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Emperor has arteriosclerosis

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Feb 20Taking a train to the snows
Tumbling down head over heels near the summit of a 2,000-meter mountain is the most fun I've had in ages. On a Monday, the sparsely peopled ski runs at Mitsumata resort in Niigata Prefecture were knee-deep in feather-soft powder snow: perfect conditions for cushioning even the nastiest of falls. An amazingly cheap weekday JR package deal that included a day-return shinkansen trip from Tokyo Station and a one-day ski pass made this trip painful on neither the pocket nor the posterior. The only difficult thing about the experience was getting up at 5:15 a.m. in time for the 7:00 a.m. departure to Echigo-Yuzawa. (Japan Times)
Feb 19Taking tea the traditional Japanese way
The faint sound of a wooden door sliding open is my signal to proceed. I shuffle into the bright sunshine, my gait restricted by my tightly wrapped kimono, and push open the gate. Behind lies an enchanted world, utterly different to the teeming streets of Tokyo that are just outside. The plot of land is no bigger than a garden patio but each element - tree, rock, water, moss - has been placed so thoughtfully that the space feels twice the size. I crouch next to the well to wash my hands and mouth, and out of the corner of my eye notice the shokyaku, or the main guest, slip through a tiny square doorway and disappear into the chashitsu, tea room. The path guides me to that same minute entrance. I squeeze myself into the darkened room, swivel around to place my straw sandals to the side of the entrance and leave the door open for the following guest. (FT.com)
Feb 19In rural Japan, a modest bid to preserve tradition
NIYODOGAWA, Japan - Last weekend this dying town held a party, so its few remaining residents awoke at sunrise, headed up winding mountain roads and convened at the usual spot, where, for 217 years, they and their ancestors have gathered annually to celebrate their gods and assault their livers. Many participants describe the Akiba Matsuri as the highlight of the year, and it combines the best elements of a holiday, a circus performance and a frat party. But lately, it has also come to resemble a wake. Niyodogawa, like so many places in rural Japan, is shrinking and aging, doomed by its demographics. (Washington Post)
Feb 192 held for stealing 15 million yen from actress
Police have arrested two people on suspicion of stealing 15 million yen from Mariko Miyagi, an 83-year-old actress and director of a school for handicapped children. The Metropolitan Police Department arrested 56-year-old Yumiko Kondo, a former employee of the Nemunoki Gakuen school from Kakegawa, Shizuoka Prefecture; and 57-year-old musician Kei Asahina (real name Noriyuki Hirosawa) from Minato Ward, Tokyo. According to senior MPD officials, about 500 million yen was withdrawn from bank accounts belonging to Miyagi and her school in Kakegawa. (Yomiuri)
Feb 18Social media help spousal victims of 'Japanese divorce'
Imagine coming home from an errand one day to find your children and spouse have vanished - and this horrifying discovery is only the beginning of the nightmare that will conclude with 1) your eventual divorce and 2) the complete and immediate alienation from your children. No phone calls, no birthday parties, no taking a trip to the store for an ice cream cone, no parent-child visitation whatsoever. Never. And all without a good-bye hug. This is a "Japanese divorce," where the first parent to the steal the kids wins custody, and the left-behind parent agonizes over his or her last memory of the children. (asiamediajournal.com)
Feb 18Defendant pleads guilty to assaulting Kabuki actor Ebizo
A 27-year-old man pleaded guilty Friday to charges of assaulting and injuring Kabuki star Ichikawa Ebizo in November during the first hearing at the Tokyo District Court. Lion Ito, a former member of a motorcycle gang, is accused of assaulting Ebizo, 33, on Nov. 25 at a Tokyo building and inflicting serious injuries, according to the indictment. Ito is believed to have been enraged by the actor's behavior toward a former leader of a bike gang at a bar, according to investigative sources. (AP )
Feb 18Identical sibling consoles distraught brother in law with consensual coitus
"The day my twin sister died in a car wreck was blazingly hot. While my mother was getting over the shock, I left the place where I was living with my boyfriend and went to keep our mother (and brother in law) company." Thus begins another amateur account of sexual fantasy, from the February issue of women's soft porn mag Ai no Taiken Special Deluxe, as appearing in Shukan Bunshun (Feb. 24). "But late one night, I heard my brother in law weeping. He swore the image of my departed sister had appeared in front of him." (Tokyo Reporter)
Feb 18Radiohead announce they will not be playing Tokyo
Indie rockers Radiohead have announced that they will not be playing Tokyo. Though Radiohead are a politically motivated band with many of their songs having a political edge, the statement referrers not to a Japanese current affairs issue but to a cryptic posting on their website which mentions Tokyo's Hachiko Square in Shibuya, together with a time, 18:50 (JST) tomorrow, written in Japanese. The rumour mill has since swung into action with many fans suggesting that the band will put in a live performance in the location mentioned on the website. (kovideo.net)
