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EX-WIMPIE's Photo EX-WIMPIE Posts: 4,572
3/6/11 3:47 P

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MARCH 6, 1993

KANEMURA Shin, a dominant figure in the Liberal Democratic Party, was arrested on charges of evading $7.2 million in taxes. He was later released on a $2.5 million bond. Kanemura was convicted in 1992 of accepting $3.4 million in bribes from a parcel shipping company. He was fined $1,567.

~ Pam
EX-WIMPIE's Photo EX-WIMPIE Posts: 4,572
2/15/11 8:10 P

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Okay... I'm a day late!

FEBRUARY 14, 2011
[Quoted from the J-List newsletter]

Today is Valentine's Day, a day when males in Japan look forward to receiving chocolate from girlfriends, wives, daughters, etc. There are two kinds of chocolate, of course, honmei choco or chocolate received from someone who really cares for you, and giri choco or "obligation" chocolate, from someone who feels obligated to give you chocolate, such as a female co-workers, students etc. For the past two years, Valentine's Day has fallen in a weekend, which is the Kiss of Death to a chocolate industry that depends on Japan's millions of OLs ("office ladies," e.g. female office workers) to buy chocolate for their bosses and other male co-workers. Since this year February 14th falls on a Monday, the TV news was reporting that sales of chocolates were strong this year, which makes us happy on behalf of Japan's men.

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~ Pam
EX-WIMPIE's Photo EX-WIMPIE Posts: 4,572
9/26/10 9:52 P

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SEPTEMBER 26, 1966
Japan launched its first satellite. Click here to visit the Japanese space agency's website. www.jaxa.jp/index_e.html

~ Pam
EX-WIMPIE's Photo EX-WIMPIE Posts: 4,572
9/8/10 5:26 A

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SEPTEMBER 8, 1951

Japanese representatives joined representatives from 47 nations in signing a peace treaty. This agreement represented Japan's return to the community of nations following World War II and six years of Allied Occupation. Prime Minister YOSHIDA Shigeru led Japan's delegation to the signing ceremony. Click the following link to read the treaty. www.international.ucla.edu/eas/japan
/d
ocs/sanfrancisco.htm


~ Pam
EX-WIMPIE's Photo EX-WIMPIE Posts: 4,572
9/3/10 9:32 P

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Oops! I'm a day late again. emoticon

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SEPTEMBER 2, 1945
In Tokyo Bay, aboard the USS Missouri, the Empire of Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers, formally ending World War II. Estimates of the total number of war-related deaths range between 40 and 55 million. Perhaps 15.5 million died in the Pacific War.

Of course, the role of air power and the use of atomic weapons in the defeat of Japan continues to be the subject of much debate. In 1946, the United States published a summary of its strategic bombing campaign in the Pacific.

If anyone is curious, here's a link to the text of the Instrument of Surrender that was signed in Tokyo Bay:
www.international.ucla.edu/eas/docum
en
ts/jpnsurrender.htm


Edited by: EX-WIMPIE at: 9/3/2010 (21:39)
~ Pam
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8/31/10 10:28 P

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ONE DAY! LOL

 current weight: 260.2 
 
263
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EX-WIMPIE's Photo EX-WIMPIE Posts: 4,572
8/31/10 2:25 A

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Me too! emoticon

~ Pam
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8/30/10 11:46 P

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I wish I could have seen it! :(

 current weight: 260.2 
 
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EX-WIMPIE's Photo EX-WIMPIE Posts: 4,572
8/30/10 4:13 A

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AUGUST 30, 2010

According to NHK World:
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DAIGOJI PAGODA OPENED TO THE PUBLIC

A five-story pagoda has been opened to the public at Daigoji Temple in Kyoto Prefecture.

The pagoda is said to have been built in 951 as a memorial for Emperor Daigo and is the oldest wooden structure in the prefecture.

It is designated as one of Japan's national treasures.

The interior is normally closed to the public, except for special occasions such as the 1,200th anniversary of the transfer of the national capital to Kyoto.

But the temple received many requests for viewing and decided to open on the 29th of each month, the anniversary of the Emperor's death.

Priests slowly opened the 4 doors facing in 4 directions on Sunday morning and began to offer prayers.

Visitors saw a Buddhist mortuary tablet dedicated to Emperor Daigo and Buddhist diagrams, or mandalas, depicting the spiritual universe using the principles of esoteric Buddhism.

A visitor said this is his first time he saw the inside of the pagoda, and the elaborate patterns of the mandalas were amazing. He added that he prayed for peace.

~ Pam
EX-WIMPIE's Photo EX-WIMPIE Posts: 4,572
8/21/10 5:15 P

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AUGUST 21, 2010

According to NHK World:
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ELECTRIC BICYCLES SELLING WELL

Sales of bicycles assisted by electric motors have been brisk this year in Japan.

The bicycle makers' association says 206,000 electric bicycles have been sold in the country since January. That is more than a 10 percent increase over last year.

It is also the first time that sales of electric bicycles have topped 200,000 in half a year. That is almost the same level as the sales of motorcycles.

The increase in sales came after local governments approved 3-seat bicycles that can carry 2 children, and the law was changed to allow more powerful motors.

The makers' association says it expects the brisk sales will continue as people are cycling more for health reasons and the environment.
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Edited by: EX-WIMPIE at: 8/21/2010 (17:15)
~ Pam
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8/16/10 1:38 A

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AUGUST 16, 2010

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According to NHK World:

YOKAI-SPECTERS PERFORM AWA-DANCE

Yokai or specters performed the Awa-dance in Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture where various tales about supernatural beings have been passed down.

Local people have kept alive the tales of various specters, such as the story of "Konakijiji-i" that appears in the comic titled "Gegege no Kitaro" created by comic artist Shigeru Mizuki.

The annual Awa-dance performance is being held through Monday in Miyoshi City. On Sunday night, Yokai or Japanese monsters joined the stage and performed the Awa-dance.

Yokai figures were played by local residents who dressed up as monsters. They enjoyed dancing with children, to the musical accompaniment of drums, shamisen string instruments and conch shells.
The Yokai figures towered nearly 2 meters high and some children got scared and started crying.

A man who dressed up as Konakijiji-i said it was very hot inside his costume, but he was happy because the children seemed to have enjoyed the dance.

~ Pam
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8/15/10 5:05 A

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OOPS! This is LATE!
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TODAY IN HISTORY - Except it is AUGUST 12th in History!

AUGUST 12, 1985
A Japan Airlines jet, Flight 123, flying from Tokyo to Osaka crashed in the prefecture of Gunma, killing 520 of the 524 aboard. JAL flight 123 took off from Haneda airport headed for Osaka, but suffered a massive failure of its hydraulic system, which made it impossible to control the plane. After an agonizing 32 minutes in the air, it crashed. Adding to the tragedy, an American military unit arrived on the scene to aid the survivors of the crash but was ordered to stand down by the Japanese military, who then didn't arrive until the next morning. The disaster was the largest loss of life in a single aircraft crash ever, and it's even more legendary because of one very famous passenger: Kyu Sakamoto, who sang the Sukiyaki Song, the first Japanese language song to hit #1 in the U.S. Here's a link with many different versions of this epic song: www.jbox.com/sukiyaki

~ Pam
EX-WIMPIE's Photo EX-WIMPIE Posts: 4,572
8/11/10 2:53 A

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AUGUST 11, 2010

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TODAY IN HISTORY

August 11, 1945
Responding to a Japanese inquiry, the Allies insisted that the Japanese must surrender unconditionally and that the emperor and government would be subject to the jurisdiction of the Allied Supreme Commander.

~ Pam
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8/5/10 3:43 A

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AUGUST 5, 2010

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TODAY IN HISTORY

August 5, 1876
Japan commuted samurai pensions, compelling them to earn their own living.


~ Pam
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8/2/10 3:06 A

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AUGUST 2, 2010

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TODAY IN HISTORY

August 2, 1943
The US ship PT 109 (under Lt. JF Kennedy) was rammed and sunk by the Japanese destroyer Amigiri.

~ Pam
EX-WIMPIE's Photo EX-WIMPIE Posts: 4,572
7/29/10 3:27 A

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JULY 29,2010
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According to NHK World:

US AMBASSADOR TO ATTEND HIROSHIMA A-BOMB CEREMONY

The United States says its ambassador to Japan John Roos will attend a ceremony marking the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Ambassador Roos will be the first official representing the US to attend the memorial.

State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said on Wednesday that Roos will attend the August 6th memorial in Hiroshima to express respect for all of the victims of World War II.

Hiroshima City has been inviting all countries with nuclear weapons to attend the ceremony since 1998.

Crowley said the US government thought it was the right thing to do. His attendance is seen as an effort by the Obama administration to show its commitment toward nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary says the government welcomes the US plan to send an envoy to the ceremony to mark the 65th anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Yosh*to Sengoku said on Thursday that the United States has formally informed the government that its ambassador to Japan, John Roos, will attend the ceremony. He noted that this will be the first time for a US government representative to attend the annual event.

Sengoku said the government hopes the occasion will serve as an opportunity for the United States to deepen its understanding of Japan's pledge to prevent another atomic catastrophe from happening.

~ Pam
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7/20/10 3:41 A

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JULY 20, 2010

Today in History
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JULY 20, 1973
The Japanese Red Army hijacked a JAL flight from Amsterdam. The plane was destroyed in Libya after passengers were released.

~ Pam
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7/19/10 3:33 A

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JULY 19, 2010

According to NHK World:
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FIFA WORLD CUP INSPECTION TEAM TO VISIT JAPAN

A FIFA World Cup inspection team will be in Japan this week as part of a tour of countries bidding to host the World Cup soccer finals in 2018 or 2022. Japan hopes to host the finals in 2022.

The 5-person team led by the President of the Chilean Football Association, Harold Mayne-Nicholls, will arrive in the city of Osaka on Monday.

