Stories about Japan from November, 2014
Winners of a popular contest have taken over trains in Tokyo. The goal of the contest? The most adorably ugly cats (busukawa neko) in Japan.
Forty-one people were injured during the magnitude 6.8 temblor, but no deaths were reported. Twitter users snapped photos of public transportation gone dark and disheveled supermarkets.
While some commentators are calling Abe's move "self-serving", others think Abe is facing political oblivion anyway and that the snap elections may be the spark that reignites Japan's moribund opposition.
The shortage in the lead-up to Christmas has coined a new Internet meme in Japan: butter refugees.
Every nation has its own unique theme-park customs, and some build them in rather unexpected places. Meet Japan's "Sky Cycle" ride in Okayama Prefecture's Brazilian Washuzan Highland park.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has placed bluefin tuna on its Red List of endangered species. Japan consumes about a quarter of the world's tuna catch.
"Beautiful coral that has taken years for nature to create are being uprooted. The maritime ecosystem of the sea around the Bonin Islands is being destroyed."
"The police look just like the stormtroopers from Star Wars. It's disgusting that we're living in a police state like this."
It's said that the internet runs on cats. Japan is no different, although cute dogs can quickly become the subject of massively popular memes too.
The two nations are at odds over a set of islands in the East China Sea. Beijing is also angry about Tokyo’s unwillingness to fully recognise its WWII atrocities.
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto: "Well, an asshole like you..." Ultra-rightist Makoto Sakurai: "Hey, don't call me an asshole." Hashimoto: "Oh, just shut up, you asshole."
Many employers in Japan's affluent and densely populated Pacific Seaboard axis stretching between Tokyo and Osaka subsidize the substantial cost of train and bus tickets for regular, full-time employees.
A popular Japanese meme blames Koma-san, a character on the show, for any minor problem or inconvenience experienced, while another character is a popping up on carved Halloween pumpkins.