Archive for the 'Journalism' Category

Real life in Tokyo following Fukushima and the earthquake

Pedestrians in Tokyo, Japan March 25, 2011Shoppers in Tokyo, March 25, 2011


We’ve been having some troubles here in Japan.  Maybe you’ve heard. I’ve written some articles about the earthquake and the coverage of the tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear reactors. You can read my reports here:

March 25, 2011
Op-Ed: Tokyo OK, foreign media’s sensational coverage shameful

March 16, 2011
US govt recommends 80 Km Fukushima evac zone; currently 30km

March 15, 2011
US agrees with reactor response ambassador in Tokyo says

March 15, 2011
Higher than normal radiation detected along Japan Pacific coast

March 14, 2011
Shielding possibly damaged by explosion at Fukushima No.2 Tuesday

March 14, 2011
Op-Ed: The earthquake aftermath in Tokyo

March 13, 2011
Rolling Blackouts Begin Monday in Tokyo

March 12, 2011
How I survived the Japanese earthquake

Bows Obama Did Not Do in Japan

Correct way to bow in JapanUS president Barack Obama boows in Japan.


The bow that US President Barack Obama made to Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko in Tokyo Nov. 14, 2009 has been criticized by some US media pundits and news outlets. In the US the Obama bow debate has focused on whether the form of the bow was correct, if Obama should have only shaken hands instead of bowing, and the implication of the bow. In Japan, the bow was not critiqued in the media. The reports from abroad have become more interesting to Japanese media than the Obama bow itself.

The Obama bow-handshake combo, though not especially elegant, was appropriate given the situation and the hand-thrust maneuver presented by Emperor Akihito.

The US media has mostly taken only a superficial look at bowing in Japan. While reporting on Obama’s alleged bowing gaffes, the media has overlooked the tremendous number of bowing options available in Japan. President Obama could have selected from several bow versions. Here is the Lets Japan Guide to Bow.

The Ten Bows Obama Did Not Do
Obama bow deep and formal to Japan to Japanese Emperor Obama meets Emperor and empress in Tokyo with deep bow Obama's Japan bowing technique in Japan Angle of Obama Japan bow to Emperor criticized President Barack Obama greets Emperor of Japan with bow President Barack Obama greets Emperor of Japan with bow Obama's bow to Emperor of Japan US President Obama bowed to Emperor in Tokyo President Obama makes a bow to  Emperor of Japan Obama bows to Japanese Emperor and Empress
Taking bowing lessons inJapan.


Degrees and angles of bowing in Japan Guide to how to bow etiquette in Japan  photos Degrees man; womanWhite shirt.


Weekly Playboy Obama Issue

The latest edition of Japan’s Weeky Playboy magazine has an article about US President Barack Obama. The current issue is being advertised on trains, and a picture of Obama is in the ad, along with pictures of the women that are featured inside the men’s magazine.

The article about US President Obama says Japan will experience change too. The article description states the three top issues of Japan-US relations: (1) US policy toward North Korea and China and US Secretary of State nominee Hillary Clinton’s persistent criticisms of Japan; (2) The US financial bailout to the Big 3 automakers and the possibilty of "Obama bonds" – US Treasuries being issued in yen. (The story headline in the magazine: "Give Me Japan Money!") (3) The role of Japan’s Self Defense forces in Afghanistan and in the war on terror.
Weekly Playboy in Japan Obama issueSunday Mainichi magazine Obama Japan


News Week Japan January 2009 Obama innaugurationInside Weekly Playboy - 100 yen cold convenience store foods.Other articles in the Weekly Playboy January issue: The 2009 AV Top 50 Guide; Hanaki (wearing) taboo bikini; cloned wagyu beef; and 100-yen cold food convenience store report.

Lets Japan believes that although Weekly Playboy contains images of naked women, Japanese men buy the magazine for the articles.

