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Tokyo film fest to feature 4 world premieres in competition, honor Bruce Lee

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Oct 02Tokyo film fest to feature 4 world premieres in competition, honor Bruce Lee (Tokyo Reporter)
The 23rd Tokyo International Film Festival will feature four world premieres in competition and pay tribute to martial arts film Bruce Lee with a special series to mark the 70th year of his birth. Fest chairman Tatsumi "Tom" Yoda said at a press luncheon on Thursday that this year will be a pivotal one for the event. "Our mission is to gather films that can convey the power of film," said Yoda at the conference, held at the Roppongi Hills complex in Tokyo's Minato Ward. "This is the jumping stage that will launch us into the future. The high-quality films at this event will be what drives us forward." Kicking off the event on October 23 is "The Social Network," the story of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of the immensely popular social-working site Facebook. TIFF's week-long run will feature roughly 200 films at theaters in the Roppongi entertainment district and other areas. The closer will be Ben Affleck's "The Town," a bank-heist film set in Boston.
Oct 02Three jailed for London tourist scams (tvnz.co.nz)
Three people have been jailed for carrying out a scam to steal from more than 100 Japanese tourists in central London, police said yesterday. The gang targeted tourists at attractions such as the British Museum and the Oxford Street shopping area. One, a woman, would pose as a tourist and ask a genuine visitor for directions or to take a photo for her. Other gang members would then approach and pretend to be police officers and demand details of the tourists' identity and credit cards.
Oct 01Woman, 2 children arrested for abandoning frozen baby bodies at supermarket (Mainichi)
Police have arrested a 49-year-old woman and her two children after the frozen bodies of two young babies were found abandoned at a supermarket here in February and another baby was discovered dead during the search of the woman's residence at the end of last month. Atsuko Fujiwara has reportedly admitted to police that she gave birth to the two babies discovered at the supermarket -- a girl and a premature boy who were both about 30 centimeters tall -- at her home and put them in a freezer.
Oct 01Japanese researchers claim Ig Nobel for comparing slime mold to Tokyo rail network(Tokyo Reporter)
Researchers at two Japanese universities were last night awarded an Ig Nobel Prize for demonstrating that slime mold can be used to determine the optimal routes for railroad tracks. In a published paper ("Rules for Biologically Inspired Adaptive Network Design"), Toshiyuki Nakagaki of Future University Hakodate and Hiroshima University's Atsushi Tero were among a nine-person team (from Japan and the U.K.) that demonstrated how the slime mold Physarum polycephalum forms networks with comparable efficiency, fault tolerance, and cost to real-world infrastructure, such as the Tokyo rail system. Several members of the team, including Nakagaki and Tero, also won the 2008 Ig Nobel Prize in physics for showing that slime molds can solve puzzles.
Oct 01Japan enjoys a nicotine buzz (BusinessWeek)
A man walked into Yusuke Sato's tobacco store in Atsugi, southwest of Tokyo, last month and bought 100 cartons of Mild Seven cigarettes. While that may not be good for his health, it did save him almost $1,300 in potential cigarette taxes. Hoarding by Japanese smokers, who stocked up ahead of a big tax increase on cigarette manufacturers that took effect on Oct. 1, may have also given Japan the economic equivalent of a nicotine rush. A big spike in cigarette sales may add as much as 1.4 percentage points to the projected annualized economic growth rate for the July-to-September quarter, according to estimates from the Japan Research Institute.
Oct 01World's first Lennon museum closed in Japan (RIA Novosti)
The world's first authorized museum dedicated to legendary Beatles icon John Lennon, closed its doors after a contract with his widow, Yoko Ono, expired, local media said. The museum, which is located in the city of Saitama on the outskirts of Tokyo, opened on October 9, 2000, to mark the 60th anniversary of Lennon's birth. It has hosted a total of 550,000 visitors. The museum showcased 40 years of Lennon's life and displayed around 130 items, including his favorite guitar, a pair of his wire-rimmed glasses and hand-written song lyrics.
Oct 01All-grrrl DJ collective touts a twee life (Japan Times)
Shibuya is not a pretty place. In fact, Tokyo's youth mecca can look downright grimy at times. But as with most eyesores, there are pockets of beauty and Sumire Taya owns one of them. Taya has an accessories store called Violet and Claire on the third floor of the Noa Shibuya building, and her shop acts as a de facto base for Twee Grrrls Club, a six-woman DJ collective. "I got bored with male DJs," says Taya. "I don't like them because they're a bit full of themselves. It's hard for me to connect with them."
