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Tour bus overturns in Hokkaido

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Jul 17Tour bus overturns in Hokkaido (AP)
A tour bus carrying 45 tourists swerved to avoid an approaching motorbike and overturned in Ashoro, Hokkaido, on Saturday, causing injuries to the passengers, police said. Two of the tourists and the biker sustained serious injuries, while at least 38 people in the bus were slightly injured in the accident that occurred near Lake Onneto, a popular sightseeing spot in Hokkaido, according to the police.
Jul 17Zen and now: Japan's ryokans get a modern twist (guardian.co.uk)
Japan changes the way you think about life. It's like being beamed into an alternative reality, where optimism and respect permeate life, and modernism is fused with tradition to create exciting new possibilities of how to live. I'd organised my trip in and around Kyoto and Tokyo to explore Japanese food, but found myself captivated by the latest fashion in ryokans - Japanese inns. My revelation came in the form of Miyamasou, an idyllic new ryokan high up in the Northern mountain forests of Kyoto prefecture, famed for its wild herb food. Once our bus passed what looked like a beware-of-bears-crossing-the-road sign, deep in the dark cypress woods, the driver put on Greensleeves to announce its arrival to the mountain hamlets.
Jul 17At post offices in Japan, it's case by case (Japan Times)
"Hello, this is the city post office on the mainland," came the voice on the other end of the phone. "Um, about that international package you sent from the island today . . ." "Yes," I said. He was referring to a large manila envelope with board shorts in it that I was sending to a friend in the U.S. "Is it explosive?" he asked. Now, imagine for a moment a gaggle of employees at the post office using the latest electronic dictionaries to look up the Japanese word for "board shorts." Finding only definitions for board and shorts, they must have deemed short boards "possibly explosive."
Jul 17'Carnivorous women' with yen for men find licking to their liking (Tokyo Reporter)
With growing numbers of hesitant, herbivorous males matched by more assertive, carnivorous females, sex in Japan has truly turned topsy-turvy. Nikkan Gendai (July 17) reports that increasingly libidinous Japanese women have been flocking to discreet "sensual massage parlors," where they pay to be pampered by young hunks. An office worker in her 30s who patronizes such a place in Shinjuku's Kabukicho district tells the tabloid, "The place where I go has a membership system and won't admit anyone without an introduction. A 90-minute session costs 30,000 yen."
Jul 17At post offices in Japan, it's case by case (Japan Times)
"Hello, this is the city post office on the mainland," came the voice on the other end of the phone. "Um, about that international package you sent from the island today..." "Yes," I said. He was referring to a large manila envelope with board shorts in it that I was sending to a friend in the U.S. "Is it explosive?" he asked.
Jul 17Aichi biker gangs up but downsized (Japan Times)
The number of rowdy motorcycle gangs, or "bosozoku," rose in Aichi Prefecture for the third straight year last year, to about 2,800, the worst in the country, according to the National Police Agency. While biker gangs with up to 100 members are disappearing, smaller groups whose members swarm around on motorbikes have been on the rise.
Jul 17Tokyo chills with Highballs, extra-cold beer search Japan real time (Wall Street Journal)
After a hot, humid day in Tokyo, what do you reach for first at your after-work bar of choice? As Japan breaks for a holiday weekend (July 19 is 'Marine Day'), it's a question that preoccupies liquor makers, chasing market share amid Japan's shrinking population and weak economy. How about beer? Well, beer sales have been stagnating in Japan for years, with younger customers tempted by other tastes and trends in recent years, including pre-mixed cans of traditional liquor shochu and fruit juices. Partly in recognition of that, major drinks company Suntory has injected new life into a plain old whisky brand known as "Kakubin".
Jul 16Junior high student sets probation officer's house on fire (Mainichi)
A junior high school boy currently on probation has been arrested for allegedly setting his probation officer's house on fire, police said. The local 14-year-old boy was arrested on July 16 on suspicion of arson of an inhabited building. The boy stands accused of breaking into the home of Mitsuru Ono, 76, at around 7:40 p.m. on July 15, setting fire to newspapers using a lighter and leaving them in the living room, burning down the one-story wooden house.
