Japanese Politician Stoops to Soft Porn for the Good of the Electorate

Yuri Fujikawa's Sexy Photo Book Cover - 藤川ゆり写真集
Yuri Fujikawa's Sexy Photo Book Cover - 藤川ゆり写真集

In America, former movie stars make good Presidents. In the East, it seems, it works the other way: it takes a politician to become a popular porn star. If you’re lucky enough, you might have seen some photos of the hottest property in Japanese politics, Yuri Fujikawa (藤川ゆり) showing off her cleavage at a beach in her hometown of Hachinohe, 八戸 (not to be confused with the real porn star, of the same name! Warning – NSFW link).

For those that are not up on their Aomori geography, Hachinohe is a smallish town in the east coast of Aomori prefecture at the tip of Honshu. It’s biggest year round tourist attraction is its rather dull fish market (Hasshoku Centre, 八食センター), usually full of local elderly folks, and US Marines from the nearby Misawa Airforce Base (presumably because there is nothing else for them to do in their time off). Anyway, I digress – the point is, that Hachinohe is an extremely quiet, down-to-earth, and above all conservative community. Throw into that mix a young (hot) representative who just released a gravure DVD and a sexy photo shoot book, and you have some fiery topics of conversation for the population of sleepy old Hachinohe (and far beyond!). Continue reading Japanese Politician Stoops to Soft Porn for the Good of the Electorate

Aso’s Hidden Wealth: How “disclosure” works in Japan

Aso: Just what is he worth? Stippy investigates how Japan's politicians legally hide their true wealth from us
Aso: Just what is he worth? Stippy investigates how Japan's politicians (legally) hide their true wealth from the public, and pay incredibly low taxes on their real estate in the process
Have you made a donation to your local LDP politician lately? I hope not. If you read the Nikkei on the weekend of the 26th October you might have noticed the two page spread (p6~7) detailing the assets of the senior (and not so senior) members of the new Aso cabinet. Given the amount of corruption in Japanese bureaucracy, it sounds like a good idea to force a certain amount of disclosure so that citizens can understand where vested interests might lie, but does this really help us to discover the financial worth of the politicians here?

For a start, in Japan there is no need to disclose any bank deposits that are on call. With Japanese interest rates as they are, something like 60% Continue reading Aso’s Hidden Wealth: How “disclosure” works in Japan

Japan’s real-estate market won’t take it lying down

Tasteful front door of a Nurse Flavored Fashion Health Establishment in Akebonocho
Tasteful front door of a nurse flavored Fashion Health establishment in Akebonocho
After being developed in Kyoto in the early 80s as a next generation version of bottomless coffee shops (ノーパン喫茶, nopan kissa), the so called “Fashion Health” industry was and still is a key aspect of the neon alleys in Japan’s red light districts. Fashion Health was a product of the bubble and began to proliferate in 1981.  Nowadays, the government has tightened the regulations (風営法, fu’eiho) considerably and it’s now practically impossible to open a brand new Fashion Health shop. However, due to one of those wacky loopholes that you often find in Japanese law, Fashion Health establishments that were already in operation before the enactment of the new regulation are allowed to remain in business. Continue reading Japan’s real-estate market won’t take it lying down

Getting Pregnant in Japan – Part Six: Finding a Baby-Friendly Hospital (BFH)

Breast feeding at a Baby Friendly Hospital in Japan
Breast feeding at a Baby-Friendly Hospital in Japan

Has your wife already chosen her Obstetrics & Gynecology (Ob/Gy) Doctor in Japan? Have you met him? (I use “him” as unfortunately the vast majority of Ob/Gy’s in Japan are males) Did you go along to help scrutinize him? Call me paranoid but we went and interviewed 4 different doctors before we decided on who we wanted to deliver our baby. It’s astounding how different one Doc’s perspective can be to the next.

This is the sixth installment in a series about my personal experience of being pregnant in Japan (or perhaps I should say, of my Japanese wife being pregnant). I decided to start writing this series when I realized that there must be a significantly large population of gaijin dad’s out there who are making all of the mistakes that I have and wished there was a bank of information somewhere to save them some of the pain. In that respect, this installment Continue reading Getting Pregnant in Japan – Part Six: Finding a Baby-Friendly Hospital (BFH)

“Kansahojin” – New NHK TV Drama Series

監査法人 NHK TV Drama Series Kansahojin
監査法人 – The exciting new NHK TV series

I’m really getting in to a particular mini-series (ドラマ, dorama) on air at the moment in Japan. It’s 監査法人 (Kansahojin, “Auditor”) on NHK at 9PM each Saturday night. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a mini-series that is solely focused on that very sexy profession of auditing! Judged by all of my friends who are accountants I wasn’t really expecting much spice from this one. Much to my surprise, after having just watched the first three episodes (Episode 4 of 6 in total is screening tonight, Sat 5th July at 9pm), I’m finding myself pulled right into the story. Clearly NHK has timed the airing to clash with the Continue reading “Kansahojin” – New NHK TV Drama Series

Getting Pregnant in Japan – Part Five: Something Fishy About Mercury Levels?

