun 30Japan's first SM soapland comes to Kobe (Tokyo Reporter)
As a keen observer of perversions, fetishes and assorted erotica, evening tabloid Nikkan Gendai (June 29) believes it has uncovered Japan's first club that combines soapland and SM services. Kobe R&B opened in Hyogo Prefecture in May. Individual rooms are outfitted in red and black furnishings and offer the prospect of limb shackling to the ceiling or bed. Various vibrators and electric stimulation devices are provided for the S and M courses.
Jun 30Immigrants suspected of welfare scam (Japan Times)
Dozens of Chinese who applied for and received welfare benefits from the city of Osaka almost as soon as they entered Japan are suspected of involvement in a form of "poverty business" that cashes in on the city's welfare program, municipal officials said Tuesday. If the city confirms any illegality in the activity, their benefit payments could be terminated, the officials said.
Jun 30Rampage suspect said he topped Akihabara (Japan Times)
The former temporary worker at Mazda Motor Corp. arrested last week for killing one of the company's employees and injuring 11 others by hitting them with a car at the firm's Hiroshima plant complex, boasted of outdoing the 2008 massacre in Tokyo's Akihabara district, a friend said. The friend said Toshiaki Hikiji, 42, of the city of Hiroshima, called immediately before he was taken into custody after the June 22 attack.
Jun 30Japan urges more dads to swap desks for diapers (Washington Post)
With only 1 percent of the country's eligible male workers taking time out, dads are hard to come by in Japan. Japan's fathers spend less time on child care and housework than their counterparts in any other developed country. But thanks to a new set of government initiatives that encourage working dads to take time off -- part of a broader effort to boost Japan's rock-bottom birthrate -- the number of fathers who swap their desks for diapers may be about to rise.
Jun 29Man who threw 9-month-old daughter against wall gets suspended sentence (AP)
The Fukuoka District Court on Tuesday gave a suspended sentence to a 23-year-old man who caused severe injuries to his 9- month-old daughter by throwing her against a wall. In sentencing Yuki Okada to two years in prison, suspended for four years, Judge Yoshiya Yoshizaki said that Okada had "committed the act after getting upset because his daughter stopped crying when his wife consoled her but started crying when he did the same."
Jun 29Ex-sumo wrestler told police he was bookie in illegal gambling (AP)
A 34-year-old former sumo wrestler who once belonged to Onomatsu stable has told investigators that he served as a bookmaker for illegal gambling on professional baseball games, investigative sources said Monday. The former wrestler, who was believed to have acted as an intermediary in setting up sumo wrestlers with bookies, also indicated he had ties with syndicated crime organizations, according to the sources, in a challenge to Monday's announcement by a special oversight panel investigating the illegal gambling which said it could not confirm such ties between wrestlers and crime organs.
Jun 29Wife seeks answers after deported man's death (Yomiuri)
The family and friends of Abubakar Awudu Suraj remember a man who was shy but smiled a lot. He lived in Japan for more than 20 years and was respectful of its culture and customs, his Japanese wife said, an attitude that helped him get along with people here. However, his status as an illegal immigrant did not allow him to live a normal life in this country. After Suraj received a deportation order in 2006, he and his wife explored such options as going to court to seek special residency permission, a legal arrangement for illegal overstayers who want to remain in Japan. Ultimately, however, they faced rejection and a tragic end. Suraj died at Narita Airport on March 22 while being deported to his native country of Ghana.
Jun 29Ichihashi denies intent to kill British woman (Yomiuri)
A man who has been indicted on charges of raping and killing a British woman in 2007, denied at a court session Monday that he intended to kill the victim. During the first pretrial procedure to narrow down points of dispute at the Chiba District Court, Tatsuya Ichihashi said he did not intend to kill Lindsay Ann Hawker, an English conversation school teacher whose body was found in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture. Ichihashi, who is unemployed and has no fixed address, was indicted on charges of murder, rape resulting in death, and abandoning a body.
Jun 29Dutchman sees life in Japan long ago (New York Times)
With "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet," David Mitchell has traded in the experimental, puzzlelike pyrotechnics of "Ghostwritten" and "Number9Dream" for a fairly straight-ahead story line and a historical setting. As the novel opens, it's 1799, and the Land of the Rising Sun is closed to the West, save for one trading post on the island of Dejima near Nagasaki that is run by the Dutch. Young Jacob de Zoet has arrived there to make his fortune and to win the hand of his beloved, Anna, back home in Rotterdam: her father has promised they can wed after Jacob has served a five-year posting in the Far East as a clerk.
Jun 28Suspected Chinese prostitution club operator, 22 employees arrested (AP)
