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Smoking rate continues fall to record 23.9%

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Aug 14Playful prankster's unhibited prancing provokes prudish front-desk staffer(Tokyo Reporter)
In her latest weekly installment in Nikkan Gendai (Aug. 12) the pseudonymous Shoko Harano, a divorcee who has spent three years working at the front desk of a Tokyo love hotel, relates a wacky incident in which she was involved. Such hotels do not have restaurants on their premises; but as sexual activity tends to give some people a ravenous appetite, it's common for customers to phone out for food. So as part of her duties, Harano is required to deliver snacks or meals. (Payment for food is added onto the room bill and usually made at checkout. The hotel then settles with the restaurant when their delivery staff comes to collect the dishes.) This time, when Harano buzzed the room, a grinning young woman, about age 20, swung the door open. She was naked as a jaybird but shyly used both hands to conceal her secondary sexual characteristics.

Aug 14Japanese woman on trial for drug trafficking eyes acquittal (AP)
An alleged Japanese drug trafficker, facing a mandatory death sentence if convicted voiced confidence Friday she will be acquitted as the prosecution wrapped up its case at the Malaysian High Court. In the hearing that began Monday, the prosecution has sought to prove that Mariko Takeuchi, 36, knew about the drugs found in one of her suitcases despite her assertions she was unaware of its contents and was merely doing a friend a favor by bringing it to Malaysia. Takeuchi was arrested on Oct. 30 last year for attempting to smuggle 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamine into the country through Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Aug 14Far right pays tribute to Japan's 'war heroes' (independent.co.uk)
British and Japanese ultranationalists will shrug off protests from war veterans in an unlikely show of solidarity at a controversial Tokyo memorial today, on the 65th anniversary of Japan's surrender in the Second World War. The British National Party member Adam Walker and France's most famous Holocaust-denier, Jean-Marie Le Pen, will be among a group of European delegates to visit the Yasukuni Shrine, which venerates the militarists who led Japan's brief but disastrous rampage across Asia.
Aug 14Bodies of bus crash victims to return to Japan (sltrib.com)
Diplomatic officials say the bodies of three Japanese tourists killed in a rollover crash on a southern Utah highway will soon be shipped back to Japan. Japan's deputy consul general in Denver says the trip is expected to happen on Saturday. The two men and one woman were among a group of 14 tourists on a four-day tour of national parks. The bus rolled Monday on Interstate 15 near Cedar City, about 250 miles south of Salt Lake City. A hospital spokesman says four of the injured - two men and two women - remained in critical condition at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray on Friday.
Aug 14Vinyl forever - it really sticks (to your legs) (Japan Times)
"Dozo, please take a seat," said the guy at the city hall. "Thank you," I said, not making a move. He rounded up some papers and came back to the table, "Dozo, please take a seat." But I just stood there, while he sat down. For the man at the city hall, my behavior was nothing unusual. Japanese often don't make direct moves or respond after the first offer of something, apparently out of politeness. Personally, I think it's more polite to do as you're told, but this is Japan. Hesitation exudes politeness. It's like when you have Japanese people over to your house for dinner, you'll practically have to get out a whip to get them to start eating. It's the hesitation at the beginning that is hardest for me. Once they get going, they're pretty good.
Aug 13Miss Universe Japan hopes to win Miss Universe 2010 (uktodaynews.com)
Miss Universe Japan 2010 Maiko Itai will be representing the Asian country of Japan at the 2010 Miss Universe pageant that takes place on 23rd August, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, USA. Maiko Itai was crowned Miss Japan 2010 on the 9th of March by her predecessor Emiri Miyasaka. The 5ft 8 beauty is known to speak three languages - Japanese, English and Portuguese. Reports say that she was just a normal civil servant before winning the coveted Miss Japan crown and the 26 year old even left her job so that she could focus on the national pageant.
