Category Archives: SOCIETY

Tokyo ten years ago revisited

Source: Tokyo Times
old Tokyo drinker

On Monday, I sadly had to write an update concerning my wife’s now terminal cancer. It was an incredibly difficult post to put together, but I’m so very glad I did, as the warmth and support in the comments that followed were absolutely lovely. Responses that we both appreciate enormously.

Along with detailing my wife’s situation, I also mentioned that the time now devoted to care, and also simply being together, would inevitably mean a reduction of photographic updates from the usual three posts a week to just the one. Since then, however, I’ve realised that when the various health workers are here doing their thing, and when rest is required, I suddenly have a lot of time on my hands. Time that obviously has to be spent at home, indoors, which is something I’m really not that used to. As such, I’ve found myself going through older photos, doing some re-edits, and also thinking about different ways of presenting them. Hence the set below, and another schedule change, meaning for the time being at least, I’ll almost certainly be updating Fridays and Wednesdays. The latter with new photos, and the former with mostly older, or reworked images. The results of which will hopefully be as interesting for you as they are a welcome distraction for me.

These shots then are all from 2012. Photographically it was a pivotal year I think. After investing in a Leica in late 2011, I fully embraced the switch to a more compact camera system, and along with exploring certain themes, there was a concerted effort to get a bit closer, as well as embracing eye-contact instead of shying away from it. Approaches I’ve continued and hopefully expanded on ever since.

…continue reading


Arsonist at idol concert says he was imitating the Kyoto Animation arson attack

Japanese laws may need to be strengthened to stop more copycat attacks from occurring.

On 24 March, a man was arrested on suspicion of setting fire to a building in the city of Tokushima, where a Japanese idol group concert was taking place. Today, investigators revealed that the man told them he was aiming to imitate the deadly Kyoto animation arson attack that occurred in 2019.

The suspect, Shigeru Okada, an unemployed 38-year-old resident of Tokushima Prefecture, was accused of trespassing on the site of the Acty Annex building on 14 March, shortly after a local idol group had started performing at a bar on the top floor of the four-storey building.

▼ The latest image of Acty Annex on Google Maps dates back to April 2019, before the recent blaze.

According to police, the fire broke out just after the performance had started at 1:00 p.m., threatening the lives of approximately 70 people who were on the premises, including customers and the five members of the idol group, who were all able to evacuate safely outside. The manager of the bar, who is in his 50s, was able to extinguish the fire, suffering burns to his neck in the process.

At the scene of the incident, police found a knife and a blue-coloured metal fuel canister with remnants of gasoline inside. Gasoline appeared to have been deliberately spilled in the hall outside the elevator on the third floor, leading investigators to believe it was an arson attack.

Footage from surveillance cameras, and a dashboard camera from a nearby taxi, led investigators to Okada, who was arrested on suspicion of arson of an inhabited building.

During questioning, Okada admitted to the charges, saying he lit the fire in the elevator hall on the third storey of the building, burning the floor and walls. He said he was …continue reading


Man fights giant crab statue on streets of Osaka, becomes city’s most hated criminal【Video】

Innocent, delicious Crab Tower damaged in senseless attack.

Even for Japan, Osaka is particularly passionate about food, and that even extends to a love for restaurant signs. Particularly in the city’s Dotonbori entertainment district, eateries’ dynamic, personality-filled banners, signboards, and statuary are local landmarks and a symbol of Osaka’s unassuming, fun-loving attitude.

So two guys just made themselves a whole lot of enemies by beating up a giant crab statue that wasn’t doing anything to them but offering delicious seafood.

The incident took place at around 5 a.m. on Monday morning. Security camera footage shows a pair of idiots egging each other on to kick and shake the “Crab Tower,” as the Dotombori branch of crab restaurant Kani Gen calls its statue of crab legs. Eventually, one of them pulls the Crab Tower enough that it topples over, causing severe damage to it as several pieces to break off.

Unfortunately, the 100-kilogram (220-pound) Crab Tower did not trap the two vandals underneath it as it fell, and they both ran off like the immature cowards they are.

▼ The victim, prior to the attack

Gen Takeda, owner of the chain, was extremely upset, and not just because of the damage to the Crab Tower, which cost 1.65 million yen (US$15,940) to originally make and has been a symbol of the restaurant for the past five years. “All of the staff is working so hard to make it through the pandemic. I don’t want people [like the vandals] making that any harder than it already is,” adding “This is heart-braking. I’m crazy angry [mecha mukatsuku, to directly quote the restauranteur’s Kansai dialect].”