Oct 01Kurosawa's creative canvas (Japan Times)
Little-known fact: Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa meticulously painted more than 2,000 storyboards in his lifetime. Masterpieces in their own right, a selection of around 150 will be displayed at an exhibition in Ebisu, accompanied by screenings of his movies "The Quiet Duel," "Rashomon," "Ran" and "Madadayo." A talk will be held about "Ran" to boot. The creator of such masterpieces as "Seven Samurai" and "Yojimbo," Kurosawa is for many the greatest artist the medium has known. To mark the centenary of his birth, "Akira Kurosawa Centenary Exhibition - All For Cinema" at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography celebrates his mind-blowing career.
Oct 01Nurse's acquittal ensured over patients' nail-clipping injuries (AP)
The Fukuoka High Public Prosecutors Office said Thursday it has given up appealing a high court ruling that acquitted a nurse of injuring two elderly dementia patients by clipping their nails too deep at a hospital in Fukuoka Prefecture in 2007, ensuring her acquittal. The acquittal of Satomi Ueda, 44, who headed a nursing unit at Kitakyushu Yahata Higashi Hospital in the city of Kitakyushu is to be finalized at Thursday midnight, the deadline for the prosecutor office's appeal.
Sep 30Japan's top rockers set to fulfil their dream(theprovince.com)
Japan's biggest rock band is coming to Vancouver. Who are they? It's an honest question to ask. Save for Japanese rock aficionados, X the country's North American exposure is scant. With more than 30 million albums and DVDs sold, and a record-setting 18 sold-out concerts at the 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome, the glam/prog/ metal outfit is legendary. Now it's playing small clubs. In 1997, the group split when Toshi and Yoshiki, who had been friends since elementary school, had a falling out. Solo projects, the death of lead guitarist Hide and a heralded reformation in 2007 saw X Japan relocate to L.A. to mount its first serious push into North America.
Sep 30Cash reward to be raised to 3 mil. yen in serious crimes (AP)
The National Police Agency said Thursday it will raise the cash reward for those who provide information leading to the arrest of persons on a wanted list for serious crimes to 3 million yen from 1 million yen from Nov. 1. The eight on the wanted list include three members of the AUM Shinrikyo cult who are suspected of being involved in the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system, it said.
Sep 30Man suspected of abandoning two bodies says he couldn't go through with group suicide (Mainichi)
A man has been arrested on suspicion of abandoning the bodies of two men found in a forest in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, after he could not go through with a group suicide, it has been learned. Naoki Yoneoka, 24, was arrested Sept. 28 and has reportedly admitted to dumping the bodies, saying, "I and two others I met on the Internet were going to kill ourselves together, but I couldn't go through with it and dumped the bodies."
Sep 30Raid on swords society turns up 400 illegal samurai weapons (Japan Times)
Tokyo police raided the Society for Preservation of Japanese Art Swords and three other locations Wednesday on suspicion of illegally possessing some 400 unregistered samurai swords, police said. The society voluntarily submitted the swords, excluding severely damaged ones, after finding 592 mostly rusty swords without registration cards in February and March 2009. Under the Sword and Firearm Control Law, owners are required to have their swords registered as art objects at prefectural boards of education.
Sep 29Japan nabs 18 for child porn (Straits Times)
Japanese police said they had arrested 18 people for allegedly distributing child pornography online in sweeping raids of dozens of locations nationwide. Police in 21 prefectures from far-northern Hokkaido to subtropical Okinawa raided 50 locations on Monday and Tuesday in a crackdown targeting the distribution of child porn via file-sharing systems. Under Japanese law, publishing and distributing child porn carries punishment of up to five years in prison or a fine of five million yen, but possession of such images is not illegal.
Sep 29Japan softens on refugees(The Diplomat)
Japan, a country once essentially closed to outsiders, on Tuesday became the first Asian country to open its doors to refugees under a UN-promoted resettlement program. The first beneficiaries of the pilot scheme to resettle a total of 90 Burmese refugees here over the next 3 years are 3 ethnic Karen families that had been staying at the Mae La camp on the Burma-Thailand border. The 18 enforced exiles will undergo a 6-month orientation, during which time they will receive language training and help finding work and accommodation.
