“I don’t have any political or ideological beliefs. I thought I would be able to see something if I became a fighter, having a brush with death.”
—Former SDF member Yoshifumi Uzawa, 26, who admitted to joining and fighting with an Islamist militant group in Syria last year
SAY IT AIN’T SO
- For ¥300,000, a Kyoto company is offering single women the chance to have a “solo wedding.” The package includes a bridal gown, flower arrangements, professional photography and a hotel stay.
- Another company has begun operating a ¥210,000 “paparazzi taxi,” which offloads passengers in front of a red carpet while five photographers crowd around to take their picture.
- The owner of an izakaya in central Japan has created a blue cocktail in honor of Hiroshi Amano, the Nagoya University professor who won the Nobel Prize in Physics for inventing blue LEDs.
- Justices on the Tokyo District Court ordered Google to delete some of its search results at the request of a man who objects to “articles hinting he may have been involved in a crime.”
- A police officer in Tokorozawa, Saitama, was fired after showing up for traffic duty while drinking beer from “a can wrapped in a towel.”
- Meanwhile, a 17-year-old Saitama boy suspected of burglarizing a home was found to be carrying around a stolen police badge in his pocket.
- KDDI and mobile gaming company Gree have teamed up on a collaboration to support game developers in Japan and overseas.
- Officials at Nissan kicked off operations at the company’s first factory in northern China.
ONWARD & UPWARD
- Engineers at Suntory have managed to produce yellow morning glory, which is “mentioned in documents from the Edo period but did not exist in reality.”
- A total of 38 food producers from around Japan traveled to Kumamoto for an event celebrating the rice seasoning known as furikake.
- Japanese scientists say a salamander discovered in streams in Niigata and Fukushima prefectures belongs to a heretofore unknown species.
- Mitsubishi Aircraft held a ceremony in Aichi to show off its new MRJ regional jet, which is slated to take to the air by the middle of next year.
SOUNDS ABOUT RIGHT
- Two inspectors from the FBI took part in a counterterrorism raid conducted by Tokyo police. The G-men played the role of “suspicious characters.”
- In a Q&A last month on her 80th birthday, Empress Michiko urged people “to make every effort to nip the buds of conflict and suffering.”
- Just months after UNESCO added the Tomioka Silk Mill in Gunma to its World Heritage registry, the Japanese government announced plans to designate the site a national treasure.
- Workers renovating the National Stadium in Tokyo removed the cauldron used for the 1964 Olympics. It will be put on temporary display in the tsunami-hit city of Ishinomaki, Miyagi.
- Two Japanese nationals were among the 39 people killed in the blizzard that struck a group of trekkers in Nepal.
- The Cabinet approved a bill to freeze the assets of “89 terrorist groups and 360 activists,” including those linked to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State.
- Yanagiya Sankyo, a comedic storyteller who has devoted much of his career to teaching foreigners about the tradition of rakugo, was awarded the 2014 Japan Foundation Award. The annual prize is given to people who “promote cross-cultural understanding.”
- A professor at Meiji Gakuin University made a surprising discovery at an antique bookstore in Kanda: A copy of the first published work by German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), along with a handwritten note by the author.
Compiled from reports by AP, Japan Today, The Japan Times, Jiji, The Tokyo Reporter, The Mainichi, The Japan News, AFP, Reuters and Kyodo