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Edo Period farmhouse gets new life in Paris

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Nov 21Heading for the hills - in style (Japan Times)
One sunny Saturday a couple of weeks ago, this writer joined five women and three men who met up at Ikusabata Station on the JR Ome Line in the mountains of western Tokyo. Sporting colorful but functional outdoor clothes, the young trendily dressed female trekkers were prime examples of what's recently come to be called the yama garu (mountain girl) phenomenon.
Nov 20Edo Period farmhouse gets new life in Paris (Japan Times)
A traditional farmhouse built 150 years ago in what is now Kisomachi, Nagano Prefecture, has been open to the public since Nov. 15 after being relocated to an amusement park in Paris a dozen years ago. The house, which stands on the premises of the Jardin d'Acclimatation, was dismantled in 1998 and transferred to France the same year. But various troubles prevented the house from seeing the light of day for 12 years. Built in 1862, just before the end of the Edo Period (1603-1867), this 97-sq.-meter, shingle-roofed house had been vacant since around 1990.
Nov 20Illegal drug-induced abortion alleged (Japan Times)
Police turned over to prosecutors Friday their case against a 22-year-old woman who allegedly took the drug mifepristone, which has yet to be approved in Japan, to abort her baby, investigative sources said. Although the criminal code stipulates that a pregnant woman who uses drugs to abort a fetus may be punished with imprisonment of up to one year, the maternal protection law allows doctors to end a pregnancy with the consent of the woman for physical, economic or other reasons.
Nov 19Man arrested for anime pillow case piracy (Japan Probe)
A 25-year-old Chinese man has been arrested for selling unlicensed copies of anime girl pillow cases. The man was attending vocational school in Japan, and said he used the proceeds from the pillow case sales to pay his school tuition. Police say he raised about 100,000 yen from the sale of some 200 pillow cases.
Nov 19Japan's lesbians still scared to come out (cnngo.com)
"Homosexuality itself -- as long as you don't say it -- is accepted in Japan. Once you start saying it you put yourself in a box," says 29-year-old Miho Kashimura, describing the situation for many gay women in her country. "Then sometimes you get in trouble, and maybe you get all the images put on you that come with the word," she says. In Japan, while there is no law against homosexuality, being gay or lesbian is something that remains generally 'undesirable' in mainstream society. Marriage in the country is only permitted for heterosexual couples. Still, in recent years more lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGBT) in Japan have trickled into the public eye, including some high-profile celebrities through the powerful channel of the Japanese showbiz industry.
Nov 19'Victims' of hostess club soliciting say police paid them to help in probe(Mainichi)
Two men labeled as victims of illegal soliciting by a hostess club worker in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, were actually paid by police to cooperate in an investigation, it has emerged. The finding, contradicting a report filed by police which said that the two men "happened to be passing the area" at the time, has raised questions over police investigation methods. The hostess club worker was accused of illegally soliciting customers on Feb. 16 on a road in Atsugi by offering them an "all-you-can-drink" course for 3,900 yen.
Nov 19The man who popularized the Edo pleasure district (Japan Times)
The Yoshiwara pleasure district of Edo (old Tokyo) has often been immortalized in word and image for the exquisite carnal pleasures it offered. It was also considered the center of Edo Period (1603-1867) cultural life. If anyone could be said to have put Yoshiwara on the map, it was the bookseller, publisher and visionary Tsutaya Juzaburo. The Suntory Museum of Art's latest show in Tokyo, "Juzaburo, Publisher who discovered Utamaro and Sharaku," celebrates this entrepreneur by bringing together more than 250 Edo Period artifacts, the vast majority being ukiyo-e woodblock prints with which Juzaburo made his name.
Nov 19Jack Seward, leading expert on Japan, dies (Japan Times)
Jack Seward, a U.S. Army veteran and Japan expert who served under Gen. Douglas MacArthur's staff command during the Allied Occupation, died Nov. 10 in Houston. He was 86. Born in Houston on Oct. 11, 1924, Seward grew up in Dallas and attended the University of Oklahoma. An act of chance during his early years introduced him to his life-long connection with Japan: While working several summers on a ranch in Oklahoma, two Japanese hands there started to teach him some of the language. At 18 he volunteered for active duty in the U.S. Army. With his knowledge of Japanese, the army enrolled him in a special military intelligence training unit on Japan at the University of Michigan.
