Topics

Postal symbol

| May 21, 2013

Postal symbol

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice, This may seem like a stupid question, or too trivial a subject for you, but what the heck is the symbol that precedes the post code on every piece of domestic mail I receive here in Japan? I’m sure you know what ...

Monju: Generating only misfortune

| May 15, 2013

Monju: Generating only misfortune

by Jun Hongo

The troubled Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor made headlines again when the Nuclear Regulation Authority said it apparently plans to ensure the facility remains idled after announcing that the Japan Atomic Energy Agency failed to properly inspect some 10,000 components, including critical ones. Following are ...

New thugs on block sidestep the usual suspects

| May 14, 2013

New thugs on block sidestep the usual suspects

by Tomohiro Osaki

Japan’s underworld, namely the “boryokudan” (gangster organizations) better known as yakuza, have been targeted with crackdowns in recent years focused on cutting their funding and expanding their criminal liability. But a new type of thug appears to be acting with impunity by operating in ...

The 5 p.m. bell

| Apr 16, 2013

The 5 p.m. bell

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice, I live in a medium-size city in Saitama Prefecture and am puzzled by a speaker system mounted on a huge pole right outside my apartment. Every evening at 5 p.m., music plays from the speakers for 20 or 30 seconds and then ...

Resurgent rubella raises fetus threat

| Apr 2, 2013

Resurgent rubella raises fetus threat

by Mizuho Aoki

The rubella epidemic is spreading quickly, particularly in the Kanto region. Usually limited to developing countries, the disease, also known as German measles, poses a threat to pregnant women as it can cause disorders in fetuses, including hearing impairments, cardiac disease and cataracts. Rubella ...