Aug 13Radical director of porn and politics delivers yet again (Japan Times)
Koji Wakamatsu is living proof that a lifelong rebel can thrive in Japan's go-along-to-get-along film industry. Today he is celebrated as not just another '60s survivor - he helped pioneer the pinku (pink, or soft porn) genre in that era, mixing in radical politics and experimental aesthetics with the sex - but a still-relevant director who has done some of his best work in his eighth decade. Wakamatsu's epic 2007 docudrama "Jitsuroku Rengo Sekigun: Asama Sanso e no Michi" (The Red Army) examined the violent apotheosis of the far-left United Red Army group that in the early 1970s tortured and murdered its "deviant" members and fought a pitched gun battle with police from a Karuizawa mountain lodge.
Aug 13East meets West at the dining table (Japan Times)
Matching wine with Japanese food can be fraught with difficulty. A refined, oak-aged Bordeaux paired with a cool plate of sashimi, for example, can come across as brash and overbearing, completely drowning out the subtle spectrum of seafood flavors. But that's not to say great matches are impossible. They do exist; but like all forms of cross-cultural communication, it helps if you're flexible - both with your choice of wines and your seasoning. Wines that are designed to suit Japanese cuisine are almost nonexistent, but there is one winemaker who has made an effort to adapt his product for such dishes.
Aug 13Explore Osaka-Kyoto 'power spots' (Japan Times)
Ramada Osaka offers an accommodation plan that encourages guests to see historic sites in Osaka and Kyoto and visit trendy, faddish "power spots." Going to so-called power spots - places believed to give visitors some special energy, healing or refreshing, spiritual feeling - has been a popular activity among some Japanese of late. The places are usually religious, historic or natural. The accommodation plan at the Ramada Osaka for guests wishing to join this fad comes with a one-day tourist ticket, which allows unlimited use of local subways, city buses and some trains, as well as free entrance to 26 tourist spots and facilities, such as Osaka Castle.
Aug 12Smoking rate continues fall to record 23.9% (Japan Times)
The smoking rate among adults has fallen to an all-time low for the 15th consecutive year, decreasing 1.0 percentage point from a year ago to 23.9 percent, Japan Tobacco Inc. said Wednesday. JT attributed the long-running downtrend to growing health consciousness and tighter regulations. The number of smokers is likely to decrease further when the cigarette tax is increased in October.
Aug 12Utada hits tabloid spin on timeout (Japan Times)
Pop star Hikaru Utada, who announced Monday she will suspend musical activities for an indefinite period starting next year, complained in her blog Wednesday that a tabloid paper got wrong her reason for taking time off. Sports Nippon quoted a producer at EMI Music Tuesday as saying, "Utada debuted at 15, got famous and then couldn't go to McDonald's or the 109 (department store) in Shibuya. . . . She felt she had gained a lot but lost a lot as well."
Aug 11Man arrested for using boss' Internet telephone account for international calls (AP)
Police have arrested a man on suspicion of using his boss' Internet telephone account for his own use, charging his superior for calls to a number of foreign countries including Qatar and Bangladesh. The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) arrested Bangladeshi Alam MD Sharlful, 29 -- a former employee of an Internet telephone company -- for allegedly using the company president's password and ID to make calls from his home from February to June this year, while the bills for the calls went to the president, also from Bangladesh.
Aug 11105 centenarians missing in Kobe, including Japan's 'oldest' woman (AP)
The Kobe municipal government said Tuesday that 105 centenarians registered as living in the city are unaccounted for, including a woman registered as Japan's oldest female aged 125. The municipal government of the western Japan city said it has also been found that 22 other people aged at least 100 have not used nursing care insurance or the medical insurance system for the elderly aged 75 and over. Local governments across the country are confirming the circumstances of centenarians registered in their jurisdiction following the discovery in late July of a mummified body, apparently of a man who was registered as being 111 years old.
Aug 11Right-wing groups protest over disputed Kuril Islands in Tokyo (Tokyo Reporter)
As has become custom on the anniversary of Russia's breach of the Treaty of Portsmouth, Japanese right-wing groups were out in force on Monday to protest the action in central Tokyo. At an intersection in the Kamiyacho district of Minato Ward, members of multiple right-ring groups blasted vocal complaints through loudspeakers against the Russian Red Army's violation of the pact, which declared neutrality between the two countries, and subsequent move south beyond the stipulated 50th parallel and into Japan on August 9, 1945. With flags from the Imperial Japanese Army waving, the groups were slowly escorted through traffic blockades by police to the front of the Russian Embassy.
