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Japanese News and Culture Blog Roundup: 11/19/09-11/25/09

November 26, 2009

Japan Probe

11/25/09: Japanese police seek arrest of US teenagers
Four teenagers in Tokyo, who are all the children of US military personnel, will probably soon be arrested for clotheslining a woman on a moped in September and nearly killing her. The 23-year-old woman broke her neck and went through months of rehabilitation.
11/20/09: Anti-flu masks don’t work as well as advertised
Wearing masks in Japan for illness is a common practice and equates to big bucks for mask manufacturers. However, it looks like some companies have been trying to capitalize on the swine flu scare by making promises that their products simply can’t deliver. A mask might be advertised as being 99.9% effective against viruses, but studies show that most are far less effective than claimed, especially since many will not fit the face exactly. But to most buyers, I’m sure some protection seems better than none at all.

WIT Life #58: 勤労感謝の日
Here is a post about celebrating Labor Thanksgiving in Japan. Where should you go on the holiday? Somewhere that exemplifies 「安・近・感」 (an/kin/kan). An = cheap, kin = close, and kan = feeling (as in, somewhere that gives you a sense of the fall season). Maybe an onsen (hot spring) just outside of town?

Pink Tentacle

11/25/09: Photos: International Robot Exhibition 2009
Some may be cute and some may be creepy, but all are still pretty cool. See robots from all over the world demonstrate new industrial possibilities, or sit down with a robot clown (which looks like the head from the Jack In the Box commercials stuck on top of a teddy bear) for some stretching exercises. Pictured is one of my favorites called TOPIO, brought to you by TOSY of Vietnam. He is ripped, has cool shades, and is built to destroy you and your loved ones. At ping pong.

F*cked Gaijin

11/24/09: Seifuku Syndrome
Coverage of an Asahi article about female students in Japan buying fake school uniforms to look “cool” and like they’ve had “proper upbringing” even if their school doesn’t require special clothing. The article also briefly mentions the phenomenon of people from abroad also buying uniforms as costumes to dress up like anime characters.

11/20/09: The Changing Face of Sushi in Japan
Coverage of a Wall Street Journal article about the decline of traditional, family-owned sushi restaurants in Japan. Faster, cheaper, and more convenient eateries like kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi) and chain restaurants are on the rise. As a result, the number of sushi masters, who must undergo almost ten years of training, are also decreasing. The article also talks about why there are few female sushi chefs: there can be a lot of physical labor involved in hauling fish from the market, and old inaccurate superstitions like women’s hands are warmer than men’s, and so are unsuitable for handling fish.

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