They are to see the planned site for a new stadium in the city from the air. The Japan Football Association plans to hold the opening and final games of the 2022 World Cup in the new stadium if Japan wins the bidding.

Until the FIFA inspectors leave Japan on Thursday, they will also be briefed by the Japanese bidding committee on its plans and visit stadiums, practice grounds, and accommodation in Tokyo and neighboring Saitama.

Japan is hoping to win over the FIFA team with a concept of combining warm hospitality with state-of-the-art technology. And having co-hosted the 2002 World Cup with South Korea, Japan is hoping the FIFA team will appreciate why it wants a second chance to be host country.

Japan, Australia, South Korea, and Qatar have submitted bids to host the World Cup finals in 2022.

FIFA will choose the host countries in December based mainly on the inspection team's report on its tour.

Edited by: EX-WIMPIE at: 7/19/2010 (03:34)
~ Pam
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7/14/10 3:42 A

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JULY 14, 2010

Today in History:
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JULY 14, 1853
Commodore Perry requests trade relations with Japan.


~ Pam
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6/16/10 1:22 A

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JUNE 15 and JUNE 16 - Two disaster days
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JUNE 15, 1896
Tsunami strikes Shinto festival on beach at Sanriku Japan 27,000 are killed, 9,000 injured, with 13,000 houses destroyed

JUNE 16, 1964
Quake strikes Niigata Japan

~ Pam
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6/10/10 2:41 A

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JUNE 10, 2010

According to NHK World:
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JAPAN'S SDF TRAINING SHIPS VISIT PEARL HARBOR

Junior officers of Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force have visited Pearl Harbor in Hawaii to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the revision of the Japan-US Security Treaty.

Three training ships carrying 190 officers fresh from cadet school made the port call at Pearl Harbor on Tuesday, welcomed by officers of the US Pacific Fleet.

Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan in 1941, causing major casualties. It was chosen as the first port for the training ships to call on during their annual training voyage this year.

Speaking to the young Japanese officers, US Pacific Fleet Commander Patrick Walsh said their primary duty is to prevent conflicts, and that they need to learn how the US-Japan alliance has played a vital role in fulfilling that task.

He also stressed the importance of maintaining peace without the use of force.

During their stay in Hawaii, the young officers are scheduled to take part in a symposium and other events organized by the Japanese Self-Defense Force and the US navy.

~ Pam
EX-WIMPIE's Photo EX-WIMPIE Posts: 4,572
6/5/10 6:30 P

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JUNE 5, 2010

According to NHK World (abridged and combining two articles):
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KAN TO APPOINT NEW CABINET MEMBERS

Prime Minister-elect Naoto Kan is expected to appoint Upper House member Renho as Cabinet minister in charge of consumer affairs, declining birthrate, and gender equality. Renho was first elected to the Upper House in 2004. Before starting her career as a lawmaker, she earned popularity as a newscaster and TV personality. As the mother of 2 children, she has been tackling the issue of the declining birthrate in Japan and has been active in improving measures to support child rearing. She is also well versed in pension issues.

Prime Minister-elect Naoto Kan has tapped the former Government Revitalization Minister, Yukio Edano, as Secretary General of the Democratic Party of Japan. Speaking in Yokohama on Saturday, Edano called for the understanding of the people over the sudden change of administration. He said the new DPJ administration is ready to make a fresh start in order to live up to people's expectations. He said it will take over the spirit of former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama who stepped down without fulfilling his promises to the people.

Kan will also appoint Yoshihiko Noda as finance minister and Satoshi Arai as state minister in charge of designing national strategy.

Edited by: EX-WIMPIE at: 6/5/2010 (18:31)
~ Pam
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6/4/10 2:46 A

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JUNE 4

JUNE 4, 1928
Japanese troops blew up the train carrying Manchurian warlord Zhang Zuolin. Zhang died from his injuries on June 21.Following its defeat of Russia in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 (fought in Manchuria), Japan carved out a sphere of influence in northeastern China. Zhang Zuolin became the dominant Chinese ruler in the region in 1913 and from 1924 also controlled Beijing and the area around the Chinese capital. His killers were concerned about Zhang's ambitions and hoped to trigger a formal Japanese seizure of Manchuria.

~ Pam
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6/2/10 11:40 P

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JUNE 2, 1999

On June 2, 1999, the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare approved use of low-dosage birth control pills. The Ministry had been considering the matter for 34 years. Japan was the last United Nations member to permit the use of oral contraceptives. Approval of 16 low-hormone dosage pills came after several months of public criticism of the speedy manner in which the male impotency drug Viagra was approved for use. Viagra was approved in January 1999 after just six months and critics argued this starkly revealed the male-bias in the Ministry.

In 1966 the Ministry approved use of high-dosage pills for treatment of menstruation problems. An estimated 200,000 Japanese women were believed to be using these pills, including some who used them for the purpose of birth control. Some women have used low-potency pills illegally brought into Japan. For the last three decades the Ministry has argued birth control pills posed significant and needless health dangers and that reliance on condoms helped Japan avoid the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Critics believe that the Ministry also sought to avoid approving any contraceptive which might further lower Japan's already low birth rate. The Ministry's Council on Population Problems reported that the total fertility rate (the average number of births per woman) was 1.42 in 1995, significantly below the population replacement threshold of 2.08.

~ Pam
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5/30/10 4:49 P

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MAY 30, 2010

According to NHK World:
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JAPAN, CHINA, S. KOREA TO COOPERATE ON SUNKEN SHIP

The leaders of Japan, China, and South Korea have agreed to continue working together over the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak ended a 2-day meeting on Sunday on the South Korean island of Cheju.

The leaders shared the view that the incident was so serious that it could undermine the stability of the Korean Peninsula.

They agreed to continue their cooperation on easing tension allegedly caused by the torpedo attack by North Korea. At a joint news conference after the talks, Hatoyama said the 3 leaders shared the awareness that the sinking of the vessel was a serious incident that can shake peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. He added that the leaders agreed to continue working together in close contact.

Lee said the incident must be handled properly for the sake of prosperity and stability on the peninsula, and that he expects Japan and China to offer cooperation as responsible nations within the international community.

Wen spoke of the need to lessen tension and especially to avoid a military confrontation. He said China is willing to exchange views with the countries involved.

South Korea is set to refer the matter to the UN Security Council as early as this week.

Hatoyama is to continue discussing the incident with Wen, who will visit Japan later on Sunday.

~ Pam
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5/15/10 9:57 P

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Oops! I missed this yesterday.

MAY 14, 1998

Japanese film director and producer Yamada Tengo died at age 81. Yamada specialized in films examining social issues. He directed Hadashi no Gen (Barefoot Gen, 1976) and Hadaka no Taishoo Hoorooki -- Yamash*ta Kiyoshi Monogatari (Yamas*ita Kiyoshi: Wandering Artist, 1981).
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NOTE: * = i to deal with SparkPeople's overly aggressive censor.

~ Pam
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5/12/10 12:46 A

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MAY 12, 2010

According to NHK World:
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JAPAN TO RELAX VISA CRITERIA FOR CHINESE

The Japanese government plans to drastically relax visa requirements for Chinese tourists, starting in July, in a bid to attract middle-class visitors from China.

Amid slumping domestic consumption, discount electronics stores and other businesses are calling for efforts to attract more tourists from China, a country that is experiencing rapid economic growth.

Japan currently issues tourist visas to wealthy Chinese and to those taking group tours.

The government decided to relax its tourist visa criteria, since no individual Chinese tourists have illegally overstayed their visas since July of last year, when the issuance of personal tourist visas began.

Under the new plan, tourist visas will be issued to Chinese nationals with clean criminal records and with enough income to hold gold cards issued by major credit card companies. This will include people with annual incomes of about 9,000 dollars.

The government also plans to increase the number of visa issuance offices in China to 7 from the current 3. The number of Chinese travel agencies that can handle these visas will also be increased to about 300 from the current 48.

~ Pam
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5/1/10 9:33 P

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MAY 1, 2010

[Courtesy of J-List]

Have you noticed more Japanese people around you over the past couple of days? If so, it may be due to this week being Golden Week, a semi-accidental grouping of holidays which gives everyone here a break from their normal school or work lives, as well as an excuse to travel outside Japan for sightseeing. The holidays are Showa Day on April 29, the birthday of Emperor Hirohito; Constitution Memorial Day, when Japan's postwar constitution went into effect; Greenery Day on May 4, an excuse to celebrate the "vibrant greenery" or something; and Children's Day on May 5th, for celebrating (boy) children by flying Koinobori kites proudly. The name Golden Week was coined in 1951 when an executive at the Daiei Movie Company noticed a spike in ticket sales around these holidays, so his company started a campaign advertise the holiday week as a great time to go see a movie. While Golden Week is a nice break from the daily grind, the entire population of Tokyo heading for the mountains at the same time isn't a lot of fun, and getting caught in those 50 km-long traffic jams really sucks.

~ Pam
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4/29/10 7:10 P

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APRIL 29, 2010

Another update in the saga of Japanese whalers versus the Sea Shepherd...

According to NHK World:
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JAPAN COAST GUARD WANT SEA SHEPHERD LEADER

The Japan Coast Guard is moving to arrest the leader of the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd, Paul Watson, on suspicion of ordering sabotage activities against Japan's whaling fleet.

The Coast Guard has obtained an arrest warrant for Watson. They want him to place on the wanted list of the International Criminal Police Organization, better known as Interpol.

A Sea Shepherd activist, Peter Bethune, who is charged with illegally boarding a Japanese whaling ship and obstructive acts against it in the Antarctic Ocean in February, told the Coast Guard that he had discussed the disruptions with Watson.

The Coast Guard adds that footage taken by the Japanese fleet proved the leader's presence during the disruptions.

~ Pam
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4/13/10 1:07 A

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APRIL 13, 2010

According to NHK World:
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HATOYAMA ARRIVES IN WASHINGTON FOR NUCLEAR SUMMIT

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has arrived in Washington to attend the Nuclear Security Summit.

