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McDonald's 'Texas 2 Burger': The spice of the lone star state

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Jan 15In centuries-old ritual, Japan's palace hosts poetry reading
Japan's emperor recalled planting birch seedlings on his golden anniversary, while his wife expressed the joy of seeing the first leaves of spring, during an ancient poetry reading ceremony Friday at the imperial palace. The unique and colorful ritual, which also includes selections from tens of thousands of entries from around the world, is one of the biggest events of the year for Japan's royal household. It is broadcast live across the nation, and has been an imperial tradition since the 13th century. This year's topic was "leaves." (Canadian Press)
Jan 14Nara to set hill on fire for good harvest
Even though Nara's 1,300th birthday party is over, the action continues. The annual yamayaki (grass- burning) festival is scheduled for Jan. 22 and will take place on Mount Wakakusa in central Nara. It should be quite a spectacle. The ritualistic burning of the 342-meter-tall hill dates back to the Edo Period (1603-1867), when people reportedly started torching the grass due to the widely-held belief that ghosts would haunt them if they didn't. (Japan Times)
Jan 14Documenting the pornographer's pornographer
Japan's sex industry is huge, diverse and different. One oddity, at least to Western eyes, is the pinku eiga (pink film), a genre of soft porn made according to certain rules (the most important being the inclusion of a simulated sex scene every 10 minutes or so) and shown in specialized theaters. Pink films, which range from black comedies to serious (if porny) dramas, have gained a small but enthusiastic foreign following. One of the most enthusiastic - British critic, programmer and occasional Japan Times contributor Jasper Sharp - in 2008 published "Behind the Pink Curtain," a wide-ranging history of not only pink films but sex cinema in Japan. (Japan Times)
Jan 13KARA makes debut in Japanese drama
CJ Media said Wednesday it has invested in the production of a Japanese drama in which five-member Korean girl group KARA is featured as the main cast. The operator of local cable and satellite TV channels such as Mnet and tvN said it has invested in the production of the 12-episode drama "URAKARA" (Inner side of KARA), which will be aired on major Japanese broadcaster TV Tokyo every Friday from Jan. 14. (AsiaOne )
Jan 13Nearly 300 donations made by 'cartoon heroes' across Japan
Nearly 300 donations of cash, stationery and knapsacks had been delivered as of Wednesday to children's welfare facilities across Japan anonymously or under the names of "Date Naoto" or other cartoon heroes since late December, according to a Kyodo News tally. People have apparently felt the urge to take such action following media reports on the anonymous donation of knapsacks to a children's facility in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, on Christmas Day. Date Naoto is a cartoon character from a popular Japanese animation series in the 1960s. Date is an orphan himself who becomes a pro wrestler called Tiger Mask and helps children, and the name was used by the donor in Maebashi. (AP )
Jan 13Ibaraki labor office marks a first: '08 foreign trainee death 'karoshi'
A labor office in Ibaraki Prefecture has deemed that a Chinese trainee at a local firm died in 2008 due to overwork, marking the first recognized "karoshi" death of a foreign intern under a government-authorized training program. But the lawyer representing his next of kin say his case is just the tip of the iceberg among trainees working in conditions akin to slavery. Jiang Xiaodong died of cardiac arrest at age 31 in June 2008 after working more than 100 hours of overtime in his final month, prompting his family to file a workers' compensation claim in August 2009. (Japan Times)
Jan 128 youths arrested for 'hunting old men' in Yokohama
A group of eight youths has been detained in Yokohama after they allegedly assaulted a 40-year-old businessman and stole his wallet, police said Tuesday. According to police, the attack took place on Jan 6 at around 4:20 a.m. on a street in Nishi Ward where the group approached the man, punched him in the face and stole his wallet containing 10,000 yen. (Japan Today )
Jan 12McDonald's 'Texas 2 Burger': The spice of the lone star state
Clocking in at a sound 645 calories, the Texas 2 Burger is like jumping off the nutritional cliff. But that didn't prevent slim Japanese men and women of all ages to dive into the chili melt when it hit McDonald's menus last Friday. "I really loved the Texas Burger last year so I couldn't wait to try the new one," said Satoshi Tanaka, a 38-year-old engineer standing outside a McDonald's outlet in the haute Ginza neighborhood in Tokyo on Jan. 7, the big launch day. Mr. Tanaka was among the many hungry patrons crowded into the pristine long counters during lunch rush hour, with a large silver box stamped with "Texas 2" open before him. (Wall Street Journal)
Jan 12Do rising temperatures spur falling population?
Japan's population fell by a record 123,000 people in 2010, and suspicion has fallen on last year's scorching summer and weather extremes as the main cause. According to the health ministry, last year was the first time the population had dropped naturally by 100,000 since figures were first collated in 1899. About 80 percent of deaths are of people aged 65 or older. Usually, the number of deaths increases in winter and remains comparatively lower in summer. However, there were 96,000 deaths (preliminary figure) in July--8,000 more than in July 2009--and 97,000 in August--7,000 more than in the same month in 2009, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said. (Yomiuri)
Jan 12No arrest yet in doorway slaying of Tokyo man, 87
The sickle- and knife-wielding man who stabbed an 87-year-old man to death and wounded his 81-year-old wife Monday at their home in Meguro Ward, Tokyo, remains at large, police said, adding the victims apparently thought the attacker was a parcel deliveryman. Michio Ohara died after being stabbed in the side by the man at around 4:40 p.m. in front of the entrance to his home, while his wife suffered a minor cut to her right hand. The attacker fled the scene. (Japan Times )
Jan 12Sky Tree catches environs off guard
For Henry Killackey, a well-traveled tourist from Los Angeles, Tokyo Sky Tree was the first place he wanted to visit upon arriving in Tokyo for the New Year's holidays. The communications tower, now going up in Sumida Ward, one of Tokyo's traditional "shitamachi" districts, is the newest sightseeing spot in the capital. At well over 500 meters tall, it has already eclipsed Tokyo Tower, a 333-meter radio and TV transmission tower that was the country's tallest structure for 52 years. But once at the foot of the modern architectural feat, which is on track to reach 634 meters in March to be the world's tallest stand-alone communications tower, Killackey and his wife, Liz, found little to do but take pictures of the gigantic steel structure in the cold wind. (Japan Times)
Jan 12Woman makes it a ritual to sleep under stars in Tokyo
Chiaki Kato has slept outdoors about three times a month for the last decade, regardless of the season or weather. Sometimes she's alone in a convenience store parking lot or with friends in Yoyogi Park in Tokyo. Taking extra care to keep warm in winter and to ward off mosquitoes in summer, she leaves the comforts of her Tokyo home to lie on the ground. Hoping to increase the ranks of city campers, Kato published her first book, "Nojuku Nyumon" ("A Guide to Sleeping Out"), in October. (Japan Times)
Jan 11Japanese cartoon hero sparks mysterious nation-wide giving
Japan has been enthralled by the mysterious comeback of a 1960s manga comic book hero that has sparked a nationwide wave of gift-giving by anonymous donors to underprivileged children. The spate of donations started on Christmas Day, when presents were left at a children's welfare centre near Tokyo, with a note saying they came from "Naoto Date", the alter ego of professional wrestling character "Tiger Mask". The widely reported gift struck a chord with Japanese who fondly remember Tiger Mask - an orphan-turned-fighter who helped other parentless children - and has sparked more than 30 copycat acts of generosity since. (Herald Sun )
Jan 11Japanese marital surname law faces legal challenge
Five people in Japan are poised to launch an unprecedented lawsuit against the government, claiming that a civil law forcing them to choose a single surname after marriage violates their constitutional rights. If they succeed, married men and women will for the first time be able to retain their own surnames, dealing a blow to one of the few remaining legal obstacles to gender equality. In the vast majority of cases, women are required to relinquish their maiden name after marriage, although a small number of men take their wife's name. (guardian.co.uk)
Jan 11Japanese men smuggled 55 live turtles into LAX in snack food boxes
Federal officials arrested two Japanese men for allegedly smuggling 55 live turtles into LAX in snack food boxes. Atsushi Yamagami, 39, and Norihide Ushirozako, 49, were arrested Friday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after an undercover sting operation, according to a statement by the U.S. attorney's office. Authorities said they infiltrated the ring over the last few months in an investigation known as "Operation Flying Turtle." (Los Angeles Times )
Jan 11Man dies, wife injured in knife attack in Tokyo home, attacker at large
A 87-year-old man was stabbed to death and his 81-year-old wife injured Monday at their home in Tokyo's Meguro Ward in an attack by a man armed with a knife and a sickle who fled the scene, police said. Michio Ohara died after being stabbed in the side by the man aged about 60 years at around 4:40 p.m. in front of the entrance of his house, while his wife suffered a minor cut in her right hand, the police said. The attacker, some 160 centimeters high and clad in a blackish outer wear, was a stranger to the couple and ran away from neighbors who tried in vain to subdue or chase him, according to the police. (AP )
Jan 11Salaryman wins 'Lucky Men' race
A 26-year-old corporate worker from Takasago, Hyogo Prefecture, won the annual "Lucky Men" footrace Monday at Nishinomiya Shrine. About 3,000 runners, including 108 in the lead group chosen in advance by lottery, bolted from the starting line when the shrine's main gate was opened at 6 a.m. The first to reach the main hall 230 meters away was Ryohei Takemoto, followed by Hiromichi Okoshi, a 28-year-old office worker from Minoo, Osaka, and Tetsu Toyama, a 26-year-old firefighter from Kyoto. (Japan Times)
Jan 10No. of new adults in Japan totals 1.24 million, at fresh record low
