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Japanese teens 'hiding' behind flu masks

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Jan 29Japanese teens 'hiding' behind flu masks
Some Japanese teens are wearing cotton face masks, normally meant to prevent the spread of flu germs, so they can retreat from society, social analysts say. Wearing disposable face masks to prevent the spreading of germs is commonplace among Japanese commuters and office workers, particularly during the winter months. However, growing numbers of teenagers have taken to wearing the masks from the moment they wake until they go to bed, sparking fears they are using them to withdraw from society. (UPI)

Jan 29Two charged with turtle smuggling
A grand jury in Los Angeles has indicted two men from Japan for allegedly smuggling more than 50 live turtles and tortoises into the United States. US attorney's office spokesman Thom Mrozek said Atsushi Yamagami and Norihide Ushirozako were indicted on counts of animal smuggling, conspiracy and wildlife trafficking. Each man could receive up to 26 years in prison if convicted of all charges. (UKPA)
Jan 29The wild, sexy world of Japan's biggest amateur pin-up
"I'm just a regular, amateur cosplayer," says Ushijima Ii Niku, or Ushijima "Good Meat", in a swish Tokyo hole-in-the-wall eatery. By day, she has an office job, photoshopping adult-related pictures, and in her free time, she cosplays. She's anything but ordinary. Her fans range from the Akiba faithful to artists like Street Fighter II character designer and famed illustrator Akira Yasuda, who released a "doujin" erotic comic featuring Ushijima. (Kotaku)
Jan 29Osaka water main floods street
A water main laid in 1961 in Osaka's Nishi-Yodogawa district burst Friday, flooding about 200 meters of a street and damaging more than 10 houses. According to the city's water department, police received a phone call from a resident around 7:30 a.m., who reported water was shooting from the ground. (Japan Times)
Jan 29Tokyo's Shin-Okubo area is hot spot of Korean culture
Tokyo's Shin-Okubo district has become a hot spot for Japanese fans of Korean culture, as many stores feeding their interests have opened amid a boom in Korean pop culture in Japan. Korean restaurants, shops selling Korean pop star paraphernalia and Korean language schools line the streets of the busy district in Shinjuku Ward. (Kyodo)
Jan 29Keeping seniors healthy: Not your grandson's video game
"Where's grandma?" In most areas, the answer to this question is likely to be a predictable, "out shopping," "taking a nap" or "in the garden." But in one Kumamoto Prefecture town, a not uncommon reply is "playing video games." An increasing number of social welfare facilities are using game machines usually played at video arcades by young people to help in the rehabilitation and health maintenance of elderly people. Just like the younger crowd, it seems senior citizens also enjoy hanging out with friends and playing active video games. Some local governments are even developing original software specifically for rehabilitation that can be played in regular video game consoles. (Yomiuri)
Jan 29New generation of Chinese hope to communicate vision of real Japan
What do Haruki Murakami's "1Q84," "Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window" by television personality Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, Chihiro Yamamoto's weight-loss instructions, a series of children's books by Yoko Sasaki, and entrepreneur Kazuo Inamori's advice on life have in common? They are all Japanese books that have been translated into Chinese and ranked in the top 100 books sold last year on China's biggest online retailer Dangdang.com. (Mainichi)
Jan 29K-pop girl group KARA avoid breakup over disagreement with management
Members of rising South Korean girl group KARA have agreed with their management office to continue their activities as a five- member group after some members requested the nullification of their exclusive contracts, lawyers representing the members said Friday. The group appeared to have avoided the worst case scenario for its fans, including many in Japan, of disbanding, but the two parties are expected to continue negotiations as they have not yet reached total agreement. (AP)
Jan 28Cut-rate sex brings out Japan's dirty old men by the dozens
The vortex of deflation hitting Japan's sex industry continues to swirl downwards. Nikkan Gendai (Jan. 27) reports that the Tokyo Metropolitan Police recently pounced on two massage shops in Toshima Ward and arrested Kim Su-hong, its 43-year-old South Korean operator, and two associates on charges of operating a sex shop in an area where such business are prohibited. Upon investigation, the authorities learned that Kim's two shops, named Silk and Ogi Hompo, were servicing over 100 customers a day. What amazed them was the revenues raked in by the low-priced high-volume businesses, where customers from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. paid 4,000 yen for 30 minutes of ministrations. After 5:00 p.m. the price rose to 5,000 yen. (Tokyo Reporter)
Jan 28In Japan, young face generational roadblocks