Nov 19Rethinking traditional urushi lacquerware (Japan Times)
London, it appears, is a good place to learn about both past and present Japan. Last year, as Britain celebrated 150 years of cultural exchange with Japan, it hosted a number of major shows, including a large-scale matsuri (festival) in Spitalfields Market, a comprehensive exhibition of Utagawa Kuniyoshi woodblock prints at the Royal Academy of Arts, as well as a collection of ancient dogu ceramic figures at The British Museum. This year, the Barbican Center continues the love affair with various events showcasing some of Japan's most famous creatives.
Nov 18Man linked to couple's murder plunges to death, suspected of strangling wife(Mainichi)
A man has plunged to his death from an apartment building here, after apparently strangling his wife and setting their home on fire, ahead of police questioning over the deaths of a married couple, investigators said. The 61-year-old man jumped from the sixth-floor of the apartment building in Osaka's Nishiyodogawa Ward at around 7:15 p.m. on Nov. 17. Around the same time, a fire broke out in his residence on the same floor, burning the walls and the ceiling. Police found the body of a woman who is believed to be his 61-year-old wife in the room.
Nov 18Tokyo drifter: Yoichi Higashi goes 'Wandering Home' (Tokyo Reporter)
Veteran helmer Yoichi Higashi tackles the difficult subject of a family being torn apart by alcoholism in his latest film, the drama "Wandering Home." The often brutal and sometimes humorous pic, to be released next next month, is based on the autobiography of the late journalist Yutaka Kamoshida (Tadanobu Asano), who detailed his struggle with alcohol dependency and the resulting burden placed upon his wife, manga artist Rieko Saibara, played by Hiromi Nagasaku ("Cast Me If You Can"), and two young children.
Nov 18Japanese whaler cleared of ramming protest boat (AFP)
A Japanese whaler did not deliberately ram and sink a Sea Shepherd protest boat during a high-seas confrontation in Antarctic waters early this year, New Zealand investigators found Thursday. There was no evidence either the whaler Shonan Maru II or Sea Shepherd's Ady Gil deliberately caused the January 6 collision, which sheared the bow off the militant environmental group's hi-tech trimaran, Maritime New Zealand said. Instead, the government agency blamed poor seamanship on both sides for the accident, which occurred as Sea Shepherd boats harassed Japanese harpooners in a campaign to prevent whaling in Antarctic waters.
Nov 18In 2010, Japan went mad for game addiction, dog politics and outer space(Kotaku)
The annual list of the sixty most important Japanese words or phrases of 2010 sum up the year's trends and events. For example, ria-juu means "reality-filled" and is Japanese internet slang that refers to people who have rewarding lives offline, such as going to parties or having non-internet relationships, and not simply in the virtual space.
Nov 18In Japan, Beatlemania to strike again (Wall Street Journal)
The Beatles came to Japan in 1966 and took the country by storm. They played five gigs in Tokyo's Budokan. Those who were lucky enough to see the concert are still talking about it today. Others who weren't lucky enough watched a televised gig, which recorded one of the highest ratings in the history of Japanese television. The film adaption of Haruki Murakami's massively popular novel "Norwegian Wood," titled after and including the Beatles song, will hit movie theaters in Japan Dec. 11.
Nov 18Study: Americans, Japanese watch the most TV (Yomiuri)
Americans and Japanese watch more television than residents of any other country in the world, a new study from Motorola has found. According to Motorola's Mobility's Global 2010 Media Engagement Barometer study, American and Japanese viewers spend 21 hours per week watching television and video content. South Koreans watch the least TV--just 13 hours a week. The average amount of time spent watching TV each week around the world is 17 hours.
Nov 18Lay judge duty takes a heavy toll / Concern over psychological cost of participating in death penalty cases (Yomiuri)
The first death sentence under the lay judge system was handed down Tuesday at the Yokohama District Court. It is hard to imagine how much anguish and mental stress the panel of citizen judges experienced in deciding a man who killed two others deserved capital punishment. Just before concluding the proceedings, presiding Judge Yoshifumi Asayama made an unusual remark to the condemned man, saying, "The court recommends you appeal the ruling." During the trial, Ikeda said he would accept any punishment, so the judge's final remark was read by some observers as an expression of the lay judges' desire that the death sentence not be finalized based on their judgement alone.
Nov 18Chiba port festival fetes bygone era by serving up whale wieners (Japan Times)
In a former whaling port in southern Chiba Prefecture, a merchants' association is attempting to raise spirits by selling the unconventional: whale meat hot dogs. The Katsuyama Port Street Okamisan (middle-age female shop manager) Association began selling whale cutlet dogs, whale "tatsuta" (deep-fried) dogs and whale omelet dogs on Oct. 2, when the town of Kyonan, which stopped whaling about a century ago, held its Kyonan Kujira no Miyako Matsuri (Festival of the City of Whales in Kyonan).
