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Contact lenses give teens Lady Gaga eyes

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Jul 10An odor by any other name (Japan Times)
Draw a big breath and admit it. Japan smells. And what place doesn't? Take my hometown, for example, located close to Nowheresville, Illinois. The local aroma is a mix of clean living and hog manure, a tricky blend at that, one which my wife says I carried with me to Japan. "But it wore off," she says. "Half of it anyway." I tell her she had a special fragrance too, back when we first met. She smelled of mikan, miso soup and pickled radish. I don't know if I was in love or just hungry. And if she'd smelled like chocolate, we might have rushed from introductions straight to the altar.
Jul 10Retrial of '67 Ibaraki murder case begins (Japan Times)
Retrial proceedings started Friday for two men who spent 26 years behind bars for a 1967 robbery-murder in Ibaraki Prefecture, based on a December ruling by the Supreme Court that cast doubt on the pair's confessions made during interrogations. Appearing before the Mito District Court's Tsuchiura Branch, Shoji Sakurai and Takao Sugiyama, both 63, are expected to be acquitted. They were paroled in 1996. In his opening remark, Sakurai said: "I am innocent. We are not the culprits."
Jul 10Female airline captain a first(Japan Times)
A copilot of JAL Express Co. became Japan's first female captain Friday after passing the government's qualification screening. Ari Fuji, 42, is scheduled to make her maiden flight as a captain next Monday, from Osaka to Sendai, according to the airline, which is wholly owned by Japan Airlines International Co.
Jul 093 teenage girls killed, 2 adults injured in rear-end collision on expressway(Mainichi)
Three teenage girls were killed and two adults injured when a van that had stopped on an expressway here was rear-ended by a truck at 1:25 a.m. on July 9, police said. The victims, all from Gunma Prefecture, were identified as Moe Yamada, 16, of Tomioka, Saki Yamaoka, 17, of Fujioka, and Rina Murayama, 17, of Kanra. The owner of the van, 22-year-old Ryusuke Okawara of Annaka, and a 23-year-old male passenger sustained light injuries.
Jul 09Miyazaki's shops supplying sleaze have beef with foot and mouth (Tokyo Reporter)
While most media outlets have chosen to focus on the economic and health aspects of the ongoing spread of foot-and-mouth disease in Miyazaki Prefecture, weekly tabloid Shukan Asahi Geino (July 1) investigates how the outbreak has impacted the businesses most dear to its readership - namely, shops specializing in adult entertainment. On May 18, Miyazaki Prefecture Gov. Hideo Higashikokubaru declared a prefecture-wide state of emergency. Since then, those visiting from outlying areas began canceling reservations in earnest. The owner of Japanese restaurant Igokochiya Anbai, located in Miyazaki City's entertainment district known as Nishitachi, tells the tabloid that sales have fallen to half of what they were a year ago. "In the beginning, the cancellations were limited to certain areas," the owner explains, "but after the state of emergency was declared the number rose rapidly. We are now cutting part-timers and reducing advertising and supply purchases."
Jul 09'The Cove' screenings on course (Japan Times)
Six movie theaters - in Hachinohe (Aomori Prefecture), Sendai, Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka and Kyoto - on July 3 started showing "The Cove," a documentary film about dolphin hunting in the whaling town of Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture. There have been no reports of big disturbances. Originally, the movie, the winner of this year's Academy Award for Best Documentary, had been scheduled to be shown from June 26. Three movie theaters in Tokyo and Osaka gave up on screening the film after groups who call the movie "anti-Japanese" threatened to stage noisy protests near the theaters. Besides those six movie theaters, 18 others are to show the film. The distributor and the movie houses deserve praises for not bowing to pressure from protesters.
Jul 08Women's surnames a hot-button topic in Japan poll(Washington Post)
When Akiko Orita decided not to register her marriage in 1998 to keep her maiden name, it was supposed to be a temporary measure until Japan's civil code changed to allow married couples to keep separate surnames. Twelve years later, her marriage is still unregistered and the topic is a hot-button issue ahead of Sunday's upper house election. "I wanted to keep my name because I like it. It did not seem logical to have to change it," said 35-year-old Orita, an assistant professor at Keio University.
