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WFP Emergency Reserves Perilously Low

Kjeld Duits, Friday, March 31, 2006 Posted: 06:05 AM JST

During my last visit to Pakistan's disaster area in January I was deeply impressed by the work that the World Food Programme was doing there. When I visited shortly after the quake struck in October I was convinced that there would be a second wave of deaths in Winter. The WFP was able to prevent this by supplying even the most isolated villages with food. Their work was truly impressive. In spite of their success, WFP representatives told me that they were battling a shortage of donations. That shortage of funds is now becoming critical and especially affects starving people in Africa.


Headlines and Editorials in the Japanese Press

Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, March 28, 2006 Posted: 05:17 PM JST

Some of the top headlines and editorials in Japan's (Japanese language) newspapers today:


Megumi Yokota Photo Exhibition

Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, March 28, 2006 Posted: 09:30 AM JST

An exhibition of photos of Megumi Yokota, abducted by North Korean agents 29 years ago, will be held at Yokohama Takashimaya from April 4th to 11th. "A Message of Little Megumi and Her Family ~ Shigeru Yokota's Photo Exhibition" contains family photos and aims to increase awareness of North Korean abductees. "We wish you will understand," say the organizers, "their deep love for their daughter, the strong bonds of family, and the cruelty of this crime against humanity."


Tokyo Holds "Intellectual Dialogue" with Central Asia

Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, March 28, 2006 Posted: 08:31 AM JST

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, cooperating with the National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA), will hold the "Central Asia plus Japan" Intellectual Dialogue (Tokyo Dialogue) on Thursday March 30 in Tokyo. The Intellectual Dialogue is one of the five pillars of cooperation in the framework of the "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue launched in 2004.


Headlines and Editorials in the Japanese Press

Kjeld Duits, Friday, March 24, 2006 Posted: 05:18 PM JST

Some of the top headlines and editorials in Japan's (Japanese language) newspapers today:


Poll: Income Gap Expands

Kjeld Duits, Friday, March 24, 2006 Posted: 05:11 PM JST

Some 87% of Japanese feel that the income gap is expanding, a recent nationwide public opinion survey by the Japan Polling Association revealed. I referred to this development in 'Japan Develops Two Economies in One Country', published yesterday.


People : Haruki Murakami

Kjeld Duits, Friday, March 24, 2006 Posted: 01:11 AM JST

Haruki Murakami (村上春樹, born January 12, 1949) is a popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator. His work has been described by the Virginia Quarterly Review as "easily accessible, yet profoundly complex".


Haruki Murakami Receives Franz Kafka Award

Kjeld Duits, Friday, March 24, 2006 Posted: 12:36 AM JST

Japanese author Haruki Murakami (1949), known for 'Kafka on the Shore', 'Norwegian Wood' and 'The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle', has been selected for the annual literature award of the Prague-based Franz Kafka Society for 2006. Murakami is the first Japanese author to receive the Kafka Award. He will receive the award on October 28, a Czech national holiday, at the Old Prague Town Hall. The award consists of a replica of the statue of Franz Kafka by Czech artist Jaroslav Rona and USD 10,000 in cash.


Japanese Police Arrests Thai Woman Abused by Japanese Husband

Kjeld Duits, Thursday, March 23, 2006 Posted: 11:36 PM JST

A Thai woman who was abused by her Japanese husband has been arrested by the Japanese police because her visa has expired, TBS' News 23 reported today. The woman experienced terrible abuse and was even threatened with a kitchen knife. The abuse was both physical and psychological. Her husband for example compared her with vermin in front of their child. She was eventually able to escape to a shelter and sued her husband for domestic abuse. But as she was sorting out her domestic problems, her visa, which needs to be extended every three years, expired. Enough reason for the Japanese police to arrest her. This is a clear abuse of her human rights and should not be condoned.

Keywords: national_news

Tokyo Girls

Kjeld Duits, Thursday, March 23, 2006 Posted: 09:19 PM JST

Martin Webb has an excellent interview with Dutch photographer Hellen van Meene about her images of young Tokyo women. Van Meene visited Tokyo for the first time in 2000 and shot a series of melancholic young women. The New York Times commissioned her to do "Tokyo Girls" in spring 2005. A selection of Van Meene's work is on show at two galleries in Tokyo.


Japan Develops Two Economies in One Country

Kjeld Duits, Thursday, March 23, 2006 Posted: 08:47 PM JST

Commercial land prices in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya showed an increase for the first time in 15 years, the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said today in a statement. The average price of commercial land in these urban areas gained 1 percent last year. In addition to commercial land prices, residential land prices in Tokyo, Nagoya and central parts of Osaka and Kyoto also showed positive growth. But the good news has a dark shadow.


BBC Japan Faces Closure

Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, March 22, 2006 Posted: 12:16 AM JST

The BBC's Japanese entertainment channel faces closure within weeks after only 18 months since its start in Japan, BBC Worldwide's Managing Director of Global Channels Darren Childs announced this week.


IKEA Opens in Japan

Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, March 21, 2006 Posted: 11:47 PM JST

IKEA will open its first Japanese store on April 24 in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture. A second store in Kohoku, Kanagawa Prefecture is planned to open later this year. Last year April the groundbreaking ceremony for this store was attended by Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. Ikea last year also selected land on Port Island, Kobe in Hyogo Prefecture. This store is scheduled to open by summer 2009.