Jul 16Ibaraki police apologize to Peruvian man for mistaken arrest (Mainichi)
Police here have apologized to a Peruvian man for mistakenly arresting and detaining him in a theft case, it was announced July 15. The 41-year-old man's lawyer has applied for compensation with the Mito District Public Prosecutors Office over the false arrest. The man, a resident of Yamato, Kanagawa Prefecture, was arrested in January. According to police, he was suspected of stealing items including a cash register holding about 2,000 yen from a restaurant in Ami, Ibaraki Prefecture, in September of last year. The man's fingerprints were found on the register's change tray, but he steadfastly denied the accusations, explaining the fingerprints by saying he had worked in a factory that made the registers.
Jul 16Ghibli borrows - steals? - a classic tale (Japan Times)
Studio Ghibli is often assumed to be the animation house that Hayao Miyazaki built, but Miyazaki has directed only nine of its 17 features to date. Four were made by studio cofounder Isao Takahata and four by four different directors. These latter four, however, are all immediately identifiable as Studio Ghibli products, from their spunky teenage protagonists to their pictorial realism in everything from the play of shadows through the trees to the raising of sticky windows.
Jul 16The talented women of Kyoto (Japan Times)
"Women Artists of Kyoto: Bearing Burdens / Burdens Born" is ostensibly about the classification of female artists since the late 19th century. The term "keishu-gaka" refers to accomplished women artists, "joryu-gaka" to post-World War II artists who created trends among male colleagues and "josei-gaka" simply emphasizes the feminine gender of an artist. Distinguishing between male and female interpretations of art has been historically important in Japan, and remains so. In the 1990s, the critic Kotaro Iizawa gave the name "onnanoko shashinka" (girl photographers) to an emergent generation of female artists with a penchant for taking brightly-colored photographs of everyday and intimate scenes.
Jul 16Surveillance cameras sprouting (Japan Times)
These days it seems that nobody can escape being monitored by surveillance cameras. These cameras are in banks, convenience stores, busy streets, railway stations and residential areas, and even inside trains and taxis. The Metropolitan Police Department of Tokyo has set up 160 surveillance cameras in Shibuya, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku's Kabuki-cho and two other districts. The Osaka Prefectural Police has set up 211 cameras.
Jul 155 Tokyo experiences you won't forget (CNN)
Japan is thick with temples, shrines and cultural attractions with a unique and interesting ancient history. But beyond what you can learn about the past, modern Tokyo offers more than a few memorable experiences. You can't beat Japan for variety and quality of native cuisine. If you find yourself hungry, keep walking; you won't get very far without stumbling over something delicious or odd (and usually -- but not always -- both). From vending machines and food stalls to traditional and cutting-edge (and stratospherically expensive) restaurants, there is no shortage of options.
Jul 15Former sumo wrestler indicted on charge of extortion (AP)
Tokyo prosecutors indicted a former sumo wrestler Thursday on a charge of extortion in an illegal gambling scandal that has rocked Japan's national sport of sumo. Mitsutomo Furuichi, 38, is suspected of having extorted 3.5 million yen in hush money from then ozeki wrestler Kotomitsuki through a mediator in January by threatening to leak the ozeki's participation in illegal gambling on professional baseball games to the press and police.
Jul 15Rope stretched across sidewalk seriously injures high school girl on bicycle (Mainichi)
A high school girl has been seriously injured after being knocked off her bicycle by a rope stretched across a sidewalk here, apparently by a prankster. At around 8:30 p.m. on July 13, the 17-year-old high school student biking home from school suffered a severe head injury after she was caught by the rope stretched across the sidewalk and fell to the ground. Police believe the hemp rope may have been set intentionally, and are treating the matter as an assault case.
Jul 15Tokyo Sky Tree a growing part of Kanto's skyline (Yomiuri)
From Utsunomiya to Mt. Tsukuba to Chiba Port Tower, Tokyo Sky Tree is becoming a part of the Kanto skyline. Two years after construction started on the terrestrial digital broadcasting tower in Sumida Ward, Tokyo, the "tree" now stands 398 meters high and has become a dominant part of the horizon in Tokyo--and beyond. Construction of the second observation deck, which will be 450 meters above ground, will start this autumn or winter. The view from this deck will take in a 75-kilometer radius, including places such as Lake Kasumigaura in Ibaraki Prefecture and the Miura Peninsula in Kanagawa Prefecture.