MAD Says Hai

Lets Japan is a fan of MAD magazine, America’s longest-running humor magazine. MAD often jokes about Japan, because, you know, Japan is a funny place. The satire and parody magazine doesn’t publish a Japanese edtion. MAD doesn’t even know about Lets Japan. So don’t tell MAD. Now, here’s another in our continuing Japan in MAD series…

MAD magazine comic art about Japan October 2008
excerpt from "Up -and-Coming Mixed Martial Arts Fighters", MAD magazine number #494 Oct. 2008

Monkeys Invade Tokyo!

Primate specialist compares Tokyo monkey noses using C.S.I. kitShibuya Monkey Timeline

On August 20, 2008, a macaque monkey ran wild in Shibuya train station in Tokyo. Startled commuters watched as police failed to catch the monkey. TV crews were able to video the monkey chase through the station. The macaque escaped into the city. Video of the chase was broadcast on TV stations worldwide and posted on TV and newspaper websites. The story was reported worldwide.

Media On Alert

On September 9, 2008 a monkey was seen in Tokyo and local media converged on the area. Again, the Shibuya-monkey-spotting was reported extensively in Japan and worldwide. Some reports outside Japan erroneously stated the monkey had been loose for over a month.

TBS Tokyo Evening Five news monkey sightings mapOn October 6, TBS-TV "Evening Five" news in Tokyo reported a monkey had been spotted in Takanawa, Tokyo and then the newscaster asked if it was the same monkey as from Shibuya station.

On October 9, the NHK-TV  "Newswatch 9"  weekday 9 p.m. TV news report also reported on the Takanawa monkey sightings and the caster asked the same question: is it the same monkey? The newscast also showed photos of the monkey taken August 20 in Shibuya and October 3 in Takanawa, to a primate specialist at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. The scholar compared the attributes of the monkey noses, and concluded the images were of the same macaque.

Aping News!

Journalists in Tokyo were becoming concerned about the increasing number of monkey-sighting reports.

Then, on October 19, the monkeys came to city hall.

Police lead monkeys away from Tokyo city hall complex in Shinjuku.

Japanese pedestrians take pictures of rioting monkeys at Tokyo metropolitan government building in Shinjuku.The Tokyo Metropolitan government office building complex in Shinjuku, Tokyo, was overrun by hordes of uniformed monkeys. Police immediately evacuated pedestrians and cordoned off the area. Stunned company employees watched as the monkeys were rounded up and taken to police headquarters for questioning.

"This is Japan. We love monkeys here. Why is this happening?", one bystander asked. Another person watching nearby said, "That Shibuya monkey has caused a lot of trouble. It should be caught."

Police suspect the Shibuya monkey is the leader of the insurgents.

It is not known where the monkeys obtained the uniforms.

Police question the Shibuya station monkey at Tokyo city hall.

Monkey Update: Day 18

Our Favorite Monkey On The Run

Macacque monkey in Tokyo wanted posterAccording to an Associated Press September 5, 2008 report, the Shibuya macaque has been loose for "nearly a month"…"since it showed up on city streets a few weeks ago."

As of September 5, the monkey in the city has actually been avoiding capture only 16 days. And it showed up in Shibuya station in Tokyo, not "city streets".

Wild Monkey Leads Police On Chase (SKY News); Wild Monkey Eluding Tokyo Police ‘Driving Us Crazy (AP/FOX News)

Official Comics Cover Japan, US Armed Forces

Military Comic Books Not So Novel

manga_cvn-01A comic book created by the US Navy to educate Japanese teens and young adults about one of it’s nuclear powered aircraft carriers is ready for distribution in Yokosuka. The city is home to the Yokosuka Naval Base US installation. The USS George Washington is scheduled to arrive in August 2008, to replace the 47-year-old non-nuclear propelled USS Kitty Hawk.