Hollywood's Memoirs of a Hootchy-Kootchy, Razzle-Dazzle, But Not-Kick-Butt Geisha; a Male Geisha Guerilla; and a Real Geisha Laughing

Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, March 21, 2006 Posted: 09:46 PM JST

(by Jean Miyake Downey) - American friends keep asking me what I think of the film, "Memoirs of a Geisha." I don't bring up "Orientalism" because that would take up too much time. Instead, I tell them, "Its title should have been 'Hollywood's Mutated Memoirs of the Fantasies of a Middle-aged American Guy Pretending He's a Geisha.'


Crown Prince is Nikon User?

Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, March 21, 2006 Posted: 07:58 AM JST

Phil Ono just sent me an e-mail with a fun tidbit. Looks like the Crown Prince is a Nikon user. "It looks like a film camera," writes Ono, "maybe the F100. Years ago, I remember seeing him use a Canon EOS. I wonder why he switched."

Keywords: trends_lifestyle

How the Irish Saved Civilization

Kjeld Duits, Monday, March 20, 2006 Posted: 09:56 AM JST

(by Jean Miyake Downey) - How the Irish saved civilization, spread St. Patrick's Day parades (Occidental-friendly Matsuri) throughout Japan, and may be saving civilization again (or at least putting some much-needed goodwill and fun into our shared World Civilization for one day a year).


Tokyo Crime Maps

Kjeld Duits, Saturday, March 18, 2006 Posted: 08:18 AM JST

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police has published a series of maps showing crime in Tokyo on its site. Different colors show which areas have seen an increase or decrease in crimes. Crimes are categorized into 'purse snatching', 'breaking and entering, private property', 'breaking and entering, commercial property', 'theft on train or vehicle' and 'violent crimes'.

Unfortunately, there are no English explanations, but with a good translation site that is not really a problem.

Keywords: national_news

Cartoons and Self Confidence

Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, March 15, 2006 Posted: 06:45 AM JST

Although this news is unrelated to Japan, I found this article about the Muhammad cartoon issue on the site of the PakTribune extremely revealing, and would like to share it with you.


'No' to US Warplanes and Marines

Kjeld Duits, Monday, March 13, 2006 Posted: 10:38 AM JST

Residents in the southwestern Japanese city of Iwakuni Sunday rejected the central government's plan to move 57 U.S. warplanes and 1,600 additional marines to the area. With 100 percent of the votes counted, 43,433 had voted against the plan, while 5,369 were in favor.


Cool Sites : Japanese Anime and Manga

Kjeld Duits, Monday, March 13, 2006 Posted: 10:16 AM JST

Tokyo Anime Center, the largest center for anime in Japan opens this Wednesday in Akihabara, Tokyo. Belatedly, Japan starts to realize the value of its anime and manga. As an advisor to the Hyogo Tourist Board I advised last year to open manga and anime related facilities. They were totally unable to see the pulling power of such centers. Now Tokyo is once again leading the country in opening such a center. The internet world already knows for a long time that anime and manga matter:

Tokyo Anime Center
Offers up-to-date anime information, anime related merchandise, events and public radio recordings featuring creators and voice actors. (ENG JPN)

Excellent online magazine about anime. (ENG)

Bibliographies of online and offline resources and research papers related to manga and anime. (ENG)

Comprehensive source on shoujo, shounen-ai, and josei manga. Reviews, editorials, shoujo/yaoi references... (ENG)

Amateur Manga Subculture
Essays on the manga industry and otaku culture in modern-day Japan by Sharon Kinsella. (ENG)

Anime and Manga Page
Aims at giving non-Japanese people a better understanding of Japanese comics and animation. Series overviews; discussions on stereotypes and themes. (ENG)

The History of Manga
A wide-ranging introduction to Japanese manga based on theme. (ENG)

The Ultimate Manga Guide
Comprehensive guide to thousands of manga authors and many thousands of manga series. A bit old... (ENG)

Tezuka Osamu @ World
Fan club, information, history, manga museum, multimedia and news about famed manga artist Osamu Tezuka. (ENG JPN)

Hayao Miyazaki
Biography of Hayao Miyazaki on Wikipedia. (ENG)

Find more sites related to Japan at Japan Links. Special section for Anime and Manga.

Keywords: cool_sites

Largest Anime Center in Japan to Open this Wednesday

Kjeld Duits, Monday, March 13, 2006 Posted: 07:16 AM JST

Tokyo Anime Center, the largest center for anime in Japan opens this Wednesday in Akihabara, Tokyo. The Tokyo Anime Center is a comprehensive facility for Japan’s animation, games, characters and other affiliated industries. The facility includes a digital theater accommodating 170 people, a store and a recording studio.


Preparing for Hanami

Kjeld Duits, Friday, March 10, 2006 Posted: 09:16 AM JST

Last year I posted an excellent list of great places to view cherry blossom in the Kansai area. Soon it will be that time of year again. The list is still extremely helpful.

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The now legendary Sir Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929) was a member of the British legation in Tokyo for twenty-one years. This classic book is based on the author's detailed diary, personal encounters, and keen memory. In it, Satow records the history of the critical years of social and political upheaval that accompanied Japan's first encounters with the West around the time of the Meiji Restoration. Fascinating.
Stone Bridge Press

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