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Kyoto geisha start New Year preparations

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Dec 18Life sentence finalized for man convicted in dead Briton's case
The life sentence given to a Japanese man convicted of mutilating the body of British citizen Lucie Blackman and raping nine others has been finalized. The First Petty Bench of the Supreme Court, presided by Justice Ryuko Sakurai, rejected an objection by the defendant, Joji Obara, 58, in a decision dated Friday. The top court earlier this month rejected his appeal against a lower court ruling that convicted him over the high- profile case. (AP)
Dec 18Japan creates 6-month medical visa for foreigners
The Japanese government instituted a new visa Friday to enable foreign visitors to stay in Japan for a maximum of six months to receive health care treatment starting in January. The medical stay visa is designed as an economic stimulus measure to attract affluent visitors from China and other parts of Asia, following calls for the government to revamp the visa system as countries such as Thailand, Singapore, India and South Korea step up medical tourism. (AP)
Dec 18Woman found dead at Chiba hotel; male guest vanishes
A woman was found dead at a "love" hotel here on Dec. 16, soon after a man asked staff to call for an ambulance and then left the establishment, law enforcers said. Police said that the woman, who was aged about 40, was found dead on a bed at the hotel in Chiba's Wakaba Ward at about 3:35 p.m. on Dec. 16. There were no obvious external wounds on her body. (Mainichi )
Dec 18What resumes don't show
"A good job is hard to find" sounds like the title to a short story. One where the hero leaps various hurdles until at last plucking the perfect position. Or in a sad twist, ends up out on the streets with a pair of empty pockets. Because getting a good job isn't easy. And not just in these tough economic times. Finding the right spot - or any spot - has always been a hard-nosed endeavor, one tied to effort, connections and luck. (Japan Times)
Dec 18A giant salamander sermon
Japan has the world's longest life span. Even their animals live to be elderly. Japan' oldest giant salamander, who lived in Okayama, passed away in August this year - at 100 years old. The fact that I read his obituary in the newspaper indicates that his death has been recorded in the Salamander Death Registry. This is important because if his relatives had neglected to register his death, they could have, technically, continued receiving salamander pension payments. (Japan Times)
Dec 18A shocking festive display: Japanese aquarium uses an electric EEL to power
An aquarium in Japan is shocking visitors with its Christmas display - using an eco-friendly electric eel to illuminate the lights on its holiday tree. Each time the eel moves, two aluminium panels gather enough electricity to light up the 6 ft tall tree, decked out in white, in glowing intermittent flashes. The aquarium in Kamakura, just south of Tokyo, has featured the electric eel for five years to encourage ecological sensitivity. (Mail Online )
Dec 18Shoppers all ears for rice bread
Bread made not with wheat but with rice flour is proving popular in Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture, which is a rice-producing area. At the Shiki Saikan Vegipark, a market that JA (Japan Agricultural Cooperatives) Tokamachi opened in May 2009 to handle direct sales of local produce, a store called Beikari is crowded with locals seeking fresh bread. (Yomiuri)
Dec 17Japan's hookers become stalkers bent on grabbing a groom
Stories in the media about males who stalk women in the sex trade are a dime a dozen. But, reports Nikkan Gendai (Dec. 16), now the reverse seems to be taking place with increasing frequency. "Because of the recession, women working for deri heru (out-call sex services) and erotic massage parlors have been losing customers right and left," says freelance writer Yukio Kamimura. "It's come to the point that even the most popular girl in the shop only makes 500,000 yen per month. So more of these women are thinking that if they were married, their lives would become more stable. There are also blogs by former sex workers extolling how great it is to get out of the life and become a housewife." (Tokyo Reporter)
Dec 17Man appeals to high court over death sentence for triple murder
A 22-year-old man who was sentenced to death earlier this month for killing his wife, baby and mother-in-law appealed the ruling to the Fukuoka High Court's Miyazaki branch on Friday, his defense counsel said. In the Dec. 7 ruling in the citizen-judge trial, the Miyazaki District Court handed down a sentence of capital punishment to Akihiro Okumoto, determining that the defendant's action was self-centered and cruel as he took the victims' lives simply because he was annoyed by his mother-in-law's scolding and wanted to live alone and free to do as he pleased. (AP)
Dec 17What empty nesters? No work, late marriage keeping offspring with parents
The number of people in their 20s and 30s living with their parents increased in the five years to 2009, with more of them out of work following the 2008 global financial crisis or opting to marry later, according to a recent survey by a national research institute. The most significant rise was among men aged 35 to 39, jumping 8.2 percentage points to 41.6 percent, according to the study released by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research. (Japan Times)
Dec 17The royal British revival of Princess Masako
An invitation to the upcoming nuptials of Prince William to Kate Middleton next April should be making its way to Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako soon. The odds of Princess Masako actually attending the much-anticipated wedding are stacked against her, given that the princess has made no official overseas trips in years. Indeed, the public has been led to believe that her state of mind remains so fragile that even short public appearances near the palace grounds can prove too arduous for the princess, let alone traveling halfway across the globe. (Japan Times)
Dec 17Nagasaki: Japan's forgotten city
Since the 16th century, successive waves of Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and British traders left their mark in Nagasaki with European-style houses, Catholic churches and a Ming-style Chinese temple said to be in better condition than most Ming-era temples in China. Its long tradition of contact with foreigners has left Nagasaki with a cosmopolitan atmosphere unusual in Japan and an easygoing manner that puts Western visitors at ease. While most come to see the Atomic Bomb Museum and related sites, there are enough other attractions in this easily navigated city of a half million to fill two or three days. (Globe & Mail)
Dec 17J-pop singer Akanishi sets his sights on America
One of Japanese pop's more restless stars has found a home. Jin Akanishi, who for nine years had an on-and-off relationship with J-pop group Kat-tun, has signed a contract for global representation as a solo artist with Warner Music Group. The 26-year-old Akanishi becomes only the third Japanese performer to sign with U.S.-based WMG, following in the footsteps of 61-year-old legend Eikichi Yazawa and heavy-metal band Loudness, both of whom have since parted ways with the company. (Japan Times )
Dec 17Shock-rock act Dir En Grey snub cartoons for cred
It's no secret that, in recent years, certain styles of Japanese music have benefited massively from a surge of interest in anime and manga in the West. J-pop acts such as Puffy and AKB48 and visual-kei artists including Miyavi and L'Arc-En-Ciel have enjoyed exposure where before there was none. That's in no small part thanks to the legions of dedicated fans of Japanese pop culture for whom the music itself is often secondary to the fact that it comes from Japan. (Japan Times)
Dec 16Facing forcible removal, octopus dumpling stand bows to city order to move off of road
Popular octopus dumpling stand "Otako" (big octopus) moved from its spot in the Dotonbori area before dawn on Dec. 16, just before the city would have come to forcibly move the stand that it says was illegally occupying a part of the public road. The stand had operated at the spot ever since it opened for business in 1972. The city had ordered the stand moved from the road, which is city property, and had given advance notice that it would forcibly remove the stand on Dec. 16 if it hadn't been moved yet. (Mainichi )
Dec 16Woman sues Google for displaying image of her hanging underwear in search results
A woman here is suing search-engine giant Google Inc., saying her psychological condition worsened after discovering that a search for her address brought up a photo of her underwear hanging out on her veranda. The woman, who is in her 20s, filed suit against Google at the Fukuoka District Court for 600,000 yen in consolation money and other payments. Opening arguments were held on Dec. 15. The woman said, "I was overwhelmed with anxiety that I might be the target of a sex crime. It caused me to lose my job, and I moved my residence." Google said that it is hurrying to confirm the facts of the case. (Mainichi)
Dec 16Temperatures plunge across Japan
Severe cold gripped the Japanese archipelago Thursday, with temperatures in some locations dropping to the lowest recorded this winter, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The mercury fell to as low as 21.7 C below zero in Kitami, Hokkaido, the record low in the city for the month of December, the agency said. The first snow of the season was observed in some cities, including Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, as well as Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki and Oita. (Japan Today )
Dec 16Japan couples eye low-key Christmas dates: survey
What's your idea of a romantic Christmas? For Japanese couples it's often dinner and a movie -- yet many will likely forego a big evening on the town this year in favor of a silent night at home, a survey showed. That's a big change from the go-go days of Japan's bubble economy 20 years ago when couples preferred to splash cash on fancy dinners, go driving and even visit Tokyo Disneyland, according to the survey by Internet research firm Macromill. (Reuters)
Dec 16Sugamo the new stomping grounds for Tokyo's red-hot papas
"In the area around the big supermarket in front of Sugamo Station, there's lots of pink salons that evoke the nostalgic Showa Era (1926-1989). On the street nearby you can see these nattily clad older guys negotiating with big-breasted streetwalkers who appear to be from South America," a salaryman living in the Sugamo neighborhood of Tokyo's Toshima Ward tells Shukan Asahi Geino (Dec. 23). "Once deciding on a price, they'll join arms and head off in the direction of the love hotels. When I see this, I always murmur to myself, 'Go for it, pops!'" The neighborhood is famous shopping street that leads up to the Koganji Temple, home to the Togenuki Jizo, a Bodhisattva to which people pray for removal of splinters. (Tokyo Reporter)
Dec 16Japanese manga publishers threaten to boycott festival
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government passed the ordinance on Wednesday afternoon, triggering fury among manga artists and the publishing industry here. Led by Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co., the Japanese manga firms say that sufficient rules are already in place and that the city and its autocratic governor, Shintaro Ishihara, are infringing on their right to artistic freedom. They are also angry at the way in which Gov. Ishihara pushed the legislation through at short notice and without consulting with the industry about new ways to stop explicit manga falling into the hands of children. (telegraph.co.uk)
Dec 16Marine widow's immigration bill passes Congress
The Japanese widow of a Tennessee Marine will be able to live in the United States after Congress waived immigration restrictions for her. The House on Wednesday approved a private relief bill, meaning it only applies to an individual case. The bill grants permanent resident status to Hotaru Ferschke, whose husband, Marine Sgt. Michael Ferschke, died in Iraq in 2008. (Washington Post)
Dec 15If Japan was a person, it would be in its 50s: poll
If Japan was a person, it would be in its 50s. By contrast, China would be a little over 30, slightly younger than India and more than a decade younger than Italy, a survey conducted in Japan showed. According to 1,700 Japanese who replied to the online survey, their nation, at an average age of 51.7, was the oldest of nine nations from Asia, Europe and the United States. (Reuters)
Dec 15Communities hell-bent on tapping their spa resources for revival
For Hideo Yasunami, a 60-year-old innkeeper in Beppu, Oita Prefecture, "jigokumushi ryori" - literally "hell-steamed cuisine" - was just a local dish of seafood and vegetables steamed in water from the city's famed hot springs. "It's an ordinary recipe in the community. I never imagined it would be a resource for invigorating tourism," Yasunami said of the culinary method, which accentuates the sweetness of the ingredients thanks to the hot springs' steam that the locals liken to plumes from hell. (Japan Times)
Dec 15Japan's deflation driving down prices of short-time sex
Caught up in the deflationary spiral, beef bowl restaurant chains are tripping over each other's feet to see which one can serve up the cheapest salaryman's lunch. Additional savings can be realized by purchasing a strip of "Guruupon" meal coupons in advance. Inspired by this entrepreneurial creativity, Nikkan Gendai (Dec. 11) reports that now the sex industry has got into the act, with discount coupons for sex shops. Going by such names as "Nukipon" (getting it off tickets) and "Fuupon" (sex shop tickets), they are being sold on a first-cum first-served basis on the Internet. (Tokyo Reporter)
Dec 15Bae Yong Joon, SS501's Hyun Joong, and more attend Smile Project in Japan
 Original Hallyu star Bae Yong Joon and 'Little Yonsama', Kim Hyun Joong, successfully held a joint stage together. Over 45,000 fans attended DATV's charitable event, called "'SMILE PROJECT' charity program 'Message! to Asia'", which was held on December 14th in the Tokyo Dome. (allkpop)
Dec 14Kyoto geisha start New Year preparations
Japanese traditional geisha entertainers in Kyoto gave a seasonal greeting to their dance master Monday as part of the "kotohajime" event signaling the start of their preparations for the New Year season. The geisha performers, including apprentices called maiko, visited the home of Inoue Yachiyo, a master of the Kyomai dance school, in the western Japan city's Hanamachi entertainment quarter. (AP )
Dec 14Depraved dame loves doing it in the dark with the window open
"I am an extremely shy person by nature, and can't enjoy sex unless the lights are turned off. Maybe it's because I feel twice as sensitive toward sex than the average woman, but just thinking 'somebody's looking at me' is enough to get me sopping wet." Thus begins the latest tasty tidbit from the December issue of women's soft porn magazine Ai no Taiken Special Deluxe, as introduced in Shukan Bunshun (Dec. 9). "My lover knows my feelings as well, and will say to me, 'Shall I turn off the lights?' after which we did it in the dark but with the windows thrown completely open. (Tokyo Reporter)
Dec 14Extreme sexual 'anime' face curb
A Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly panel Monday passed a controversial bill to toughen regulations on the sale of comics and animation containing depictions of "extreme" sexual acts. The bill to revise the metropolitan government's ordinance seeking sound upbringing of youth will likely clear the assembly's plenary session Wednesday for enactment. (Japan Times)
Dec 14'Ren,' 'Yua' most popular baby names in Japan in 2010
"Ren" topped the list of most popular boys' names in Japan this year, while the most popular girls' name was "Yua," a Benesse Corp. survey has shown. The survey, targeting about 40,000 babies born between January and November this year, was conducted by Benesse's "Tamahiyo" business focusing on pregnancy, childbirth and child-raising. The most popular boys' names after "Ren" were "Hiroto" and "Sota." (Mainichi)
Dec 13Director Anh Hung Tran given free hand in Haruki Murakami's 'Norwegian Wood'
Haruki Murakami is one of the world's most celebrated authors. Yet in adapting what is his most autobiographical novel, "Norwegian Wood," to the big screen, helmer Anh Hung Tran was given few restrictions by the novelist. After a special screening of the film at the Norwegian Embassy in Tokyo's Minato Ward on Wednesday, the Vietnamese-French Tran said that Murakami only made some suggestions in the beginnings of the development of the screenplay. "After the first round of exchanges, he generally allowed me great freedom to do what I wanted to," said the 47-year-old Tran of the film. "As an artist himself, he understood that I, a director, need my space to make my own creative decisions." (Tokyo Reporter)
Dec 13Truck rams into office of Ibaraki assembly candidate, 1 dead
A 4-ton truck rammed into the campaign office of a candidate running for a seat in the Ibaraki prefectural assembly on Sunday in Ishioka in the eastern Japanese prefecture, killing one man, police said. The police are searching for the truck's driver, who was wearing a ski mask, on suspicion of killing Toshio Toita, 62, an uncle of the candidate. The truck backed into the office Sunday morning and then hit Toita, who tried to stop the vehicle, as it fled the scene, according to the local police. (Japan Times )
Dec 12Metro Tokyo ordinance on sexually explicit manga walks fine line on freedom of speech
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has filed a draft revision to a metropolitan ordinance to tighten control over sexual content in manga and animation. The move came after a previous draft revision was voted down at the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly in June, and the latest draft is an updated version of the rejected plan. In the previous draft, characters aged under 18 that appear in manga and animated works were defined as "virtual youths," and related industries were urged to voluntarily regulate the sale of works involving overly explicit sexual content by taking such measures as displaying those titles separately from other publications on store shelves and out of the hands of children. (Mainichi)

By JS on Dec 23, 2010

tag : Japanese Social News



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