Stories about Japan from January, 2009
Japan: Saint Young Men, Jesus and Buddha on Earth
What if one day Jesus and Buddha descended to Earth to spend their holidays? And what if they lived together in a cheap apartment in Tachikawa, in western Tokyo? This is what Hikaru Nakamura, a young Japanese manga author, was thinking of when he came up with Saint Oniisan, a manga published in the monthly magazine Morning 2 in 2007 that become a hit in the last few months after the publication of the first two episodes as single volumes last year.
Japan: My darling wife, I love you!
Blogger at Prism Cafe [ja] comments on news about an event organized by Japan Aisaika Organization (日本愛妻家協会 lit. Japan Organization of Beloved Wives) yesterday, the 29th of January, when in the middle of Hibiya Park, in central Tokyo, hundreds of husbands took the microphone to shout their love to their...
Japan: Blurry Lines Between Buzz and Truth – McDonald's Quarter Pounder Debut
Cultivating imported products into megahits is a big part of creating consumer trends in Japan, and food is no exception to the rule. Last year, it was the American donut shop, Krispy Kreme. The year before that, it was the American ice cream shop, Cold Stone Creamery. Both are Western foods that are familiar to the Japanese, with a unique twist. Both gained fame for long lines in front of their stores. And both were carefully cultivated hits.
Japan: Illustrator Junko Kawashima's blog
Check out the manga blog [ja] of the artist Junko Kawashima.
Japan: Obama vs. Aso
Like every other country in the world, Japan, one of the strongest of America's allies in Asia, followed closely the election of President Obama. His speech has been broadcast, translated and commented on in all kinds of ways by the Japanese media and local TV shows. So it was natural that many bloggers drew a comparisons between the American President and the Japanese Prime Minister, Tarō Asō.
Japan: Dual Employment System
Adamu from Mutantfrog questions if the dual employment system is an asset for Japan to deal with the economic crisis.
Japan: Robot Puppets
Edo from Pink Tentacle blogs about the use of robot technology in classic bunraku puppets in Japan.
Japan: Looking back on 2008
The last year in Japan saw, among other things, an economic crisis, employment instability, and the beginnings of the collapse of journalism. While the year was already recapped here last month, we add to that recap the reflections of bloggers looking back over the year. Blogger Motohiko Tokuriki wrote about...
Japan: Bloggers on TV-Asahi and “Uso Basutaa”
Heated has been the reaction of many Japanese bloggers over the last week who felt cheated by TV Asahi after it turned out that in the variety show ウソバスター！ (Uso Basutaa!, lit. lie buster), broadcast prime time on the 10th of January, the blogs quoted as sources had been created...
Japan: Coming of age in 2009
Every year, on the second Monday of January, in the neighbourhood of every city hall of Japan, one can see young men wearing the hakama (typical Japanese trousers) and women dressed up in furisode (long sleeved kimono, traditionally worn by unmarried girls). On that particular day, in fact, since 1946,...
Japan: Battle of Search Engines 2008
Mokoto blogs about the 2008 annual result of search engines battle in Japan and observes some new development.
Southeast Asia: Ship of dreams and friendship
Take a luxury cruise liner, fill it with some 300 vibrant youths from Southeast Asia and Japan, stir in cultural agenda and social interactions. The result: a strong bond and lifetime friendship. This is the story of the Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Programme.
Japan: Making a comic strip out of your daily life
Blogger pontadon regularly updates her blog [ja] with funny comic strips about her daily life.
Japan: Hakenmura, the Temp Workers Village
Over 300 people spent their nights between New Year`s Eve and the 5th of January in a tent camp stationed at Hibiya Park in central Tôkyô, referred to as 年越し派遣村 (toshikoshi hakenmura, or lit. “New Year's Village for Temporary Workers”). The people staying in Hakenmura were temporary workers (派遣社員, haken...
Japan: The future of Toyota
Michi Kaifu at Tech Mom from Silicon Valley responds to news that Toyota “crown prince” Akio Toyoda is to take the company's president position in June this year. Reflecting on the future of the car maker and on rumors in the Japanese blogosphere, Kaifu writes, “if you still have some...
Japan: “What are you up to now?” has become a taboo question
The world recession has hit Japan just as it has hit other parts of the world, and many are worried about their future. In an entry that attracted a great deal of sympathy from readers, blogger koheko reflects on the impact of the slowdown on human relationships with friends and colleagues, to the point where the simple question, "What are you up to?" has become taboo.
Japan: Space Toilet
Edo shows how the next generation of space toilet looks like.
Japan: J-CAST vs. newspapers
Blogger smashmedia points to [ja] Japanese business news site J-CAST‘s recent negative campaign against traditional media. The blogger posts links to a J-CAST interview [ja] with freelance journalist Tetsuya Kuroyabu [黒薮哲哉], who explains that more than 20% of newspapers (so-called “oshigami”) are actually undelivered, concealing a lower-than-expected readership; the blogger...
Japan: The end of PingMag?
PingMag, the Tokyo-based magazine about “Design and Making Things”, has announced that it will be “taking an extended hiatus, and will not be updated for the foreseeable future.” Over 300 comments from fans of the site have poured in, many describing people's sadness at seeing the end of a unique...
Global: Protesters in Full Force Against Gaza War
Millions of people around the world took to the streets in protest against the Israeli attack on Gaza over the previous few days. Here's a selection of videos posted on YouTube featuring demonstrations from Tel Aviv, London, Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul, where citizens from all walks of life raised their voices and chanted for peace in the region.
Japan: Teaching Buddhism by sign language
A blogger at Toppei no Minna Chigatte Minna Ii (トッペイのみんなちがってみんないい) introduces a website where it is possible for deaf followers to download the .wmv files and the original texts of the Buddhist Sacred Scriptures interpreted through the use of the (Japanese) sign language. While this initiative may not sound new...