Stars and Stripes reports 30,000 copies of the 200-page Japanese language manga have been published. The comic book, titled “CVN-73″ follows sailor Jack Ohara , an American of Japanese descent, as he gets into all kinds of comic situations all over the ship. He’s mentored by Petty Officer 1st Class Elly Benton. full story

update june 10, 2008: The Navy released the comic June 8. Stars and Stripes reports sailors handed out about 800 copies of “CVN 73″ in three hours in the manga’s first day of distribution. full story. Free download of “CVN 73” in English and Japanese.

The Japan Ministry of Defense published it’s 2007 Ballistic Missile Defense White Paper in a manga version in addition to a standard text document. Read the MOD comic in Japanese about Japan’s Anti-Ballistic Missile capability, or download the MOD pdf version of the manga.

Cover Japan Ministry of Defense 2007 Ballistic Missile Defense White Paper comic.
Japan military ABM whitepaper comic panel.Prince Pickles Japan defense manga scene.

Pickles The Military Mascot

“Prince Pickles is our image character because he’s very endearing, which is what Japan’s military stands for,” said Shotaro Yanagi, a Japan Defense Agency official. “He’s our mascot and appears in our pamphlets and stationery.” full story: AP/IHT

Prince Pickles Japan manga salute.Pentagon Rumsfeld SpidermanCcomic book Philippines
Download the Prince Pickles series from the Japan Ministry of Defense.

Pentagon Uses Its Spidey Sense For the Troops

US psychological operations comic book in the southern Philippines: “Barbargsa — Blood of the Honorable.”

Psychological comic operations

MAD Magazine Hurts

"Sports Injuries Around the World" MAD Magazine #490, June 2008 MAD magazine Sanrio Kitties

MAD magazine Toonopedia; Wikipedia.
A Veteran Mad Man Remains in the Fold (NYT)
Poll: Nearly 20 percent of Japanese adults have considered suicide (AFP)
Japanese-views-on-suicide-part-1-of-3 (WJT)
One Japanese suicide every 15 minutes (Guardian)
Japan detergent suicide sparks panic (AP)
Bloomberg publishes suicide gas recipe
Antidote to Detergent Attempt (Japanese)
Government Suicide Prevention plan (Japanese)
Suicide Warning signs (Japanese)
World’s suicide capital — tough image to shake (JT)
Japanese baseball teams

Inquiring Women Inspire Writers

Write Novel Like Real Author

Fake Writers Visited By Fake AssistantPretend to be a writer and these inns will also have a lady bring a snack to your room and inquire about the progress of your manuscript. The Arima hot spring resort was a favorite place of inspiration for writers. Now, accommodation in the area is offering would-be authors three writing-stay plans.

Targeting baby-boomers, the writer plans are available at 26 hotels and ryokan at the resort. The cost of accommodation is additional.

Lodgers may request a writing desk, writing pad, and a tanzen jacket. And you can ask for the late-night visit from that female muse – she’ll encourage you and address you as “sensei”.

Arima Spa Author Stay Plan

3 days: learn how to write a story, 15,000 yen
5 days: write a digest version of a story, 15,000 yen
7 days: a story you’ve already written will be proofread and prepared for publication, 30,000 yen

Ugly Mascot = Valuable Free Publicity

Sento-Kun mascot characterGreat Gazoo Poses For Sento-Kun IllustrationIs Former 1960’s TV Cartoon Character Sento-kun?

Alien and former TV star The Great Gazoo seems to have been the inspiration for Nara city’s new mascot Sento-kun.

Gazoo appeared as himself in a minor role on the popular American TV cartoon The Flintstones final season in 1965. Except for the occasional cameo in recent years, Gazoo has shunned media attention.

The Sento-kun character was revealed in February this year. Sento-kun was created for the 1,300th anniversary of the Nara Heijo-kyo capital. The mascot was widely criticized as being “not cute”.

But the negative response has resulted in extensive free publicity. The value of the free coverage is estimated at 13 million yen, according to a report from Osaka Prefectural University’s School of Economics.

other mascots in the news