Hatoyama joins the leaders of 46 other countries, including Russia and China, at the 2-day summit that begins on Monday. The summit was proposed by US President Barack Obama to seek a world without nuclear weapons.

As the leader of the only country to be hit by nuclear bombs, Hatoyama will announce Japan's plans to contribute to efforts to counter the threat of nuclear terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

The plans include training personnel from other Asian countries in the safe management of nuclear materials and expanding Japan's financial contribution to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Hatoyama is expected to have unofficial talks with Obama at a banquet for summit participants on Monday. Hatoyama will use the occasion to explain his government's ideas on relocating the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Okinawa and to seek US cooperation.

Hatoyama will also meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio da Silva.

~ Pam
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4/7/10 5:28 P

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APRIL 7, 2010

Today marks the 65th anniversary of the sinking of the Yamato, the most famous Japanese battleship of World War II. Growing desperation had caused the Japanese to organize the first kamikaze air units around October 1944 -- in Japanese they were called tokkou (toh-KOH), which means "special attack forces -- but despite an amazing 2,525 suicide attacks made by Japanese pilots, the Allied forces continued their advance. By the start of the Battle of Okinawa in April 1945, the Japanese fleet was only a shadow of its former self as war planners decided to send the Yamato and eight support ships on a "special attack" mission despite the lack of fuel or air support, which ended with the sinking of the ship and loss of 90% of her crew.

[Courtesy of J-List]

~ Pam
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3/18/10 6:18 A

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MARCH 18, 2010

According to NHK World:

VISITORS VIEW REPLANTED SACRED TREE AT SHRINE

The replanted section of a fallen gingko tree, estimated to be over 800 years old, at a historic shrine in Kamakura City, near Tokyo, is attracting many visitors.

The 30-meter-tall sacred tree at the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine broke off near its trunk and fell over in strong winds last week.

Shrine officials replanted a four-meter-long section of the bottom of the tree in an attempt to regenerate it. It was planted near the stump, which remains rooted in the ground.

From Thursday, visitors are allowed to enter an area in front of the replanted tree.

A shrine official says that he hopes the replanted section of the tree will take root and sprout new shoots.

~ Pam
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3/10/10 2:11 A

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MARCH 10, 2010

According to NHK World (abridged):
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SONY TO LAUNCH 3D TVS IN JUNE

Japan's Sony will start selling TV sets with 3D capability in June this year.

The electronics giant plans to release 8 models, with screens ranging from 40 to 60 inches.

In addition to allowing viewers to see 3D movies with special eyeglasses, the new TVs will give a nearly three-dimensional look to regular broadcasts.

A 46-inch screen model would cost about 30 percent more than a regular Sony TV of the same size.

Sony rival Panasonic will release its own 3D TVs next month, setting the stage for intense domestic price competition.

~ Pam
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2/22/10 4:52 A

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FEBRUARY 22, 2010

According to NHK World:
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JAPAN'S POST OFFICE MARKS FEBRUARY 22ND

In Japan, Monday is a day of many "2"s. It is February 22nd in the 22nd year of Japan's Heisei era, which began with the enthronement of the current Emperor in 1989.

A post office in Fukushima Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo issued a commemorative card featuring the number, which is also included in its name and address.

The number "2" appears 4 times in the address of Nihonmatsu post office, whose name means 2 pine trees in Japanese.

Playing on the coincidence, the post office issued a card which also features a photo of cherry blossoms at Kasumigajo Castle, a local tourist destination.

The post office says all 100 cards sold out within 90 minutes, with some customers coming to buy them from outside the prefecture.

A man who bought the card says he wants to give it to his younger sister, whose birthday is February 22nd.

Edited by: EX-WIMPIE at: 2/22/2010 (04:53)
~ Pam
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2/12/10 2:36 A

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FEBRUARY 12, 2010

And, in the ongoing whale battle between the Sea Shepherd and the Shonan maru no. 2...

According to NHK World:
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JAPANESE CREW IS INJURED BY SEA SHEPHERD PROTEST

For the first time during this research expedition, three crewmembers of a Japanese research whaling vessel were injured by the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd.

The Fisheries Agency says that from Thursday night to Friday morning Japan time, the Sea Shepherd intermittently focused laser beams and shot water at the research ship.

A bottle filled with rancid liquid hit the Shonan maru No. 2 research vessel and broke on impact, causing injury to three crew members.

The Sea Shepherd protest ship has been trying to disrupt the activities of the Japanese research vessel in Antarctica. Last month, a Sea Shepherd vessel was badly damaged after colliding with a Japanese ship.

Japan's Fisheries Agency says the acts of obstruction by the Sea Shepherd are dangerous and unpardonable.

~ Pam
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2/7/10 3:28 A

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FEBRUARY 7, 2010

According NHK World:
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11-YEAR-OLD JAPANESE GIRL TO BECOME PRO GO PLAYER

An 11-year-old girl will become the youngest-ever professional player of the Go board game in Japan.

Rina Fujisawa will be inducted as a pro into the Japanese Go association, Nihon Ki-in, at the age of 11 years 6 months from April.

She passed the association's pro test on Saturday by winning the final of a female league game in Tokyo. 9 applicants competed against one another in matches since last month. Fujisawa won 6 games and lost 2.

Fujisawa is a 5th grader at a Tokyo elementary school and granddaughter of the late pro Go player Hideyuki Fujisawa. The late Fujisawa was known as the Honorary Ki-sei, or Go sage, and loved by many fans for his creative Go style and dynamic personality. He died last year.

Fujisawa started playing Go at the age of 6 and took lessons in the game almost every day after school.

The previously youngest pro Go player -- Cho Chi Hun of South Korea, the 25th Honinbo title holder -- was inducted to the association in 1968 at the age of 11 years 9 months.

Fujisawa says she is happy to have passed the pro test. She adds that she wants to aim for Go titles once she turns pro.

~ Pam
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2/5/10 4:23 A

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FEBRUARY 5, 2010

According to NHK World:
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ANNUAL SNOW FESTIVAL OPENS IN SAPPORO

The annual winter festival opened in Sapporo City, northern Japan, on Friday, attracting crowds of tourists who are braving the sub-zero temperatures.

The 61st Sapporo Snow Festival features 249 snow and ice sculptures at 3 sites in the prefectural capital of Hokkaido.

They include a 26-meter-high sculpture of the Church of Our Lady in Dresden, Germany. The church was bombed during World War Two and was rebuilt 5 years ago with donations collected from around the world.

Another sculpture is modeled after an ancient Korean palace from the Paekche Kingdom.

The temperature in Sapporo at 11 AM on Friday was minus 7.3 degrees Celsius. The organizers say the snow and ice sculptures are in good shape thanks to the freezing weather.

About 2 million people are expected to visit the festival that runs through February 11th.

~ Pam
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1/29/10 3:16 A

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JANUARY 29, 2010

According to NHK World:
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DIET PASSES 2009 SUPPLEMENTARY BUDGET

Japan's Diet has enacted a supplementary budget for the current fiscal year through March 31st that features an emergency stimulus worth 7.2 trillion yen, or about 80 billion dollars, and authorizes a huge issuance of deficit-covering bonds.

The extra budget -- the second for fiscal 2009 -- was approved at an Upper House plenary session on Thursday by a majority vote from the 3 governing coalition parties. The opposition New Komeito and another smaller party also supported the budget.

The stimulus package sets aside about 17.5 billion dollars to expand a government program for providing low-interest loans for small and mid-sized companies.

Another 6.8 billion dollars will be spent to help create jobs in the medical, nursing care, environment and agriculture industries.

The stimulus also includes an 8.6 billion-dollar program aimed at encouraging people to buy eco-friendly electronics, cars and houses.

The overall issuance of bonds in fiscal 2009 is reaching a record 593 billion dollars, as the government will issue more bonds to pay for the package amid a steep fall in tax revenues due to the economic downturn. The amount of bond issuance will exceed total tax revenues for the first time in 63 years.

With the passage of the supplementary budget, the ruling parties and the government will focus their efforts on passing the fiscal 2010 budget by the end of March -- before the start of the next fiscal year on April 1st.

~ Pam
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1/26/10 2:57 A

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JANUARY 26, 2010

According to NHK World:
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HIROSHIMA "BLACK RAIN" FELL OVER A WIDER AREA

A recent study has found that "black rain" that fell on Hiroshima after the atomic bombing spread over a wider area than it was originally believed.

Black rain, which is radioactive, fell over Hiroshima after the U.S. atomic bombing of the city in 1945.

It is believed that heavy rain fell in an oval-shaped pattern centered on Hiroshima, stretching 19 kilometers north-south, and light rain over a wider 29-kilometer area.

The city conducts free medical consultations for its citizens who were in the severe rain area.

But based on numerous reports of black rain falling on other parts of the city, the municipal government conducted a new survey with experts at Research Institute for Radiation Biology and Medicine, Hiroshima University.

The survey covered more than 1,800 people.

The survey showed that black rain fell on almost all areas of the city. The team also found that the center of the rainfall shifted gradually to the northwest as time passed.

Hiroshima is looking further into the results of the survey to call for improved assistance for the victims from the national government.

~ Pam
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1/22/10 2:35 A

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AMEN!

JANUARY 22,2010

According to NHK World:
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PREFECTURES DON'T WANT IMPORTED VACCINE

Japan's health ministry is likely to halt plans to provide prefectural authorities with foreign-produced vaccines for the new H1N1 influenza strain. NHK has learned most prefectures don't want the imported vaccines.

The ministry had been planning to issue imported vaccines to the prefectural authorities in the coming weeks in order to ease pressure on the domestically produced stocks of vaccines, and to ensure that everyone who wants to be vaccinated against the new flu can receive a dose.

But a survey by NHK of 47 prefectural authorities found only one -- Hiroshima -- is eager to receive supplies of imported vaccines. All of the others, apart from 2 that failed to reply, were lukewarm or against the idea, saying they have a sufficient stock of domestically produced vaccines.

