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'Maid' girls tour helps Akihabara newcomers

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Oct 23'Maid' girls tour helps Akihabara newcomers (AP)
A short but in-depth tour led by guides dressed as maids has been helping newcomers in Tokyo's Akihabara district, a home of Japanese subculture dotted with shops including some that are difficult to figure out at a glance. The tour begins at the tourist center right next to JR Akihabara Station and first heads to a rental showcase shop called Astop. People can use a transparent box as their own ministore to display figure models, stuffed animals or whatever else they want to sell.
Oct 23Police arrest 3 in theft of van, suspect group responsible for 180 stolen cars(Mainichi)
Police arrested three on Oct. 22 on suspicion of stealing a van, and believe the trio may be responsible for the Tokyo-area thefts of some 180 cars worth a total of 260 million yen. Police arrested 29-year-old pet shop owner Tadao Goto and two others on suspicion of stealing a Toyota Alphard family van -- with a current value of about 1.5 million yen -- from an apartment building parking lot in Chiba's Chuo Ward around dawn on May 23 this year.
Oct 22Pairing tips from the sake experts (Japan Times)
Increasingly, in countries such as the United States, France and Sweden, restaurants are including sake on their drinks lists and serving it with local cuisine. While still far from widespread, the idea of pairing sake with non-Japanese food is even beginning to gain acceptance among aficionados in Japan. Modern sake styles include full, highly acidic kimoto and yamahai types; delicately sweet and sparkling sakes; bold and fruity unpasteurized styles; and smoky, sherry-like aged sakes. Now, more than ever, the beverage has the potential to match a wide variety of cuisines - particularly when it is served in new, nontraditional ways. Sake is lower than wine in tart components such as tartaric and malic acids but higher in amino acids. As a result, it is a beverage rich in umami, the "sixth taste" that makes the savory flavors of meat and cheese so appealing.
Oct 22Tokyo bathhouses scrub up to lure visitors (Yomiuri)
Public bathhouses in Ota Ward, Tokyo, are bubbling with excitement at the prospect of a flood of foreign visitors the new-look Haneda Airport will bring. Thursday's opening of a new runway and terminal at Haneda make the airport an international hub, an opportunity the bathhouses hope will stop their business going down the drain. The Ota public bathhouse association has made posters in four foreign languages, which explain local bathing manners, such as entering the bathtub after washing your body.
Oct 21Alarming rise in Japan bear attacks (Press Association)
Attacks by hungry bears are posing an increasing threat in rural Japan as they forage for food. The rise in attacks is triggered by what officials believe is a shortage of food in the animals' mountain habitats. The Environment Ministry says bears have attacked 84 people - killing four - from April to September this year, surpassing last year's total of 64 attacks. The increase was described as alarming by a ministry official.
Oct 21Car catches fire in possible arson at mosque in Fukui (AP)
A car parked in front of a mosque in Fukui City was found on fire early Wednesday in a possible arson case as a sign saying, "Foreign people GET OUT" was posted at the two-story building, police said Thursday. The police are investigating the case as also a flag at an Indian restaurant about 1.5 kilometers from the building was set on fire and a similar sign posted in September, they said. On Wednesday, a Malaysian student's station wagon was on fire at around 1:15 a.m. near its engine at the parking lot, but no one was injured, according to the police.
Oct 21From Japan, the Heavy-Metal Kid (New York Times)
Yuto Miyazawa, a 10-year-old Japanese guitar prodigy, was going strong late into his second set at the Hong Kong Fringe Club, launching into guitar riffs like a virtuoso and bantering with the crowd in shaky English. When a fan shouted a request for "Crazy Train," Yuto stopped for a moment, looking much like the skinny Japanese schoolboy he is. The fan, thinking Yuto didn't understand, held up a camera phone with a video of the old Ozzy Osbourne favorite. It wasn't necessary. Yuto, whom the Guinness Book of World Records lists as the youngest professional guitarist, has an encyclopedic knowledge of heavy metal and can rattle off the names of its legendary performers, even those who died years before he was born.
Oct 21Yoko Ono recounts John Lennon on his 70th birthday anniversary (CNN)
John Lennon would have turned 70 years old this month, and were the late Beatle alive today, he might be sitting in a rocking chair in Cornwall, England, with wife Yoko Ono waiting for a postcard from their son, Sean, Ono said in an exclusive interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper. In the interview, Ono spoke about being unfairly blamed for the breakup of the Beatles and how she can't forgive Mark David Chapman, the maniacal fan who fatally shot Lennon in 1980. She also strolled with Cooper through Central Park's Strawberry Fields, dedicated to Lennon and named after the song "Strawberry Fields Forever," written by Lennon and fellow Beatle Paul McCartney.