Sep 29Publisher ordered to pay 8.47 mil. yen to Takanohana in libel suit(AP)
The Tokyo High Court ordered major publisher Kodansha Ltd. and its president among others Wednesday to pay a total of 8.47 million yen in libel damages to sumo stablemaster Takanohana and his wife, determining that their magazine articles on the couple lacked grounds. Most of the 13 articles published in the weekly Shukan Gendai and monthly Gekkan Gendai in 2004 and 2005 about sumo wrestling match- fixing scandals and family troubles related to inheritance from Takanohana's father, the late sumo elder Futagoyama, "lack evidence and we cannot recognize that the core parts are true," Presiding Judge Kazuhiro Umetsu said.
Sep 29Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz: 'Knight & Day' in Japan (celebrity-gossip.net)
Taking their promotional efforts overseas, Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz partook in the Japanese premiere of their film "Knight and Day" in Tokyo on Tuesday. Waving to hundreds of lined-up fans, the attractive co-stars made the visit as their action movie will be screened in Japan beginning October 9. Click Here For the Tokyo red carpet visit, Miss Diaz was all smiles while looking especially hot in a tight black dress and black and pink heels.
Sep 28Japanese wine cartoon makes Bordeaux grower famous (Reuters)
Chateau owner Jean-Pierre Amoreau is a celebrity in Japan -- a privilege he owes to a wine-obsessed cartoon he had never heard of until diehard fans started calling him at home. Amoreau, owner of the Puy Chateau near the village of Saint-Cibard in southwestern France, said he did not know what to think last year when he started getting calls from Japanese buyers who wanted to buy his 2003 growth bottles at any cost. His agent explained the reason for the calls: a television show broadcast in Japan. Named "The Drops of God," it is a cartoon about wine that has won a passionate following in Japan and has the peculiar trait of referring mainly to real bottles.
Sep 28Japan welcomes Burmese refugees (BBC)
Eighteen Burmese refugees have arrived in Japan from Thailand, marking a new turn in Japan's asylum policy. It follows Japan's agreement to accept about 90 Burmese under a third country resettlement plan promoted by the UN. The three ethnic minority Karen families have been living for 10 years in a camp in north-western Thailand after fleeing persecution in Burma. Japan has been criticised in the past for allowing in far fewer refugees than other wealthy nations.
Sep 28China tests the cool of Zen Japan(Asia Times)
When China overtook Japan as the world's second-largest economy earlier this year, the reaction of many Japanese was "betsu ni" - which loosely translates as "that's nothing special" or "so what?" With a diffidence to Asian neighbors that can appear to be either Zen-like or arrogant, many Japanese privately look down on China as a rambunctious cousin greedy for money and resources. Many investors and economists here suspect that the Beijing government, which lacks transparency and an adversarial media, is padding growth statistics - 10% per year - to suit their political aims.
Sep 28Manga artists get gritty with portrait of life on factory floor (Asahi)
A metalworks, with its drab setting and workers toiling at dull tasks, would seem unlikely to provide inspiration for a cartoonist looking to create a successful manga. But Munehiro Nomura has done just that with his series, "Torokeru Tekkojo" (The melting iron works factory), a comedy about the travails of a welder and his workplace chums. The manga, which shows the welders temporarily blinding themselves with the flare from their welding rods or jumping around in pain as sparks fly into their helmets through ventilation holes, has appeared regularly in the cartoon magazine Evening, published every other week, since 2007.
Sep 28Awesome or off-putting: The Kappa of Japan (hecklerspray.com)
Japan is a country known mostly for deciding tax rates based purely on the Dance Dance Revolution scores of randomly selected lower class citizens, and for constantly rebuilding after Godzilla attacks. This is really too bad if you think about it - because Godzilla is a fictional monster that's come to stereotype Japan's culture. If their culture absolutely has to be stereotyped by scaly monsters that emerged from the water, at least let it be the Kappa. After all - the Kappa are real, according to multiple alleged encounters.
Sep 28Tokyo landlords lose century-old 'gift money' as rents slump (Bloomberg)
A Japanese tradition dating back more than a century is dying: the payment of up to two months' rent extra as a gift to the landlord. "Reikin," or "gift money," a non-refundable fee on top of a deposit and any broker fees that has helped boost landlords' earnings since at least 1897, is the latest victim of a slump in the market in the world's second-most expensive city. While landlords of luxury Tokyo apartments rented for 500,000 yen or more have waived reikin in the past, as many as 65 percent of units below that tier now don't require gift money, compared with about 25 percent two years ago. Gift money dates back to as early as 1897 when it was documented in a contract for a property in Tokyo's Chiyoda ward.