Kenichi Horie was a promising auto engineer, exactly the sort of youthful talent Japan needs to maintain its edge over hungry Korean and Chinese rivals. As a worker in his early 30s at a major carmaker, Mr. Horie won praise for his design work on advanced biofuel systems. But like many young Japanese, he was a so-called irregular worker, kept on a temporary staff contract with little of the job security and half the salary of the "regular" employees, most of them workers in their late 40s or older. After more than a decade of trying to gain regular status, Mr. Horie finally quit - not just the temporary jobs, but Japan altogether. He moved to Taiwan two years ago to study Chinese. (New York Times)
Jan 28Sapporo's winter wonderland
Winter has been a treacherous affair overseas recently. The use of terms such as "snowmageddon" and "snowpocalypse" conjure up images of the worst the season has to offer. But while many in the West suffer from the stresses of snow, the city of Sapporo will revel in it. The Sapporo Snow Festival is now in its 62nd year. With almost 250 snow and ice sculptures on show, and a consistent annual visitor count topping 2 million people, it is certainly a festival of international caliber. The massive, sprawling event will take place from Feb. 7-13 and will once again be centered around Odori Park and the Sapporo Tsudome in Hokkaido's capital city. (Japan Times)
Jan 27Volcano continues eruption activities in southwestern Japan
A volcano continued erupting Thursday on the border between Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures, southwestern Japan, spewing columns of smoke up to more than 2,500 meters, the weather agency said. Small volcanic stones were blown up to about 8 kilometers away from Mt. Shinmoe in the Kirishima mountain range, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. Volcanic ash disrupted some train and flight services in the area. (AP )
Jan 27Japanese maestro Ozawa takes break after back surgery
The 75-year-old former Vienna State Opera musical director was diagnosed with esophageal cancer a year ago and completed treatment by August, but in January underwent endoscopic lower back surgery for chronic pain. Ozawa had planned six concerts in Japan for March, but these have now been canceled, said organizers at Ozawa's Ongaku Juku, which he founded to help nurture young musicians through opera. (Reuters)
Jan 27Japanese woman is bestselling poet - aged 99
Toyo Shibata only started writing when she was 92; now, as she prepares to celebrate her 100th birthday, her poems are finding an eager audience in Japan as it reels from two decades of economic malaise and faces up to an uncertain future. Shibata's anthology, Kujikenaide [Don't Lose Heart], has sold 1.5m copies since its publication, in late 2009. (guardian.co.uk)
Jan 27Nagasaki to ask BBC to broadcast documentary film on A-bomb survivor
Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue said Thursday he will ask the BBC to broadcast a documentary film on a deceased Japanese man who survived the two atomic bombings in World War II and was described as "the unluckiest man in the world" on a BBC comedy quiz show that aired last month. Taue said at a press conference his city plans to send the English-subtitled documentary film on the atomic bombing survivor Tsutomu Yamaguchi, produced by Hidetaka Inazuka, 60, a film producer in Tokyo, to the BBC next week. (Mainichi)
Jan 27Elderly shoplifters rise 1.3% in 2010, hit record high again: police
Police reported a 1.3 percent rise in the number of shoplifters aged 65 or older in 2010, with the figure hitting a record high for the 20th year in a row, provisional data by the National Police Agency showed Thursday. Elderly shoplifters totaled 27,362, the largest number since 1971 when the agency started compiling statistics and accounting for 26.1 percent of the total number of shoplifters. (Kyodo)
Jan 27Shimane calendar promotes prefecture with self-deprecating humor
Shimane Prefecture is the "47th most famous prefecture in Japan" out of the country's 47 prefectures, according to a calendar Shimane's Tokyo office is selling to promote the relatively low- profile region in western Japan. "Where in Tottori Prefecture is Shimane?" and "No, we don't have sand dunes," are also among the self-deprecating remarks on the pages of the calendar, taking advantage of a misconception some Japanese people have that Shimane is part of its neighbor Tottori, which has one of the largest sand dunes in Japan. (Kyodo)
Jan 27Yakuza bust: Expansion of anti-gang legislation may give unwanted results
Following a nationwide push, gangsters in Tokyo are preparing for pending legislation that will crack down upon their traditional rackets - a development that may provide citizens with more than they bargained for, reports weekly tabloid Spa! (Jan. 25). "Dealing with organized crime is this year's top priority for police forces in Japan," said Takaharu Ando, the commissioner general of the National Police Agency, at a press conference on January 6. A special law to eliminate boryokudan groups, as yakuza criminal syndicates are referred, originated in the Kyushu region last year and quickly spread to 27 prefectures, including Hokkaido. It is expected that similar legislation will soon be enacted in all 47 prefectures of the country. (Tokyo Reporter)
Jan 27More women than men have a life insurance policy
For the first time since surveys began 24 years ago, more women than men took out life insurance policies in fiscal 2010. The Japan Institute of Life Insurance (JILI) said 81.4 percent of women had life insurance, including personal pension plans, compared with only 79.9 percent of men. (Asahi)
