Japan







Tensions between Japan and China over disputed islands continues to escalate. A report from the Guardian states that both sides have refused to step back for fear of losing face.   “There…



Less than a week after announcing a plan to abandon Nuclear Power by the 2030’s, Hiroko Tabuchi at NYtimes.com reports that the Japanese government will not be implementing that plan: Motohisa Furukawa,…





Wikipedia on the fascinating flute-playing basket monk sect of seventeenth-to-nineteenth century Japan. Across cultures, specific articles of clothing are commonly worn to conceal oneself for purposes of modesty, conformity, or strategic anonymity….



The Tokyo-based mystical cult Aum Shinrikyo’s deadly terrorist attack, conducted to bring about the apocalypse, revealed the insanity hidden inside the sterile, hypermodern metropolis. The New York Times reports:

After 17 years, the man thought to be the final suspect from the doomsday cult behind the 1995 nerve-gas poisoning that killed 13 people and injured thousands of others was arrested on Friday, the police said. Investigators arrested the suspect, Katsuya Takahashi, 54, near an Internet cafe in central Tokyo after receiving a tip that a man resembling the fugitive had been spotted there. The cult’s blind leader, Chizuo Matsumoto, was convicted of masterminding the attack and has been sentenced to death.


RadiationWell, it’s good to know Japan’s government is seriously testing the food supply. Via the Japan Times:

Radioactive cesium was detected in 51 food products from nine prefectures in excess of a new government-set limit in the first month since it was introduced April 1st, according to data released by the health ministry Tuesday.

The limit was exceeded in 337 cases, or 2.4 percent of 13,867 food samples examined by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

Cesium exceeding the previous allowable limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram was detected in 55 cases, while the new limit of 100 becquerels was exceeded in 282 cases. By prefecture, there were 142 cases in Fukushima, 69 in Tochigi, 41 in Ibaraki, 35 in Iwate, 32 in Miyagi, 13 in Chiba, two each in Yamagata and Gunma, and one in Kanagawa.



Ghost ShipVia Voice of America:

The U.S. Coast Guard has sunk an abandoned Japanese fishing boat off the coast of Alaska, more than a year after a tsunami sent it drifting aimlessly across the Pacific Ocean.

The 50-meter long Ryou-Un Mara went down Thursday in the Gulf of Alaska, hours after a Coast Guard vessel started shooting at it, setting fire to the so-called “ghost ship,” which had no lights, crew or communications system.

The Coast Guard decided to sink the Ryou-Un Mara because it posed a significant danger to ships sailing in the area. Officials say sinking the ship poses no risk to the environment and that any fuel on board would be evaporated by now. The sinking operation was delayed when a Canadian fishing boat expressed interest in salvaging the Japanese boat. The Canadian ship eventually determined it could not tow the crippled vessel…


Created in Japan, an eerie musical instrument that creates synesthesia — the blurring of the line between senses. Different categories such as fried foods, dairy, and vegetables produce different sorts of sounds:

EaTheremine (Eat + Theremin) is a fork-type instrumen that enables users to play various sounds by eating foods. These sounds are changed, according to resistance values of foods attached on the fork.



Japanese erotic hotels famously offer themed fetish rooms that transport guests to the oddest of locations. Artist Ai Hasegawa hopes to go further by creating plans for an Extreme Environment Love Hotel…


Could plants communicate with us, if we had the right way of listening? The wife of a Japanese researcher gives her cacti a language lesson:

The chief of research for Fuji Electronic Industries has constructed special instruments which translate the electrical output of plants into modulated sounds, giving voice to a cactus. Relying on her affinity for plants, Mrs. Hashimoto looks forward to actual conversation with her cactus…Convinced it possesses an intelligence, she is determined to teach it the Japanese alphabet.




If you live in New York or another major city, you know all too well the frustration caused by slow walkers clogging thoroughfares. This highlights how a simple bicycle bell can be put to use in daily situations to alter people’s behaviors for the better and improve life for everyone.