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Japanese News and Culture Blog Roundup: 9/16/09-9/23/09

September 24, 2009

I follow quite a few Japan-related blogs, so here are summaries and links to some stories you might have missed.

Japan Probe

9/21/09: Ozawa favors granting voting rights to foreigners with permanent residency
Ozawa, a powerful member of Japan’s now leading Democratic party, says that he favors granting permanent residents the right to vote. A debate follows in the comments section regarding the difficulty of becoming a citizen in Japan, the rights of Japanese-born Korean residents, and dual-citizenship in Japan.

Reduced portion burger 9/18/09: Japanese fast food chains offer reduced portions
Several of Japan’s fast food restaurants have been offering “mega” (supersized) portions of meals, but now they’ve started to scale downwards in an effort to appeal to female customers. These cheaper, “puchi” sized meals sound like a great idea to me, though I have a feeling they wouldn’t do very well in America. Then again, I guess those snack wraps at McDonald’s are still on the menu, so maybe there’s some hope after all.

9/16/09: Chikan: Groping on Japanese trains
Although the chikan phenomenon seems to be fairly well known here in America, I had never seen video of it actually happening. Don’t worry, the videos aren’t explicit in the slightest (the all-powerful Japanese blur is put to heavy use), but they’re still plenty frightening. It’s stories like this that remind you why there are female-only train cars in large cities. Luckily the worst I had in Japan was an old woman tugging and rubbing my hair while on the bus because she said it was “just like a doll’s.” Creepy, but not criminal.

Pink Tentacle

Giant Jellyfish 9/16/09: Space caramel made from giant jellyfish
Japan gets a huge influx of giant jellyfish every so often, and by giant I mean growing to over six feet in diameter and weighing up to 450 pounds. They’re mostly considered pests, but some enterprising students have managed to make candy from them by boiling down the animals and making a fine powder which can be added to sweets. Sweet and salty caramels? Might not be that bad, actually!

Néojaponisme

9/18/09: Otaku and Zen Buddhism?
An interesting essay on the connection (or rather, lack thereof) between Japan’s otaku culture and its religious past. Is such focused obsessiveness somehow rooted within Japanese culture? The article warns that many, including the Japanese, often describe “cultural tradition” as the basis for widespread trends and actions that most likely occur for a host of different reasons.

JetWit

Crayon Shin-chan 9/22/09: Crayon Shinchan creator Yoshito Usui dies after falling off a cliff
Yoshito Usui, the creator of Crayon Shin-chan, fell to his death after accidentally slipping off a cliff while taking photos. Crayon Shin-chan is a very popular manga and anime in Japan, and has been airing on TV Asahi since 1992.

Tokyo Times

9/23/09: Tokyo’s under-supported underclass?
Photos and a discussion of Japan’s growing homeless population as its economy, like the rest of the world, continues to decline. The post also links to some interesting articles about Japan’s working poor, and it reminds me of Sean McAllister’s excellent BBC doumentary in six parts: Japan: A Story of Love and Hate.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2009 2:26 pm

    Very nice. Thanks for posting them.

  2. October 16, 2009 6:59 pm

    I enjoy this site, it is worth me coming back

  3. November 21, 2009 6:16 pm

    is the picture of the jellyfish reaal?

    • November 23, 2009 12:54 pm

      Well, there seems to be some debate about the photo. Some think that it’s been edited with Photoshop, but nothing has been proven one way or another. That is also the photo on the linked Pink Tentacle post. A more thorough discussion of the photo can be found here:

      http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=5232

      And here is another (verified) picture of a Japanese giant jellyfish:

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