Online commenters share the feeling:

“Those two better pay for the damage they caused.”
“With all the security cameras around, it’s only a matter of time until they get caught. They’re idiots.”
“They didn’t just ruin the crab …continue reading


AKB48 signs removed from exterior of AKB48 Theater building in Akihabara

Idol group’s home-turf ads replaced with ones for hit Chinese video game.

To non-fans, AKB48 might seem like any other Japanese idol unit. But a number of key factors set the industry’s top group apart, and one is there focus on live performances. When they’re not touring, AKB48 gives regular concerts at the AKB48 Theater in Tokyo’s Akihabara neighborhood. In contrast to the stadiums and arenas where it holds its other performances, the AKB48 Theater is a much more intimately-scaled venue, and this helps form a bond between the idols and their fans.

Since no one predicted AKB48 becoming quite as hugely successful as it has, the theater doesn’t have a structure all to itself, and instead occupies the eighth floor of a building it shares with the Akihabara branch of discount retailer Don Quijote and a video game arcade. But in keeping with the superstar status AKB48 has achieved, for years the largest signs on the exterior have been ones promoting the idol group and its theater.

▼ The Akihabara Don Quixote Building, with two giant AKB48 signs on the wall and another on the pillar in front of the entrance.

However, on April 1 there was a changing of the guard, so to speak, as the AKB48 signs were replaced with ads for hit Chinese video game Genshin Impact.



— AKB428@秋葉原IT戦略研究所 (@n428dev) March 31, 2021

This wasn’t an April Fools’ Day gag, either, as follow-up photos show.


— 秋葉原ベースキャンプ (@akihabara_bc) April 6, 2021

And no, the AKB48 theater isn’t currently shut down because of the pandemic. There’s been at least one performance every day in April so far, and sometimes two, a similarly busy schedule for next week.

秋葉原のドンキホーテ壁面がAKBからGSN(原神)になってますね。 …continue reading


Letters from Japan: ‘Who To Pick?’ and ‘A Girls’ Bar’?

Letters from Japan: ‘Who To Pick?' and ‘A Girls' Bar?

Dear Hilary,

I have a few FWBs [friends with benefits]. I mainly sleep with three of them and I just found out I’m pregnant. I decided against abortion, but now I don’t know what to do. Since I have to keep it, my options are marry somebody or be a single mother. What am I supposed to choose?

—Baby Momma-to-Be

Dear Baby Momma-to-Be,

Congratulations on your pregnancy. Your predicament is one I’ve encountered before in my friend group, so hopefully you have the same positive outcome my friends did.

Are you financially capable of being a single mother in Tokyo or where you’re located in Japan? Can you provide for yourself during pregnancy (covering all medical costs, lost wages at work, etc)? Can you provide for yourself and your child both during and after maternity leave ends? You should start working out your budget, cutting costs wherever possible now in order to have a clear picture of where you stand.

I strongly suggest getting in touch with your ward office as soon as possible to learn about support groups/assistance for single parents in your ward. Whether you later choose to be with a partner or not, these groups will be extremely helpful to you now. Both your ward and these groups can help you with questions regarding childcare, finances, and the like. If you prefer to raise the child in your home country, then please make sure you have the proper support system there as well.

Morally speaking, I think it’s best if you inform all of your partners of your pregnancy. That being said, you will need to determine who the potential father might be. How many partners you were sleeping with at the time of conception could have taken place (11-21 days after your last period)?

You don’t mention any specifics, but if your FWBs …continue reading


We spotted an umbrella thief in the act on the streets of Tokyo, and it left us feeling strange

Rainy-day crime gives our witness a lot to think about.

Monday morning started off just like any other weekday for our Japanese-language reporter P.K. Sanjun. After breakfast with his adorable daughter Rei, they hopped on his bicycle and he dropped her off at preschool. As P.K. headed back towards home, though, it started to rain.

As the first drops hit his head, P.K. pumped his legs, hoping to get home before it really started coming down. He could see other umbrella-less people out and about also scurrying to get indoors, and one of them was an elderly man who P.K. guessed was in his 80s. He was about 30 meters (98 feet) in front of P.K, walking in the opposite direction, and as he came up next to a convenience store he made a quick turn towards the entrance.

But the elderly man wasn’t headed inside to wait out the rain. Instead, he walked right up to the rack where customers put their umbrellas before going inside to shop. Showing no hesitation at all, he picked an umbrella out of the rack and turned back around to open and walk off with it.

At this point P.K. was just a couple meters away from the man, so he called out “Hey, wait a second…” while squeezing the brakes and bringing his bike to a stop. This caught the attention of the umbrella’s rightful owner, a burly, 50-something man who came rushing out of the store when P.K.’s voice caused him to turn towards the rack and see the theft in progress.

