All posts by Bone

Big Boss Falls on Sword in Tokyo Yakuza Wars

Flowers at the scene of the Nishiazabu Yakuza Shooting 49 days agoThis is a follow up story to our earlier coverage of the Yakuza turf wars in Nishiazabu, Central Tokyo (we advise to read the first article for context before going on).

Next Wednesday will mark 49 days since Ryoichi Sugiura (杉浦良一), a director of the Sumiyoshi-kai (住吉会), a Tokyo Yakuza gang, was shot and killed around morning tea time on the sidewalk of the busy Roppongi Street in central Tokyo. In the Japanese Buddhist tradition, the soul of a dead man spends 49 days after the day of death uneasily straddling this life and the next, before a ceremony on the 49th day releases the soul. For the last couple of weeks, the streets of Roppongi have been eerily quiet, but the flowers at the scene of the crime are refreshed almost daily, with new messages from Sugihara’s Yakuza comrades Continue reading Big Boss Falls on Sword in Tokyo Yakuza Wars

A “Yakuza War” has started in Central Tokyo

yakuza.jpgYesterday morning at 10am in the well-to-do area of Tokyo’s Nishi Azabu, a member of one Yakuza gang (the Yamaguchi-gumi, 山口組) shot and killed a very senior member (a 幹部 or kanbu, which roughly translates to “director”) of another Yakuza gang (the Sumiyoshi-kai, 住吉会) on the side of the main road between Roppongi and Shibuya, all in broad daylight. This has lit a match of dangerous and lethal proportions, escalating a rift that has been brewing in Tokyo for some time now, starting the much feared “Yakuza war” in central Tokyo, that many have been predicting since the end of 2005.

This is directly relevant for a few of us who write for Stippy, because it has all happened literally right on our doorstep. One of the things we all like and respect about Japan – it’s shiny reputation as a “safe” country – seems to have become tarnished and is somewhat crumbling at the sides. Continue reading A “Yakuza War” has started in Central Tokyo

Mail Order “Snow Kitty” – Made of Real Snow!

Mail Order Snow Kitty ChanJapan is supposed to be the land of conformity, a land where nobody has original ideas, where everyone unquestioningly follows the pack. But every now and then, people in Japan come up with some things so bewildering that you wonder where the idea could possibly have come from!

The Hello Kitty “Snow Kitty” is one of these. The ultimate present for kids who have never had a chance to play with snow, I was told by the Sanrio employee who invented this. For 4,800 yen, payable online or by bank transfer, the reliable blokes at the Sagawa Kyubin delivery service will deliver right to your door a frozen Kitty-chan snowman made of snow hand-packed in Hokkaido the very day before! Continue reading Mail Order “Snow Kitty” – Made of Real Snow!

Love Hotels in Japan Series: Part 2 – Casa Di Due, Shibuya

hotel-017.jpgThis is the part two of’s Love Hotel in Japan series, showcasing the best, weirdest, and more interesting love hotels in Japan. Part one was the introduction to the series, and from today onwards, we will be introducing a different love hotel, and delving deep inside with our cameras and camcorders to show you the darker underbelly of Japanese culture.

First up, is the famous Casa Di Due in Shibuya, Tokyo. (See the video of the Casa Di Due near the bottom of the article. It really captures the disco like atmosphere – from the flashy lights on the outside, the crazy waiting room and lit-up hallways, right into the actual room, and the bed of joy!) Continue reading Love Hotels in Japan Series: Part 2 – Casa Di Due, Shibuya

Love Hotels in Japan Series: Part 1

edohotel.jpgThe love hotel is an icon of Japanese culture, the thought of which warms the hearts (and loins), of both Japanese and foreigners alike. plans to showcase the most wacky and interesting love hotels in Japan, complete with video footage of the interior of each one, including Alcatraz – The Rock in Gunma Prefecture, the conspicuous Hotel Sexus in Kyoto, and of course the historical Meguro Emperor. Look out for these original videos and critiques throughout this year!

The rationale and logic behind the creation of love hotels is simple Continue reading Love Hotels in Japan Series: Part 1

Scientific Slaughter – Japan and the Whales

Whale Meat Shop at Tsukiji MarketsJapan has been hunting and eating whales for centuries. And continues to do so today. Despite the political guise of whaling for scientific purposes, much of the blood red whale meat ends up in Japan’s fish markets and supermarkets for public consumption. Is Japan justified in whale hunting and being unfairly attacked by crackpot greenies, or are they really as cruel and inhumane as the Western news reports make out? Whichever side you are on, the fact remains that Japan’s “bi-product” of its scientific research program ends up on the plates of Japanese consumers, and is still an extremely lucrative market. We at went to Tsukiji Fish Markets in Tokyo to get graphic evidence of whale on sale. The shopkeeper was even kind enough to point out which whale he was researching on his “Whales of the World” poster (Click on image to see an enlarged version). The Catch of the Day was Fin Whale on that particular day. Without siding with either the greenies or the Japanese, let us introduce you to the background of this issue, with some real facts. You decide for yourself which side of the fence you are on, and if you feel like letting us know, leave a comment at the bottom of the article. Continue reading Scientific Slaughter – Japan and the Whales

Japan Enveloped by Huge Cloud!

taihen-cloud.gifA 3000 kilometer long dark cloud has enveloped Japan. It appears to have been completely missed by the experts, and we are concerned not to have once seen warnings on the weather reports. It seems to have gone completely unnoticed and yet is having a profound effect on the entire country. It has been detected recently by many of us at stippy, and after further investigation, is being widely referred to as the “Taihen Cloud”.

It is almost impossible to recognize the Taihen Cloud when one is on the ground surrounded by it, but once you know where to look Continue reading Japan Enveloped by Huge Cloud!

‘Til Pension Do Us Part – Divorce in Japan set to Skyrocket

sleep.gifThe image of Japanese salarymen working until late, drinking with colleagues, and then not wanting to go home to their unhappy marriages is a common one in Japan. Yet Japan is also well-known for its low divorce rates.. well, at least up until now that is..!

Blokes be aware – times are changing and those miserable Japanese housewives who have been slaving away in the kitchen for decades for their ungrateful husbands are about to get their long-awaited revenge and the divorce rate is set to sky-rocket from April next year!

A Split Pension Payment law (厚生年金の分割制度) has somehow passed its way through the unhappily-married-male-dominated Japanese Government Continue reading ‘Til Pension Do Us Part – Divorce in Japan set to Skyrocket

Maid in Japan

maid.jpgAkihabara is a district of Tokyo that has traditionally been famous for the electronics which have for decades been synonymous with Japan. Because of this, Akihabara has also become well-known for its geeks – and now one of Japanese geeks favorite new hang-outs, the “Maid Cafe“. Read on for an explanation of wide range of services maid cafes have to offer, and a hilarious video which introduces the type of clientele that keeps these establishments alive. Continue reading Maid in Japan

Getting a National Pension Payment Rebate When Leaving Japan as a “Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment”

The Mighty YenThe Japanese Government has a system where foreigners leaving Japan, who have been paying into the pension system, can receive back a portion of these payments. This is known as a “National Pension Payment Rebate”, or a “Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment”. After all those hard years slugging it out working in the far east, you deserve to get back as much of that money as you possible can (it’s not like you are going to retire here right?). We have provided a “Dummies Guide” to getting as many of those hard earned yen that you have paid into this country’s convoluted pension scheme put back into your pocket where they belong, this is a must read for all foreigners thinking of leaving Japan soon, or have recently left Japan.
Continue reading Getting a National Pension Payment Rebate When Leaving Japan as a “Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment”