Japan's vegetarians stay in the closet

| Feb 24, 2013

Japan's vegetarians stay in the closet

Last week, entertainment-related media in the U.S. reported that the American Broadcasting Corporation had rejected an advertisement the animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wanted to air during the Academy Awards ceremony, which takes place early tomorrow morning Tokyo time.

Judo scandal casts doubt on Olympic bid

| Feb 17, 2013

Judo scandal casts doubt on Olympic bid

News stories don’t exist in a vacuum. What often makes them “news” is a confluence of factors that provide a context of interest. Though the public thinks the current story about 15 female judo athletes (jūdōka) demanding fundamental changes to the way the national ...

Taro Aso may, for once, have a point

| Feb 9, 2013

Taro Aso may, for once, have a point

Ever since the Liberal Democratic Party regained power last year, standard-bearer Shinzo Abe has been conspicuously cautious with his public pronouncements, cooling it on the nationalist rhetoric and keeping the bravado to a minimum. Deprived of excitement, the media was delighted by Vice Prime ...

Building your home can come at quite a cost

| Feb 4, 2013

Building your home can come at quite a cost

People in the market for new single-family houses usually don’t worry as much about the land those houses occupy because they tend to work with developers, who purchase huge tracts and then subdivide them. The customer buys the land and the house as a ...

Celebrity bloggers not required to disclose paid endorsements

| Feb 3, 2013

Celebrity bloggers not required to disclose paid endorsements

In December several celebrities were forced to apologize publicly for stating on their personal blogs that they had “won” items on so-called penny auction websites when, in fact, they hadn’t. Penny auction sites, which first appeared in Germany in 2005, offer people the chance ...

| Jan 26, 2013

No room for subtleties when laying off workers

Thanks to a feature that appeared on the front page of the Dec. 31 issue of the Asahi Shimbun, oidashi beya is the first topical neologism of 2013 if you don’t count “Abenomics.” It’s not clear if the term, which translates as “expulsion room,” ...

Mascots bear cash for local authorities

| Jan 13, 2013

Mascots bear cash for local authorities

In September 2007, after Shinzo Abe had abruptly quit his first stint as prime minister, sales of Shin-chan Manju, a bean-paste-filled bun named after Abe, spiked. The maker of the buns had tried to promote the product over the course of Abe’s year as ...

Japan's farming could be going to seed

| Jan 6, 2013

Japan's farming could be going to seed

“Tis the season for predictions, and last week Hiromasa Yonekura, the chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren), told Asahi Shimbun he believed Japan will decide in 2013 to take part in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks. Yonekura is also chairman of Sumitomo Chemical, ...

Checking out the <em>real</em> estate agents

| Jan 1, 2013

Checking out the real estate agents

Several months ago we looked at a house that had been bought at auction by a housing company, fixed up and then put on the market. We found it among the listings on the home page of a realtor we’ve dealt with in the ...