“The f**k do you think you’re doing?” the owner shouted, charging out of the store towards the much shorter and smaller thief. He grabbed the umbrella and …continue reading


18-year-old man stabbed to death for protesting a car blasting loud music in Kamakura

Police are searching for the whereabouts of three men who fled the murder scene by car.

On March 27 at around 4:10 a.m., 18-year-old Yokohama resident Jo Takamine was stabbed in Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture. He was transported to the hospital but succumbed to his wounds 1.5 hours later.

According to authorities, Takamine and a friend were walking on the sidewalk next to a prefectural road about 500 meters (547 yards) south of Shonan-Fukasawa Station on the Shonan Monorail Enoshima Line. A passenger car drove by them while blasting excessively loud music in the early morning hour, after which Takamine yelled “Turn it down!” The car circled back around and three unknown men got out. They began a verbal assault on the two teenagers which swiftly escalated into a physical altercation. Takamine engaged two of the men while his friend engaged the third, culminating in Takamine being stabbed in the back several times.

▼ Kamakura is a popular tourist destination south of Tokyo known for its Great Buddha of Kamakura statue.

Locals in the nearby residential area phoned emergency services to report hearing yelling and seeing a man collapse. By the time the police arrived, the three men had already fled the scene by car in the western direction. The knife used to stab Takamine was discovered not far away from the scene of the crime.

Takamine’s friend was unharmed throughout the ordeal. Authorities are treating the incident as a homicide case and are currently investigating local security cameras in their search for the three missing suspects.

Source: Yahoo! Japan News via My Game News Flash
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and …continue reading


Japanese city manager gives speech telling new employees to “play around” to fix birth rate issue

Ah, yes. Why didn’t we think of that?

Japanese upper management has been on a hot streak recently of saying embarrassingly ignorant things, especially concerning the Olympics and celebrities participating in the festivities.

So it doesn’t come as too much of a surprise when we get another one, this time concerning Japan’s declining birthrate. The government has been attempting to alleviate that issue for years now, trying everything from not enough to potentially too much.

However, Kazuhiko Shimura, the manager of Kofu City’s industry department in Yamanashi Prefecture recently gave a speech about a different strategy: just have men and women play around more.

▼ Oh. Okay. Thanks, boss.

The speech was given during a welcoming ceremony to new hires, where Mr. Shimura said:

“I’d like you to play around as much as you can. And not just play around in groups of men, or groups of women, that’s easy. I want you to play around with the opposite sex. If you do that, then I think maybe the birth rate problem will go away a little bit.”

He then continued with:

“I have a special request for the men. I know we’re always told about gender equality and equal gender participation, but when it comes to playing around, I’d like it if the men made the effort to ask out the women.”

▼ “Hey, so my boss said I have to ask you out… I think?
Not really sure what he was saying, actually.”

Hiroshi Kondo, a professor at Yamanashi Eiwa College, had this to say about the speech:

“Since people’s relationships and family planning are personal …continue reading


67-year-old Japanese celeb pulls off perfect Disney villain cosplay【Video】

Naoko Ken was the Japanese-dub voice actress for this classic antagonist, and she shows she can look the part too.

Respect for one’s elders is a tenet of Japanese society. Respect doesn’t always equal popularity, though, and so many Japanese celebrities, especially female ones, fade away into obscurity at a young age.

67-year-old Naoko Ken, though, is an exception. Debuting as a singer in 1971, the Shizuoka native later become a popular TV personality, and more recently has been wowing the Internet with her makeup videos. Earlier this month we took a look at how she creates her personal look, and now she’s back again, this time to cosplay as Disney villain Cruella de Vil, of 101 Dalmatians infamy.

▼ “I don’t know if I’ll be able to do a good job,” Ken says as she starts off.

Ken starts off with a hefty amount of foundation, adjusting her visual skin tone to match what she describes as Cruella’s “stark white” complexion. After that, she’s on to crafting the devious fashionista’s unnervingly long and expressive eyebrows.

“This would actually be easier if I didn’t have eyebrows of my own,” Ken murmurs, but she’s obviously not about to shave her natural ones clean off for a little Disney cosplay. So instead, she cleverly incorporates her actual eyebrows into Cruella’s heavily shadowed eyelids.

“This is starting to come together,” Ken self-evaluates while applying a pair of lavishly long eyelash extensions. Then it’s time for the finishing touch of attention-commanding bright red lipstick.

<img src="" …continue reading