FRONT PAGE NEWS

1 July 2015
Toyota Motor Corporation says its first female executive, Julie Hamp, has resigned. She was arrested last month in Japan on suspicion of drug smuggling. (NHK)
Land prices in Japan for this year fell 0.4 pct on average from the previous year, dropping for the seventh straight year but at a slower pace than the previous year's 0.7 pct, the government said Wednesday. (Jiji Press)
A two-month government campaign got under way on Wednesday prompting central government employees to begin work early and leave on time. (Kyodo)
The weather agency raised its alert level for Mt. Hakone on Tuesday following an eruption earlier in the day at the volcano located in a hot spring resort area southwest of Tokyo. (Kyodo)
Two passengers on a Japanese Shinkansen bullet train have died after one of them doused himself in oil and set himself ablaze, local media is reporting. (abc.net.au)

Jul 01
Shortly after a Shinkansen left Tokyo bound for Osaka at 11 a.m. on June 30, a passenger in the train's No. 1 car became suspicious about a man who was behaving erratically. (Asahi)
Jul 01
Each year, the four-day Mitama Matsuri, a festival held on the grounds of the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, attracts approximately 300,000 revelers. (Tokyo Reporter)
Jun 30
Two boys aged 3 and 4 were hit by a train in Showacho, Yamanashi Prefecture, on Monday afternoon. (Japan Today)
Jun 30
Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko marked their 25th wedding anniversary on Monday, expressing appreciation to each other in a statement. (The Japan News)
Jun 30
An intensive investigation involving about 50 police officers has revealed the culprit in the vandalism of about 40 cars in the Higashi-Izumo area of Matsue this spring. Crows. (The Japan News)
[more society news...]           [society blogs...]

Jul 01
Japanese electronics giant Sony says it will raise up to 440 billion yen, or about 3.6 billion dollars, by issuing new shares and bonds to invest in its fast-growing image sensor business. (NHK)
Jul 01
Japan's Suzuki Motor has chosen a new president. (NHK)
Jun 30
Public contrition has long been an art in Japan, and this past month has offered a great opportunity to study the form. June has seen a sudden rash of apologies from top chief operating officers (including the bosses of Toshiba, Sharp, Takata and Toyota) and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (Japan Times)
Jun 30
Honda Motor plans to make English the official language for international communications within the company around 2020, the automaker said in a report Monday. (Nikkei)
Jun 27
This year's season for general shareholders meetings peaked on Friday in Japan, where companies face stronger pressure for accountability to owners under a new corporate governance code. (Jiji Press)
[more business news...]           [business blogs...]
Jul 01
Stock prices in Tokyo rose on Wednesday after the Bank of Japan's Tankan survey showed better-than-expected results. (NHK)
Jul 01
Land prices in Japan for this year fell 0.4 pct on average from the previous year, dropping for the seventh straight year but at a slower pace than the previous year's 0.7 pct, the government said Wednesday. (Jiji Press)
Jul 01
The mood among big Japanese corporations is unexpectedly upbeat despite recent data showing the recovery appears to be stalling. (Asahi)
Jul 01
Japan's debts are expected to reach about 1,035 trillion yen, or nearly 8.5 trillion dollars, at the end of next March. (NHK)
Jun 30
Tokyo stocks have gained 0.63 per cent, rebounding after sharp losses in the previous session as investors brace for an expected Greek default later in the day. (tradingroom.com.au)
[more economy news...]
Jun 30
A group of Japanese media representatives has issued a statement of protest against recent remarks by lawmakers. (NHK)
Jun 28
Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party said Saturday that it has dismissed its Youth Division chief, Minoru Kihara, and banned him from holding party posts for one year amid controversy over media-suppressing remarks by some at a meeting of a party group headed by him. (Jiji Press)
Jun 27
Hiroshima will be a venue for the Group of Seven foreign ministers' conference related to the G-7 Ise-Shima summit next year, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference Friday. (The Japan News)
Jun 26
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his regret Friday for remarks made by younger lawmakers from his Liberal Democratic Party, which blamed negative media reports for the low public popularity of bills that would expand overseas operations of the Self-Defense Forces. (Kyodo)
Jun 26
A hearing-impaired Japanese politician used text-to-speech software on her computer to pose questions during her debut at a local assembly. (NHK)
[more politics news...]
Jun 30
Head lice infestations - which often cause severe itching - have been spreading among nursery school and primary school pupils. (The Japan News)
Jun 29
Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries plans to establish a system to certify the skills of chefs who cook Japanese food abroad. (Jiji Press)
Jun 26
Publisher Sanseido KK is recalling 10,000 Japanese textbooks, which are used by many elementary schools in Tokyo, after an illustration showing a girl with three arms was mistakenly printed. (Japan Today)
Jun 26
A group of parents in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, eastern Japan, on Thursday filed a petition with a local court against the municipal government's new rule to dismiss children from nurseries when their parents take postnatal leave after their younger brothers or sisters are born. (Jiji Press)
Jun 23
Waseda University said Monday it took about half a year before it discovered personal data on roughly 3,300 officials and students had leaked via cyberattacks. (Japan Times)
[more education news...]           [education blogs...]
Jun 29
The revolutionary Solar Impulse 2 aircraft took off early Monday for a flight over the Pacific Ocean, a spokeswoman said, the most ambitious leg of its quest to circumnavigate the globe powered only by the sun. (Japan Today)
Jun 27
Who could resist that striking countenance, that chiseled brow — and that toned, furry butt? A surprisingly hunky male gorilla, Shabani, has female humans going ape after mugshots of the 18-year-old animal began going viral on Twitter. (CNN)
Jun 27
A Japanese maglev train has set a Guinness World Record by traveling 603 kilometers per hour. (NHK)
Jun 25
An expert panel is warning that several species of snails that helped place Japan's Ogasawara Islands on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites are facing extinction. (NHK)
Jun 24
A solar-powered plane circumnavigating the globe called off a Hawaii-bound flight from Japan early Wednesday morning as the weather window favorable for its longest five-day trip appears to have closed. (Kyodo)
[more sci-tech news...]           [sci-tech blogs...]
Jun 29
Japan's sports minister Hakubun Shimomura says the reconstruction of the main stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will cost 2 billion dollars, 700 million dollars more than the initial estimate. (NHK)
Jun 25
The government is poised to sign a contract with two major general contractors for the construction of the new National Stadium, which will be the main venue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, with no changes made to the original plan, it has been learned. (The Japan News)
Jun 22
Eight sports including baseball and softball are now set to advance to the final selection process for addition to the program of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics under the host city's initiative. (Jiji Press)
Jun 17
Japan got its 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign off to an embarrassing start after being held to a 0-0 home draw by Singapore on Tuesday. (Japan Times)
Jun 16
Koji Murofushi said Monday he will not take part in the national championships at the end of June, putting an end to his 20 straight titles in men's hammer throw. (Japan Times)
[more sports news...]
Jul 01
The weather agency raised its alert level for Mt. Hakone on Tuesday following an eruption earlier in the day at the volcano located in a hot spring resort area southwest of Tokyo. (Kyodo)
Jul 01
Tottori Prefecture's population of just over half a million is shockingly small by densely-populated Japan's standards, and it's just generally ignored by the rest of Japan as a place that, well… doesn't have much to see, to put it kindly. (rocketnews24.com)
Jun 30
Wagering on its proximity to Tokyo's gateway airport, the operators of the publicly run horse track in Shinagawa Ward are touting its nighttime racing to woo more foreign tourists through the gates. (Asahi)
Jun 29
Local authorities are urging climbers to bring helmets to protect themselves against a possible eruption of Mount Fuji after the season to ascend the nation's highest peak opens on July 1. (Asahi)
Jun 26
Let's board a night train with sleeper cars from Tokyo to the Sea of Japan! This video guide will walk you through the JR Sunrise Izumo Express from Tokyo Station to Izumo. (WAORYU ONLYinJAPAN)
[more travel news...]           [travel blogs...]
Jul 1
Ganguro girls