Aug 11Japan's Bono: Yoshiki is ready to take on the U.S. (gizmodo.com)
He may have a small U.S. fan base but he has been called the Bono of Japan. Yoshiki, the drummer and pianist of the rock band X-Japan, has sold millions of records and regularly plays to 50,000 to 70,000 people. He has a branded Visa card, a fragrance line and a race car team. He's the first human to have a Hello Kitty doll named after him. And now he wants to conquer America.
Aug 11Over 75% back death penalty: poll (Japan Times)
A Kyodo News poll shows that 75.9 percent of the public supports the death penalty, far exceeding the 19.5 percent who oppose capital punishment. The poll was conducted after Justice Minister Keiko Chiba, a former member of a group of lawmakers opposed to the death penalty, ordered the hanging of two inmates in July, the first executions under the Democratic Party of Japan-led government. At present, almost 140 countries have abolished or suspended executions.
Aug 11Rent collection agency ordered to compensate man for locking him out of apartment (Mainichi)
The Tokyo District Court has ordered a rent collection agency to pay compensation to a man who was locked out of his apartment after he failed to pay his rent on time. The 26-year-old man filed a case against a real-estate firm and a rent collection agency, demanding payment of about 2.4 million yen in compensation and reimbursement of his deposit, after he was thrown out of his Tokyo apartment for failing to pay a month's rent on time.
Aug 112 men convicted in brutal 2007 murder of young woman begin appeal hearings (Mainichi)
The appeal of two men convicted of the murder and robbery of local resident Rie Isogai in August 2007 has opened at the Nagoya High Court with the defense counsel claiming new expert opinion casts doubt on both defendants' intent to commit murder as it calls for reduced sentences. The prosecution, meanwhile, renewed its demand for the death penalty for both men. Defendants Kenji Kawagishi, 43, and Yoshitomo Hori, 35, and one other man, Tsukasa Kanda, were convicted in March 2009, of planning the murder and robbery of the then 31-year-old Isogai after meeting on an underground Internet bulletin board.
Aug 10Tokyo creates anime guide for sightseeing spots (AP)
The Tokyo metropolitan government has put on its website an anime short describing major sightseeing spots in a bid to attract more foreign tourists to the city. The 11-minute "Welcome to Tokyo" comes with subtitles in seven languages, including English and Chinese. It can be found on the capital's English website under the Tourism, Culture and Sports section. Tokyo spent 49 million yen to create the anime.
Aug 10Japanese lovebirds flock to marry in Alps (Toronto Sun)
Facing an Alpine cow with a bell round its neck, Arisa Chi gripped her bouquet a little tighter, adjusted the cream-coloured ruffles of her dress and smiled for the camera. "We wanted to come because he loves the nature," she said, pointing to her new husband Kenji Yoshida, standing at her side. Japanese are among the most numerous overseas tourists in Switzerland, and their presence has given rise to businesses catering to their tastes - including weddings like Chi's. In Grindelwald, the small town below the gray crag of the Eiger North Face, shop signs bear Kanji characters, the train station's main platform is bustling with Japanese tourists, and a chalet is even called Nagano, the Japanese region that hosted the Winter Olympics in 1998.
Aug 10Helping to apprehend a pickpocket unwittingly undoes another (Japan Times)
A man who cooperated in catching a pickpocket last week is apparently one himself, police in Kumamoto said. Yasuki Sohara, 45, is under arrest for allegedly stealing a wallet from a man who was sleeping on a bench at a bicycle parking lot in June, police said. Last Wednesday, Sohara, who was riding a bicycle in a park, saw someone lifting a wallet off a 22-year-old man sleeping on a bench, the police said.