Some prefectural authorities also expressed concern that doctors and health workers might unwittingly confuse the foreign and domestically produced vaccines when it comes to the manner of administration and doses.

Health minister Akira Nagatsuma told reporters last Tuesday that the ministry will look at renegotiating or terminating its contracts with foreign pharmaceutical firms which are supplying the flu vaccines.

~ Pam
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1/21/10 12:48 P

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Cool. That would be awesome. Way to go Japan!

Be master of mind rather than mastered by mind. ~Zen Proverb Quote


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JANUARY 21, 2010

According to NHK World:
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HIROSHIMA MAYOR MAKES ANTI-NUCLEAR APPEAL IN US

The mayor of Hiroshima City, which was hit by a US atomic bomb in 1945, has appealed for the abolishment of nuclear weapons at a meeting in Washington.

Tadatoshi Akiba told the US Conference of Mayors on Wednesday that their cooperation is crucial in raising public support for a nuclear-free world, as parties to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty are due to meet in New York in May to review the accord.

Akiba also expressed a wish to host the Summer Olympics in Hiroshima in 2020, the year the city hopes to see a world free of nuclear weapons. He said Hiroshima would like to invite members of the conference to the Games if his wish comes true.

Akiba described the participants as the engine driving toward a bright future, and concluded his speech with US President Barack Obama's trademark phrase, "Yes, we can."

Akiba is scheduled to visit the White House on Thursday with members of the US mayors' conference.

He told reporters he wants to convey to Obama that not only the citizens of Hiroshima, but people around the world are willing to make efforts to realize the president's proposal for a nuclear-free world.

~ Pam
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JANUARY 18, 2010

DRAGON BALL ACTOR DAISUKE GOURI REPORTEDLY PASSES AWAY
(posted on 2010-01-18 03:04 EST)

The Tokyo Shimbun paper reports that Daisuke Gouri, the voice actor best known for playing Robin Mask in the Kinnikuman television anime series as well as Umigame and Mr. Satan in the Dragon Ball franchise, has passed away in Tokyo on Sunday. He was 57.

The newspaper reports that Gouri was discovered, with blood dripping from his arm, by a passerby on a street in Nakano ward. Police officers at Nakano station are investigating his death as a possible suicide. According to the authorities, Gouri apparently collapsed face-down onto the street at about 3:00 p.m. The newspaper adds that a knife or similar object was found nearby along with a last will.

~ Pam
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'The Cove' named best documentary at U.S. Critics' Choice Awards... emoticon
Sunday 17th January, 04:54 AM JST

LOS ANGELES —
‘‘The Cove,’’ a U.S. documentary film about dolphin hunting in Japan’s Wakayama Prefecture, was named best documentary Friday at the Critics’ Choice Awards in Los Angeles. The film, directed by Louis Psihoyos, won the Best Documentary Feature award, beating four other nominated movies, including ‘‘Michael Jackson’s This Is It,’’ according to the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the largest film critics’ organization in the United States and Canada.

‘‘The Cove’’ shows the pains a special team put together by Psihoyos goes through to film the killing of dolphins by local fishermen in a hidden cove in the whaling town of Taiji, the main source of dolphins captured for entertainment use around the world and one of several regional areas in Japan where dolphin meat has traditionally been consumed.

After screenings in countries such as the United States and Australia, the movie prompted criticism of dolphin hunting in the western Japanese town. Local fishermen responded that it is part of a Japanese tradition.




rioriogirl

Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.

- Louisa May Alcott, author


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emoticon 15th anniversary for Hanshin Earthquake marked

Various memorial events are scheduled in and around Kobe on Sunday, to mark the 15th anniversary of the Great Hanshin Earthquake.

The massive quake killed more than 6,000 people and damaged thousands of buildings in Kobe and other areas of western Japan.

At a park in Kobe, candles stuck in bamboo containers were arranged to form the numbers 1-17, the date of the quake.

The candles will be lit before participants observe a moment of silence at 5:46 a.m. -- the exact time the earthquake struck 15 years ago.

Many communities have made a remarkable recovery. On the other hand, some people are still struggling to restore their livelihoods lost in the disaster.



rioriogirl

Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.

- Louisa May Alcott, author


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1/15/10 3:28 A

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JANUARY 15, 2010

According to NHK World:
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JAPANESE AID GROUPS HEADING TO HAITI

Japanese aid groups are heading to the quake-hit country Haiti to boost rescue and relief efforts.

2 members of the Japanese unit of the international medical aid group, Medecins Sans Frontieres, left for Haiti on Thursday afternoon. They are to be based in a local hospital and will procure food and drugs for victims of the quake.

The Association of Medical Doctors of Asia, or AMDA, also announced it will send a doctor and officials to Haiti to provide medical and relief support.

The Japan Platform, comprised of 32 NGOs working on humanitarian assistance, held a meeting on Thursday in Tokyo to discuss ways to offer help to the country.

It is planning to send about 10 members from numerous NGOs next week to look into the situation.

The Japanese Red Cross Society also sent one member on Wednesday to see how it could provide support.

~ Pam
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1/12/10 2:29 A

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JANUARY 12,2010

My son's birthday! emoticon

According to NHK World:
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COMING OF AGE CEREMONIES HELD ACROSS JAPAN

Coming of Age ceremonies took place across Japan on Monday, a national holiday for people who turned 20 in the past year.

The number of people born in the year from April 1989 was about 1.27 million -- a record low since comparable data became available.

In Machida City, western Tokyo, a ceremony organized by new 20-year-olds was held. Of the roughly 4,200 new adults, 2,200 took part. The ceremony included a performance by a local dance team and a beauty pageant for new adults.

The event is part of efforts to get new 20-year-olds interested in ceremonies. About 10 years ago, new adults' attempts to disrupt ceremonies became an issue.

Since then, municipalities nationwide have allowed new adults and other young people to organize ceremonies. Currently, more than 60 percent of local governments are making such attempts.

Yokohama City, near Tokyo, held a ceremony in the morning and another in the afternoon. More than 10,000 new adults attended the morning ceremony. In Yokohama, the number of people reaching the age of 20 in the past year was over 34,000, the most for any municipality in Japan this year.

In Urayasu City, east of Tokyo, over 1,100 people took part in a ceremony at Tokyo Disneyland.

~ Pam
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1/11/10 3:42 A

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ooooh! That sounds like MUCH more fun!

~ Pam
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1/11/10 1:41 A

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Tomorrow ~ January 11th is "Kagami-biraki" ~ cutting of the New Year's Rice Cake...more fun than "o-osouji"...big year end cleaning..just like "Spring Cleaning"

rioriogirl

Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.

- Louisa May Alcott, author


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1/10/10 8:44 P

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That's a beautiful article, Cheryl!
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JANUARY 10, 2010

According to NHK World:
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GOOD LUCK RACE HELD AT NISHINOMIYA SHRINE

In Nishinomiya, western Japan, crowds of men rushed through the compound of a Shinto shrine on Sunday to win the title of this year's luckiest man.

At 6 AM, the gate of Nishinomiya Shrine was opened to the sound of a big drum. The first group of 108 men, who were selected by lottery, started the 200 meter race towards the main shrine.

The New Year ritual is said to have begun about 2 centuries ago.

Before the early morning contest, a priest said prayers for the safety of the participants.

A 22 year old student won the race. He is in his third year at a sports science university and belongs to the school's track and field club.

He said he is glad to be the luckiest man, and hopes he will be lucky enough to qualify for the national track and field competition and achieve a good result.

The 3 top runners broke a sake barrel in front of the main shrine and served drinks to the people who wanted to share in their good luck.
emoticon emoticon

~ Pam
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Japanese cemetery in London restored to its former glory...Jan.9, 2010

LONDON (Kyodo) Japanese expats in London have finished restoring a cemetery containing the remains of their compatriots, many of whom could not be returned to their mother country due to war or economic circumstances.



Labor of love: Momoko Williams (left) and Sachiko Fujita clean up a Japanese cemetery in Hendon, north London, last month. The Japanese Residents' Association has been restoring the cemetery since 2006. KYODO PHOTO

Members of the Japanese Residents' Association have spent the last few years repairing the once dilapidated burial ground, which is contained within a larger cemetery in Hendon, north London. The Japanese plot is thought to contain at least 31 urns of ashes.

The association decided to act when they saw the state of the graveyard and realized that many of those buried there probably had no chance of getting back to their home country before they died.

They started work in 2006 on repairing uprooted paving stones and correcting subsiding lanterns. They also had to reinforce the central memorial stone, which had been shipped over from Japan in 1935 when the cemetery was first constructed.

The association, thanks to donations from the Japanese community and support from the Japanese Embassy, also installed new memorial boards that list a total of 150 Japanese who died in Britain between 1922 and 1984.

They have installed low-level wooden fencing and boxes for shrubs, planted a new cherry tree and built a separate memorial stone on behalf of the association that states: "Lived in this country, died in this land." Last year, a memorial bench was installed for visitors to sit peacefully and remember the deceased.

Association member and cemetery caretaker Momoko Williams, who has lived in Britain since the 1960s, said: "I knew immediately this is where I would like to be buried and it makes me feel peaceful. Given the state it was in, we thought it would be nice to restore it. Many of those buried here probably left Japan and never returned. And because of that we felt that they deserved to have a well-kept place of rest."

The plot was first acquired by the Japanese friendly society (dohokyosaikai) in 1919, and the cemetery was completed in 1936 and opened by then Ambassador and later Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida.

There are a total of 31 Japanese names and one English one listed on the burial stones, ranging between 1935 and 1959. The bulk of the burials occurred in the years before the war, but there are also some during the war, when many Japanese were held in internment centers.

Williams explained that some of the deceased were probably merchant seamen who came during World War I, when there was a shortage of mariners. Many married British women, which could explain the name of an English woman in the cemetery.