Police have arrested a 39-year-old Chinese national who allegedly operated prostitution clubs in banned areas in Chiba Prefecture and 22 male and female employees of the clubs, police officials said Monday. The operator, Sun Li, a resident of Narita, Chiba Prefecture, earned yearly proceeds of 350 million to 500 million yen from customers at the clubs, mostly from Chiba and neighboring Ibaraki Prefecture, the officials said.
Jun 28Mother allegedly slashes infant son (Japan Times)
A 25-year-old employee in the city of Toyama was arrested Sunday on suspicion of attempting to murder her newborn son with a knife. Yuka Shibu admitted to the allegation and said she slashed her 10-day-old infant because she was "exhausted by child-rearing," police said. Shibu was staying at her parents' house in Komatsu, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Saturday when she allegedly slashed the infant several times at around 8 p.m. The baby is expected to survive.
Jun 28Louis Vitton gets Kobe museum to pull 'knockoffs'(Japan Times)
Nine artworks using material from fake Louis Vitton products have been removed from an exhibition at a Kobe museum after the fashion company protested, it was learned Sunday. The 40-cm-long pieces by Mitsuhiro Okamoto of Kyoto are shaped like locusts and titled "Batta-mon" ("Locust Stuff"). In the Kansai dialect, batta-mon is slang for knockoff.
Jun 27Australian, Japanese killed in Indonesian fire (AFP)
An Australian and a Japanese national were among nine people killed in a nightclub fire in Indonesia on Friday, police said. They were trapped inside the Cafe Redboxx in Surabaya, east Java, when it caught fire at around 3:20 am, local police chief Bahagia Dachi told reporters. The officer said that the Australian worked for a leading tobacco company and the Japanese was an employee at carmaker Toyota.
Jun 27Japanese slot machines: noisy, tacky and coveted (New York Times)
At first glance, it looks as if Eddie Cramer is operating a casino out of his modest one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn Heights, or at least one as Ziggy Stardust might have imagined it. Japanese slot machines known as pachislos - all flashing lights and tinny, obnoxious noise - rest on just about every horizontal surface of the 500-square-foot space, including the sink and the stove. In his living room, where the walls are painted black to match the carpet, there are nearly a dozen machines, and the only furnishings are a few scoop-backed stools. Pachislos are considerably cheaper than American slots: basic machines cost about $250, whereas a decommissioned Las Vegas slot machine can cost from $800 to $2,000.
Jun 27Kotomitsuki's 'hush money' was reward, recipient says (Yomiuri)
A former sumo wrestler who has been arrested on suspicion of extorting 3.5 million yen from ozeki Kotomitsuki has denied the charges, saying that the money was a reward from Kotomitsuki for collecting money he won from a bookmaker by betting on baseball, according to police investigators. According to the investigators, Mitsutomo Furuichi, 38, has told the police that he received 2.5 million yen from Kotomitsuki as a reward and 1 million yen to cover transportation fees and other expenses necessary in collecting the money from the bookmaker.
Jun 27Volcano tourism on Miyakejima / 10 years on, island residents use unique landscape to attract visitors (Yomiuri)
Ten years after serious volcanic activity began on Mt. Oyama, located on Miyakejima island in the Izu island chain, residents are trying to utilize the island's dynamic landscape--sculpted by 13 eruptions over 500 years--to attract tourists and revitalize the local community. Volcanic activity has mostly waned since beginning in earnest on June 26, 2000, and residents of the island began returning five years ago. However, emissions of volcanic gas continue and damage caused by eruptions can still be seen in parts of the island's landscape.
Jun 27'Recklessly' sexual characters (Japan Times)
A bill to revise the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's bylaw to promote the healthy development of youths has been voted down by the metropolitan assembly amid some controversy. Its main feature was to limit where a store could display cartoons and animation that depict the sexual activities of youths. Many creators of these materials feared infringement on their rights of expression. The bill stipulated that cartoons and animation belong in the "adult corner" of stores if the materials "recklessly" and "positively" depict the sexual activities of characters presumed to be 18 or younger in a manner thought to hamper children's judgments about sex.
Jun 27Cool (old) Japan flourishes along flowing rivers of Edo (Japan Times)
In blistering midday heat, traffic blasts by, spitting out exhaust and grit at the busy intersection of Yotsume and Shin Ohashi Avenues. I've exited Sumiyoshi Station on the Toei Shinjuku Line, eager to find Sarue Onshi Park, said to be pretty with streams and water features. About to produce a water feature of my own (sweat, that is), I take desiccative action by ducking under the fresh white noren curtain flapping in front of soba shop Oedo. A little zaru (bamboo strainer) of cold, hand-cut noodles and tempura seems like the perfect refresher before exploring this area of Koto Ward. My order arrives with a mystery item in the tempura, something resembling a cactus flower.

By J.S. on July 8, 2010

tag : Japanese Society



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