Eating Seafood While Pregnant - Western vs Japanese Guidelines
The “Mercury Food Chain” – From the ocean to your baby

Everyone knows that pregnant women should avoid fish and definitely shouldn’t eat raw fish… right? Or at least I thought that was “a given” until I started discussing what my wife and I might eat on our next date in the big smoke. Well, it turned out that we were to have sushi and that I had no say in the matter.

There is no better topic than pregnancy for old wives tales to prevail and the list of different foods that you can and can’t eat seems to be not only the longest, but the most contentious when it comes to the cross-border battle of who’s “common sense” was to prevail. While it is hard to prove most wives tales either right or wrong, but I assumed that something as important as food must have a “right” answer. Continue reading Getting Pregnant in Japan – Part Five: Something Fishy About Mercury Levels?

The Quest for Japan’s Best Hamburger: Part 1 – Awajishima!?

Awajishima Burger: The Best Burger in Japan
Awajishima Burger: Possibly the best in Japan

Update: We like hamburgers so much, that we are going to turn this article into a multi-part series called, “The Quest for Japan’s Best Hamburger”.

We will rank some of Japan’s less known, but more tasty (or not!) burger joints. We will rate each one using the following simple system. How good the burger is earns it between zero and three “stippies” as follows:

  • 0 stippies: We’ll never go back to these places, and we’ll let you know why you should avoid them.
  • 1 stippy: A hearty feast but nothing to write home about. You’d choose it over most other restaurants in the area but wouldn’t go out of your way to visit the area just to have a hamburger here.
  • 2 stippies: you can tell that the owner has spent time considering the balance of his hamburgers. Ingredients are procured directly from farms and other small scale suppliers who care about the taste of their product.
  • 3 stippies: ecstasy. You can’t get a 3 stippy ranking without at least one tear of joy being shed by the author.

Review # 1 – Awajishima Burger, Hyogo:
I don’t take my burgers lightly. As a big fan of hardcore burgers and an unforgiving critic of cheap imitations, I am on a seemingly endless search for Japan’s perfect burger for more than a decade. While I’m always hesitant to claim that I have found the Emperor of all burgers (because then I wouldn’t have an excuse to go out eating burgers every weekend!!), I think I have come pretty damn close.

Awajishima Burger SignMy chance discovery was on the way home from Shikoku the other day. As we were driving over the whirlpools of Naruto (鳴門の渦潮) the road sign to Awajishima (淡路島) triggered a memory Continue reading The Quest for Japan’s Best Hamburger: Part 1 – Awajishima!?

It’s Shooting Season on Japanese Dinner Tables

This is what a bamboo shoot really looks before it gets cookedTo make the most of the good weather that we’re enjoying this Spring, my family and I decided to tip toe amongst the Tulips that are in blossom at the moment at Expo Park (万博公園, banpaku koen). As we were walking around the Western side of the park, we decided to take a few photos outside the chikurin (竹林, bamboo forest). It was then that for the first time, I noticed a couple of Takenoko (たけのこ, baby bamboo shoots) sneaking up through the floor of the forest. Sure, I’ve seen fully grown bamboo trees many times and I’ve even enjoyed some noodles washed down the inner side of a bamboo trunk (流しそうめん, nagashisomen) before, but for some reason, I guess I’ve never walked by a bamboo forest in the Spring before. Being a big fan of bamboo shoots on the dinner table, I joked to my wife that we should sneak into the chikurin and take a few home. As you can guess, the idea didn’t get very much air time.

You’ll appreciate my surprise when I discovered Continue reading It’s Shooting Season on Japanese Dinner Tables

WaiWai: Clumsy cop the link between mutilated Filipina and slain stalker victim

This article is reproduced from the discontinued, but much loved Mainichi Waiwai column by Ryann Connell. Read more about this at the bottom of this article.

There’s a link between the arrest of habitual Filipina mutilator Hiroshi Nozaki and one of Japan’s most notorious crimes ever — the slaying of a Saitama Prefecture woman who was ignored by the cops when she complained about being stalked, according to Nikkan Gendai (4/10).

The link is Hiroshi Nishimura, who was head of the Saitama Prefectural Police in October 1999 when the stalker slaying occurred, and the now-62-year-old former top cop was lambasted by the public for his appalling mishandling of the case.

Continue reading WaiWai: Clumsy cop the link between mutilated Filipina and slain stalker victim

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?

A fresh look at Japan, by gaijins for gaijins!