Fellow association member Sachiko Fujita said she liked to come and pray for the souls of the Japanese who had passed away. "Many of those who died were young and would have wanted to go home but couldn't," she said.

Until 1963, the dohokyosaikai looked after the cemetery, along with assistance from the embassy, but when the organization was dismantled it was left to a small band of volunteers to maintain the site.

In 1975, the embassy started employing a local woman to tend to the plot. In 1998, the association acquired the lease of the cemetery and started to look after it on a regular basis.

In 2006, the group held a memorial service at the cemetery that was attended by the Japanese ambassador.

In 2008, the ashes of the first chairman of the association, Masao Hirakubo, were scattered in the cemetery — one of only three so far to do so — and it is hoped more expatriates will follow suit in coming years.

Hirakubo lived most of his life in Britain and, as a war veteran, worked hard to foster reconciliation between British and Japanese ex-soldiers. The current chairman of the association is Keisaku Sano.

Each year, a Japanese Buddhist priest attends the site and prayers are said to honor the spirits of the dead.


rioriogirl

Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.

- Louisa May Alcott, author


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1/9/10 7:32 P

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I agree the small boat should have been pretty manuverable.

Shirley
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1/9/10 3:59 A

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The saga of the Sea Shepard vs Japanese Whalers continues.

JANUARY 9, 2010

According to NHK World [abridged]:
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SEA SHEPARD ACCUSES JAPANESE WHALERS OF PIRACY

The anti-whaling Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has lodged a piracy charge against Japanese whalers in the Netherlands, after Wednesday's collision between its high-speed boat and a Japanese whaling ship.

On Friday, the Sea Shepherd accused the skipper of the Japanese whaling ship Shonan Maru No. 2 and its crew of committing violence on the high seas. The speedboat Ady Gil, which was involved in the collision, sank later in Antarctic waters while being towed by another vessel owned by the group.

The group says it took legal action in the Netherlands, as one member of the Ady Gil's crew is a Dutch national and the group's flagship Steve Irwin is registered in that country.

Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson told NHK that the Japanese whaling ship deliberately collided with the Ady Gil, putting its crew in harms' way.

He also said the group will file a criminal complaint with both New Zealand and Australian legal authorities against the skipper for attempted murder on Monday.

BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!!

According to NHK World [abridged]:
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CROSSBOW ARROWS FOUND NEAR DAMAGED ADY GIL

Japan's fisheries agency says a Japanese whaling fleet has found crossbow arrows in Antarctic waters near a damaged boat belonging to the anti-whaling Sea Shepherd.

The agency says the fleet found on Friday 4 arrows that seem to be from the speedboat Ady Gil, which was severely damaged after its collision with a Japanese whaling vessel on Wednesday.

The agency says the boat was found drifting with a broken rope that was apparently used by another Sea Shepherd vessel towing the boat.

The fisheries ministry says dangerous action that threatens Japanese vessels and the lives and property of Japanese crewmembers is unpardonable.

The ministry says it will call on New Zealand and Australia to strictly regulate the activities of the anti-whaling group.

PAM COMMENT: I dunno, but the photo of the speedboat Ady Gil (before sinking) show a sleek, stealthy, shark-looking boat with what appears to be a skull and crossbones logo. Rather hard to believe it couldn't get out of the way of a whaling ship--if it wanted to...

Edited by: EX-WIMPIE at: 1/9/2010 (04:09)
~ Pam
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1/8/10 3:24 A

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Oh wow, Cheryl! That's an ugly confrontation.

And... somebody could have mentioned that I was still typing "DECEMBER" in my headings instead of "JANUARY!" I feel stupid.
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JANUARY 8, 2010

According to NHK World:
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RECORD 81 COPPER MIRRORS FOUND IN ANCIENT TOMB

Japanese archaeologists say they have unearthed at least 81 copper mirrors from an ancient burial mound in Sakurai City, near Osaka, the largest-ever single find from one tomb. They say the size of the find indicates it was a ruler who was buried there.

Nara Prefecture's archaeological institute last year began examining the Sakurai Chausu-yama tomb, believed to have been built in the early 4th century. The 200-meter-long key-hole-shaped burial mound was first excavated 60 years ago.

The archaeologists say that they found more than 300 broken pieces of copper mirrors, which were status symbols in Japan's ancient dynasty. They say they confirmed the fragments are those of at least 13 different types of mirrors.
The chief curator at the Chikatsu Asuka Museum in Osaka, Taichiro Shiraishi, says that he was surprised at the number and variety of the mirrors. He says the discovery clearly shows that the tomb was built for the then Japanese ruler.

~ Pam
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January 7, 2010

Sea Shepherd boat crippled when struck by whaler
SYDNEY/TOKYO (Kyodo) A high-tech "stealth" boat operated by the Sea Shepherd antiwhaling group was damaged Wednesday in a collision with a Japanese whaling fleet vessel in Antarctic waters, with each side blaming the other for the incident.

Paul Watson, head of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, told Kyodo News the Shonan Maru No. 2, a vessel sent by Japan to ensure the security of its whaling fleet, deliberately rammed his group's A$2 million (US$1.8 million) vessel Ady Gil and "sheared the bow right off."

"It ripped 8 feet (2.5 meters) of the front of the vessel off," Watson said. "At this point it does not look salvageable. It's taking on water."

According to his account, both vessels has been stationary in the water when the Shonan Maru No. 2 started up and then steered deliberately into the Ady Gil, which had been harassing the fleet, at around 3:50 p.m. Australian time.

One of the Ady Gil's six crew members sustained several cracked ribs in the incident, he said, adding that five crew members were evacuated, but its captain remained onboard "trying to see what he can do to salvage the vessel . . . or at least some of the equipment."

Watson, speaking from aboard the ship Steve Irwin, also said Sea Shepherd put out a mayday distress signal "but the Japanese fleet refused to acknowledge that and just kept going. It was a hit and run."

The Japanese Fisheries Agency blamed the collision on Sea Shepherd, saying the Shonan Maru No. 2 crew had tried to ward off the approaching Ady Gil with water cannon but the antiwhaling vessel employed maneuvers such as suddenly reducing speed, which resulted in the collision.

Glenn Inwood, the spokesman for the Institute of Cetacean Research, said that according to his report the Ady Gil was idling in the water and then went "full steam ahead" to cut off Shonan Maru No.2. He said the Ady Gil skipper miscalculated and the "fault lies" with Sea Shepherd vessel for the collision.

According to Watson, the Shonan Maru No. 2 has been "particularly aggressive" this year after it earlier tried to damage the activists' helicopter. "I think their order this year is to try and cause material damage to the ships."

The incident came after Japan's semiofficial Institute of Cetacean Research reported earlier Wednesday that the Ady Gil's crew had launched projectiles at the Nisshin Maru, the mother ship of Japan's whaling fleet.

It said the high-tech Ady Gil had come "to collision distance directly in front of the Nisshin Maru bow repeatedly deploying and towing a rope from its stern with the intent to entangle the Japanese vessel's rudder and propeller."

The institute condemned Sea Shepherd for "extremist actions" that threaten the safety of the Japanese whalers.

"Their actions are nothing but felonious behavior," it charged.

In a statement on his organization's website, Watson said, "The Japanese have now escalated this conflict very violently."

"If they think that our remaining two ships will retreat from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in the face of their extremism, they will be mistaken," he added.

The Japanese Fisheries Agency said Wednesday's protest activities by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society marked the fourth time this season for it to obstruct the operations of Japan's whaling fleet in Antarctic waters.

Sea Shepherd has sent three vessels for this year's operation, including the Steve Irwin and a surprise appearance, the Bob Barker, a former Norwegian Antarctic whaling vessel that the group said caught the Japanese "completely off guard."

"The objective of Sea Shepherd's three-ship campaign is to bankrupt the illegal Japanese whaling fleet and to sink them economically," it said.

Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett called for calm after the incident, which occurred in the area of Commonwealth Bay off the Adelie Coast of Antarctica.

"It's critical for safety at sea to be the highest priority and for the absolute and utmost restraint to be exercised by all parties in this very remote and inhospitable region," he said.

He said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority had not been asked to respond to the collision, adding Australia had no immediate plans to send a vessel to monitor the situation.

Meanwhile, local media reports Wednesday said Japan has been chartering flights from Australia to monitor the location of the Sea Shepherd antiwhaling vessels in the Southern Ocean.

Watson claimed the planes are being charted illegally by Glenn Inwood, the spokesman for the Institute of Cetacean Research.

"We actually caught him in a bit of a bind because he misrepresented himself to the charter company saying he was a representative of the New Zealand government," he told Kyodo News.

Inwood, when asked about the allegation, answered, "No comment."

Acting Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Australia is seeking legal advice on the matter.

"I make it very clear on behalf of the Australian Government we do not condone this action by the Japanese Government," she said.



rioriogirl

Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.

- Louisa May Alcott, author


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1/7/10 2:12 A

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JANUARY 7, 2010

This is "Eat your porridge day!"

According to NHS World:
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TRADITIONAL NEW YEAR PORRIDGE SERVED IN TOKYO

Farmers in Tokyo served traditional rice porridge with 7 spring herbs for 1,000 diners on Thursday.

January 7th is the day many people in Japan eat the dish to pray for good health in the New Year.

A group of farmers in northern Tokyo organized the event. The farmers cooked 120 kilograms of vegetables and 30 kilograms of rice for about an hour to prepare the porridge. Five huge pots were mobilized, each measuring one meter in diameter.

The porridge was cooked according to a recipe handed down among local farmers. It includes locally-produced taros and carrots as well as rice cake to make the dish sweeter.

The porridge was served free of charge, and all 1,000 servings were gone in just one hour.

A fifth grader who lives in the neighborhood said that the porridge was delicious, with a nice taste of vegetables.