Sep 28Japanese town puts bounty on troublesome monkey (asiancorrespondent.com)
Authorities in the city of Mishima, Shizuoka Prefecture are offering a reward of 200,000 yen ($2,370) for help in apprehending an elusive suspect described as "hairy-armed and dangerous". Since late this summer a monkey, or possibly a band of monkeys, has been terrorizing this picturesque city in the foothills of Mount Fuji. Roughly 100 people have been attacked with several reporting being bitten by the pesky primate.
Sep 28ANIME NEWS: "Rebocon 4" concerts to be broadcast live in theaters in 11 cities nationwide (Asahi)
The fourth series of Rebocon concerts, featuring much-loved characters of the anime film "Katekyo Hitman Reborn!" is being held this fall at JCB Hall in Tokyo's Suidobashi district. The "Vongola Saikyo no Carnevale" ("The strongest carnival of the Vongola family") is a live musical extravaganza performed by costumed band members. Since the first concert at Tokyo's Nakano Sun Plaza Hall in 2008 that drew 4,000 people, Rebocon has grown in scale. The second event in March 2009 at Pacifico Yokohama attracted an audience of 10,000, while last winter's Rebocon was a series of five concerts in three cities and had a total attendance of 15,000.
Sep 27Singaporean man nabbed in Japan for smuggling drug in wheelchair(AP)
A disabled Singaporean national was arrested Sept. 5 after arriving at Narita airport near Tokyo with about 4 kilograms of stimulants concealed under the seat of his wheelchair, Kyodo News learned Sunday. The suspect, 47, has denied any knowledge of the stimulants, according to the sources. The customs authorities estimate the stimulants have a street value of 360 million yen.
Sep 27Are the Japanese more tolerant of irritating noises?(thefastertimes.com)
Though Japan is not unique in having bothersome sounds, for a culture that places such a high premium on quiet, it can get awfully noisy sometimes. I guess it comes down to context. For instance, everyone knows it's unacceptable to talk on your cell phone on a bus or train, unlike my hometown where people freely blab away, and this is widely observed in Japan. But on trains and buses no one gives a second thought to the loud stream of longwindedly polite announcements that infringe upon the quiet. Like the one telling passengers to set their phones to manner mode and refrain from talking on them because it's an annoyance, which is itself an annoyance.
Sep 27God's gangster: former yakuza Tatsuya Shindo preaches the gospel (Tokyo Reporter)
From the cracked exterior paint to the crumbling wood trim, the "snack" club June Bride appears to have the appropriately rundown look favored by just about every watering hole in Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture. Impressions change, however, once one enters and sees the sketches of Jesus Christ taped to the silver wallpaper and the wooden cross propped against the back wall. The proprietor is Tatsuya Shindo, and he is not a barman. From the age of 20, Shindo peddled stimulants in and around Tokyo for a gangster family under the nationwide Sumiyoshi-kai yakuza syndicate. When multiple jail stints followed thereafter, he decided to start offering something else entirely: the gospel. "I know how bad I was and the bad things I had done," says Shindo, 39, thin-framed and sporting a devilish bit of chin stubble. "At the same time, I know how much I was forgiven by God. So I wanted to engage myself in God's work."
Sep 27Mayonnaise spill on Japanese highway leads to car pile up(examiner.com)
A bizarre and potentially tragic incident of mayonnaise bottles spilled on a highway in western Japan led to a series of vehicle accidents just after midnight on September 25th. According to Japanese news reports, boxes containing dozens of 500 gram bottles of mayonnaise were scattered over a 300 meter stretch of a two-lane bypass highway in Hyogo prefecture. Since mayonnaise is generally produced from a combination of eggs, vegetable oil, and vinegar, the spilled products essentially created a large oil slick on the roadway. Eight vehicles, starting with a motorcycle, and followed by several cars and trucks, crashed after skidding out in the mess.
Sep 27Man arrested after allegedly throwing flare at Chinese consulate (Japan Times)
A 20-year-old man was arrested Sunday after allegedly throwing a flare at the building housing the Chinese Consulate General in Nagasaki, they said. The incident, apparently linked to Japan's diplomatic spat with China over the arrest of a fishing boat captain near islands administered by Japan but also claimed by Beijing and Taiwan, occurred at 9:25 a.m. Police identified the man as Kazuki Tanigawa, a member of a private political group. No one was injured because the consulate is closed on Sundays, they said.

By J.S. on Oct 7, 2010

tag : Japanese Society



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