Category Archives: Japan: News and Media

What would have happened if she was an American?

Kamiosawa: Filipina Murdered and Chopped Up in Tokyo
Kamiosawa: Murdered and Chopped Up in Tokyo

How many of you have been following the attempted suicide of Hiroshi Nozaki (野崎浩) on April 6? I’m guessing not that many of you, because for some reason it’s not really receiving that much air time on Japanese TV. Nozaki’s suicide is particularly controversial because after calling an ambulance he gave instructions to the doctor to search in a coin locker at the Hamamatsucho Station (浜松町駅) next to the World Trade Center Building. Inside the locker was a suitcase filled with 10 chopped up body parts of a 22 year old Filipina woman, Honiefaith Ratilla Kamiosawa (上大澤・ハニーフィット・ラティリア). As foreigners in Japan, there is more to this story than the Japanese media make out. How much different would this situation be if she were say, American? Or perhaps if she was a Japanese national, and the killer was an African American? Continue reading What would have happened if she was an American?

Tokyo Taxi Drivers get “Ranked”

The three star symbol of a Master Taxi Driver - 優良タクシードライバー
The three star symbol of a Master Taxi Driver – 優良タクシードライバー

Have you ever noticed Tokyo taxis with these three stars atop? They are a type of certification of the level of the driver inside the taxi – they are designated “Master Taxi Drivers” (優良タクシードライバー). Look out for them next time you grab a cab in Tokyo!

The Kanto Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has announced a proposal to designate space at taxi ranks for these master drivers. They have chosen Shimbashi station, near the Yurikamome line, as the first location. Continue reading Tokyo Taxi Drivers get “Ranked”

The Implosion of Japan’s Super Nova

Bleak skies ahead for Nova
Nova Sagi? Bleak skies ahead for Japan’s Nova Usagi

Japan’s largest English Language conversation school, Nova is the second largest employer of foreigners in Japan (the first being the Japanese government, bless them) employing over 4,500 teachers nationwide. The company name NOVA, originates from the English word for a star that suddenly becomes thousands of times brighter and then gradually fades to its original intensity (or to nothing in this case!). It has however, been made into a now familiar acronym by its eikaiwa (英会話) senseis, who proclaim to be heavily overworked, and given little or next to NO VAcation.

Last Friday (26th October 2007), Nova filed for court protection from creditors, and also temporarily closed all of its 1000+ English conversation schools. It is hard to imagine any other event which could cause as Continue reading The Implosion of Japan’s Super Nova

Yokoso! Fingerprint Please!

All foreigners to be fingerprinted when entering Japan from November 2007Starting November 20, 2007, all foreign nationals landing in Japan will be required to submit to fingerprinting and having their picture taken. Yōkoso! Smile! You’re a terrorist suspect!

This controversial new procedure snuck its way into existence on May 24, 2006 when the Japanese Diet passed a law requiring all foreign nationals (with a few exceptions, such as children under 16, diplomats, and special-status permanent residents such as Zainichi Koreans) to submit biometric data to prove they’re not Osama bin Laden or one of his cronies. I’ll spare you the details; if you Continue reading Yokoso! Fingerprint Please!

Kyoto University Emissions Tax

Kyoto University Law Department 1933Kyoto is famous in Japan for many things, in the past for classic temples like Kinkakuji and Kiyomizu-dera and for being the capital of Japan from 794 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. It is well-known more recently for things such as the Kyoto Protocol and Kyoto University. This week, Kyoto University became the first University in Japan to introduce a so-called “University Environment Tax”, sort of an emissions tax to attempt to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases within the University. Continue reading Kyoto University Emissions Tax

Nestle To Bail Out The City Of Yubari With Chocolates

nestle-to-save-yubari-cityI 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

Stippy Was Hacked!

Stippy Was Hacked!As you may have noticed, we were down for the last 4 or 5 days. Some malicious person decided that hacking stippy would be a novel idea. Well, I was away for a week, and did not have access, and therefore not a chance to restore from backups until now, but this is the first time that a hacker has really, no I mean REALLY annoyed me. Someone found a way (god knows how) to modify almost every file in the directory where stippy is stored, without making any obvious changes. So, it was either compare each and every file with those in the backup, or just restore from the backup. Continue reading Stippy Was Hacked!

The Biofuel/Biogas Debate Reaches Japan

Biodiesel and Biofuel - What does it all mean for Japan?
Biodiesel and Biogas – What does it all mean for Japan?

Judging by some of the comments from readers over the past months, I get the feeling a lot of people are far more up to speed than me when it comes to things that are good for the planet. However, I had a bad day at work the other day and spent some time bouncing my way through the Internet to take my mind off the office. It so happened I bumped into some interesting things in the way of “green”, specifically, the controversy over “biofuels” and what they could mean for Japan. Continue reading The Biofuel/Biogas Debate Reaches Japan

Mayor of Nagasaki Shot Dead by Yakuza

Mayor of Nagasaki MurderedThis article is a rare (for stippy) direct quote from another article on Yahoo but we thought that is is interesting for our readers also, as we have written quite extensively on the Yakuza and their recent dramas in Japan, and given a locals insight surrounding some of ongoings of the Yamaguchi-gumi and Sumiyoshikai in Tokyo.

Well, the Yakuza is back in the news in a way that nobody expected. A senior member of the Yamaguchi-gumi has shot dead the mayor of Nagasaki, for not compensating him when his car was damaged at a public works construction site! This is the forth murder of a politician since WW2, and virtually unheard of in Japan. Continue reading Mayor of Nagasaki Shot Dead by Yakuza

JAL’s Ascension to Oneworld Marred by Backstabbing in the Boardroom

JAL to Join OneWorld from Today (April 1st 2007)
JAL to finally join OneWorld from Today, 1st April 2007

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