Edited by: EX-WIMPIE at: 1/8/2010 (03:18)
~ Pam
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1/5/10 2:37 A

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Yeah, I thought those elephants were pretty amazing too!
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JANUARY 5, 2010

According to NHK World:
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KYOTO CITY WORKERS WEAR KIMONO ON FIRST WORK DAY

About 200 city employees of the ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto wore kimono to work on Monday, the first working day of the New Year.

The idea was to help promote the city's kimono industry, which has been hit hard by the recession.

The city office says yuzen-dyed fabrics produced in Kyoto during the 2008 business year amounted to only 3.7 percent of output in 1971, when the industry was at its peak. Many kimono businesses are suffering in the severe economic downturn.

The municipal office plans to exhibit locally produced kimono at a fashion show for young people in Tokyo in March to encourage more people to wear the traditional Japanese clothing.


Edited by: EX-WIMPIE at: 1/8/2010 (03:19)
~ Pam
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Pretty smart elephants !!

rioriogirl

Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.

- Louisa May Alcott, author


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1/3/10 8:38 P

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JANUARY 3, 2010

According to NHK World:
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ELEPHANTS AT ZOO TRY NEW YEAR'S CALLIGRAPHY

Two elephants at a zoo in Yokohama, near Tokyo, have tried their trunks at New Year's calligraphy to the delight of visitors.

On Sunday, the female elephants took part in the annual event at the Yokohama Zoological Gardens Zoorasia.

15-year-old "Shurry" skillfully used her trunk to draw with a brush the number "10," part of the year 2010, drawing cheers from onlookers.

18-year-old "Chamerry" used a bamboo broom as a brush to draw vertical lines in black and red ink that looked like a dragon ascending to heaven.

A woman from Tokorozawa City, outside Tokyo, said she wants her sons, who will try calligraphy soon, to emulate the elephants.

The elephants were later each given 2 kilograms of bread as a New Year's gift. They finished eating in about one minute.

It's a Japanese custom to practice calligraphy at the start of the year.

Edited by: EX-WIMPIE at: 1/8/2010 (03:20)
~ Pam
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From JapanToday...

Emperor, empress receive New Year's greetings at Imperial Palace
Friday 01st January, 03:08 PM JST

TOKYO —
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on Friday received New Year’s greetings from other imperial family members and government leaders at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

Among the well-wishers were Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, Prince Akishino and his wife Princess Kiko, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, heads of the Diet’s two chambers and the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

‘‘It is certainly a pleasure to celebrate the New Year together,’’ Emperor Akihito told his guests. ‘‘At the beginning of the year, I pray for the development of the nation and happiness of the people.’‘

In the afternoon, ambassadors and proxies from about 120 countries—some of them dressed in national costumes—visited the emperor, empress and other imperial family members at the palace to exchange greetings


rioriogirl

Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.

- Louisa May Alcott, author


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12/31/09 10:08 P

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JANUARY 1, 2010

According to NHK World:
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TOKYO'S MEIJI SHRINE CROWDED ON NEW YEAR'S DAY

Shrines and temples across Japan are crowded with worshippers praying for good luck in the coming year.

At Tokyo's Meiji Shrine, many worshippers started queuing at around 9 PM on New Years Eve.
The famous landmark attracts the largest number of New Year's visitors of all shrines in Japan.

After a drumbeat signaled the arrival of 2010, people threw money into the offertory box and said prayers.

Some visitors bought charms to ward off bad luck, while others wrote wishes on wooden plaques.

A Tokyo couple in their 40s said so many things happened to them last year but they managed and now wish for good health in the coming year.

A 19-year-old university student from the outskirts of Tokyo said he had great luck last year, passing an entrance exam and getting a girlfriend. He said he is determined to study hard this year in order to become a physiotherapist.

Meiji Shrine officials say they expect about 3 million visitors during the first 3 days of January.

~ Pam
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Thursday 31st December, 03:00 PM JST

Customers line up to enter a Wendy’s restaurant in Shinjuku on Thursday, the last day of business for the hamburger chain’s 71 outlets in Japan. Zensho, which acquired the Wendy’s franchise in Japan from Daiei in 2002, ended its agreement with Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc in November. It decided not to renew its contract in order to concentrate on its other chains, which include the Sukiya chain of ‘‘gyudon’’ beef bowl restaurants. Wendy’s has been in Japan for 30 years.


rioriogirl

Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.

- Louisa May Alcott, author


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12/28/09 7:01 P

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I doubt that was coincidental either. Very twisted of America.

DECEMBER 28, 2009

According to NHK World:
emoticon
MAJOR MAKERS ANTICIPATE TEMP STAFF BAN

In anticipation of the possible ban, major manufacturers have begun to switch from using temporary staff dispatched from job agencies to hiring workers through direct contracts.

Office equipment maker, Ricoh, has signed 6-month-long contracts directly with more than half of the 600 temp employees at one of its plants.

More than 200 of the remaining temp staff were moved to a Ricoh subcontractor after Ricoh commissioned part of its work to it.

Mitsubishi Motors has decided not to use any non-permanent workers. Since September, its 2 plants have bypassed job agencies to hire 650 people directly.

There are concerns that smaller manufacturers will not be able to secure sufficient workers if the government decides to impose the ban.

More makers are expected to move jobs to overseas plants because the ban will make it difficult to cope easily with fluctuating order volumes.

~ Pam
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12/26/09 12:09 A

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and also the controversial executions of Japanese War Criminals...like Tojo..done by the Americans...on then Prince's birthday...now the Emperor emoticon

Just after midnight on Dec 23, 1949—60 years ago this week—former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo and six other wartime leaders and military commanders convicted of Class A war crimes by the Tokyo Tribunal were executed by hanging in Tokyo’s Sugamo Prison.

Writing in the year’s final issue of Shukan Gendai (Dec 26-Jan 2), award-winning author and Tokyo vice governor Naoki Inose states his conviction that the timing of the executions was not coincidental.

Dec 23, 1949 also happened to be the 15nth birthday of Crown Prince Akihito. A formal ceremony to observe the event was to be held at the palace. But so shaken was Emperor Hirohito upon being informed of the executions, he reportedly spent the rest of the day in seclusion.

Inose is convinced that Supreme Commander Allied Powers General Douglas MacArthur must certainly have been aware the date coincided with the crown prince’s birthday, with the implication that the staging of the executions on Dec 23 was intended to serve as a “delayed action device.” In MacArthur’s mind, when Crown Prince Akihito eventually ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne and Dec 23 became a public holiday, Japanese would receive a not-so-subtle annual reminder that the Allies chose not to press the issue of responsibility for the war on the emperor and other members of the imperial family.

As it turned out, MacArthur’s stratagem was foiled by Hirohito’s longevity. By the time the emperor’s birthday became a new public holiday on Dec 23, 1989, few Japanese still recalled the convergence of the executions and the emperor’s birthday.

Inose’s book, titled, “Jimmy no Tanjobi, Amerika ga Tenno Akihito ni Kizanda ‘Shi no Ango’” (Jimmy’s birthday; the ‘code of death’ that America inscribed into Emperor Akihito) was released last month by Bungeishunju. “Jimmy” was the name given to the present emperor by Elizabeth Gray Vining, his English tutor and author of “Windows for the Crown Prince.”

Inose’s inspiration for the book was a letter he received from a young woman, who refers to the final entry in the diary of her grandmother, a former aristocrat. Dated Dec 7, 1948, it simply read, “I’m worried about Jimmy’s birthday.”

If there’s one person who has certainly not forgotten the significance of Dec 23, Inose asserts, it is Emperor Akihito himself. That is why from years ago, he went out of his way to visit battlegrounds in places like Okinawa and Saipan to pray for the spirits of the war victims.

“This,” writes Inose, “is the cross that MacArthur inscribed on his own birthday, of which he is fully aware.”

Once when lecturing at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Inose asked about 50 students if they had reviewed Japanese history while in high school. Only four replied in the affirmative. This collective disregard for its own history, he complains, is turning Japan into “one big Disneyland.” While American soldiers armed with machine guns guard the gates, Japanese have become detached from reality and withdrawn into their own virtual worlds.

To avoid national decline, Japanese must come to terms with their own history, Inose asserts, adding, “We all subsist atop the geologic strata of history. And if we look closely beneath us, it becomes evident that it is not only emperors who shoulder the burden of history, but we ourselves


Edited by: RIORIOGIRL at: 12/26/2009 (00:29)
rioriogirl

Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.

- Louisa May Alcott, author


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12/23/09 2:16 A

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DECEMBER 23, 2009

emoticon emoticon EMPEROR'S BIRTHDAY!! emoticon emoticon

According to NHK World:
emoticon
EMPEROR GREETS PUBLIC ON 76TH BIRTHDAY

The Emperor of Japan turned 76 on Wednesday. He greeted many well wishers at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

Under the clear blue sky, thousands of people entered the Palace compound as the gates opened at around 9:30 in the morning.

The Emperor, Empress, Crown Prince and Princess, and Prince and Princess Akishino appeared on the palace balcony three times in the morning to greet a total of about 24,000 well wishers.

The Emperor thanked people for coming on his birthday, saying this year marks his 20th year on the throne and his 50th year of marriage. He expressed concern for people having a hard time in the current economic climate.
He also wished everyone good health and a happy new year.

The Imperial Palace accepted congratulatory signatures from well-wishers in the afternoon.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, the heads of both houses of Diet, and other public figures will visit the emperor before he is honored at a banquet.

~ Pam
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12/22/09 3:15 A

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DECEMBER 22, 2009

According to NHK World:
emoticon
CITRON BATHING ON THE WINTER SOLSTICE

Guests at a hot spring resort north of Tokyo plunged into an outdoor bath on Tuesday that was filled with 2,010 citrons, the same number as the coming year.

Every year on the winter solstice, a Japanese-style inn located in the city of Nikko offers a hot spring bath with citrons, or Chinese lemons --- also known as yuzu in Japan.

The annual event is based on the tradition that taking a bath with citrons on this day will prevent colds for the year.

