“It’s the first time I have something I can be proud to show people”
—Sumiyo Hatsugai, aka The Home Run Queen of Kabukicho, after hitting her 2,000th dinger at Shinjuku Batting Center
- Workers at a supermarket in Nerima-ku made a shocking discovery when they visited the store’s restroom: a human skull floating in a toilet bowl.
- MPD officers investigating the case believe—quite sensibly, it must be said—that the skull may have been left behind “by someone who didn’t know how to get rid of it.”
- A man who used rocks and concrete to create an artwork along the banks of a river in Nagano faces prosecution for “unauthorized construction of a statue.”
- An 82-year-old dog owner in Setagaya was arrested after six of his pets broke loose and mauled two innocent passersby.
DOWN THE HATCH
- According to a new report by the OECD, people in Japan consume, on average, 7.2 liters of alcohol per year.
- That ranks them 31st on the global list of heavy drinkers, way behind Estonia, Austria, and France, all of which booze it up to the tune of 12-plus liters per capita per year.
- Engineers at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology are developing a manned submersible that can dive 12,000 meters beneath the surface of the ocean—deep enough to explore the Mariana Trench.
- Officials at the TMG’s consumer affairs office say they’ve been flooded with complaints about a local travel agency that took money for plane tickets but then failed to buy them.
- 7: Fishing boats washed away in the March 11 tsunami that came ashore in Hawaii between February and April
- 29,198: Foreign students enrolled in public schools who needed extra help learning Japanese last year—a record high
- 982,100: People in Japan who will be diagnosed with cancer this year—an increase of 100,000 from 2014—according to the National Cancer Center
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
- A health ministry study found that a quarter of the hospitals designated as “core” disaster-response facilities would likely be inaccessible in the aftermath of a tsunami or heavy rainstorm.
- The education ministry is considering a plan to equip schoolchildren around the country with digital textbooks in the hopes of improving their abilities in English, music, and math.
- Officials at the communications ministry says they’ll require telecoms to advertise the actual data-transfer speeds for their smartphones “rather than only the theoretical maximum.”
- Sentence of the Week: “A popular Japanese children’s cartoon [Crayon Shin-chan] in which the main character regularly displays his naked buttocks will be censored in Indonesia after regulators criticized it as ‘somewhat pornographic,’ officials said on Thursday.” (via AFP)
HERE & THERE
- Among the 18 tourist spots the government has selected to promote as “Japan Heritage” destinations are a pilgrimage route in Shikoku and a school in Ibaraki that dates back to the Edo Era.
- Marketers at Japanese food companies are scrambling to take advantage of a new law that allows them to tout the health benefits of their products for “specific parts of the body.”
- A “mystery donor” has mailed about 2,000 hand-sewn cleaning rags to a middle school in Iwate that was devastated by the March 11 tsunami.
- The Abe administration says it’s considering a “family pharmacy” system, in which a single drug store would supervise a patient’s entire medication regime.
- First-time author So Morita won the Mizuno Sports Writer Award for Susaki Kyujo no Porugiwa (“Around the Foul Pole of Susaki Stadium”), which tells the story of a long-forgotten baseball park that stood in Koto-ku from 1936 to 1943.
- Morita, who works as a PR rep for Tokyu Corp, says he wrote the book in his spare time.
- Judges at the Annual Sake Awards bestowed top honors on 224 brands of nihonshu, 24 of which are made in Fukushima—the most from any prefecture.
- Bottom Story of the Week: “Construction Begins in Tokyo for Longest Bridge Beams Ever to be Erected From Water’s Surface” (via Mainichi Japan)