Chris's Feed
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.

Feb 23, 2012

Hope fades for lone pine tree survivor of Japan’s tsunami

RIKUZENTAKATA, Japan (Reuters) – Very little was left standing in the Japanese city of Rikuzentakata after a huge tsunami tore through nearly a year ago. Even the centuries-old pine forest by the sea that had long been a symbol of the city was obliterated.

But amidst the destruction that killed about one in 12 of the city’s residents, one lonely pine tree out of more than 60,000 has clung to life along the ravaged coast. It came to embody residents’ hopes for renewal.

Feb 21, 2012

Photos make slow way home in tsunami-hit Japan

OFUNATO, Japan (Reuters) – In a large, bright room not far from the ocean that raged through this coastal Japanese city nearly a year ago, a handful of people with magnifying glasses pore over boxes of photographs of friends or loved ones.

The massive March 11 tsunami that leveled buildings and flattened towns along a wide swathe of northern Japan, including Ofunato, also took a more subtle toll, with hundreds of thousands of photographs lost to the churning waters.

Feb 13, 2012

A year on, only brief home visits for Japan nuclear evacuees

OKUMA, Japan (Reuters) – Back home for just three hours, a tearful Miyoko Takeda sorted through her belongings. She left behind the kimonos she once wore as a traditional dancer, fearful they might be contaminated by radiation.

Nearly a year has passed since a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit Japan, Okuma town, but the site of the reactors at the centre of the Fukushima nuclear crisis remains off limits for residents, save for short trips to hastily abandoned homes.

Oct 28, 2011

Japan’s digital divas take to the stage, wow fans

TOKYO, Oct 28 (Reuters) – Japan’s two newest stars have all
the basics of being a pop idol down. Their dance moves are
sharp, they sing without missing a beat, and their songs have
made the top 10.

The only thing is, neither one of them exists.

The green-haired “Megpoid” and red-haired “Akikoloid” are
both completely computer generated, the latest in a line of
popular digital characters based on a voice-synthesizing
programme that allows users to create their own music.

Aug 1, 2011

Robot seals help heal Japan’s tsunami victims

TOKYO (Reuters) – For some elderly survivors of Japan’s March earthquake and tsunami, comfort comes in the form of a small white robotic seal named Paro.

Sitting only 27 km (17 miles) south of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant on a hill above an area ravaged by the tsunami, the Suisyoen retirement home is located in the middle of Japan’s triple crises.

Mar 24, 2011

Japan tsunami losses felt in mud-covered pictures

YAMADA, Japan (Reuters) – On sprawling blue plastic tarps in a small public hall lie a mass of mud-covered photographs that may be the only remaining printed memories for tsunami victims in the fishing town of Yamada.

Photographs have become one of the most precious commodities in the recovery effort in the tsunami that slammed Japan’s northeast coast nearly two weeks ago, obliterating towns and leaving about 26,000 dead or missing.