The inn put 2,010 yuzu for the coming year and 21 banpeiyu, the largest citrus grown in Japan, to mark the 21st century, into its open-air bath.

Guests enjoyed soaking themselves among the bright yellow fruit bobbing in the spa water.

A female patron said she comes to the event every year because she enjoys the fragrance of the citron bath and it also makes her skin smooth.

~ Pam
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12/20/09 3:10 A

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Earthquakes--SCARY! I live in Minnesota and we don't experience earthquakes. Tornadoes and floods, yes, earthquakes, no.

DECEMBER 20,2009

According to NHK World:
emoticon
NOGUCHI PREPARES FOR SOYUZ LAUNCH

Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi says he feels honored to leave for outer space from the same launch pad that was used by Yuri Gagarin, the first human to orbit the Earth.

Noguchi, along with his 2 colleagues from America and Russia, spoke to reporters on Saturday near the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

On Monday, they are due to blast off from the Kazakh base aboard the Russian-made Soyuz spacecraft, headed for the International Space Station.

Noguchi said that he is delighted to be able to go into space after completing a long training session with his fellow astronauts.

He compared the Soyuz craft to elaborate Russian traditional handicrafts.

Noguchi will be the first Japanese to travel to the space station on board a Russian spaceship.

He will stay at the orbiting outpost for about 5 months---the longest to date for a Japanese astronaut.

He said he wants to work in harmony with the station's crew, and added that he plans to serve them sushi in space.
emoticon

~ Pam
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12/19/09 2:45 P

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Wow! When an Earthquake happened in Japan while I lived there it felt like my house was riding the sandy waves of a beach. weird. I would just sit still and try to guess if it would escalate and if I was going to have to run for cover.

Now when driving you see the road move. weird.

Be master of mind rather than mastered by mind. ~Zen Proverb Quote


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12/18/09 2:25 A

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DECEMBER 18, 2009

According to NHK World:
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EARTHQUAKES JOLT CENTRAL JAPAN

An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 5.1 struck off the Izu Peninsula, west of Tokyo, on Friday morning. A series of tremors has continued in areas around Tokyo since late Thursday night.

The Meteorological Agency says the quake at 8:45 AM registered an intensity of 5 minus on the Japanese seismic scale of 0 to 7 in Ito City, Shizuoka Prefecture. The focus is estimated to be off the eastern coast of the peninsula.

At 11:45 PM on Thursday, a quake with a magnitude of 5.0 hit the same city. Seven people were injured in the 2 quakes. There have been more than 40 quakes with magnitudes of up to 4 near the peninsula since then.

And at 5:41 AM on Friday, an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.1 jolted Nikko in Tochigi prefecture and other parts of the northern Kanto region, including Tokyo.

~ Pam
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12/13/09 2:32 A

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DECEMBER 13, 2009

According to NHK World:
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SENDAI PAGEANT OF STARLIGHT BEGINS

The night sky over the city of Sendai, in northern Japan, has taken on a seasonal glow as hundreds of thousand of lights decorating trees along a boulevard have been switched on.

The lightshow is part of the 24th Sendai Pageant of Starlight.

Volunteers helped string up the 600,000 lights covering 190 zelkova trees. The trees are a feature of the Tohoku region's capital.

A switching-on-ceremony was held on Jozenji Street on Saturday evening. Pedestrians cheered during the countdown and a loud roar could be heard when the lights were switched on.

The event's executive committee said this year they used energy-saving LED lights for one third of the lights.

The pageant will continue every night until New Year's Eve. The committee expects some 2.8 million people will visit.

~ Pam
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12/10/09 3:48 A

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DECEMBER 10, 2009

According to NHK World:
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SCHOOLS CUT WINTER RECESS TO MAKE UP FOR CLASSES

Schools across Japan are planning to shorten their winter vacations to make up for class cancellations due to the outbreak of the H1N1 influenza.

A junior high school in Akita Prefecture, northern Japan, plans to cut its winter vacation by 4 days to hold classes for its second-year students, who missed 5 school days. The school says its first- and third-year students' breaks will also be cut, by 2 days.

The vice principal of the school says it does not want to hold additional classes while it is in session, as doing so would likely affect extracurricular activities.

NHK has learned from school boards across the nation that a total of 667 elementary and junior high schools in at least 19 municipalities have decided to shorten their upcoming breaks.

The number is expected to rise, as many other schools affected by the flu outbreak are considering similar measures.

~ Pam
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12/7/09 2:13 A

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DECEMBER 7, 2009

emoticon TODAY IN HISTORY emoticon

December 7, 1941:
Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, "a date that will live in infamy"

~ Pam
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12/6/09 1:50 A

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DECEMBER 6, 2009

According to NHK World:
emoticon
RICE FROM SHRINE'S FARM PREPARED FOR SAKE BREWING

A brewery in Chiba Prefecture, neighboring Tokyo, has begun making sake ahead of the New Year, using rice harvested in a farm owned by a Shinto shrine.

The brewery was established nearly 250 years ago.
For the first time this year, it is making sake, or Japanese rice wine, jointly with the Tamasaki Shrine.

On Saturday, a ceremony was held in an old cellar to prepare for sake-making. Brewers and 15 local people used oar-like sticks to mix 80 kilograms of rice and 15 kilograms of koji mold in a barrel and start the fermentation process.

The barrel is large enough to produce about 300 bottles of sake, and some of it will be offered to visitors who come to the shrine during the New Year holidays.

A man who participated in the ceremony said he hopes the sake will help attract many visitors to the town.

An executive of the brewery, Takako Akiba, said she hopes visitors to the shrine will savor the taste of the special sake.
emoticon emoticon

~ Pam
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12/5/09 9:42 P

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DECEMBER 5, 2009

According to NHK World:
emoticon

24% OF JAPANESE SEE GENDER INEQUALITY IN OFFICE

A government survey shows that 24 percent of people feel gender inequality in the workplace exists while 44 percent say men and women are legally and politically equal.

The Cabinet Office interviewed 5,000 people aged 20 or older in October. 65 percent responded.

Asked about gender equality, 44 percent said they feel men and women are equal, the highest since 1992 when the survey began.

However, asked about promotions, a total of 62 percent said they feel men definitely move up faster, or relatively faster, into better positions than women.

Only 24 percent said men and women have the same chance in the workplace.

The Cabinet Office says people feel that inequality in the workplace remains. It says companies must give women more opportunities and must hire those who are returning to the workplace after child-bearing or child-rearing.

~ Pam
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12/4/09 2:59 A

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DECEMBER 4,2009

According to NHK World:
emoticon
KOBE ADORNED WITH COLORFUL ILLUMINATIONS
Kobe city in western Japan has been adorned with colorful illuminations, drawing crowds of visitors.

The annual Kobe Luminarie festival, featuring 200,000 light bulbs, opened on Thursday in the city that was devastated by the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995.

The event was started that year to pray for the victims and Kobe's reconstruction.

One venue at the festival features displays of art objects using multicolored lights. Exhibits this year are based on the theme "embracing light."

Organizers estimate that the 12-day event through December 14th will draw 4 million visitors.

This year, corporate sponsorship of the festival is down due to the economic slowdown. Organizers are soliciting donations from visitors to keep the event going.


According to NHK World [Abridged]:
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SUGAR AND LACTIC ACID EFFECTIVE AGAINST NEW FLU

Japanese researchers say a sugar molecule and lactic acid mix may prevent people infected with the new influenza from developing severe symptoms.

Professor Tadaaki Miyazaki of Hokkaido University's Research Center for Zoonosis Control announced the results of his experiment at a news conference in Sapporo on Thursday.

Miyazaki said his research team gave fluid from yeast containing a sugar molecule called beta-glucan, and a special lactic acid to mice infected with the H1N1 virus.

He said 75 percent of the mice survived, while all those not given the dose died. He added that no weight loss was observed in some mice, indicating little risk of side effects.

[PAM COMMENT: Let's see, muscles produce lactic acid during exercise, candy has sugar, so... if we eat candy while exercising we won't have problems with the H1N1 virus!]
emoticon

~ Pam
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12/3/09 1:12 A

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The article didn't provide the Japanese translations for those terms. I cut and pasted the article without any editing or abridging--they just weren't there.

Thanks for the info about the NPR morning show!

By the way, everyone, whenever I trim an article from NHK World, it will display as "According to NHK World [abridged]," and whenever I include the full article, it will display as "According to NHK World."

~ Pam
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12/2/09 12:26 P

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What were the japanese translations for "fast fashion" and " the new type of influenza. If you go to NPR's morning show you can her a story from last week on the" vegetable- eating boys."

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12/2/09 1:59 A

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DECEMBER 2, 2009

According to NHK World:
emoticon
JAPAN'S MOST POPULAR WORDS FOR 2009 ANNOUNCED

The words "seiken kotai", meaning "a change of government" tops the list of the 10 most popular words of 2009 in Japan.

A publishing company in Tokyo announced the annual award of the most popular words on Tuesday. A panel of 5 judges, including well-known literary figures, chose words that were much talked about or words that reflect the year.

The grand prize for 2009 went to the words "seiken kotai". It's a catchphrase the Democratic Party used on the cover of leaflets featuring its election manifesto. Its straightforward expression was a factor behind the party's landslide victory in the lower house election in August.

The top ten words also include the phrase "jigyo shiwake" or "screening of budget requests". A government team has recently completed the screening of fiscal 2009 budget requests, a process meant to eliminate wasteful spending.

Also among the top ten is "datsu-kanryo", which means ceasing to rely on bureaucrats. It's another campaign slogan the Democrats adopted in appealing for voter support with a pledge not to rely on bureaucrats once they took power.

The top 10 also includes "haken giri", which means the "suspension or firing of temporary workers" reflecting Japan's economic recession. Another winner is words meaning "the new type of influenza".

Also selected are the words "soushoku-danshi", or "vegetable-eating boys", a popular phrase referring to young men who are kind and willing to work with others and family-minded, but are not keen to seek a girlfriend.

