Saturday, July 30, 2011

To Japan or Not

THE earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan on March 11, and the nuclear crisis that followed, have had an impact on nearly every corner of the economy, perhaps none more directly than the tourist industry. The number of foreign visitors has plunged 50 percent since the triple disasters, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

But four months on, travelers are trickling back. Most are business travelers, adventure seekers and bargain hunters, a type of visitor not often associated with Japan, where a sushi dinner can wipe out a week’s savings.

The view of Japan as a high-priced playground is what kept Erin Conroy and Jenny McMeans, friends from New York City, from visiting. But this spring, they found round-trip tickets to Tokyo on for just $600, about half what they normally cost, and booked a room in a hostel for 2,600 yen (about $33 at 79 yen to the dollar) a night. Suddenly, Japan was affordable, even with the yen near record highs against the dollar.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Left behind parents waiting

Left-behind parents waiting

Special to The Japan Times

WASHINGTON — Ever since Christopher Savoie was arrested in 2009 after a failed attempt to retrieve his abducted children, Japan has been overwhelmed by international pressure to resolve its ever-increasing number of abduction cases. After years of demarches and public pleas by foreign governments, Japan has finally announced its intention to sign the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

For the 85 other governments that have signed onto to this treaty, it represents a guideline for returning children who have been abducted abroad, and it represents a promise that a foreign court will not simply usurp custody orders and "steal" jurisdiction away from a child's habitual residence.

While the rest of the world has greeted Japan's announcement with cautious optimism, left-behind parents who have been victimized by this human rights tragedy have followed the government's discussions closely, and with growing concern. Watching the parliamentary debates that have been taking place in the Japanese Diet, it is difficult to believe that Japan intends to abide by the Hague treaty in good faith.

To date, most debate within the Japanese Diet has revolved around creating "exceptions" under which Japan would not have to return abducted children. These telling debates are in obvious opposition to the spirit of the Hague treaty in which signatories purport to want to return a child to his or her home following an abduction. Read More

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The truth about Hiroshima

The truth about Hiroshima

I had terrible nightmares of Atomic weapons growing up as a child of the cold war and I avoided studying World War 2 in high school history as it troubled me. As a result, I never understood how or why Japan came to be an enemy in a war that was against the Nazis in Germany.

I learned, in visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, that before the Atomic bombing, Japan was at war with China and was spending 80% of its national economy on military spending. The people of Japan were forced into working to support the war. Children as young as 13 (boys and girls) worked in manufacturing, school children were given military training disguised as exercise, to have them ready for deployment. Clothing and Food items were rationed severely, with families given coupons and dressed in uniforms. The people of Japan were suffering under the control of their own government, who was even trying to enforce Mind Control to curb any anti-war intentions.

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Sumo Wrestling

Read More about Life in Japan at our Homepage

Sumo Wrestling - The Ancient Sport From Japan

By Nancy McDonough

Wearing nothing but a mawashi (loincloth), two larger-than-life opponents face each other in a dohyo (wrestling ring) to push, wrestle or throw each other out of the ring. This is the basic definition of sumo wrestling but, like any other centuries old Japanese tradition, the "why" and the "how" is more important than the "what".

Sumo has been performed the same way since the Edo Period (early 1600's) and still retains the rituals and techniques developed in those early years. The rikishi (wrestlers) even wear their hair in a topknot - the hairstyle typical of samurai in the Edo period. the umpires and referee wear elaborate kimono-style garb that depicts their experience ranking. Before each bout, both wrestlers toss salt into the ring because the dohyo is a sacred place. After each day's match, a lower ranked wrestler closes the event by performing the yumitori-shiki (bow dance).

Sumo wrestling bouts are fast - some lasting only a few seconds - and very intense, with a series of three "stare down" practice starts that the wrestlers use to intimidate their opponent. These trained athletes weigh in at 300-400 pounds, but follow a stringent regiment of training and nutrition that creates an athlete of great strength. Wrestlers grapple at each other with their bare hands and employ a range of moves that require precision, timing, and balance to succeed.

Every year, six basho (tournaments) are held in four different cities in Japan, each lasting 15 days. A wrestler's ranking changes depending on his performance in the tournament, with the top ranking, called yokozuna, bestowed on only one or two wresters at a time.

For centuries sumo wrestlers were exclusively of Japanese birth. In the last two decades, foreign wrestlers have begun to compete in greater numbers and have earned top rankings. Currently there are 60 non-Japanese professional sumo wrestlers out of a total of 700. China, Russia and several other Eastern European countries have made an impressive showing recently, but in the 1990's two American wrestlers -- Konishiki and Akebono (both from Hawaii)-- were the first to reach the yokozuna rank.

Nancy McDonough was for many years an English teacher in Japan. She is fluent in Japanese and travels to Japan yearly. She founded her retail kimono company in 1992. Nancy currently manages her kimono retail company Kyoto Kimono and her blog is here, Kyoto Kimono Mania.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Japans Nigerians pay price for prosperity

Japan's Nigerians pay price for prosperity
Facing apathy within and racism without, a disunited community struggles to thrive on society's periphery

Special to The Japan Times

The Nigerian Union in Japan is the central civic organization for immigrants from Africa's most populous nation. It has foundered twice in 21 years and its current incarnation is less than a year old. Its mixed history is a reflection of the social and economic turmoil Japan's Nigerian community has endured over the past two decades.