Oct 21Saitama town turns into 'cosplay' mecca (Japan Times)
A corner of Saitama Prefecture has become a mecca for "cosplay" fans in recent years, thanks to a popular manga strip based there, surprising the locals along the way. The manga, "Lucky Star," revolves around twin girls and their friends attending a high school in the former town of Washimiya, now the city of Kuki. It has been drawing attention as a successful example of tourism inspired by "anime" (animation), a feat made even more impressive considering the fact that the prefecture lacks beaches or World Heritage sites.
Oct 21Cycling lanes could be installed on 6,600 kilometers of Japan city routes: survey (Mainichi)
Bicycle lanes could easily be installed on 6,600 kilometers of the main city roads in Japan with at least 1.5 meters of free space on each side of the road, a researcher from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has calculated. The number of accidents between cyclists and pedestrians is 3.7 times higher than the figure recorded a decade earlier, and installing bicycle lanes has been seen as an urgent task.
Oct 20Famous Nara temple to open main hall to public for first time (Mainichi)
Toshodai-ji Temple here will open its main hall to the public for the first time to commemorate the first anniversary of the completion of its renovation work. The historical hall will be open to the public only on Nov. 3. It will be the first time for the temple to allow visitors to enter its main hall -- which has been designated as a national treasure -- since it was established in the 8th century, a temple official said.
Oct 205 injured when car driven by teacher plows into schoolchildren (Mainichi)
A car driven by a teacher plowed into a line of elementary school children on their way to school on the morning of Oct. 20, injuring five of them, two seriously, police said. Local police arrested the suspect, 56-year-old Shinsuke Yoshizawa, a teacher at Utsunomiya Municipal Yokokawa Higashi Elementary School, on suspicion of negligent driving resulting in injury.
Oct 20Empress hopes emperor's path would guide future of imperial family (AP)
Empress Michiko marked her 76th birthday Wednesday and indicated her hopes that the imperial family members will find their future guidance in the footsteps of Emperor Akihito. Referring to Crown Prince Naruhito, his brother Prince Akishino and their families, the empress said in a statement, "I am certain that they will find a guiding principle and support in the way His Majesty over the years has proceeded in pursuit of how the imperial family should be and how the emperor should be," when they assume their roles in the future.
Oct 20Man pleads guilty to 2 murders / Admission of killings at ear-cleaning salon comes on 1st day of trial (Yomiuri)
A 42-year-old man accused of murdering an employee of an ear-cleaning salon and her grandmother last year pleaded guilty Tuesday at the first hearing of his trial, in which lay judges are taking part. Koji Hayashi, of Mihama Ward, Chiba, is being tried on charges of killing Miho Ejiri and Yoshie Suzuki, 78, in August 2009. According to the prosecutors, Hayashi entered Ejiri's house in the morning of Aug. 3 last year carrying a knife and a hammer. They said Hayashi stabbed Suzuki to death when she saw him on the first floor and then used the same weapon to kill Ejiri, who was sleeping on the second floor.
Oct 19Japan recruits foreigners to improve its travel advice (Reuters)
Japan is planning to recruit dozens of foreigners to visit the country and give advice on how to make things more travel-friendly for non-Japanese speaking visitors even as it aims for higher tourist numbers. The government will pay travel allowances to about 100 native English, Chinese and Korean speakers to visit key cities and come up with ideas on how to make it easier for travelers to use public transport, stay at local hotels and eat at local restaurants, said an official at the Japan Tourism Agency.
Oct 19AV production president arrested for employing teenage porn actress (Tokyo Reporter)
The arrest of an AV president for employing the acting services of a teenage girl is sending shock waves through Japan's porn industry, reports weekly tabloid Shukan Jitsuwa (Oct. 28). On October 7, Tokyo Metropolitan Police collared the president and a manager of an AV (that is, adult video) production house, located in Bunkyo Ward, for violating prostitution and pornography statutes regarding child welfare following revelations that a 16-year-old girl was recruited by the firm to star in multiple porn DVDs. The weekly explains that in January the president placed classified ads on mobile phone sites for recruitment purposes and subsequently brokered a deal with a 16-year-old from Chiba Prefecture.
Oct 19Japanese landlords demand lost rent for suicides (wenatcheeworld.com)
Demands by landlords and real estate companies for excessive compensation for suicides committed in rented apartments have become disturbingly prevalent in Japan, according to a national association for bereaved families. Many landlords and real estate firms insist bereaved families pay compensation for supposed losses caused by suicides committed in apartments. Grounds for such claims include the difficulty in finding someone willing to rent an apartment where a suicide occurred and the forced reduction in rental charges. Over 30,000 suicides have been committed in Japan in each of the past 12 years.