Feb 18Plum-viewing season marks start of spring
With freezing weather hopefully a thing of the past, it's easier to plan outings now - and viewing plum blossoms are a great way to get in the mood for spring. Now's the time to get a peek into a traditional pastime that has a history going back to the Nara Period (710-794). Many parks and plum forests across Japan are holding or will soon kick off special events to complement beautiful carpets of plum blossoms with colors that range from white to pink and red. And unlike cherries, plum blossoms last longer. (Japan Times)
Feb 18Nara's fire and water ceremonies to bring good luck to visitors
People living outside of Nara who are up for a long weekend trip shouldn't miss the city's spring festival. Shuni-e, meaning ceremony of the second month, is a series of Buddhist rituals in which priests pray to repent for the sins of the profane world to the goddess Kannon, who is enshrined in Nigatsudo Hall, a sub complex of Todaiji Temple in Nara. These rituals, annually held between March 1-14, go back more than 1,000 years. (Japan Times)
Feb 18Japan plans own 'Ring' 3-D sequel: 'Sadako 3D'
While DreamWorks continues to develop the English-language The Ring 3D, Japanese Kadokawa Pictures made a major announcement for fans of the original 1998 Ringu. Arriving in Japanese theaters in 2012 is Sadako 3D, featuring the creepy black-haired character from the Ring horror series that started the J-horror craze. Sadako, identified by her long black hair covering her face, has become an iconic character in the Japanese horror genre. Koji Suzuki, the author of the original "Ring" novel series, indicated that the new 3D film will include a scene of Sadako coming out of a television set, similar to the original. (bloody-disgusting.com)
Feb 1712 dead including 1 Japanese after Vietnam tour boat sinks
An overnight boat packed with tourists, including Americans, Australians and Britons, sank early Thursday in Vietnam's scenic Ha Long Bay, killing 11 foreigners and their Vietnamese guide, officials said. The live-aboard ship went down at 5 a.m. near Titov island with 21 foreigners on board. Japan's Kyodo news agency reported that one Japanese was among the dead. (intellasia.net )
Feb 17Japan's online community offers sympathy to Justin Bieber
Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber may already be used to feverish screams and surging crowds eager for autographs, but in Japan he's attracting attention online -- out of sympathy. At just 16, Beiber has already experienced the privileges and pitfalls of massive celebrity, which includes a flurry of abuse on blog rolls and under YouTube videos. With a string of international awards already to his name, some Japanese are trying to understand why Bieber also attracts so much negativity -- suggesting that a trip to Tokyo might be in order. (CNN)
Feb 17Most cases of stimulant smuggling to Japan in 2010 by air
Japanese police handled 135 cases of attempted smuggling of stimulants into Japan last year, of which 115 involved drug runners concealing such contraband in airplane carry-on luggage, the National Police Agency said Thursday. Cases of illegal stimulant smuggling using international flights to Japan totaled 49 in 2008 and jumped to 127 the following year. In the police uncovered such cases for the first time at Toyama, Okayama and Hiroshima airports, the agency said. (AP)
Feb 17Price hike has no effect on smoker numbers
October's sharp hike in tobacco prices has had little effect on the number of smokers in the nation, although they are lighting up less often, according to a survey by a study group of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry. Led by Yoneatsu Ozaki, an associate professor of environmental preventive medicine at Tottori University, the panel randomly surveyed 1,146 adult men and women nationwide in November and December. The group then compared the results with data from a similar survey taken in November and December 2009. (Yomiuri)
Feb 17More men turning to homemaking
As public perceptions of traditional gender roles shift, more Japanese men are willing to take on homemaking. Some opinion polls show most males in their 20s and 30s have no negative notions of men serving as househusbands. Working around the house instead of holding down a career has increasingly become an option since more wives are staying in the workforce. Meanwhile, more men are trying to start their lives anew at home after burning out on excessively demanding jobs. (Japan Times)
Feb 16Tourist bus explodes in Chiba
An explosion underneath a bus full of Chinese tourists in Chiba City Wednesday morning led to the evacuation of 22 passengers while firefighters took 30 minutes to bring the ensuing blaze under control. The bus was travelling near Kaihin Makuhari station at around 9:30am when 2 explosions were heard, causing the driver to pull over and evacuate the passengers from the burning vehicle. No one was hurt in the incident. Police are investigating the cause of the explosions. (ANNnewsCH )
Feb 16Teen held for falsely selling photo-op with AKB48 member