Aug 10Sum 41 singer back on stage (Hollywood Reporter)
Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley is back performing in Japan with the Canadian rock band after suffering a slipped disc in his back during a late-night bar fight ( HR, Aug. 6). The Sum 41 band website reported Whibley received treatment and performed "despite doctor's instructions" at the Summer Sonic festival in Osaka. The Canadian rockers late last week said Whibley had been involved in an apparent bar melee in Japan, and that Japanese police had been called in to investigate.
Aug 10Singer Utada to take break from music (AP)
Japanese pop star Hikaru Utada announced on her blog Monday that she will suspend musical activities for an indefinite period from next year. The singer said she will halt "flashy music activities for a while," explaining that she wants to focus on "human activities." "I don't know if it will take two years or five years, but I will come back more matured," she wrote to fans, asking them to give her some time.
Aug 09Summertime, and the hookin' looks easy, Johns are jumpin,' and the gals are high(Tokyo Reporter)
A young girl plying the trade known as enjokosai, or compensated dating, is hardly new. Yet, observes Shukan Jitsuwa (Aug. 19), the glut of school gals on summer break and the harsh economy are combining to make present conditions in Tokyo anything but a seller's market. The tabloid cites the entertainment areas of Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and Shibuya as common hot spots. Many young females migrate from the countryside and must offer sharp discounts, or gekiyasu enko, as slashed bonuses for salaried workers have become the norm. Seated on a street corner is a 19-year-old from Niigata Prefecture. "I came to Tokyo to earn money for one week," says the brown-haired girl. "I have only have a few hundred yen. Tonight I can't find anyone. If someone will pay 5,000 yen and the hotel fee that's acceptable..."
Aug 09Children pray for peace, French envoy visits A-bomb park in Nagasaki (AP)
Children in the city of Nagasaki lit about 5,000 candles Sunday to pray for peace, while the French charge d'affaires visited an atomic bomb park prior to this year's peace memorial service Monday to mark the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of the city. At Nagasaki Peace Park where the memorial ceremony will be held, elementary and junior high school students lit handmade candles at 7 p.m. and wished for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Aug 09Whale slaughtered in festival at Ayukawa coastal whaling base (AP)
A whale hunted Sunday morning was landed and slaughtered during a whale festival in the Ayukawa district of the city of Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture, one of Japan's major coastal whaling bases. The slaughter was performed before an audience of tourists as the roughly 10-meter-long, 10-ton Baird's beaked whale was caught off Fukushima Prefecture and towed by a whaling ship, organizers said. The whale meat was grilled and served for free to people at the festival.
Aug 09Sushi is tourists' favourite Japanese dish: survey(AFP)
Foreign tourists visiting Japan enjoy sushi above any other national dish, according to a survey by the Japan National Tourism Organisation. The state-run agency said it interviewed more than 15,000 foreign tourists as they left Japan and asked what their favourite food had been during their visit. Four out of ten picked sushi -- morsels of vinegar-flavoured rice usually served with sliced raw seafood.
Aug 08Sushi, ramen, sashimi most popular food among foreign travelers (AP)
Sushi, ramen and sashimi were the three most favorite dishes among foreigners who traveled to Japan in 2009, according to a recent survey conducted by the Japan National Tourism Organization. The survey also shows that the foreign tourists, before coming to Japan, had the highest expectations about food in Japan, followed by shopping and "onsen" hot springs. It is the first time that food has surpassed shopping.
Aug 08Soaring summer temperatures raise fears of a profusion of perversions (Tokyo Reporter)
There's flaky and then there's outright weird. The Nagoya police ought to know, reports Nikkan Gendai (Aug. 7). A 33-year-old salaryman assaulted a woman on an escalator in an heretofore unheard-of manner. According to police, while exiting the Meitetsu railway station in August last year, the perpetrator had thrust his hand up a 39-year-old woman's skirt and dashed the contents of a small plastic case containing his own semen onto the woman's underwear.
