FRONT PAGE NEWS

6 February 2016
As if accommodating Chinese visitors on their usual shopping sprees weren't enough, major Japanese retailers are now actively working to lure this demographic to their storefronts for the Lunar New Year. (Nikkei)
The annual snow festival has opened in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo, featuring more than 200 snow and ice sculptures. (NHK)
Sharp Corp. and Hon Hai Precison Industry Co. on Friday signed a contract granting the Taiwan electronics giant preferential rights to negotiate over a bailout plan for the struggling Japanese company. (the-japan-news.com)
Japan and Iran signed a bilateral investment pact Friday in a move aimed at helping Japanese firms do business in the resource-rich country amid intensifying foreign competition for its market access. (Kyodo)
Mount Sakurajima, a volcano that overlooks the city of Kagoshima, erupted Friday with a fiery blast that sent lava rolling down its slope. (Japan Times)

Feb 06
Many Japanese venues allow concertgoers to wave glow sticks, but waving your junk? That's a no-no. (rocketnews24.com)
Feb 06
Osaka Prefectural Police have busted a prostitution ring that extorted male customers, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Feb. 5). (Tokyo Reporter)
Feb 06
The "Diamond Fuji" phenomenon of the sun setting over Japan's emblematic mountain drew a large crowd to Meijijingu Gaien on Feb. 4. (Asahi)
Feb 06
Chiba Prefectural Police have arrested an elderly American male at Narita International Airport for the illegal possession of a firearm, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Feb. 5). (Tokyo Reporter)
Feb 05
Hanako the elephant's cramped quarters at Japanese zoo prompted tourist to start a petition to have her moved, but zookeeper says it's too late now. (thestar.com)
[more society news...]           [society blogs...]

Feb 05
If you've seen the Tower Records documentary All Things Must Pass, you'll know that the film ends with the chain's founder visiting Japan where Tower Records is still a thriving business. Actually, it's not just Tower. The Japanese are still mad for their CDs. But why? (ajournalofmusicalthings.com)
Feb 05
When Japanese electronics giant Sharp Corp. said on Thursday that it would devote more resources to audit a $5.95 billion acquisition offer from Hon Hai Precision Industry than it would a state-backed rescue plan, the announcement appeared to be a surprise victory for Terry Gou, the founder and chairman of the Taiwanese iPhone assembler. (Nikkei)
Feb 04
Toyota is killing its Scion brand after years of slumping sales. Beginning in August, 2017 model-year Scion vehicles will be rebadged as Toyotas. (Japan Today)
Feb 04
McDonald's Japan saw customer traffic at existing stores increase in January for the first time in 33 months, marking a recovery from the quality and food safety issues that erupted in 2014. (Nikkei)
Feb 04
Nintendo and Universal Studios Japan (USJ) recently signed a basic business agreement that could pave the way for future USJ attractions featuring Nintendo characters and game worlds. (rocketnews24.com)
[more business news...]           [business blogs...]
Feb 06
Japan and Iran signed a bilateral investment pact Friday in a move aimed at helping Japanese firms do business in the resource-rich country amid intensifying foreign competition for its market access. (Kyodo)
Feb 05
A push by the world's largest pension fund for permission to bypass asset managers when doing business in Japan's stock market has reportedly hit a wall. (bloomberg.com)
Feb 04
Trade ministers from 12 Pacific Rim countries including the United States gathered Thursday in New Zealand for the ceremonial signing of a free-trade deal they say will significantly boost trade. (Asahi)
Feb 03
Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda on Wednesday called a negative interest rate a "powerful weapon" for monetary easing, saying the bank will cut it again if needed to conquer deflation. (Japan Times)
Feb 03
The Bank of Japan (BOJ) took the financial world by surprise last Friday when, in a 5-4 decision, they announced they would begin imposing a negative 0.1 percent interest rate on any new excess reserves beginning on February 16. (thediplomat.com)
[more economy news...]
Feb 05
A former associate dean of Tokyo's pro-Pyongyang Korea University who is suspected of supporting the activities of North Korea's spy agency was found to have deleted several documents from his computer after a South Korean lawmaker was arrested for alleged connections to the agency, it has been learned. (the-japan-news.com)
Feb 04
Olympics minister Toshiaki Endo, who formerly headed a shake-up of Japan's English education program, has admitted taking cash from the founder of a Tokyo teacher dispatch agency but said he did nothing wrong. (Japan Times)
Feb 04
Japan's Defense Minister Gen Nakatani says he has issued a command to shoot down any incoming ballistic missiles. (NHK)
Feb 03
Japan's Self-Defense Forces are preparing for the planned launch of what North Korea calls a satellite. (NHK)
Feb 03
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday called on North Korea to abandon its plan to launch an earth observation satellite later this month, condemning it as a de facto test of a long-range ballistic missile. (Kyodo)
[more politics news...]
Feb 04
A male teacher at a public junior high school in Kasai, Hyogo Prefecture, burned a student's hair with a lighter during a class in January. (Japan Today)
Feb 04
Japan is the world's third-largest economy and the producer of many of the world's best products, from video games to cars. Yet most Americans don't know much about the country's rich history. (vox.com)
Feb 03
Move over dancing queen, here comes the "Campus Queen"! Last Friday a digital photo book featuring four finalists from the Miss Campus contest was released in Japan. (rocketnews24.com)
Feb 02
All four English skills--reading, listening, writing and speaking--of junior high and high school seniors in Japan failed to meet state-set targets, an education ministry survey showed Tuesday. (Jiji Press)
Feb 02
Ahead of Setsubun on Wednesday, the day to celebrate the beginning of spring, the Consumer Affairs Agency has warned parents to guard against small children accidentally swallowing soybeans. (Japan Times)
[more education news...]           [education blogs...]
Feb 06
The seasonal flu is now taking its toll on Japan. Researchers estimate that the weekly number of patients has topped one million for the first time this winter. (NHK)
Feb 06
The Meteorological Agency has issued a forecast of volcanic ash from Mount Sakurajima. (NHK)
Feb 06
Japanese dinosaur fans are among the first to see the skeleton of a newly discovered taxon from Thailand that went on display at the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum from Jan. 30. (Asahi)
Feb 05
Mount Sakurajima, a volcano that overlooks the city of Kagoshima, erupted Friday with a fiery blast that sent lava rolling down its slope. (Japan Times)
Feb 05
The risk of brain hemorrhage is 36 pct higher for those who skip breakfast five or more days a week than for those who have it every day, a group of Japanese researchers has found. (Jiji Press)
[more sci-tech news...]           [sci-tech blogs...]
Feb 06
Rugby star Ayumu Goromaru has left Japan to join the world's top professional league. (NHK)
Feb 05
Kawasaki Frontale striker Yoshito Okubo was named the 2015 Footballer of the Year on Thursday in a poll of Japan's soccer writers. (Japan Times)
Feb 05
Former Formula One driver Kamui Kobayashi was announced as a full-time driver oi Toyota's World Endurance Championship team on Thursday, marking his first entry into the premier class of endurance road racing. (Japan Times)
Feb 04
Former Japanese professional baseball star Kazuhiro Kiyohara admitted using a stimulant to Tokyo police after his arrest on Tuesday, it was learned Wednesday. (Jiji Press)
Feb 03
An elementary school student has died after colliding with a snowboarder at a ski resort in Kitahiroshima city in Hiroshima Prefecture. (Japan Today)
[more sports news...]
Feb 06
It's quite normal to hear news of someone graffiting pieces of world heritage and feel a sense of outrage, but Kyoto's Tandenan Temple actually encourages such scrawl. Our writer Masami grabbed a sharpie and went to check it out. (rocketnews24.com)
Feb 06
The annual snow festival has opened in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo, featuring more than 200 snow and ice sculptures. (NHK)
Feb 06
The Government Guesthouse at the Akasaka Imperial Estate in Minato Ward, Tokyo, opened to members of the public Friday morning for a two-week trial ahead of an extended opening from April. (Japan Times)
Feb 06
The Tokyo metropolitan government on Friday began offering free Wi-Fi service on one of its subway lines. (Japan Today)
Feb 05
Japan's 2 major airlines have changed routes of some flights in response to North Korea's announcement of the planned launch of what it says is a satellite. (NHK)
[more travel news...]           [travel blogs...]
Feb 4
Kayaks Kitaura croppedOn the Mainland: the Sea of Japan Coast Sasago Beach