Jan 27ANIME NEWS: 'Card Fight!! Vanguard' airing Saturday mornings nationwide
"Card Fight!! Vanguard," an animated TV series based on a trading card game, is being aired nationwide Saturday mornings on the Aichi Television Broadcasting Co. network and other TV Tokyo Corp. affiliates. The media mix project includes the trading card game, manga, social networking service and animation products. The "Vanguard" TV show is geared to attract the attention of children, as it is aired Saturdays at 8 a.m. on the TV Tokyo network. (Asahi)
Jan 27More exhibitors pull out of 'anime' fair
An upcoming Tokyo Metropolitan Government-run "anime" fair will see a sharp fall in the number of exhibitors, the organizer said Tuesday, a move widely seem as a protest over a new local ordinance against sexual depictions in comic books and animated films. The number of exhibitors set to attend March's Tokyo International Anime Fair has already fallen by 91 from the previous year to 153, a revenue loss of 110 million yen, according to the organizing committee headed by Gov. Shintaro Ishihara. (Japan Times)
Jan 27Tohoku faces budget squeeze for snow removal
Efforts to clear away snow have not been able to keep up with the accumulated snowfall in the Tohoku region, where extremely cold and snowy weather has continued, adversely affecting the daily life of local residents. Low temperatures have kept the snow piling up higher and higher, rather than melting, and many local governments in the region have been forced to make extra provisions in their budgets for snow removal. (Yomiuri)
Jan 2677-year-old woman dies after being dragged 6 kilometers in Niigata
A 77-year-old woman died after being dragged 6 kilometers by a car that hit her in Mitsuke, Niigata Prefecture, early Tuesday morning, police said. The woman was found collapsed on Route 8 in Sakaicho at about 4:25 a.m. According to police, the victim, who has been identified as Tsune Sakurai, had been reported missing since about 3 p.m. Monday by her family. (Japan Today )
Jan 26Inmates bid farewell to dogs they raised as guide dog candidates
Inmates at a prison in Shimane Prefecture, western Japan, handed over Labrador retrievers they helped raise as guide dog candidates to the Japan Guide Dog Association earlier this week. Some sobbed as they said goodbye to five dogs during a handover ceremony held Monday at Hamada City's Shimane Asahi Rehabilitation Program Center, a prison for male convicts operated jointly by the central government and the private sector. (AP)
Jan 26Death penalty sought for man over 2008 Akihabara rampage
Prosecutors sought the death penalty Tuesday for a 28-year- old former temporary worker charged with a stabbing rampage in Tokyo's Akihabara district in June 2008 that killed seven people and wounded 10 others. "There is no room for leniency" in the motive of the murders by Tomohiro Kato, the prosecutors said when they sought capital punishment. The Tokyo District Court will hand down a ruling on Kato on March 24 following a final defense plea planned for Feb. 9. (Kyodo)
Jan 26Sculptures of dead pets console owners
In a country where there is a sizable market for collectible figures ranging from Hello Kitty to Gundam, an increasing number of pet owners are commissioning stone sculptures of their deceased pets. Images of animals fashioned from stone are attracting the attention of animal lovers as a way to console themselves after their pets have died. (Japan Times)
Jan 26Biting monkey's luck runs out with recapture in Mishima
A monkey that escaped from a park, where it had been kept after biting over 100 people in Shizuoka Prefecture last year, was captured early on the morning of Jan. 25. The female macaque, dubbed Lucky, made a break for freedom from the city-run Rakujuen park in Mishima at around 7:10 a.m. on Jan. 24 when a worker cleaning her cage opened an inner door without locking the outer one. About 24 hours later, however, a monkey believed to be Lucky -- based on its hair and other characteristics -- was captured in the city's Hagi district, some three kilometers north of the park, and was later returned to her cage again. (Mainichi )
Jan 25For true taste of Japan, try 'udon,' foodie says
A Japanese culinary expert is adamant that thick "udon" noodles so beloved in Japan originated in this country, not China. Ayao Okumura, a food expert specializing in traditional Japanese cuisine, recently released "Nihon Menshoku Bunka no Sensanbyakunen" (The 1,300 years of noodle-eating culture in Japan) from the Rural Culture Association Japan. (Asahi)
Jan 25Elderly Japanese ditch alcohol and cigarettes for 'healthy Mahjong'
Japan's elderly population are turning their backs on drinking, smoking and gambling and embracing a new trend: healthy Mahjong. As many as 100 "Kenko [healthy] Mahjong" parlours have opened across Japan, with most customers over the age of 60. The game, whose roots are believed to lie with as far back as 500BC with Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, involves four players using tiles with Chinese characters and is a popular gambling game across Asia. In Japan, there are an estimated 7.6 million players and 8,900 parlours, making it the number one most popular table game in the country. (Japan Times)
Jan 25Nara court lets cops face murder trial