Aug 08Vehicle crashes into shop in Tokyo's Shibuya shopping area (AP)
A station wagon crashed into a shop in a busy shopping area in Tokyo's Shibuya district Saturday evening, injuring three people, firefighters said. The incident occurred around 7:25 p.m. near the flagship outlet of Tokyu Department Store Co. that was bustling with lots of people on the weekend, according to the Tokyo Fire Department.
Aug 08Young mothers to face murder charge over dead children (AP)
A 23-year-old mother who was arrested eight days ago on a charge of abandoning her two toddlers in Osaka will face a new arrest warrant as early as next Tuesday on suspicion of murder, as her neglect is believed to have caused their deaths, police sources said Saturday. An 18-year-old senior high school girl, meanwhile, will also face a murder charge after being arrested last Sunday on suspicion of abandoning her baby boy in a roadside ditch on July 26 in Kobe, local police sources said. Sanae Shimomura has told police investigators since her July 30 arrest after the decomposing naked bodies of her 3-year-old daughter Sakurako and 1-year-old son Kaede were found at her apartment, "I knew they could not carry on living if I did not give them food or water," the sources at the Osaka prefectural police said.
Aug 08Man handed 25-year prison term for strangling ex-teacher(Mainichi)
A man has been handed a 25-year prison term for strangling to death a former teacher he was having a relationship with. The Himeji branch of the Kobe District Court convicted Hiroomi Hirama, 29, an unemployed man living in Inami, Hyogo Prefecture, of murdering Kyoko Kodama, 37, and abandoning her body. According to the ruling, Hirama strangled Kodama in Inami on Nov. 27, 2008, after she tried to make him repay approximately 30 million yen in debts to her.
Aug 08Oldest residents not confirmed / Cases discovered include '119-year-old' woman (Yomiuri)
There has been a series of cases lately in which local governments have been unable to confirm whether men and women registered as the oldest persons in their respective areas are actually alive. At least 10 incidents have been discovered involving eight local governments, including the case of a woman registered as being 119 years old in Higashi-Osaka, Osaka Prefecture. If alive, this woman would be the oldest person in the nation, but her whereabouts are still unknown. All this indicates that the local governments have not taken appropriate measures to determine whether residents registered as centenarians are alive, despite having various opportunities to meet them, such as at ceremonies to present such elderly people with commemorative items.
Aug 08Axed railroads signal nostalgia (Japan Times)
The Miyanoharu Line that connected Oita and Kumamoto prefectures in Kyushu was a scenic wonder when it opened along its entire route in 1954, winding for 27 km through mountains and valleys and across no fewer than seven bridges in the town of Oguni in Kumamoto alone. But back when construction of the railroad started in 1935, Japan was gearing up to wage war in China and those beautiful, arched bridges are believed to have been made of concrete reinforced with bamboo instead of steel bars, according to Keisuke Imao, a freelance writer who specializes in railways and maps.
Aug 08Getting high in the highlands (Japan Times)
High in the Northern Alps of Japan there are snowfields in August. Up above the tree line, wherever the bare geology dips into cirques, thick blankets of dirty white stretch out between the peaks and jagged ridges like caught clouds. In summer, these mountains are a patchwork of green, white, and exposed tawny rock. In winter, they are meters deep in snow, smoothly fondant-frosted. But in between, in October, crimsoned foliage brocades the slopes and the snowfields have receded to leave only the unmelted slivers of winters past - some centuries old, perhaps - in the shadowed clefts and recesses where erosion and glaciation have incised and ground away the rock.
Aug 08Juvenile prison inmates accused of forcing fellow detainee to drink 15 liters of water(Mainichi)
Four inmates at a juvenile prison who allegedly forced another inmate to drink 15 liters of tap water have been reported to public prosecutors, prison officials said. Kawagoe Juvenile Prison reported the four inmates, all in their 20s, to the Kawagoe Branch of the Saitama District Public Prosecutors Office on suspicion of duress. The four inmates are accused of forcing the victim to pour into a cup and drink 10 kettles of tap water (a total of about 15 liters) over a period of about four hours on the afternoon of Jan. 16, when they were on break from having any assigned duties.

By J.S. on Aug 19, 2010

tag : Society News



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