Police arrested a 17-year-old boy Wednesday on suspicion of defrauding another teenager of some 50,000 yen as a fee to have a photo taken with a member of pop group AKB48, police officials said. The Metropolitan Police Department suspects the high school student in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, cheated several other people on a similar scam via the Internet totaling more than 300,000 yen. The charge is defrauding a 17-year-old boy in Tokyo last November, they said. (AP )
Feb 16Abducted to Japan: Hundreds of American children taken
A bold-faced lie and a fake name for her child, was all it took for a Japanese mother to abduct her American son to her native country. "It was very easy to me," she said. The 37-year-old mother, who detailed the 2008 abduction of her child away from his American father under the condition that her name not be used, told ABC News that she knowingly lied to obtain new passports to get out of the country and that, to her knowledge, no one at the Japanese consulate made any effort to make sure she was telling the truth. (ABC News)
Feb 16Japan emperor meets Bhutan princess
Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on Wednesday met with Bhutanese Princess Kezang Choden Wangchuck and her husband at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, according to the Imperial Household Agency. The 29-year-old princess, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck's younger sister, was on her first visit to Japan to take part in events such as a symposium on the environment in Kyoto, the agency said. (AP)
Feb 162 teens with stab wounds plunge from school building, killing one
A technical school girl is dead and a boy seriously injured after plunging from a school building on Feb. 14, police said. Both had stab wounds to their stomachs. Shortly after noon on Feb. 14, a worker at Nagaoka National College of Technology here found a boy and a girl lying on the ground by one of the school's buildings, and contacted rescue workers, police and school officials said. The two were taking regular exams in a first floor classroom until around noon, and were found lying on the ground during the lunch break. (Mainichi )
Feb 15Death penalty confirmed for sarin gas attack chemist
The chemist of the Aum Shinrikyo religious cult who concocted the deadly nerve gas that killed a dozen people in the Tokyo subway in 1995 has received his final judgment. Japan's Supreme Court Tuesday rejected the final appeal by Masami Tsuchiya, one of the top lieutenants who masterminded the fatal attacks, confirming the death sentence passed on him in 2004. Mr. Tsuchiya was one of 13 cult members sentenced to hang for their part in the chemical attack during the morning rush hour commute in central Tokyo on March 20, 1995. The attack killed 12 people and left up to 6,000 others seeking medical treatment. (Wall Street Journal )
Feb 15Suspect denies he wanted to kill man in Tokyo's Meguro
The suspect in a murder case in a residential area in Tokyo's Meguro Ward has denied that he intended to kill the victim, police sources said Tuesday. But a passer-by overheard Yoshiaki Kimura, 65, yelling out, "I'll kill you" when he was assaulting Michio Ohara, leading police to step up work to determine what was behind the death of the retired company executive, who Kimura said was a stranger to him. (AP )
Feb 15Japan sees alarming rise in child abuse
She is a precocious little girl, in pigtails and rainbow rimmed glasses, all spunk and determination. The 11 year old attacks origami with the mission to build a flying bird. Creating an object of beauty contrasts with the ugliness this child has suffered at the hands of her own parents. The director of Nonohana-No-ie orphanage nods at us, signaling this 11-year-old girl is one of the of abused children who reside at this protective facility. Seventy percent of the children here, between the ages of two and 18, are victims of abuse and neglect so severe, the police removed them from their parents' custody. (CNN)
Feb 15More than 150 hurt in snowy Tokyo, vicinity
More than 150 people in the Tokyo area sustained injuries including broken bones between Monday night and Tuesday morning, when a relatively heavy snowfall blanketed the metropolitan area, authorities said. The snow also led to delays and cancellations of JR train runs in the metropolitan area, affecting more than 100,000 passengers, the operator said. Some bullet trains were also delayed. At least 58 people were hurt in Tokyo, 40 in Saitama Prefecture and 23 in Chiba Prefecture, firefighters and local officials said, noting many had slipped and fallen. (Japan Times )
Feb 15Ohmigosh! Horny OL onanists diddling selves on company time
From the title of our story, writes Shukan Taishu (Feb. 28), we know what you're probably thinking. "Yeah, right, another one of those made-up stories from a sleazy weekly tabloid, designed to give its male readers a woody." Right? But the magazine insists it's true. A surprising number of office ladies like to go waltzing into the lavatory and stimulate their matildas to orgasm. For the poop on the scoop, Shukan Taishu goes to Ms. Y, age 53, who works part-time for an office clean-up crew. "Almost anybody who does our work has at least once or twice gone into the ladies' room had heard peculiar noises emanating from the lavatory stall," she says. "It happened to me not so long ago." (Tokyo Reporter)
Feb 15American held over death of airman in Okinawa Pref.
