I thought I’d seen everything when I read the headline in today’s paper that Nestle was going to bail out Yubari city from its bankruptcy. As it always turns out with these headlines, it was slightly exaggerated but I really do have to take my hat off to Nestle. It turns out that Nestle has decided to donate 10 yen to the city of Yubari from every pack sold of its latest brand of Kit Kat. Continue reading Nestle To Bail Out The City Of Yubari With Chocolates
Apparently 1 in 20 of Japanese weddings last year included at least one foreigner. As a recent addition to this growing group, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what it means to be married to a Japanese person (国際結婚, kokusai kekkon) for me – a very stippy gaijin. Having a good time while chatting with Japanese friends is one thing, but living together 24-7 with someone who has grown up with a totally different set of morals, expectations and traditions is a pretty eye opening experience. It is easy to forget but, interestingly, all of my friends at home remind me that it is even pretty hard doing this back home where everyone speaks the same language! After a bunch of long phone calls with friends back home, my wife and I decided to try out pre-marital counseling Continue reading Happy Families in Japan – did you think about pre-marital counseling?
Although Japan is clearly far behind the west in Women’s lib, the emergence of Doi Takako in the 90s and several female politicians in Koizumi’s cabinet has helped push along the plight of the average Japanese woman. But sometimes there is more to these posts than meets the eye.
Over the past two years, Noda Seiko (one of the old school LDP politicians recently who was targeted by Koizumi’s famous 刺客 assassins) has pushed forward debate about 夫婦別姓 (fufubessei, the right of a husband and wife to have different Continue reading “I take this man to be my lawfully wedded husband”… Except when politics intervenes!
Late last year Pink shared with us the eye-opening story of his friend who found out that he had been dating a girl infected with HIV, and the story of his soul search while he waited for his own test results. After reading the number of responses in the comment section to the article, I decided to do a little more work into the state of AIDS and other STDs in Japan.
While most newspaper articles generally do their best to exaggerate the statistics with statements like “AIDS cases in Japan double in the last decade”, the reality is that official AIDS (and HIV) statistics don’t appear that high although part of the reason might be due to the lack of drug use (and syringe sharing) in Japan. I guess it depends Continue reading What Should I Do? More on AIDS in Japan
After eight years in the limelight as the governor of Tokyo it seems that 74 year old Shintaro Ishihara (石原慎太郎) has once again been successful in winning the hearts of the Tokyo tomin (都民, citizens). Despite the fact that 73% of Tokyo’s registered voting population (*) did not vote for him, Ishihara is beginning his third (and apparent final) period in Nishi-Shinjuku. Besides more overseas trips for his wife and job offers for his sons, what does that mean for us, the gaijin population of Tokyo? I happened to be walking through the streets of Shinbashi (新橋) on the weekend and stumbled across Ishihara’s campaign office so I decided to invite myself in for a fact finding mission. Although I didn’t buy one of the 200 yen pro-Ishihara arm bands, I did ask a few questions on behalf of stippy.com. Continue reading A Vote in Favour of a Tighter Immigration Policy?
Today, Japan Airlines officially becomes a member of the OneWorld alliance. Perhaps you remember the joy and expectation that you felt back on Oct 25, 2005 when JAL announced this for the first time (official release). Or if you haven’t been in Japan for two years, perhaps you remember feeling that joy on Feb 8, 2006 (official release) or even June 4, 2006 (official release) when JAL proceeded to again announce exactly the same thing. Well it seems as though JAL has finally got its act together and can’t delay the move any longer. Continue reading JAL’s Ascension to Oneworld Marred by Backstabbing in the Boardroom
* “J-WOTD” = “Japanese Word of the Day”
If you enjoyed the movie Babel / バベルの塔 (official English language site) as much as I did then I’m sure the first thing you did when you got home was to do a Google Search to find out who that unknown girl was playing the role of Chieko. While I’d heard of (and recognized) Yakusho Koji (役所広司), I hadn’t heard of Kikuchi Rinko (菊池凛子)before (official English language site).
Following the hype surrounding her Academy Award nomination, I had read a little about her in the press. Continue reading J-WOTD: 居合 (いあい)
Changing jobs is always an emotional experience for the best of us, but what do you think was going through Yasuyuki Higuchi’s (樋口泰行) mind when he accepted the job of Microsoft Japan COO last week, switching Jobs in more ways than one.
While he was notably cagey at the press conference, it feels as though existing CEO, Darren Huston, has decided that he’s had enough of the land of the rising sun. Why else would Higuchi (who has recently served as the President of both Hewlett-Packard Japan and Daiei) accept the role of number two unless it came hand in hand with a guarantee of Continue reading An old Apple a day keeps Jobs-san away? Higuchi joins Microsoft Japan
When you go home tonight, you might notice some new ads starring Matushita Nao (松下奈緒) for a cool looking PDA. But contrary to popular belief, this is not Softbank’s X01HT which has been receiving a lot of bandwidth in the comments section of stippy.com. Nor is it part of DoCoMo’s half-arsed attempt at marketing the blackberry in Japan , nor is it a rechurned ad for Wilcom’s hugely successful PDA of 2006, W-Zero 3. E-mobile (Japan’s youngest mobile phone carrier) has finally unveiled their virgin products for the Japanese market.
As the newest player on the street, E-mobile is still rapidly rolling out their service area and so initial service will be purely for data only (voice to start in Mar ’08) and basically only in the Tokyo and Osaka regions. Due to the obvious disadvantages Continue reading Nao that’s a nice PDA! “E-mobile” the new runner in the keitai race
Back in the day, when Firefox didn’t have yakushi-mouse (a translation function built in to the cursor) and Babelfish referred to something in a Douglas Adams novel, not a search function on Altavista, translators had very little choice for efficient computer based dictionaries. I was an active translator back in the 90s and swore by my trusty Wordtank until Continue reading The story behind Eijiro: the most popular Japanese/English dictionary on the net