Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on October 2013


  • Researchers at the National Institute for Environmental Studies have found that people in Sapporo need to sun themselves for 76.4 minutes a day to get adequate amounts of vitamin D, compared to just 7.5 minutes for residents of Naha.
  • Scientists at Hiroshima University say they may have found the gene responsible for late-onset blood cancer, which afflicts “people exposed to strong radiation.”
  • In what is being described as a “major discovery,” archeologists in Aomori have dug up a Jomon Era earthenware bowl “sculpted with human facial features.”
  • Officials at the Meteorological Agency say Western Japan experienced its hottest summer ever.


  • Six dance troupes from northeastern Japan performed the traditional Morioka Sansa Odori at a festival in Moscow’s Red Square.
  • Meanwhile, members of the MPD, the New York City Police Department and the People’s Police of Vietnam were among the groups taking part in the Mainichi Newspapers’ 18th World Police Band Concert, which drew 150,000 spectators in Jakarta last month.
  • Customs officials in Manila arrested three Japanese men for failing to declare “at least ¥30 million and $15,000 cash.”
  • Headline of the Week: “Android Teaches Japanese in Vietnam” (via The Japan News)


Boar hunting in more innocent times.

  • Officials at the environment ministry say depopulated areas of Fukushima have been overrun by wild boars. As many as 200 of the beasts will need to be captured or killed before residents are allowed to return.
  • Zookeepers in Kanagawa have sewn together a bunch of fleece shirts to make pouches for a baby wallaby and an infant kangaroo that were abandoned by their moms.
  • A group of seven female employees at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa have accused the facility’s director of “abusive and highhanded behavior.”
  • Tourism officials from a whopping 154 countries and territories attended an expo at Tokyo Big Sight hosted by the Japan Association of Travel Agents.


  • MPD officials say they investigated 763 cases of child pornography in the first half of the year—the most since record keeping began in 2000.
  • The Tokyo District Court refused to reinstate former sumo wrestler Kotomitsuki, who was given the boot as a rikishi following a gambling scandal in 2010.
  • Several municipalities in the quake-hit northeast have established guidelines requiring firefighters to “complete their own evacuation 10 to 30 minutes before a tsunami’s predicted arrival time.” Many of the 197 firefighters who died in the March 11 disaster were killed while trying to help others evacuate.
  • Sentence of the Week: “The Osaka Family Court on Friday rejected a demand from a 31-year-old transsexual man for the court to confirm that a 1-year-old boy his wife had using a third person’s sperm is his legitimate child.” (Via Jiji)


  • The government is considering whether to allow companies to trademark “sounds, moving images and colors that they use in their commercials.”
  • Scientists at the Tokyo Institute of Technology achieved a world’s first when they used a “cement-like mixture” to absorb and break down CO2 at room temperature.
  • Officials at the tourism ministry say they’ll change the writing on road signs in 49 tourists areas from romaji to English—for example, “Dori” will become “Ave.”
  • The welfare ministry says the number of centenarians in Japan has hit a record high for the 42nd consecutive year. Of the 54,397 Japanese people aged 100 years or older, 87.5 percent are women.

Compiled from reports by AP, Japan Today, The Japan Times, Jiji, The Tokyo Reporter, The Mainichi, The Japan News, AFP, Reuters and Kyodo