Jul 08Contact lenses give teens Lady Gaga eyes (babble.com)
The latest fad to sweep the teen fashion world might do more than make them look ridiculous. Inspired by Lady Gaga, circle contact lenses are all the rage, giving girls large, anime-looking eyes similar to the computer-enhanced look sported by Ms. Gaga in her "Bad Romance" video. But according to experts, these lenses are not only illegal, they are dangerous. Women have been torturing themselves in the name of fashion for ages, so it is no surprise that they would risk eye injury and even blindness to achieve a certain look. But considering the fact that this fad is particularly popular with teen girls, one has to wonder why parents would allow them to wear them.
Jul 08Still-singles drive parents to play marriage broker (Yomiuri)
Parents growing impatient with adult children who do not seem to be in any hurry to get married are taking matters into their own hands, attending events at which they search for suitable partners on their offsprings' behalf. At these so-called marriage meetings, parents show their son's or daughter's photograph and resume to the parents of other singles. If both sides think a match may be on the cards, they exchange contact information.
Jul 08Too tall for Japan? (New York Times)
Racial profiling had never struck me as a personal issue. I am a Japanese woman living in Japan after all, where less than 2 percent of the population is foreign. And even among that sliver of a share, the majority is Asian. How could racial profiling exist if most everyone looks the same? I was awakened from such naivete a few years ago when I started getting pulled aside by police, apparently to see if I was an illegal immigrant. On three occasions, officers sidled up to me at busy train stations, flashing their badges and asking me where I was headed. When they concluded I was a Japanese national, they sent me on my way.
Jul 07Antiwhaling activist from New Zealand gets suspended prison term (AP)
The Tokyo District Court on Wednesday sentenced an antiwhaling activist from New Zealand to two years in prison, suspended for five years, for obstructing the activities of the Japanese whaling fleet in the Antarctic Ocean. The defense counsel for Peter Bethune, 45, had sought a suspended prison sentence, noting that he had pleaded guilty to four out of five criminal counts and had expressed deep regret for his action.
Jul 07Sumo world's ties to gangsters, baseball betting have long legacy (Tokyo Reporter)
Ever since weekly tabloid Shukan Shincho reported (in its May 27 issue) that sumo wrestlers frequently gamble on professional baseball games with organized crime members, the Japan Sumo Association has been on the defensive. On Sunday, the association decided to dismiss 34-year-old wrestler Kotomitsuki and his stablemaster Otake. Other wrestlers and senior advisors received punishments. Recent revelations that Yamaguchi-gumi crime syndicate members have been supplied with ringside seats for past matches - ostensibly so that fellow gangsters behind bars can catch a glimpse of their compatriots on television - have also soiled the image of the pastime. Yet very little has been explained regarding the intricate connections the grapplers have with mobsters and just how they were gambling on ball games.
Jul 07Banana vending machine doles out fruits in Japan (telegraph.co.uk)
Apparently, the Japanese enjoy vending machines so much that they keep coming up with new things to sell in them. Take for instance, Dole, who has just announced that they will be selling bananas through vending machines in Japan. It's interesting, but I'd just pop by to see a human fruit vendor instead, not a robotic one. The specialized banana machine maintains bananas at their ideal temperature of 55.4 degrees Farenheit, and sells bananas for \130 (appx. $1.50 USD) a piece or \390 (appx. $4.50) for a bunch.
Jul 06Number of registered foreigners marks 1st fall since 1961 (AP)
The number of registered foreign residents of Japan declined 31,000 from a year earlier to around 2.186 million as of the end of marking the first year-on-year fall since 1961, the Justice Ministry said Tuesday. The ministry's immigration bureau attributed the fall to a decline in job offers in areas with manufacturing businesses, including automakers, amid the global recession. There was a significant drop in the number of Brazilian nationals, the third-largest foreign population in Japan, from around 312,000 to 267,000.
Jul 06Eating champ Kobayashi freed from jail (bluemaumau.org)
After a night in jail, Japanese eating champion Takeru Kobayashi was freed from an American jail Monday. Kobayashi tried to take the stage at the end of the Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest at Coney Island, after refusing to sign an agreement with Major League Eating that would bar him from participating in non-league sponsored competitions. Although the hot dog eating event is 94 years old, fans of the contest note that it has been six-time winner Kobayashi who has really put the event on the map in recent years.
Jul 0627 foreign trainees died in Japan in FY 2009(AP)
Twenty-seven foreign nationals who came to Japan for employment under a government-authorized training program died in fiscal 2009, the second worst figure on record, government officials said Monday. Most of the workers who died in the year that ended in March were in their 20s to 30s, officials of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said. Of the 27, nine died of brain or heart diseases, four died while working, three died by suicide, three died in bicycle accidents and the remainder died from unknown causes, the officials said.
Jul 06'Konkatsu' a fad in Japan (mb.com.ph)
Japan's aging population is not the government's only problem right now; the problem is worsened by another increasingly social phenomenon since the start of the global financial crisis: A decline in marriage rates. While this is not something new, Japan's marriage crisis is a serious matter that resident sociologists want to resolve. The prevalence of "parasite singles" (term for unmarried adults who despite being capable of living independently choose to still live with and feed off their parents) is now becoming a burden for the parents of these singles and the government as well. That is why in Japan the latest fad is spouse-hunting or "konkatsu" which is basically a marriage matchmaking activity that has quite been sensational in this part of the country.
Jul 06Down - but not out - in Kotobukicho (Japan Times)
Yokohama's Ishikawacho Station straddles the border between two worlds. Take a right turn from its south exit and you find yourself among the designer boutiques and Belgian chocolate shops of tourist Motomachi. Head left from the same station, however, walk three minutes and you discover a neighborhood omitted from most guidebooks - except perhaps as a warning in the "Dangers & Annoyances" section. This 200- by 300-meter district is called Kotobukicho, "The Town of Congratulations," and it's home to Japan's third-largest community of day laborers - the closest Yokohama has to a slum.
Jul 06There's more to Japan than anime and J-Pop! (mb.com.ph)
If all you've ever known about Japan is that they eat sushi and watch anime, then you best join the festivites as the Embassy of Japan, along with The Japan Foundation, bring various Japanese cultural activities as part of the yearly celebration of the Philippines-Japan Friendship Month. Held yearly to celebrate the designation of July 23 as Philippines-Japan Friendship Day, Philippines-Japan Friendship Month features a series of fun activities and events that seek to widen the ordinary Filipino' awareness of Japan's rich cultural heritage.
Jul 05China detains Japanese men on drug charges (AFP)
China is holding four Japanese men on suspicion of smuggling drugs, an offence punishable by death, a Japanese government official said Monday. The men were detained in the northeast of the country on June 19, the official said. "Public security authorities of Liaoning province notified the Consulate-General of Japan in Shenyang that they detained four Japanese nationals on suspicion of drug smuggling," the official added. The four men looked fine when Japanese government officials met them, said the foreign ministry official charged with looking after the welfare of Japanese nationals abroad.
Jul 05Maria Ozawa's deri heru debut, popularity of 'land mine' gals top sex biz trends (Tokyo Reporter)
For a rundown of the top-ten stories thus far in 2010 in the fuzoku trade - that is, businesses offering sexual services - weekly tabloid Shukan Asahi Geino (July 8) turned to Yoshikazu Murazaki, the editor-in-chief of monthly entertainment guide Manzoku. "Shaking the industry the most has been the deri heru (out-call sex shop) debuts of big-name AV actresses Mai Nadasaka and Kei Megumi at club Muteki in Shibuya and Maria Ozawa at Club Tora no Ana," explains the editor. The magazine adds that AV stars had appeared at such establishments in the past but the recent trend has been with bigger names offering their services. "Over the next three months, we expect that even more girls will make their debut," says the manager of club Muteki.
Jul 05Japan shows 'The Cove' after delay from protests (AFP)
"The Cove," an Oscar-winning film about a Japanese dolphin-hunting village, opened Saturday around Japan after protests by angry nationalists pressured theaters to cancel earlier showings. Some of the six small cinemas sold out their initial shows and others were mostly empty. Another 18 are due to begin screening the film at later dates. At Image Forum, an art theater in Tokyo, about 30 protesters waved Japanese flags and blasted slogans against the film. Police stopped shoving matches between the protesters and a handful of supporters of the showing. Viewers were undeterred, and the first two showings at the theater were sold out.
Jul 05Japanese eating champ arrested in NY (warwickdailynews.com.au)
Japanese competitive eating champion Takeru "Tsunami" Kobayashi has been arrested after an altercation at the premier hot dog munching contest in New York. Kobayashi, a six-time winner of the annual competition who did not compete in this year's contest amid a contractual row with the organisers, reportedly tried to storm the stage as his arch-rival was crowned the victor. Kobayashi's absence helped his fierce rival, American Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, to extend a three-year winning streak, scarfing 54 hot dogs.
