Jan 7, 2010

Jan 7, 2010

Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on January 2010 THEY DID A BAD, BAD THING South Korean J-pop singer Shion was arrested in Yokohama after she admitted to snorting ketamine. A 47-year-old Tokyo man whose meishi billed him as “supreme advisor” to a major Kyushu-based yakuza group was arrested for packing stimulants, weed and a weapon. Don’t […]


Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on January 2010

  • South Korean J-pop singer Shion was arrested in Yokohama after she admitted to snorting ketamine.
  • A 47-year-old Tokyo man whose meishi billed him as “supreme advisor” to a major Kyushu-based yakuza group was arrested for packing stimulants, weed and a weapon.
  • Don’t mess with the Mick! A pair of Chinese men were arrested in Tokyo after trying to get cash refunds for fake Disneyland tickets.
  • A couple in Kyoto forged a Toto BIG soccer lottery ticket in an attempt to claim a ¥450 million prize. When the duo got busted, the husband admitted to the ruse while his wife maintained that she really thought they had won.
  • A 27-year-old Fukuoka man who was arrested for pouring boiling water on his wife’s head and chest told investigators, “I didn’t think she would die.” She did.
  • Kanagawa police nabbed a couple of pervs for operating a cellphone-based website containing child pornography. The site was called the Prohibited js (joshi shogakusei, or primary school girls) Image Storehouse, and it got about 660,000 hits before it was shut down in March.
  • 824-SPIn Miyagi Prefecture, a confectionery shop is selling pancakes shaped like fighter jets in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Blue Impulse, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s aerobatics team, which is based in the region.
  • The makers of purified water H4O were sued for, among other things, falsely claiming that Seattle Mariners superstar Ichiro Suzuki was a regular user of their product.
  • A local attorney’s plans to open a pub staffed by lawyers, where customers could get drunk while obtaining some free legal advice from the bartenders, has been put on hold due to objections by, er, the Tokyo Bar Association.
  • It was reported that the Tooth Fairy project, a joint effort by the Nippon Foundation and the Japan Dental Association, has raised over ¥13.5 million to build schools in Myanmar by donating gold, silver and other minerals from extracted teeth.
  • A 31-year-old man in Kagawa Prefecture who was nabbed for driving without a valid license tried to con the cops by writing his wife’s name on the ticket and then, speaking in a woman’s voice, telling them he was undergoing a sex-change operation. The officers didn’t buy it.
  • In Yokohama, a 42-year-old man was arrested after racking up more than ¥2 million in parking tickets while driving on a license that expired back in 1992.
  • Two enterprising guys without jobs made bogus online reservations for about 28,000 hotel rooms in order to collect points, which they then used to stay at hotels and buy videogames.
  • Historic Koshien Stadium, home of the Hanshin Tigers baseball club, is getting in on the green movement by adding solar panels to the roof over its infield stands.
  • A survey by Benesse has revealed that Hiroto was the most popular name for boys in Japan in 2009, while Rin was No. 1 among baby girls.
  • Dispute of the Week: a software company called Gree filed a ¥383 million copyright lawsuit in Tokyo District Court against a competitor after both companies launched similar mobile phone fishing games.
Excuse me?
  • The mayor of Akune in Kagoshima took some heat after writing on his blog that modern technology was keeping alive disabled people “who used to be weeded out naturally.”
  • It was reported that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government spent a whopping ¥500 million to produce a ten-minute promotional film as part of its failed bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.
  • Two Fender guitars sporting designs from the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series fetched close to ¥17 million at auction.
  • Japan’s Tax Commission plans to boost taxes on cigarettes this year, which should drive the cost of a pack of cancer sticks up to around ¥400.
  • Chinese activist Feng Zhenghu, who much like Tom Hanks’ character in The Terminal has been living at Narita Airport since November 4, is keeping his supporters up-to-date on his plight via Twitter.
  • Gotcha! It was announced that “Groper Cams” would be installed on the JR Saikyo Line in an attempt to nab commuters with wayward hands.
Life’s a Beach
  • Got a little extra cash lying around? Mitsuko Island, a 7,600-square-meter spot of land in the Seto Inland Sea, is on the market. Contact the Chugoku Local Finance Bureau if you’d like to make a bid.
  • It was reported that sex shops known as onakura, “where girls disrobe but are not even touched by patrons,” have become all the rage. Among the options on offer are letting customers sniff the workers’ armpits or toes for an extra ¥2,000.
  • In Kyoto, a 17-year-old girl who used her 19-year-old sister’s ID to get work as a hostess was arrested for forgery and counterfeiting documents. The minimum age for that kind of work is 18 in Japan.
  • Oops! Air Self-Defense Force pilot Shogo Chikayama must have taken some ribbing from the boys when it was revealed that his fighter jet landed on its belly because he forgot to put down the landing gear.
  • A group of about 30 people broke out in a dance tribute to Michael Jackson at a Kumamoto shopping arcade, and then promptly beat it once the music was over.


  • Famed Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa met with Democratic Party of Japan bigwig Ichiro Ozawa at Tokyo’s Diet building to ask for continued government support of cultural activities, such as sending orchestras to schools. Large cuts in this area had recently been announced.
  • It was reported that veteran golfers Jumbo Ozaki and Tsuneyuki “Tommy” Nakajima both advised teen phenom Ryo Ishikawa to “beware of women” in the aftermath of the Tiger Woods sex scandal.
In Passing
  • Actor Hisaya Morishige, who passed away in November at the age of 96, posthumously received the People’s Honor Award from the Prime Minister’s office.
  • A 74-year-old Kyoto man became the 100th person in Japan to die of the H1N1 swine flu virus.
  • Retired police officer Yukio Shige has made it his mission to patrol the Tojimbo Cliffs in Fukui Prefecture, a popular destination for suicides. Shige and a group of volunteers have so far talked 222 people out of taking the fatal plunge.
  • It was reported that the John Lennon Museum at Saitama Super Arena is considering shutting its doors due to low attendance.
  • The Japan Transport Safety Board said it would revive an English version of a newsletter that provides “up-to-date information on maritime accidents and shipping in coastal waters.” Foreign vessels were involved in 47 percent of serious maritime accidents last year.

Compiled from reports by The Associated Press, Kyodo, Reuters, AFP, BBC, The Japan Times, The Daily Yomiuri, The Mainichi Daily News, International Herald Tribune/The Asahi Shimbun, The Tokyo Reporter and Japan Today.