The number of people who became 20 years old, the legal age of adulthood in Japan, in 2010 totaled about 1.24 million, down around 30,000 from a year earlier and hitting a record low for the fourth consecutive year against the backdrop of a continued low birthrate, according to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry. Ceremonies and commemorative events for the new adults -- about 630,000 men and around 610,000 women as of Jan. 1 -- were held nationwide Monday marking Coming-of-Age Day, a national holiday in Japan. (AP )
Jan 10Cold air mass causes low temperatures, heavy snowfall
A cold air mass led to low temperatures and heavy snowfall in northern Japan on Monday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. Temperatures fell to as low as minus 26.3 C in Nakatonbetsu and minus 14.8 C in Kushiro, both in Hokkaido, according to the agency. Meanwhile, 280 centimeters of accumulated snow was observed in the city of Aomori and 221 cm in Okura, Yamagata Prefecture, the agency said. (AP )
Jan 10Two women found dead in Osaka apt., one from illness, one likely from starvation
Two women were found dead in an apartment here, one from an illness and the other likely from starvation, police said. At around 10 a.m. on Jan. 8, police officers found the two women's bodies. Investigators believe the women to be Kiyomi Okuda, 63, and her 61-year-old sister Kumiko, who both lived in the apartment. An autopsy determined the time of death to be around Dec. 22. The older woman appears to have died from a heart ailment, while the cause of the death of the younger one is not confirmed. (Mainichi )
Jan 105-year-old boy falls from balcony of 9th-floor apartment
A five-year-old boy is in a critical condition after he fell from the balcony of a 9th floor apartment in Tokyo's Nakano Ward on Sunday. At around 1:30 p.m., emergency services received a call alerting them that there was a child lying on the road in front of an apartment building. According to police, the boy had been left at home alone by his parents who had gone out for a while. Police believe the boy climbed over the 120-cm high balcony railing. Police are treating the fall as an accident and no charges have been made. (Japan Today )
Jan 10Elvis' birthday celebrated in Japan
According to the Elvis Presley Society of Japan, there are at least three important criteria impersonators must live up to to be named the next 'King of Rock' -- voice, make-up and costume, and the ability to make women scream with delight. The 'Tribute to Elvis 2011' held in Tokyo is a contest to choose Japan's new king, who would also be given a chance to test his skills against other Elvises from around the world. (Sky News )
Jan 10Chemical tanker sinks off Niigata, leaving one dead, captain missing
A small tanker transporting a flammable chemical sank off the coast of Niigata Prefecture on Sunday morning, leaving one crew member dead and the captain missing, Japan Coast Guard officials said. The 499-ton tanker Seiyoh, with a crew of five, capsized in the Sea of Japan about 1 1/2 hours after telling the coast guard it was listing and partially submerged, the officials said. Four of the crew were rescued by a patrol ship and taken to a Niigata hospital, but Hideki Yamano, the 46-year-old chief engineer, was in cardiopulmonary arrest and died, they said. (Japan Times )
Jan 10'Tiger Mask' repaying welfare facilities
Child welfare institutions and consultation centers in cities across the country are receiving school bags or cash gifts from someone who claims to be the hero of a popular wrestling comic book and TV series from the 1960s. It all began at the Chuo Child Consultation Center in Gunma Prefecture on Dec. 25. As one of the employees came to work on Christmas Day, she found 10 boxes containing school bags that were left on the entrance of the facility as she arrived for work. A note signed by a "Naoto Date" was left with the boxes. (Japan Times )
Jan 10Animal cafes spur public health concern
The trend began with so-called cat cafes, and there are now more than 120 establishments nationwide where people can enjoy the healing effects of being surrounded by animals such as dogs, birds, goats and rabbits. However, some shops have not registered as required with local governments, and experts are warning them to be aware that some diseases can be transmitted from animals to people. Four rabbits, including a Netherlands dwarf, were jumping around Friday at Usagi no Ehon (rabbits' picture book), a cafe that opened in Tokyo's Shimokitazawa area in September. (Yomiuri)
Jan 103 killed as car that ignored police order to stop crashes into truck
Three men in a passenger car, which ignored an order by police to stop, died after colliding with a tanker truck Sunday morning in Osaka, according to local police. The three were confirmed dead at the accident scene, while the 43- year-old driver of the tanker was uninjured, the police said. The police identified the three men as Michitake Kuura, a 27-year-old employee of Osaka Central Wholesale Market, Ryota Ozaki, a 26-year-old unemployed person, and Yoshiyuki Nakao, a 27-year-old construction assistant. (AP )
Jan 09Aussie golfer's Japanese drug hell
Australian golfer Wayne Perske has spoken for the first time about a harrowing stint in a Japanese prison on drug charges. Perske was arrested and charged with possessing cocaine in October last year and spent 25 days in jail. The 36-year-old had missed another cut on the Japan Golf Tour and turned to cocaine and not for the first time. "At some stage during the evening I tried to take my mobile phone out of my pocket, and the small packet of cocaine that I had in there fell out on the floor," Perske said. In the latest edition of Australian Golf Digest, Perske tells of his arrest, the conditions in jail, and how his mistake should be a lesson to other young sportsmen and women. (Herald Sun)

By JS on Jan 20, 2011

tag : Japanese Society



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