Members have been factory laborers, globe-trotting entrepreneurs and nightlife industry pioneers. They've also been blamed for some of Tokyo's most publicized crime problems, notably a series of drink-spiking and bill-padding incidents that led the U.S. Embassy to issue a warning in 2009 against visiting Roppongi. With the exception of those incidents, their history has hardly been written about. Read More

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hope for Japan`s Wpmen`s Soccer Team in World Cup

TOKYO (AFP) – Women's football fever has gripped Japan, diverting fans from summer staples sumo and baseball, after their "Nadeshiko" side beat Sweden 3-1 to book a place in Sunday's World Cup final against the USA.

"I really want them to win, so that the victory will encourage not only Tohoku, but also the entire country," said 38-year-old businessman Seiji Eizumi, referring to the region hit by the March 11 quake and tsunami.

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More News about Japan

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What are the differences between Japanese and Western Education?

What are the differences between Japanese and Western Education?

by Kevin R Burns

Japan has been one of the most successful nations on earth. So have most of the Western countries. By many measures, Japan and the Western nations are world leaders.

What then are some of the positives and negatives of their respective educational systems?

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Japan Forced School Children To Clean Radioactive Dirt From Swimming Pools

Japan schools forced students to clean radioactive dirt from swimming pools in locations designated as hot spots with radiation levels 4 times Chernobyl evacuation limits.

In another propaganda show meant to convince the public there is no threat from radiation in Japan, local schools forced children to clean radioactive dirt from the bottom of the schools swimming pools.

One PTA member who didn’t trust the assertions from the school and the government kept a sample of the dirt collected from the pool and decided to have it tested for radiation.

According to a the Mainichi Daily News (Japanese), that sample was found to contain 17,020 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium. Read More

Sunday, July 10, 2011

With Japan at a crossroads, it's instructive to recall the Hidaka affair

With Japan at a crossroads, it's instructive to recall the Hidaka affair

Special to The Japan Times

Exactly 30 years ago this month, I had an encounter with a man who became innocently involved in an international incident. That incident may be all but forgotten now, but it's worth recalling here because it highlights the struggle of an individual of conscience to have the truth revealed.

Indeed, we in Japan are currently involved with the very same issues of personal responsibility and collective falsehood.

If we remain silent in the face of injustice or criminal negligence, if we allow unelected bureaucrats and business executives to ride roughshod over our personal welfare — as we are witnessing with regard to the ongoing nuclear disaster in Fukushima — the entire nation's future could be put at risk by recklessness and prevarication. Read More

Friday, July 08, 2011

Japan vs The West

What are the differences between Japanese and Western Education?

Japan has been one of the most successful nations on earth. So have most of the Western countries. By many measures, Japan and the Western nations are world leaders.

What then are some of the positives and negatives of their respective educational systems?

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Japanese amusement park unveils world’s steepest roller coaster


Gut-churning ride at Fuji-Q Highland amusement park in Fujiyoshida cost about $37 million to build and opens to the public July 16, 2011.


See Photos

Read More about Living and working in Japan

Want to eat a Japanese Poop Burger?

Mitsuyuki Ikeda Wants You to Eat His Burger Patties Made from Human Waste

I know the world’s population is increasing by the thousands every second as we speak, and the time will eventually come that the world’s resources will no longer be able to provide for the needs of all the human beings on the planet.

Because of such impending phenomenon, scientists all over the world have worked long and hard to develop hybrid corn and crops that grow bigger and faster. Researchers are also working double-time to come up with innovations in recycling and finding further uses for our waste so that we don’t run out of natural resources too soon.  Read More

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Oh Canada! Canadians Resident in Japan

CRA Magazine is Canada`s first E-Magazine designed specifically for Canadians who are presently living abroad, who have done so in the past or who are contemplating an out-of-country sojourn in the future.

Our magazine is distributed electronically free of charge to subscribers in 142 countries around the world. In addition to sound and timely advice in the investment and tax arenas, CRA E-Magazine covers everything from offshore employment, vacation/travel and international real estate information to country profiles, medical/insurance matters and education options for your children.

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Japan Living Forum at Yahoo Groups

Celebrating 10 Years of News, Discussion, Debate and Information about Japan

(Pictured, Tokyo Disneyland by Richard Baladad)

This is the official forum for Japan Living Magazine.
"Learn about living and working in Japan from those that do!"

Visit our Yahoo Groups Forum

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Friday, July 01, 2011

Optimism for Tohoku and Japan

Optimism for Tohoku and Japan: Good ideas from ACCJ

The ACCJ Tohoku Earthquake Information Facilitation Project was created to facilitate discussion regarding a diverse set of people with experiences and ideas for rebuilding Tohoku following the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami. A core group of dedicated and
influential people have gathered together and focused on ideas in five key areas.
Come hear ACCJ leaders present the results of their efforts in an interactive panel format and join in brainstorming about where we go from here. We will ensure lively discussion with commentary and reactions from Hiroshi Mikitani, chairman and CEO of Rakuten, Inc., and other special guests.