Jul 05Java ship seeks ancient Japan ties (Japan Times)
A ship representing the spirit of the ancient Majapahit Kingdom on Java Island set sail Sunday from Jakarta on a 9,000-km voyage to Japan and other countries to celebrate the sailing history of the Majapahit Kingdom and the historical relationship between Majapahit and the Ryukyu Kingdom, which ruled Okinawa. The voyage is also aimed at raising money for an archaeological study of historic ruins in and around Java Island. Called the Spirit of Majapahit, the ship, built as part of a joint Indonesian-Japanese project, is a replica of a merchant vessel used during the Majapahit period, when a vast archipelagic empire was ruled from eastern Java from 1293 to the 1500s.
Jul 04Man arrested for damaging church property with extinguisher (AP)
Osaka police arrested a 29-year-old unemployed man suspected of damaging Christian church properties dozens of times by throwing fire extinguishers or stones at doors, windows and entrances. Yasumasa Ikeda was held on charges of property destruction for breaking a door of a church in Osaka city on April 27 by throwing an extinguisher he had stolen from a nearby condominium. He admitted to the charges, saying that he "wanted the priest there to listen to his prayers," according to the police.
Jul 04Tokyo Sky Tree shown to media amid construction (AP)
Tokyo Sky Tree, a new tower under construction for terrestrial digital broadcasting, was opened to the media on Sunday, giving reporters a peek of a 150-meter-high section for the first time. Tower operator Tobu Tower Sky Tree Co. took reporters to a temporary storage space at the tower, which currently stands 398 meters high. Tokyo Sky Tree, which is being built in Tokyo's Sumida Ward, will be 634 meters high once it is completed at the end of 2011, becoming the world's tallest free-standing tower.
Jul 04Japanese man says local funeral parlour 'damaging state of mind' (telegraph.co.uk)
The man, who was not named, built his house in 1994 but 11 years later, the funeral parlour opened across the street. The plaintiff told the court that he has to keep his curtains drawn all day to avoid seeing coffins and mourners because it caused him intolerable stress. He had won two previous cases against the funeral operator, in the town of Uji, Kyoto Prefecture, with lower courts ordering the firm to raise a fence around the building by 1.2m. However, the firm appealed and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court overturned those rulings after the funeral company claimed that its facility is a public place, that raising the fence would be expensive and make the property appear "intimidating."
Jul 042 die, 1 missing in heavy rain in southwestern Japan (AP)
Two people died while another went missing Saturday due to heavy rain that hit southwestern Japan, local police said. In Kagoshima Prefecture, a private house was hit by a mudslide in the city of Kirishima, killing Ayako Yamamoto, 54, while Atsuko Uchikura, 76, was found dead in a roadside ditch in the town of Yusui, they said. Uchikura apparently fell into the ditch when she went out to check rice paddies.
Jul 0482-year-old man nabbed for alleged murder try (Yomiuri)
An 82-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly attempting to kill a woman by running her down with his car near his house in Kamagaya, Chiba Prefecture, police said. Yasunosuke Asano allegedly used his car to hit a 44-year-old Chinese woman who manages a real estate company in Komae, Tokyo, dragging her about 100 meters, at about 9:40 a.m. Friday.
Jul 04Japanese eating star may miss hot dog contest (CBS)
Former world hot-dog eating sensation Takeru Kobayashi of Japan wants to compete in this weekend's annual Fourth of July contest on Coney Island, but still can't agree to a contract with the organizers. Kobayashi, one of the world's premier competitive eaters, won the contest for six years up to 2007 and then had to settle for second-place finishes behind American Joey Chestnut. He moved to New York in March so he could train with local hot dogs. But his chances of getting revenge this weekend against Chestnut, from San Jose, Calif., seem slim because of a contract dispute with the event's organizer. Kobayashi, 32, has balked at signing an exclusivity clause with the group, and can't compete unless he does.
Jul 04Woman arrested on suspicion of drugging, robbing man she met via marriage site (Mainichi)
Police have arrested a woman on suspicion of robbing a man she met on a marriage site by offering him an alcoholic drink with a sleeping drug in it and stealing from him while he was unconscious. The woman has admitted to stealing the money but denies drugging the 48-year-old victim, according to police. The arrested is 49-year-old Hiromi Ogawa of Adachi Ward, Tokyo. On the night of June 6, she is suspected of going with the victim to a karaoke place in Adachi Ward and giving him an alcoholic drink laced with a sleeping drug.
By J.S. on July 15, 2010



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