Oct 18Man found dead after hot water spewed at geothermal power plant(AP)
Rescuers found Monday the body of a man who went missing after hot water spewed from underground through a hole at a geothermal power plant in northeastern Japan the previous day. Kuniaki Ito, 63, was confirmed dead after his body was discovered from under layers of sand and dirt that gushed out as the underground hot water spewed at the Onikobe power plant in Osaki, Miyagi Prefecture, on Sunday. Local police said Ito was working to plug up the hole, created on Oct. 8 when a similar blowout of water occurred, with a power shovel at the time of the incident. His co-worker Yasuyuki Takahashi, 48, suffered heavy burns.
Oct 18Foreigners have no right to welfare payments, rules Oita District Court(Mainichi)
The Oita District Court ruled on Oct. 18 that foreigners with the right to permanent residence but without Japanese citizenship are not entitled to welfare benefits, rejecting the claims of a 78-year-old Chinese woman who sued after being denied benefits by the Oita city government. The ruling is the first in the country to deal with the issue of welfare payments to people with foreign citizenship and permanent residency in Japan. The main issues of the trial became whether the woman held the right as a foreigner to receive welfare payments and whether her financial status justified her receiving aid.
Oct 184 arrested for helping Cambodian men illegally work at supermarket(Mainichi)
The president of an information technology (IT)-related company and three others were arrested on Oct. 18 for helping three Cambodian men come to Japan under the guise of IT engineers and illegally work at a supermarket, police said. The four suspects conspired to help the three Cambodian men aged 24 to 27 come to Japan in early December last year on special work visas by disguising them as IT engineers at Lim's company, and illegally work at Kurume Chimakiya supermarket, prefectural police allege. The bearers of special work visas for IT engineers can stay and work in Japan for up to five years while those holding ordinary work visas can work here for only three years.
Oct 18Big in Japan: why Tokyo is top (guardian.co.uk)
It makes perfect sense that Tokyo is Guardian readers' favourite overseas city. Now that Shanghai looks in parts like Beverly Hills and Delhi is lighting up with Thai restaurants, there are few cities on the planet that are less western than Tokyo - even if it's not necessarily a part of any east that you might recognise. The abiding allure of Japan's huge network of tiny details is that, like something in a Salman Rushdie novel, it seems to blur all notions of high and low, east and west, old and new into one state-of-the-art global amusement park that is wildly fresh and novel in its best incarnations, and at least zany in its worst.
Oct 18Middle management drives Japan (Indian Express)
The extreme politeness of the Japanese can bowl you over. As I was getting out of the lift, after some casual conversation about the Japanese breakfast at my hotel in Tokyo, one of the reception managers rushed to touch my feet. Unnerved, I stuttered, "What, what ?" Stepping back, I discovered my shoe laces had opened and he was trying to tie them. Never have I seen such courtesy, except perhaps in Japanese trains. Unlike the underground or metros in different parts of the world, in Japan, people are quiet and gracious. I've never seen anyone speak on a mobile phone when travelling, and they readily accommodate one another so everyone can travel together in comfort.
Oct 18Two injured in bear attack in Kyoto (Japan Times)
Two people were slightly injured in a bear attack Saturday in Fukuchiyama, Kyoto Prefecture, amid a surge in reported bear sightings in the northern part of the prefecture, police said. Mitsugu Ogino, an 81-year-old farmer, received a head scratch at around 4:15 p.m. after a 1-meter bear broke into his house. Masako Kobayashi, 77, tumbled and sustained minor hand and foot injuries as she tried to flee from the bear when it emerged and attacked her from behind, the police said, adding the animal then ran off.
Oct 17Aeon 'digging grave' for temple funerals (Japan Times)
Last year, a friend who lives in Tokyo received a letter from the Buddhist temple where her family grave is located. The temple is in a town in Gunma Prefecture, and while none of her relatives live there any more, they visit the grave for the proper seasonal observances. The letter informed my friend that the temple had decided to move the graves to a "more convenient" location, and it asked them to pay for the removal. Families don't own grave plots: They pay a one-time fee for the right to use them in perpetuity so long they visit them regularly.
Oct 17Keio's train-shaped timer expected to become runaway success (Mainichi)
A unique train-shaped timer is now on sale at Keio Line stations in Tokyo. The timer -- designed after Keio Corp.'s "9000 series" trains -- moves along a miniature railway track as it counts down the time. The sounds of door closure, train departure and alarms add an authentic touch to the device.
Oct 17Landlords milk suicides for cash (Yomiuri)
Demands by landlords and real estate companies for excessive compensation for suicides committed in rented apartments have becoming disturbingly prevalent, according to a national association for bereaved families. Many landlords and real estate firms insist bereaved families pay compensation for supposed losses caused by suicides committed in apartments, Zenkoku Jishi Izoku Renrakukai (national association of the families of suicides) said.

By JS on Oct 28, 2010

tag : Japanese Society



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