Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on July 2014

Illustration by Anne-Marie Pappas


  • Researchers at Kirin brewery have confirmed that draft beer tastes best “when poured slowly three times into a glass.”
  • A Tokyo sake dealer placed 3,400 bottles of nihonshu on the seabed off the coast of Shizuoka to check whether ocean currents would affect the taste.
  • The government has enacted a law requiring alcohol manufacturers and liquor stores to alert consumers about the potential dangers of their products via labeling and ads.
  • Sentence of the Week: “A pattern of spending on hostess bars and overseas junkets for local pension fund officials went unchecked by senior managers at Deutsche Bank’s Japanese securities arm, who failed to prevent or turned a blind eye to expenses that could be prosecuted as bribery, previously undisclosed details of a regulatory investigation show.” (via Japan Today)


  • Authorities at the transport ministry say a Boeing 777 operated by Japan Airlines flew for a about a month even after “workers forgot to fix [an] engine part.”
  • City officials are rethinking plans to build a ¥36.4 billion stadium in Koto-ku that would host basketball and badminton games during the 2020 Olympics because of “soaring construction costs and uncertain demand after the Games.”
  • Staff at the MPD’s Criminal Investigation Bureau have opened a Twitter account (@MPD_keiji).
  • Bottom Story of the Week: “Four-Legged Lawn Mowers to Return to Tokyo Housing Complex” (via Mainichi Japan)


  • Officials at JR West announced that they’ll end service on the Twilight Express, a sleeper train that runs from Osaka to Sapporo.
  • The express, which began operations in 1989 as the “longest railway journey in Japan,” features suite rooms, a bar and dining cars serving French cuisine.
  • But fear not, train fans: executives at JR East said they’ll debut a new luxury sleeper in 2017.
  • The ultra-exclusive “Cruise Train” will accommodate just 34 passengers, with 10 cars featuring “glass ceilings where passengers can enjoy the scenery.”


  • Administrators at the University of Tsukuba are starting a graduate program “to develop leaders with expertise in addressing issues related to international athletic events.”
  • Authorities at the science ministry announced a plan to pursue manned exploration of Mars and set up a long-term settlement on the moon.
  • The government is mulling a plan to extend the length of time wealthy foreigners can stay in Japan on a tourist visa. Rich folks would be able to visit for a full year, compared to just 90 days for peasants like us.
  • Officials are also considering a scheme to install priority lanes at Narita and Kansai airports for “attendees at international conferences or VIPs.”


  • The government announced the establishment of a “general strategy headquarters” to address the problem of population decline.
  • A Cabinet Office white paper has found that the number of NEETs—people not engaged in education, employment or training—dropped by 4 percent last year.
  • An education ministry survey has found that 606 schoolchildren around the country suffer from gender identity disorder.
  • However, experts say that figure likely represents only 10 percent of the total.