Jul 15Heavy rains in Japan kill two, three missing(Yomiuri)
Heavy rains have killed two women in western Japan and left three people missing, local officials said Thursday, as the weather agency warned of the risk of more floods and landslides. Police said a woman, 72, had died in a mudslide, a day after the body of a 77-year-old woman was pulled from a river, both in Hiroshima prefecture. Torrential rains have for days battered western Japan, including Kyushu island, leaving vast areas of farmland flooded. Authorities had issued evacuation advisories for some 300,000 people as of late Wednesday.
Jul 14Woman accused of murdering 5-year-old daughter admits to severe abuse (Mainichi)
A woman arrested for killing her 5-year-old daughter has told investigators that she had turned on the washing machine with her daughter inside it in the past, among other abuse, investigative sources told the Mainichi. On several occasions since May, Junko Egashira, 34, bound her daughter Mone's limbs with tape, squeezed her into their washing machine, and turned it on. The suspect also taped her daughter's mouth shut, as well as the lid of the washing machine so that the victim could not escape, according to investigative sources.
Jul 147 workers at Tsukiji market arrested on drug charges (AP)
Seven men working in or near Tokyo's Tsukiji fish and food market were arrested earlier this year for alleged possession or use of stimulants or marijuana, police sources said Wednesday. The suspects in their 20s to 40s, including current and former employees of a trucking company assigned to the market and of a nearby gas station, have told the police that the drugs helped to energize them during late night and early morning work, the sources said. Police arrested one of the suspects for possession of marijuana on a street in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward in January, which led to the apprehension of the others by June.
Jul 14Revealing Japan's low-tech belly (BBC)
Police stations without computers, 30-year-old "on hold" tapes grinding out tinny renditions of Greensleeves, ATMs that close when the bank does, suspect car engineering, and kerosene heaters but no central heating. A dystopian vision of a nation with technology stuck in an Orwellian time warp? Not at all. These are aspects of contemporary, low-tech Japan that most visitors miss as they look around the hi-tech nation that its government, electronics industry and tourism board are keen to promote. Despite the country's showy internet speeds and some of the cheapest broadband around many Japanese are happier doing things the old way.
Jul 14Robbery tried at police station (Yomiuri)
A knife-wielding man entered a police station in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, and demanded money, but was arrested on the spot, police said. Kazuhiro Hatakeyama, 22, entered Kesennuma Police Station at about 12:40 p.m. Monday, the police said. Carrying a kitchen knife with a 16-centimeter blade, the unemployed man threatened a 37-year-old female worker at the reception counter of a traffic safety association on the first floor, saying, "Give me some money, or I'll kill you." But the man was quickly apprehended as several police officers were nearby.
Jul 13'One Piece' voice actor arrested for displaying tattooed genitals on blog (Mainichi)
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) on July 12 arrested "One Piece" voice actor Norio Imamura on suspicion of displaying images of his tattooed genitals on an Internet blog. Imamura, 56, whose real name is Kiyonori Imamura, is the voice of the character Enporio Iwankofu on "One Piece," a popular anime. Police accuse Imamura of displaying a total of four images of tattoos, showing either his genitals or his full body, from April 26 to June 12. According to police, over the last 10 years Imamura has spent from 4 to 5 million yen covering his body in tattoos.
Jul 13Michael Jackson memorabilia stolen from Kyoto department store (AP)
Items of memorabilia from Michael Jackson's concert tours were stolen from a special sales event at the Daimaru department store in Kyoto, investigative sources said Tuesday. The department store said it found on July 8 and 9 that nine items worth about 169,000 yen were missing. The missing goods include a pamphlet signed by Jackson's concert tour staff and a limited-edition gold disc, it said. The Kyoto prefectural police are investigating the case. The department store held the sales event from late June, offering about 1,000 products related to the legendary American musical artist, who died in June last year, including his autograph for 400,000 yen.