The Nara District Court will allow two police officers who shot and killed a suspect in a 2003 robbery as his car was attempting to escape to be tried for murder, court officials said Monday. According to the unusual decision, dated Thursday, the officers, both 34, will be tried under the lay judge system to determine whether they intended to kill the suspect and if the use of lethal force was necessary. (Japan Times)
Jan 25Lady judo jock goes for grappling with geeky guy
"Both at high school and university, I spent my time immersed in judo, to the degree that my proficiency was included on recommendation letters. Through hard workouts and protein supplements I developed a body that could not be regarded as feminine. More than breasts, my chest was a solid mass of pectorals." Thus begins a sultry selection from the October issue of women's soft porn magazine Ai no Taiken Special Deluxe, as introduced in Shukan Bunshun (Sep. 23). (Tokyo Reporter)
Jan 25Monkey snared after biting rampage makes 'lucky' escape
A Japanese monkey that was captured in Shizuoka Prefecture after biting over 100 people has escaped from a park, sparking a warning from local authorities. The monkey, named Lucky, escaped from Rakujuen Garden in Mishima on Monday morning. The macaque was spotted near JR Mishima Station, and some 20 city workers launched a search, but were unsuccessful. The Mishima Municipal Government has warned residents to lock their doors, saying there is a possibility the monkey could bite more people. (Mainichi )
Jan 25Suspect in Briton's murder to release book on 31-month fugitive life
The 32-year-old man indicted in the 2007 murder of British woman Lindsay Hawker in Japan will release a book Wednesday about his two-year-and-seven-month fugitive life through his arrest in November sources close to the matter said Monday. While Tatsuya Ichihashi, who will likely face a lay judge trial this year, has said publishing of the book is an expression of "contrition" for what he did, he does not describe the details of the murder or his motives, the sources said. Ichihashi is hoping to give any royalties from the book to the family of the murdered 22-year-old English teacher or use it for public good, according to his lawyer. (AP)
Jan 24AV star Saori Hara promotes voting for 2011 porn awards
Reigning adult video queen Saori Hara is now lending a hand, so to speak, to the promotion of the online voting for the upcoming and much heralded Sky PerfecTV! Adult Broadcasting Awards, reports weekly tabloid Shukan Taishu (Jan. 31). Hara, who took the Best Actress title last year, made a PR trip to the Taishu editorial offices while outfitted in a tank top and hot pants. She expects a very competitive vote. "All the contestants this year are very cute and beautiful," Hara says. "They really take my breath away." (Tokyo Reporter)
Jan 2410 best Japanese DVD movies
If you know your Asian cinema, you need to own these 10 best Japanese DVD movies. Japan is one of the largest exporters of movies in Asia, so it makes sense that the best Japanese DVD movies are, equally, some of the best movies to come out of the region. Whether you're into drama, romance, comedy or torture porn, you'll find something you love amongst the best Japanese DVD movies. 1. "Battle Royale" This ultra-violent dark comedy is easily one of the best Japanese DVD movies. (screenjunkies.com)
Jan 24Safe life for celibate homebodies
Regarding Alex Martin's Jan. 14 article, "Young men, couples shunning sex": Maybe it's the growing intrusion of technology into our lives that encourages a corresponding insularity that partly accounts for the rise of disinterest in sex among teenage boys and young adult men. Yet, the advice that young people "should also understand that sex can be a very fun and fulfilling activity" feels at odds with the many decades of feminist ideology that modern cultures have absorbed - which might also explain the phenomenon: Sex is good and healthy and normal, but don't have sex, don't behave sexually. (Japan Times)
Jan 24Miyagi may track sex offenders with GPS
Miyagi Prefecture is considering drafting an ordinance to allow police to monitor sexual and domestic violence offenders by making them wear a GPS device at all times, the prefectural government said Saturday. If the ordinance is enacted, it will be the first such legislation in Japan, the prefecture said. A draft proposal presented by the prefectural government at the meeting also calls for sex offenders to submit their DNA whenever necessary so the data can be used to identify suspects in sex-related crimes in the prefecture. (Japan Times)
Jan 24Car drags man 30 meters, takes off
A man who attempted to stop a car that bumped his friend in the arm in Chuo Ward, Osaka, was dragged some 30 meters before tumbling into an intersection and fracturing his skull, police said Sunday. Police are looking for the driver, who they said could face charges of attempted murder. (Japan Times)
Jan 23'Rakugo' storyteller Hayashiya Sampei to marry actress Kokubu
Japanese "rakugo" storyteller Hayashiya Sampei will marry actress Sachiko Kokubu, their agencies said Saturday. Sampei, 40, succeeded the name of his father, who was a major performer of the traditional Japanese comedic storytelling, in 2009. Kokubu, 34, made her debut as a fashion model. (AP)

By JS on Feb 3, 2011

tag : Japanese Society



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