Nov 12, 2009

Nov 12, 2009

Originally published on on November 2009 IF IT FEELS GOOD… It was reported that a bunch of guys in Harajuku, known as the “skirt tribes,” have taken to wearing women’s clothing. I always thought those guys were called Scots. Actress Noriko Sakai said at her drug trial that she was ready for a lifestyle […]


Originally published on on November 2009

  • It was reported that a bunch of guys in Harajuku, known as the “skirt tribes,” have taken to wearing women’s clothing. I always thought those guys were called Scots.
  • Actress Noriko Sakai said at her drug trial that she was ready for a lifestyle change, vowing to dump her loser hubby and take courses to become a nurse.
  • Romi, the 38-year-old daughter of jazzman Terumasa Hino, ’fessed up to using stimulants during her own trial in Tokyo.
  • In a classic case of you-grab-mine, I’ll-grab-yours, a 35-year-old Korean purse snatcher was caught in Osaka when one of his elderly victims grabbed his bag as he made off with hers. The thief’s ATM card with his name on it was in his bag.
  • A group of Chinese women working at an underwear factory in Nagasaki filed a complaint after being paid ¥400 or less per hour when working overtime. They also said their break times were deducted for trips to the loo.
  • A total of ¥4 million was discovered in two shoe containers that were bought at a school bazaar in Nara for ¥10 apiece.
  • In Osaka, it took 28 firefighters and ten vehicles to rescue two cops and a suicidal man stranded on a sandbar in the Yodo River.
  • Also in Osaka, a 10-year-old boy who suffered a fractured skull and brain damage when an abandoned fire extinguisher exploded is on the road to recovery.
  • An 81-year-old woman died when her wheelchair rolled off the platform onto the tracks at Tamagawa station.
  • Illustration by Phil Couzens

    Illustration by Phil Couzens

    Seventy-year-old Midori Kuratsu set a Japan record of 8.54m in the triple jump for her age bracket. She also holds the national record in the long jump.
  • Despite a government policy requesting Cabinet ministers not to hold lavish fundraising parties, Agriculture Minister Hirotaka Akamatsu decided to go ahead and throw one anyway. Tickets to the Nagoya bash were going for ¥20,000 each.
  • In that vein, dour-faced Postal Reform Minister Shizuka Kamei failed to report that he had taken out a ¥250 million unsecured loan as part of his campaign funds in 2005.
  • The bad boys of Japanese boxing are in more hot water. Brothers Koki and Daiki Kameda reportedly failed to declare about ¥100 million in taxable income over the years.
  • It was reported that two tanks of guppies will be sent to the International Space Station sometime in 2011 to research the “physical and genetic effects” of being in space for extended periods.
  • Japan Airlines, ANA and Air China have started service between Haneda Airport and Beijing with four round-trip flights a day.
  • Meanwhile, out at Narita Airport, researchers tested scanning equipment that uses radio waves to check for potentially dangerous items.
  • Five passengers aboard an American Airlines jet suffered injuries and were treated at a Chiba hospital when their plane was hit by severe turbulence near Narita.
  • A team of researchers from Hiroshima University has found that the area around the Okinawa islands may be protected from major plate-boundary earthquakes “due to a deep, soft mineral layer.”
  • While the total number of suicides in Japan from January through September rose 741 from a year earlier to 24,846, the September figure was 2,475, a drop of 239 from September 2008, according to data from the National Police Agency.
  • The Bulgarian movie Eastern Plays, which is about two brothers and the various problems they have to contend with in their lives, was awarded the top prize at the 22nd Tokyo International Film Festival.
  • Say it ain’t so! Beer-maker Kirin announced it is closing two of its 11 domestic breweries before the end of 2010. The company is in merger talks with Suntory that could result in one very big food and beverage company.
  • Seattle Mariners catcher Kenji Jojima announced that he was forfeiting the remaining two years of his lucrative MLB contract to join the Hanshin Tigers. Mariners pitchers said they didn’t like working with Jojima.
  • Meanwhile, highly touted high school pitcher Yusei Kikuchi has decided to tow the line and play in Japan next season, despite drawing interest from several Major League clubs.
  • Boston Red Sox GM Theo Epstein said that sometimes roly-poly pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka had better be in shape when he reports to camp in 2010. “That’s been clearly communicated,” said Theo. “I see it as a necessity, not really an option.”
  • In other sports news, the Japan Swimming Federation has banned its athletes from dyeing their hair, wearing earrings or painting their fingernails.
  • It was announced that Empress Michiko, who recently celebrated her 75th birthday, is rehabbing a knee injury by playing tennis.
  • Musician Kyoko Yonemoto played a 268-year-old, $4 million violin at the Moscow Conservatory during a ceremony marking the birthday of famed 18th-century Italian violinist Nicolo Paganini.
  • In Musashi-Murayama, ¥7 million was spent on an event publicizing Tokyo’s bid for the 2016 Olympics… about three weeks after the Games were awarded to Rio de Janeiro.
  • It was also revealed that the outfits worn by members of Tokyo’s 2016 bidding delegation cost a total of ¥14 million.
  • In an attempt to battle this nasty recession and fill empty seats, tickets on the Tokaido and Sanyo shinkansen lines were being offered at discounts of up to 28 percent.
  • In Okinawa, a pro wrestling circuit has announced it will spice up its product by adding comedy routines to all the grappling and head-stomping. We always found professional wrestling pretty comical anyways.

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