Nov 18Teens admit to busting into cars using technique learned from YouTube(Mainichi)
Two teenage boys who broke into cars by mimicking techniques posted on video sharing site YouTube have been arrested, police said. A 15-year-old and a 16-year-old, students of a private high school offering correspondence courses, stand accused of theft. Both have reportedly admitted to the allegations, police said. According to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), the duo teamed up with another 16-year-old boy to break the window glass of two cars at a parking lot in Tokyo's Hachioji by burning them with a powerful lighter sometime between Sept. 12 and 13.
Nov 18Court rules jelly snack maker not responsible for child's choking death(Mainichi)
A court here has dismissed a damages claim against a food manufacturer over the death of a young boy who choked on its konjac (konnyaku in Japanese) jelly snack, saying the company is not liable for the accident. "The product is not deemed defective in the light of the Product Liability Act, with the label warning of a choking risk to children and the elderly properly displayed on the package," said Presiding Judge Ryuji Nakamura in the ruling at the Kobe District Court on Nov. 17.
Nov 17A nation that demands quality food: Japan (Vancouver Sun)
Tokyo now surpasses Paris in Michelin-starred restaurants, and its citizens are certainly fanatical about food. Go to any of their department store food floors and you'll experience some of the world's best foods, so good they would make even England's famed Harrods blush. The Japanese are demanding about quality and freshness, and it was impressive to wander down their food aisles, marvelling at the beautiful produce and stunning packaging. Even the simplest of izakayas (Japanese pubs) where I dined had superb cuisine that showcased regional and seasonal cooking at its best.
Nov 17Japanese couple sentenced for drug smuggling (TVNZ)
A Japanese couple involved in smuggling nearly 6kg of methamphetamine into New Zealand were today jailed for for seven-and-a-half years. Takako and Kazuhiko Takiguchi were sentenced in the High Court in Auckland after earlier admitting two charges of importing methamphetamine, also known as P, and one of conspiracy to import methamphetamine. Justice Aisla Duffy said they must serve a minimum non-parole period of three years nine months. Justice Duffy said the Takiguchis had twice acted as drug couriers, bringing 2kg of methamphetamine into New Zealand.
Nov 17Lay judges wept over sentence / One declares death for double murder a 'heavy' but 'fair' decision (Yomiuri)
The first death sentence handed down under the lay judge system was an agonizing decision for lay judges who examined the double murder case. "Every day, I felt depressed. Just recalling the defendant and the [victims'] bereaved families brings tears to my eyes," a lay judge in his 50s said at a press conference after he joined other judges in sentencing Hiroyuki Ikeda, 32, to death for killing two men last year. Ikeda was charged with conspiring with another man to kill the owner and an employee of a mah-jongg shop in the Kabukicho entertainment district in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, in 2009. He dismembered the bodies and abandoned the remains. Ikeda also robbed the owner of about 13.4 million yen in cash.
Nov 17453-gram limit on U.S.-bound mail (Japan Times)
Japan Post Services Co. said it will stop accepting airmail packages bound for the United States weighing 453 grams (1 pound) or more starting Wednesday because airlines will stop such delivery at the request of U.S. aviation authorities as part of antiterrorism measures. The postal services arm of Japan Post Holdings Co. handles 16 million letters and packages by air and sea to the U.S. annually, and "15 percent of that will be affected," a Japan Post spokesman said. That means about 200,000 packages a month will be affected.
Nov 17Woman pushed to her death in L.A. (Japan Times)
An 84-year-old Japanese-American woman was pushed to her death from a commuter train platform in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo district by an apparent stranger, and investigators believe the victim did nothing to provoke the attack, authorities said Monday. Betty Sugiyama was a retired bookstore worker who spent World War II in an internment camp for Japanese-Americans. She was on the platform of the Metro Gold Line station with her sister Sunday morning when she was pushed on to empty tracks, Los Angeles County sheriff's Capt. Michael Parker said. Sugiyama died hours later at a hospital.
Nov 16Justice sought after allergy trauma (Japan Times)
One day in May, 7-year-old Kaiya Lucente was cleaning her classroom after lunch when she began coughing, her face puffed up and she found it difficult to breathe. Her eyes turned red, and scarlet blotches started to appear on her face. She had had these frightening symptoms before after accidentally ingesting peanuts and knew that her severe allergic reaction then meant she must never touch them again. But this time she had not eaten any peanuts, only a small packet of almonds, part of the lunch supplied by her school, Seika Elementary in Tajimi, Gifu Prefecture. What was going on?
