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Japanese News and Culture Blog Roundup: 9/24/09-9/30/09

October 1, 2009

Japan Probe

savoie 9/30/09: CNN reports on child abduction
Ongoing coverage of a story picked up by the US press about a custody battle between an American husband and his Japanese wife. After their divorce, she took the children back to Japan with her, in defiance of American custody laws. The husband then tried to steal the kids back, and was subsequently arrested in Japan. But as covered in this post, both the husband and wife are Japanese citizens, and therefore not subject to US law. Not to mention their divorce was never even finalized in Japan. A complicated story that will probably drag on for a long time.

9/27/09: Update on Noriko Calderon
Speaking of child-parent legal disputes, here is an update on Noriko Calderon, whose parents were deported for being illegal immigrants while Noriko, born and raised in Japan, was allowed to stay with her other relatives in the only home she has ever known. However, without her parents, life has been very lonely for Noriko. She goes to visit her parents in their native Philippines, and is shocked by the poverty in which they now live. A really sad case that has gotten a lot of coverage on the news in Japan.

9/25/09: Reporter responds to attack on article about Japanese “rent a friend” agencies
Another debate on how “wacky” news stories are covered by the Western press. Are companies where clients can rent companionship truly “booming” in Japan? It seems like they’re certainly not, but the author of the Guardian article in question steps into the comments on Ampontan’s blog to defend his article. I don’t think this article was meant to be mean-spirited, but Ampontan seems to be personally offended somehow.

Japanese Pod 101

restaurant_sign 9/24/09: Learn Japanese Kanji – Everyday Kanji (Restaurant Signs)
A really useful post for either those living in Japan or those who like to learn a language by using “real” source materials. What is that kanji all over Japanese food packaging? Wonder no more! Some of the most prevalent phrases are covered with detailed information on each kanji.


9/30/09: WIT Life #50: Under the Wire
A short article on how Japanese hospitals will today be required to cover 100% of childbirth costs. Before mothers would pay up front and later be reimbursed, but now hospitals will pay all the costs themselves (420,000 yen per birth, or around $4678). Given the current healthcare debate in America, it’s interesting to see how this kind of comprehensive coverage has been implemented in Japan. Many hospitals aren’t too happy about this change, but I somehow doubt that people have been comparing Hatoyama to Hitler.

Pink Tentacle

power_loader_1 9/30/09: ‘Power Loader’ exoskeleton suit
A “Power Loader” suit like the one worn by Sigourney Weaver in the climax of Aliens is in delevopment in Japan. It looks awesome! Scientists are hoping to be able to market a version of the suit by 2015.
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