Sasago Beach is a picturesque enclave of white sand and aquamarine water. The beach is usually empty except during Japan's official beach season from July to August. Here, you can go swimming ...

Feb 4

Images and text borrowed from The Japan Times, 2/2/16.

[T]he Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo currently has an exhibition of tourism posters and other promotional material from the 1920s and '30s. It is a fascinating and at times unusually beautiful gl...
Feb 4
gion-2

Kyoto's famous Gion District is bracketed by Kamogawa River on one side and Yasaka-jinja Shrine on the other. Gion's district name comes from the original name of Yasaka-jinja Shrine, which used to be Gion-sha and was renamed during the Meiji Rest...

Feb 4

From the outside it looks like a quiet country cottage with vines creeping all over the house and giving a sense of humble dignity. Before entering the museum, you already feel a sense of anticipation and curiosity - like it's the start of an adve...

Feb 3
crackers

The basement floor of department stores in Japan are commonly known as depachika (depato for “department store” and chika for “basement”). Here, Japan's most famous shops sell traditional food (such as bento, or prepared box lunches, temp...

Feb 3
AnimeVersusManga
When picking up a series, most fans usually have a decision to make;watch the anime, read the manga, or perhaps both. In some cases, the two are exactly alike. They feature the same plot, same characters, and the same story elements, with the diff...
Feb 3
Poor Uwajima. It has one of only 12 castles in Japan to survive from the Edo period, and yet all people want to talk about is the porn museum attached to Taga Shrine. That's fair enough. Japan's sex museums are on the decline (even the famous ...
Feb 3
behind the cove documentary film dolphin hunt drive japanese

A new film has been released in Japan challenging the anti-whaling and dolphin-hunting attitudes of foreign activists and filmmakers.

Directed by Keiko Yagi, Behind the Cove purports to show the truth that the Academy Award-winning 2009 documenta...

Feb 3
Image borrowed from http://salkeio.com/ひかり-2/.
Story from The Japan News, 2/2/16.

University student Shiori Suzuki visited Myanmar in 2013 as a tourist. What she did not notice there was the plight of the Muslim minority Rohingya — and onl...
Feb 3
the folk by yusuke nishimura

Sagi-mai (Heron Dance) from Tsuwano, Shimane

The world of Japanese performing folk art is an obscure one. Despite having been around for hundreds of years, most Japanese have not been exposed to it. And when they do, it's usually by chance. For p...

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