Jul 13Bethune: I'm not ungrateful (tvnz.co.nz)
Anti-whaling protestor Pete Bethune has denied being ungrateful for the support he received from New Zealand while he awaited trial in a Tokyo prison but will not back down from his criticism of the government. Bethune was sentenced to two years' jail, suspended for five years, for assaulting a whaler by hurling a rancid butter stink bomb during a high-seas confrontation. He spent spent five months in a Japanese prison awaiting the trial. On returning home, Bethune yesterday hit out saying New Zealand was like a "fat little lap dog" and was not taking a strong enough stance against whaling.
Jul 13Japanese journalist refused visa extension (sify.com)
The Indian government has refused to renew the visa of Shogo Takahashi, the New Delhi bureau chief of Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK), with the broadcaster expressing surprise at the decision. After making repeated attempts to get his visa renewed, the 46-year-old Takahashi, who had been the bureau chief since 2008, returned home Sunday. A NHK spokesperson said that the broadcaster was surprised at the Indian government's abrupt decision. The broadcaster has not, however, given up and written to the Indian embassy in Tokyo requesting a meeting to discuss the matter. The reply is being awaited, sources said.
Jul 12AV actress Reiko Yamaguchi matures into bar mama in Kabukicho (Tokyo Reporter)
G-cup AV actress Reiko Yamaguchi has spent much of her career starring in "mature" roles. Yet ten years after her debut she finds herself as a full bar mama-san at a snack in Tokyo's entertainment district of Kabukicho. "Since I have experience as a hostess and I also wanted to create a venue for interaction with my fans, I decided to open this bar," says the AV veteran to evening tabloid Nikkan Gendai (July 12) about her club called Bar Naked, which opened in April. "With me working 'naked' on a regular basis, I came up with this name because I wanted to expose the other side of me."
Jul 12Ex-Japan Red Army member's call for suspension of prison term denied (AP)
The Tokyo District Court on Monday rejected a call by a former Japanese Red Army member to have his life sentence for hijacking two Japan Airlines planes in the 1970s suspended on the grounds that he suffers from a serious heart condition. The hearing continues as Osamu Maruoka, 59, also seeks 10 million yen in consolation money from the state.
Jul 12Police send papers on Asashoryu to prosecutors over alleged assault (AP)
The Metropolitan Police Department has sent prosecutors papers on former sumo grand champion Asashoryu for allegedly assaulting and injuring a man while he was drunk, sources close to the matter said Monday. The police suspect the 29-year-old Mongolian-born former yokozuna, whose real name is Dolgorsuren Dagvadorj, assaulted the 39-year-old man in a car during a January tournament.
Jul 11SMAP bled for rotten tomatoes(Japan Times)
Last week, the Asahi Shimbun published an article about the suicide of actor-singer Park Yong Ha. The pieceanalyzed South Korean show business to ascertain why so many stars have killed themselves in recent years, and concluded that their relationships with management agencies grind them down. Park has been handling his own affairs for several years now and apparently had a tough time getting work in South Korea since leaving his agency. Like the three members of the popular boy band TVXQ (known as Tohoshinki in Japan) who sued their management and are now working on their own, Park relied on his Japanese fans to make a living. He was in the midst of a Japanese tour when he hung himself.
Jul 11Everything you always wanted to know about Japanese schoolgirls (but were afraid to ask) (Japan Times)
Don't be put off by the overly busy - and, yes, overly kawaii - cover of "Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential." It may not look like it, but it is an exemplary work of pop scholarship, one in which the authors are able to call on a wide and sound knowledge of art, film, sociology and Japan, as well as good old shoe-leather journalism, to help us understand "how," as the subtitle puts it, "teenage girls made a nation cool." That a serious (but never stodgy) book about Japanese schoolgirls came to be written at all is testament to the impact that these young women have on their society and, to a small but increasing extent, on the world outside Japan.
Jul 11More JAL wreckage found near crash site (Yomiuri)
Large pieces of the Japan Airlines jumbo jet that crashed in August 1985 into Osutaka Ridge in Gunma Prefecture, killing 520 people, have been found still scattered near the accident site, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. Dozens of pieces, including one more than a meter long and appearing to be part of a wing, were found in the woods on a ridge a few hundred meters from the main accident site. After checking photos taken by the Yomiuri, JAL's press bureau said there is little doubt that the newly discovered pieces belonged to the crashed plane.
By J.S. on July 23, 2010

tag : Japanese Society



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