Another winner is the coined word "reki-jo" which refers to young women who are enthusiastic about visiting historical sites and learning about warrior heroes in feudal periods of Japan. "Fast fashion" was another popular word that perhaps reflects the current economic situation, meaning "low-priced, easy-to-wear clothing".

~ Pam
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12/1/09 1:38 A

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DECEMBER 1, 2009

According to NHK World:
emoticon
JAPAN READIES NEW ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE

The Japanese government will compile a new economic stimulus package this week to be included in a 2nd supplementary budget for the current fiscal year.

In a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the government decided to prop up the Japanese economy in a concerted effort with the Bank of Japan.

The government believes that the current deflationary trend and sharp appreciation of the yen against the dollar may adversely affect the Japanese economy, which has been showing signs of recovery.

In addition to the new stimulus, the government will also put in place deregulation measures to help spur demand.

At a news conference after the meeting, National Strategy Minister Naoto Kan said that sending a square message to financial markets on the government's economic stance will favorably affect the markets.

He says more powerful steps than initially expected need to be included in the 2nd supplementary budget and that fiscal and financial steps should be taken as a package.

The government plans to draw up a 2nd extra budget worth more than 2.7 trillion yen or about 30 billion dollars to support the economy.

[PAM COMMENT: So it's not just the U.S. government doing economic stimulus packages!]
emoticon

~ Pam
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11/30/09 12:23 A

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NOVEMBER 30, 2009

According to NHK World [abridged]:
emoticon
HATOYAMA, OKINAWA GOVERNOR DISCUSS US BASE ISSUE
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima have discussed the pending relocation of a US military base in the southernmost prefecture.

The meeting took place at the Prime Minister's official residence in Tokyo on Monday.

[PAM COMMENT: Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is HOT!]
emoticon

Edited by: EX-WIMPIE at: 12/1/2009 (01:26)
~ Pam
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11/29/09 2:26 A

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NOVEMBER 29, 2009

According to NHK World:
emoticon
HADAKABO FESTIVAL HELD AT SHRINE IN HOFU
A wild shrine-carrying festival was held in western Japan on Saturday, with more than 4,000 men taking part.

The Hadakabo festival originated in the early 10th century reception of a scholar and politician, Sugawara no Michizane, by local people when he visited the area.

About 4,500 men dressed in white carried a portable shrine and then dropped it on a stone stairway at Hofu Tenmangu Shrine.

The mobile shrine weighing about 500 kilograms is believed to carry the soul of the scholar and bring good luck when touched.

The participants wrestled one another, yelling and screaming, eager to touch the shrine. A 36-year-old woman from the area said she could well see how excited the men were. She added that she would have taken part in the event if she were a man. [PAM COMMENT: She could see how EXCITED the men were???]

Hofu Tenmangu Shrine says the event attracted about 110,000 people.

Edited by: EX-WIMPIE at: 11/29/2009 (02:27)
~ Pam
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11/25/09 2:28 A

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NOVEMBER 25, 2009

According to NHK World [abridged]
emoticon
JAPAN, US HOLD TALKS OVER FUTENMA ISSUE
Senior officials of Japan's foreign and defense ministries are visiting Washington to discuss ways to seek an early settlement of the issue of relocating a US military air base in Okinawa.

The officials met US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell on Tuesday, with Cabinet Secretariat official in charge of diplomatic policy, Kiyoshi Sugawa, in attendance.

The Japanese officials said there are increasing calls for reaching a conclusion on the issue by the end of this year as it's necessary to decide how much funds should be allocated for relocating the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in next fiscal year's draft budget.

They also said that the government wants the US to implement measures to cut noise near US bases in Okinawa if the 2 countries decide to implement the existing agreement.


emoticon TODAY IN HISTORY emoticon
NOVEMBER 25, 2009:
690 earthquake shocks are recorded in one day (Ito Japan)

Edited by: EX-WIMPIE at: 11/25/2009 (02:36)
~ Pam
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11/24/09 2:17 A

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NOVEMBER 24, 2009

According to NHK World [abridged]:
emoticon
WORK BEGINS ON JAPAN'S LARGEST SOLAR POWER PLANT
A ground-breaking ceremony has been held in Osaka Prefecture, western Japan, for one of the country's largest solar power plants.

The plant, to be built on reclaimed land in the town of Sakai by Kansai Electric Power Company, will have about 70,000 solar panels covering about 20 hectares.
It's expected to generate 10,000 kilowatts of electricity, which is enough to supply about 3,000 households.

About 60 people prayed for construction safety in Tuesday's ground-breaking ceremony.

emoticon
GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS REACH RECORD HIGH
The World Meteorological Organization, or WMO, says the average global concentration of greenhouse gases in 2008 reached the highest levels recorded.

The WMO says that last year's globally averaged mixing ratio of carbon dioxide was 385.2 ppm, up 0.51 percent from the previous year.

Last year's increase in carbon dioxide was slightly larger than the average rise for the last 10 years. The WMO says this is mainly due to burning fossil fuels.

Japan's Meteorological Agency says greenhouse gases are certainly increasing, as seen in the rise of methane, which was once in decline. The agency also says the world needs to step up its long-term efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.

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NOVEMBER 24,1939:
Japan - Yoshinobu Miyake was born. Winner of Gold Medals in the 1964 and 1968 Olympics, featherweight class.

~ Pam
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11/23/09 1:50 A

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NOVEMBER 23, 2009

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LABOR THANKSGIVING DAY
Labor Thanksgiving Day (Kinro Kansha No Hi) has been a national public holiday in honour of labour since 1948. It is on the same date as the traditional harvest festival (Niinamasai) when the emperor used to offer freshly harvested rice to the gods on behalf of the nation. Nagano Prefecture hold a major reflective event on this day, but events are also held elsewhere in Japan.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY, JAPAN!

NOVEMBER 23,2009
According to NHK World:
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JAPANESE ADULTS TO TAKE OECD ACADEMIC TESTS
Japanese adults will take a scholastic ability test that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, will introduce in 2011. Japan's Education Ministry says the international comparison among adult populations will help improve its education and vocational training policies.
The OECD will test people between 16 and 65 years of age on reading, math and the ability to interpret charts and solve problems using information technology. The test, called the Program for International Assessment of Adult Competencies, will examine 5,000 people from each country. Twenty-five nations including Japan, the United States, Britain and South Korea are to take part.

The OECD will analyze how test scores relate to takers' earnings and academic and professional backgrounds. It will announce the results in 2013.

The OECD conducts a similar test on 15-year-olds every three years.

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NOVEMBER 23, 1942:
Japan bombs Port Darwin, Australia.

Edited by: EX-WIMPIE at: 11/23/2009 (16:56)
~ Pam
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11/22/09 10:37 P

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S_LO_15, I think the Fun Facts is a great idea! I'm wondering if it would be better as a separate thread than as part of the "Today in Japan" thread. What do people think?

Also, I have to mention that I'm already spending too much time on SparkPeople, so I don't know that I'll be making daily entries on "Today in Japan". Adding Fun Facts either as a part of this thread or as a new thread would be a whenever-I-get-around-to-it situation.

Of course, OTHER people are HIGHLY encouraged to add information and fun facts, too...
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~ Pam
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11/22/09 11:33 A

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Sorry! Sure I can.

www.jlist.com/

It's place where you can buy all sorts of goodies from Japan, but you can also sign up for their newsletter. I have gotten green tea kit kat from this site before and it was awesome! But side note, do not order it in the summer since it gets to you all melty!



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11/22/09 11:24 A

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What's J-List and can you give us a link to it.

S_LO_15's Photo S_LO_15 Posts: 79
11/22/09 8:41 A

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Great Idea Pam! I subscribe to the J-List weekly e-mail newsletter and it's not always news, but just fun, unique facts about Japan that many westerners didn't know. So maybe some fun facts too? I know I am asking alot of you emoticon



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11/22/09 3:15 A

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This new thread will briefly cover a Japanese current news item, historical event, or holiday. Please add to it with information or opinions!

NOVEMBER 22, 2009

According to NHK World [abridged]:
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FLU EPIDEMIC EXPANDS DEMAND FOR MASKS
Demand for face masks in Japan has doubled this year due to the H1N1 flu epidemic. The surge in demand has led companies to step up production.

Leading healthcare company Unicharm says domestic demand for masks began to increase in May, when the first case of the new flu was confirmed in Japan. It says this year's market for masks is expected to top 887 million dollars, twice the size it was last year.

Meanwhile, a government survey on the effect of the new flu in schools has found the number of school excursion cancellations or delays this autumn declined significantly from the figure for spring.

The education ministry says the decrease was probably due to proper handling of the infections at each school. It surveyed public elementary, junior high and high schools around the nation on their school trip plans between July and October.

220 schools, or 2.8 percent, either cancelled or delayed their plans after the H1N1 flu spread among students. In a previous survey, 3,255 schools, or 22 percent, said they either cancelled or delayed May and June school trips.

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TAKAHASHI WINS SILVER AT SKATE CANADA
Japanese figure skater Daisuke Takahashi has won the silver medal in men's singles at Skate Canada, the final event of the Grand Prix series.

Takahashi led the free program on Saturday after finishing 2nd in Friday's short program. But his total score was not enough to overtake the front-runner, Jeremy Abbott of the United States.

In women's singles, Japan's Akiko Suzuki came in 5th. Canada's Joannie Rochette won the event.

As a result, Takahashi and Suzuki can now compete in the Grand Prix final in Tokyo next month, which is also a qualifying event for Japanese skaters for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Japan's Nobunari Oda and Miki Ando have already qualified for the event.

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NOVEMBER 22, 1908:
The 1st US-Japanese baseball game. Reach All-Americans defeated Waseda U, 5-0.

Edited by: EX-WIMPIE at: 11/22/2009 (03:32)
~ Pam
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