U.S. Air Force authorities have taken custody of an American man belonging to the Air Force over the death of an airman found dead in his apartment in Chatan, Okinawa Prefecture, earlier this month, investigative sources said Tuesday. The soldier, who was held Sunday, is in his 20s and has told the authorities that he killed the victim, Curtis Eccleston, a 30-year-old master sergeant at the U.S. Kadena Air Base, they said. (AP)
Feb 15Mass food poisoning feared in Hokkaido
A suspected case of food poisoning in Hokkaido caused 840 elementary and junior high school students to miss class after eating lunch last week, local officials said Monday. Fifteen teachers and other staff at the schools in Iwamizawa also exhibited food poisoning symptoms, they said. The officials initially reported that 925 students were absent in connection with the case, but that figure had been inflated by students who stayed home because of flu and other illnesses. (Japan Times )
Feb 15Hit-and-run cop asks wife to stand in
A Shizuoka policeman is under arrest after he asked his wife to turn herself in over a hit-and-run accident he caused over the weekend, the police said. Kikei Takada, 46, an assistant Shizuoka Prefectural Police inspector, allegedly bumped his car into another on a road in Shizuoka Saturday evening, lightly injuring two people in the other car. Saturday was his day off. Instead of immediately calling police, however, Takada allegedly fled the scene and called his wife at home, asking her to turn herself in on his behalf, the police said. (Japan Times)
Feb 15Passengers get prison terms in fatal drunk driving case
Two men were sentenced to two years in prison Monday for abetting a fatal traffic accident caused by another man who had given the pair a ride in his car after drinking alcohol in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, in 2008. The Saitama District Court ruled that the two men's consent to the third man's offer to give them a lift had encouraged him to drive, despite their obligation to stop him from getting behind the wheel while under the influence. It is rare for anyone charged with assisting in dangerous driving resulting in death or injury to be indicted. (Yomiuri )
Feb 15Japan, be confident!
On the day of his departure from Hokkaido on April 16, 1877, at the end of his tenure as the first president of what later became Hokkaido University, William Smith Clark left his charges, and Japan, with a parting message: "Boys, be ambitious." For the next century plus, Japan was ambitious, creating the advanced, prosperous nation we all know today. Sadly, while Clark's words are still well-known, their significance has been largely forgotten. There was little reason to expect much from Japan in 1877. It was poor, lacking in natural resources, still emerging from centuries of isolation, and hemmed in by the great powers of Europe and America. But, as Clark sensed, the Japanese people could achieve great things if they were ambitious and believed in themselves. (Japan Times)
Feb 14Man arrested over murder in Tokyo reserved air ticket for S. Korea
A 65-year-old man arrested for allegedly murdering a former company executive and injuring the former executive's wife in Tokyo last month reserved a flight from Japan to South Korea on Thursday prior to his arrest, investigative sources said Monday. Yoshiaki Kimura also told police that he needed money for the hospitalization of his daughter in South Korea, indicating that he had fathered the daughter with a woman in South Korea, separately from his family in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, the sources said. (AP)
Feb 14Go! Go! Nagoya: Kansai hookers opt out of Osaka
Get this, demands weekly tabloid Shukan Jitsuwa (Feb. 24), for a mere 10,000 yen punters can now receive an hour's worth of adult services - along with use of a love hotel room - and at a location smack dab in the Minami district of Osaka. Too good to be true? Apparently not. The Kansai area is facing a major crisis regarding demand for fuzoku fare in spite of the growing number of cheap brothels. The result is working gals are packing their bags and shipping out of Osaka. (Tokyo Reporter)
Feb 14Loving your boss on Valentine's Day lifts Japan's candy makers
For 25-year-old Tokyo office worker Ryoko Ejiri, Valentine's Day is about boxes of heart-shaped chocolates. She's not getting them from admirers, she has to buy them for her bosses. "I'm spending more on chocolates this year than I've ever done in my life," said Ejiri, who stood in line for an hour at Isetan department store to buy the confectionery for her four managers. "I'm offering them gifts to show thanks." On Valentine's Day in Japan, women buy chocolates for male coworkers rather than husbands and lovers, a tradition called "giri choco," or "obligation chocolate." With Feb. 14 falling on a weekday for the first time in three years, analysts say that's a boon for candy makers like Meiji Holdings Ltd., Morinaga & Co., and Morozoff Ltd. (Bloomberg)
Feb 14Celebrity dog Wasao appointed as special World Heritage envoy