If you've had an eye on the Japanese news recently, you may have heard of the newest odd attraction to hit Tokyo – the Ganguro Café. Not ones to miss out on anything new in Japan, we sent two of our tour leaders, David and Tyler, to find out mo...

Jul 1

A window onto Uji… Kosho-ji Temple's Chinese style gate looking out onto Koto-zaka or “harp hill”.

My article, A Trip to Uji, is now up on Chris Rowthorn's Inside Kyoto site. In it I describe a complete circuit of all of Uji's major sites. ...

Jul 1
Kyoto Restaurant Recommendation: Shiawase Gohan (Happy Meal 幸せ ごはん)

This is a guest post from one of my clients: Takaokaya. Takaokaya has been making beautifully handcrafted bedding and cushions in Kyoto since 1919. Third generation proprietor, Koichi Takaoka is going to tell us about one of his favorite Kyoto re...

Jul 1
The Return: Reliving my first trip to Kyoto

Last weekend, I wanted to do something a bit different. I've been busy preparing for the upcoming JLPT exams next month (level 4 here I come!) and I've also had quite a bit to do at work, whilst also hosting some visiting friends. All in, I've not...

Jul 1
Using Hyperdia Rail TimesUsing Hyperdia to Travel Japan

Hyperdia is a website that quickly allows you to calculate rail times for pretty much anywhere around Japan. If it wasn't for Hyperdia I honestly don't think I would have enjoyed traveling around Japan nearly as muc...

Jul 1
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Today, 30th of June, people in Kyoto eat a wagashi (和菓子) called, Minazuki (水無月). The day is called Ooharae (大祓え), which is the day of purifying sins and bad lucks. This Shinto ritual is held twice a year, the 30th of June and t...
Jul 1
Cup Noodle at 99yen

An interesting survey from Video Research Ltd looked at awareness of washoku (Japanese food), with a focus on rather than the traditional Intangible Cultural Heritage of Washoku full meals, new foods and fast foods.

Demographics

Between the 27th...

Jun 30
harunobu

Suzuki Haranobu 鈴木 春信 (1725-1770) painted this two girls. It is obviously a windy day, as they are protecting their hats from flying away. Funny, as they bend to the right and left, it looks like the girls are dancing. I like the typica...

Jun 29
Anyone who's ever imagined themselves as a heroine in a fairy tale probably harbours a secret desire to dress up as a Lolita girl. But while it's easier to get away with wearing mountains of frills ... ...continue reading
Jun 29
danbo1

As shocking as this may sound, Japan isn't all bright neon lights, girls in maid outfits, gyaru and Bladerunner-esque back alleys. There's also, shockingly, a lot of history in this very old country that tends to get overlooked on whirlwind travel...

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