Nov 16Ultra-small is beautiful for Japanese homeowner (CNN)
Fuyuhito Moriya is 39 and still lives with his mother, but in circumstances you would call a tad unusual. Moriya, an unmarried man, and his mother, Yoko, live in a house that's built on 30 square meters, that's the same as the size of a parking space for one car. They live in what's called an ultra-small house, a genre of single family homes bred of Japan's economic stagnation and brought to life by architectural ingenuity. Moriya wasn't sure that the land, which was originally sold as a parking space for a car, would be big enough for a single family home. But when he started doing research into ultra-small homes, he began to realize it might work.
Nov 16U.S. soldier's son found guilty of clotheslining motorbike rider with rope across road (Mainichi)
The 19-year-old son of an American soldier was found guilty of heavily injuring a 24-year-old woman in Musashimurayama, Tokyo, by stretching rope across a road, causing her to fall off her motorcycle. The 19-year-old received a sentence of 2 years in prison, suspended for three years, in a Nov. 12 ruling by the Tachikawa branch of the Tokyo District Court. Three other American teenagers between 16 and 18 who also participated in the crime in August 2009 were arrested but released by the district prosecutors' office without penalty.
Nov 16Man in shrine theft 'punished by God' (Japan Times)
An elderly man was arrested Monday after botching an attempt to steal coins from a shrine in Anan, Tokushima Prefecture, police said. Heihachi Kadoguchi, 75, tried to pry open the "saisenbako," a wooden box used to store coins tossed by worshippers, but was unable to break the lock on the box, the police said. He then tried to flee the scene but slipped on the steps, hitting his head on the ground, they said. The stunned man was later caught by police officers called in by shrine workers.
Nov 15British, Japanese citizens arrested in foiled drug smuggling attempt (Jakarta Globe)
Customs officials at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport have arrested three men, including a British and a Japanese citizen, and seized 9.1 kilograms of narcotics in what are believed to be linked smuggling attempts. "The first suspect we arrested was Khuram Antonio Khan Garcia, 39, a British citizen, after he arrived at the airport on Sunday night," said Bagus Endro Wibowo, a customs official at the airport. The second man named by Garcia, a Japanese citizen identified as Morita Yuki, 35, was arrested after he arrived on a flight from Bangkok later on Sunday night. Customs officials found six kilograms of hashish inside the suspect's suitcase.
Nov 15Japan vending machine recommends drinks to buyers (Reuters)
For you sir, a canned coffee. And for madam, perhaps a nice cold tea. A new Japanese canned drink vending machine uses facial recognition technology to "recommend" drinks based on the customer's age and gender -- and sales have tripled over those from regular vending machines as a result. The machines, developed by JR East Water Business Co, a subsidiary of railway firm JR East Co, use large touch-panel screens with sensors that allow the machine to determine the characteristics of an approaching customer.
Nov 15Tokyo story: Times get even harder for Ginza hostesses (Tokyo Reporter)
There's flaky and then there's outright weird. With the prolonged business recession, Tokyo's mecca of glitzy nightlife, Ginza, looks like a ghost town these days. Not surprisingly, reports Nikkan Gendai (Nov. 13), the hard times have made life all the more difficult for the hostesses who toil in Ginza's clubs, and more than a few have found themselves facing financial failure. At the end of 2009, cabaret and club workers joined forces to form the Kyabakura Union, an affiliate of the Freelance Worker's Union, which has undertaken negotiations on behalf of 38 former shop employees.
Nov 15Japan's famous maids go mobile (independent.co.uk)
For many years fixtures in the Akihabara district of Tokyo - famous around the world as the heart of "otaku," or geek, culture - flamboyantly dressed cafe maids are finally getting mobile. The Seibu Railway Group has announced that a new train service will start in December with young women in maid costumes chatting to fellow passengers and playing games. Maids will also take it in turn to make announcements over the tannoy system, including the names of stations. The world's first maid train will be a regular New Red Arrow service that will operate between Ikebukuro Station, in north-east Tokyo, and Chichibu.
Nov 14Yoga, an ancient discipline sweeping Japan anew (Mainichi)
Be it the power, hot, or laughter school, yoga has enjoyed a high level of popularity in Japan. Just flipping through a yoga magazine, one can expect to be exposed to some 20 different schools of yoga. These days, even some medical facilities incorporate yoga into their treatments. So how do we explain the recent boom in this ancient discipline? To find out, I ventured to the Roppongi branch of Tipness, a major fitness chain, one weekday afternoon. I would be having my first yoga experience in the far end of the gym, beyond the treadmills, in a yoga studio with mirrored walls.

By JS on Nov 25, 2010

tag : Japanese Society



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