Chris's Feed
Apr 1, 2015

Clean-up crew on hand to spruce up Japan’s ‘lonely death’ apartments

TOKYO (Reuters) – In March, the body of an elderly man was found on the floor of his apartment in downtown Tokyo. He had been dead for a month.

Neighbors hadn’t noticed the octogenarian’s absence. His bank made the rent payments on time, his family didn’t visit, and the only reason for the body’s discovery was the slight smell that troubled the tenant in the flat below.

Mar 16, 2015

Time stands still in Japan’s village of scarecrows

NAGORO, Japan (Reuters) – Tsukimi Ayano made her first scarecrow 13 years ago to frighten off birds pecking at seeds in her garden. The life-sized straw doll resembled her father, so she made more. And then couldn’t stop.

Today, the tiny village of Nagoro in southern Japan is teeming with Ayano’s hand-sewn creations, frozen in time for a tableau that captures the motions of everyday life.

Mar 3, 2015

It’s raining cats and tourists on a Japanese island

AOSHIMA, Japan (Reuters) – An army of feral cats rules a remote island in southern Japan, curling up in abandoned houses or strutting about in a fishing village that is overrun with felines outnumbering humans six to one.

Originally introduced to the mile-long island of Aoshima to deal with mice that plagued fishermen’s boats, the cats stayed on – and multiplied.

Feb 3, 2015

Japan fire head coach Aguirre

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan fired their national coach Javier Aguirre on Tuesday because of fears the Mexican’s alleged involvement in an ongoing match-fixing case could effect the team’s bid to qualify for the next World Cup.

Although Aguirre has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to clear his name after being embroiled in a Spanish anti-corruption investigation, the Japan Football Association (JFA) said they did not want any distractions for the team.

Oct 24, 2014

Japan’s party animals closer to dancing the night away

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s cabinet approved changes on Friday to a 66-year-old law that bans late-night dancing in clubs, a decision that will help businesses cash in on an expected influx of tourists ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Dancing at public venues is illegal in Japan and is only permitted until midnight under a special license, in a holdover from a 1948 law to stamp out prostitution linked to dance halls.

Sep 30, 2014

Recovery of Japan volcano victims suspended amid signs of rising activity

TOKYO (Reuters) – Search and recovery efforts for at least two dozen victims of Japan’s worst volcanic eruption in decades were called off on Tuesday due to worries about rising volcanic activity, including the chance of another steam explosion.

Hundreds of military searchers had been preparing to enter Mount Ontake by foot and helicopter to resume recovery of at least 24 people caught in a deadly rain of ash and stone after the peak erupted without warning on Saturday when it was crowded with hikers, including children.

Nov 22, 2012

Japanese mascots go beyond cute to master trade

TOKYO, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Eri Suzuki is serious about her
goal in life – working in a theme park as a character mascot,
one of those oversized, fuzzy creatures that dance and cavort
with children.

So she came to the Choko Group mascot school in Tokyo for
instruction in the myriad tricks of the trade, such as how to
move in giant feet and a furry animal head.

Nov 5, 2012

Dalai Lama says expects China political reform under Xi

YOKOHAMA, Japan (Reuters) – China’s leader in-waiting, Xi Jinping, will have no choice but to embark on political reforms to leave a lasting mark the way the current leadership has done with economic reforms, exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said on Monday.

Xi, currently vice president, is expected to take over from President Hu Jintao as Communist Party head at a congress opening in Beijing on Thursday and will then become president in March in a generational leadership change.

Mar 9, 2012

She sings, she dances, she’s … not real

TOKYO (Reuters) – Hatsune Miku has a following that would make most Japanese pop stars green with envy, with thousands of fans at every concert and a big international following.

She never misses a beat, fluffs a line or messes up a step. But then she doesn’t really exist.

Feb 24, 2012

Forced out by tsunami, Japan sushi chef dreams of home

TOKYO (Reuters) – When the tsunami roared through his northern Japanese hometown of Ofunato last March, sushi chef Sanichi Niinuma managed to escape with his life, but his shop was battered and badly damaged by the raging waters.

In the aftermath of the disaster, which killed over 400 in the city, the 47-year-old Niinuma went as far as starting to rebuild his shop — only to be told by the city that the area was off limits since the land had sunk and power and sewage systems were destroyed.