Popular Akita dog Wasao was formally appointed by the National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan as a special ambassador for World Heritage-related activities at a ceremony in Tokyo on Sunday. The ceremony for Wasao, a big white furry Akita with squint eyes known as "busa (ugly) kawa (cute)" was held at a Tokyo cinema where the movie "Wasao" which features the dog was screened at a preview. (Japan Times)
Feb 13Japanese women seek right to their own identity
Four Japanese women will go to court on Monday to challenge a law that now compels almost all females to drop their maiden names and assume their husbands' surnames when they marry. The group - plus one of their husbands - want a civil code clause from the late 1800s declared unconstitutional and are seeking financial damages for their emotional distress at the Tokyo District Court. The legal action comes after the centre-left government in power since 2009 failed in a push to revise the civil code because of stiff opposition from conservatives, including a minor ruling coalition partner. (Straits Times)
Feb 13Former top model now top Tokyo hostess
A once popular model and actress is now employed as a hostess at a posh club in Ginza, reports Nikkan Gendai (Feb. 10). The unnamed hostess is employed at club F, where she is ranked as number one and appears two or three times a week. A charge of 50,000 yen is required for a customer to sit with her. The tabloid reports that the club collects 12 million yen each month and pays out 5 million yen to their top girl. (Tokyo Reporter)
Feb 13Women in their 30s, 40s getting thinner
The number of women in their 30s and 40s whose body mass index is in the underweight category is higher now than it was 20 years ago, according to a survey by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry. Young women are often criticized for dieting themselves to excessive thinness, but the survey found a greater increase in underweight women in slightly older age groups. As for why it has become more common for women over 30 to be underweight, it is possible that women who took action to lose weight in their 20s have kept up their efforts, or that health-consciousness regarding weight has increased among women over 30 years old. (Yomiuri)
Feb 13K-pop takes on the world while J-pop stays home
Last week, the Fuji TV newsmagazine "Mr. Sunday" looked at Korean pop's success in Japan from two angles. Taking a street-level perspective, the show's host, Seiji Miyane, hung out in Tokyo's Okubo district, which has become "the new Harajuku" because young Japanese women flock there to rub up against Korean culture. Miyane interviewed a group called KINO (K-pop IN Okubo), made up of young Korean men who learned Japanese and then came to Japan on their own to become stars. They don't have a management deal yet, but given the enthusiasm of the female fans who pack their small-venue shows, it's only a matter of time. (Japan Times)
Feb 13Boy, 15, held for Shinjuku murder threat on Web
A 15-year-old boy was arrested Saturday after posting several threats on an Internet website that he would commit mass murder near Tokyo's Shinjuku Station on Friday night, police said. The junior high school student from Yokohama was arrested on suspicion of forcible obstruction of business. The messages said the murder spree would take place near the long-distance bus stop outside the station. (Japan Times)
Feb 13AKB48 popularity inspires Osaka all-boy 'idol' group
Inspired by the popularity of all-girl "idol" groups such as Akihabara's AKB48, business establishments in Osaka's Minami district are planning to form an all-boy version to draw more young women and boost the local economy. A major entertainment agency will handle the new group, which is expected to make its debut in June with a performance at a hall in Kintetsu's flagship department store in Abeno Ward, sources close to the project said. (Japan Times)
Feb 13Drummer with rock band 'Tokyo Jihen' arrested for attacking cop
The drummer for Japanese rock band "Tokyo Jihen" (Tokyo Incidents) has been arrested for allegedly attacking a police officer on duty, it's been learned. Toshiki Hata, drummer for Tokyo Jihen, to which popular singer Ringo Shiina belongs, stands accused of hurling himself at a police sergeant who tried to question the 34-year-old on a street in the Tokyo city of Mitaka at around 9 p.m. on Feb. 10. (Mainichi)
Feb 13Emperor has arteriosclerosis
Emperor Akihito has been diagnosed with arteriosclerosis and will be put on medication, the Imperial Household Agency said. The stiffening of the 77-year-old Emperor's cardiac arteries was discovered through a contrast agent administered during a medical checkup Friday at the University of Tokyo Hospital, the agency said. The Emperor stayed at the hospital overnight and returned to the Imperial Palace on Saturday, the agency said, adding he is expected to carry on with his normal duties and activities. (Japan Times )

By JS on Feb 24, 2011

tag : Japanese Society



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