John Stuart

Having originally set forth from Vancouver, Canada on what was supposed to a three-hour tour, John found himself washed up on the shores of these well-charted and populous isles some 25 years ago. Now working as a Tokyo-based freelance translator, he enjoys drinking in many of the city’s tachinomiya (standing-only bars) in his free time, but after short spans often finds himself in search of a chair.

All Stories by John Stuart Translations

Got a spare $286,000 lying around? Get your 24k gold Mt. Fuji replica while supplies last!

With Mt. Fuji having recently been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site on June 22, souvenir makers have rushed to cash in on the mountain’s new found fame offering everything from rice bowls to beer glasses crafted in the shape of the iconic volcano.
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Stand back guys, I’m hitting the salad bar! Diners get creative at Pizza Hut China

Tired of being taken to the cleaners by overly enthusiastic patrons at its all-you-can-eat salad bar, a few years ago, Pizza Hut China decided to limit customers to a one-plate serving. After implementing the new rule, however, the company still found itself losing money as customers started stacking their fruit and vegetables into enormous towers, packing as much onto their plates as physically possible.

Check out this collection of photos depicting the monolithic cuisine creations.

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Love Nissin’s Chicken Ramen? The Yokohama Grand Intercontinental Hotel has a room just for you!

Teaming up in a collaborative effort for the first time, the Yokohama Grand Intercontinental Hotel and the nearby Nissin Cup Noodles Museum have created two Chicken Ramen-themed rooms for connoisseurs who just can’t get enough of those tantalizingly delicious instant noodles and their irritating lovable chicken mascot Hiyoko.

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Major eruption could cause Mt. Fuji’s new life as Cultural Heritage Site to be short lived

Results of an analysis by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and others released on the July 16, suggests that force generated by a large-scale earthquake could cause internal cracks within Mt. Fuji, leading to a major eruption of the recently listed UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

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Sony coughs up US$375,000 to British authorities for security breach

Withdrawing its previous objection, Sony Corporation has agreed to pay a civil fine of 37.5 million yen (about US$375,000) to British authorities after the 2011 security breach of its online gaming network resulted in the leakage of millions of users’ personal information.

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Transit authorities offer commuters in Singapore free off-peak fares in effort to alleviate morning rush

Japan is of course not the only country that experiences crowded trains and subways during rush hour. Over the last 10 years Singapore’s population has increased by 30 percent, putting pressure on its public transportation system, especially during the morning rush. Though Japan is trying to alleviate overcrowding with wider trains, Singapore is taking a different approach to the problem; free fares until 7:45 a.m. for anyone getting off at one of 16 stations in the downtown core.

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New train carriages on Tokyo’s Saikyo Line allow more sardines to be squeezed into the can

Bringing commuters to Tokyo from neighboring Saitama Prefecture, the Saikyo Line, operated by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East), is one of the busiest in the metropolitan area. During morning rush hour its trains are packed to 200 percent capacity. On June 30, however, E233 Series trains were introduced to the line, and officials are hoping the new carriages, which are a whole 15cm wider, will reduce crowding by ten percent.

That’s right. Now instead of having to endure bone-crushing, suffocating, sucking-the-will-to-live commutes in trains packed to 200 percent capacity, riders will be able to breathe, and perhaps move just a little, while enjoying the relative luxury of a train crammed to just 190 percent capacity!

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Man sues Japan’s public broadcasting corporation for excessive use of foreign loan words

Risuku (risk), kea (care), toraburu (trouble), asuri-to (athlete); I can’t understand what the hell they’re talking about!” vented 71-year-old Gifu Prefecture resident Hoji Takahashi.

Takahashi, a former public servant and sponsor of the “Cherish the Japanese Language Group,” filed suit against Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) in Nagoya district court on June 25 for emotional distress. Claiming he is unable to comprehend programming content due to the broadcaster’s excessive use of foreign load words, or gairaigo, Takahashi is seeking 1.41 million yen (US$14,000) for the pain and suffering he has had to endure.

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Anti-stalking laws in Japan get tougher, excessive emailing now considered harassment

Having already been deliberated by the upper house, an amendment to Japan’s anti-stalking law was passed by the lower house during the current Diet session on the afternoon of the 26th. The revised law adds repeated emails to the list of behaviors deemed harassing that was originally laid out in 2000, and also includes repeated calling, faxing and lying in wait. Lawmakers submitted the bill in response to an actual stalking incident that resulted in the victim’s death.

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Going to Seoul this summer? You might want to bring a flashlight…

South Korea’s nuclear power industry, ranking fifth in the world in terms of generating capacity at 20,739 megawatts, continues to be rocked by scandal and misconduct. Currently nine of the country’s 23 plants are offline, meaning the supply capacity situation is the worst the country has ever experienced. Though Japan’s power supply is also in a precarious state with only 2 of its 50 nuclear plants operating, the situation in South Korea is said to be much more severe, and many fear power outages such as those experienced in September 2011 will recur.

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Man assaulted for telling woman to take her publicly urinating son to the restroom

Xinhua News has reported that at around 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 16, a male commuter using the light rapid transit line in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, was punched in the mouth by an irritated father after telling his wife she should take their child to the station restroom instead of allowing the boy to urinate freely on the train platform.

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30 Chinese factories closed on suspicion of using toxic substance to hasten production of delicacy

Thousand-year-old-eggs (pidan), also known as century eggs and millennium eggs, are a popular Chinese delicacy. The dish is made by using a mixture of clay, ash, salt, rice hulls and quicklime to preserve duck eggs, and usually takes a few months to complete.

Chinese media recently reported that 30 companies involved in the production of pindan in Nanchang, the capital of Jiangxi Province, have been closed by authorities on strong suspicion of using industrial copper sulfate to hasten the ripening of the eggs.

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Just in time to beat the summer heat, UNIQLO to release 31 shorts themed on Baskin-Robbins flavors!

Causal clothing retail giant UNIQLO announced last week it would introduce a line of women’s and kids’ shorts themed on Baskin-Robbins ice-cream flavors from June 24.

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Cage Match! Honda Fit vs. Volkswagen Jetta

The Honda Fit, known as the Honda Jazz in Europe, is a subcompact that has been around since 2001. The second generation of the vehicle debuted in 2007, at, you guessed it, the Tokyo Motor Show. The Jetta by Volkswagen, currently in its sixth generation, has been around a little longer, debuting at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1979. Since the Fit first appeared on the scene back at the beginning of the millennium, the question on the collective mind of auto industry has been, “What would happen if these two met head on? Well, Chinese scientists Sunday drivers have finally provided us with the definitive answer.

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Chinese accuse Korean golfers of lacking manners, some courses refusing entry

Xinhua News Agency, China’s official news wire, recently reported animosity towards Korean golfers was growing at courses across the country. According to Xinhua and a popular Chinese magazine, Golf Weekly, reasons for the resentment include, “taking too long to hit,” “poor tipping” and “bad manners.” Discontent has built to the point where some courses are now reportedly refusing to let South Korean golfers play.
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Red Bull 330ml PET bottles being pulled from store shelves due to sell-by date snafu

Launched just ten days ago at convenience stores nationwide, 330ml PET bottles of Red Bull are being pulled from store shelves. The reason, apparently, is the western style month-day-year sell-by date labeling used on the popular energy drink’s packaging.
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Starbucks Refreshers to hit store shelves June 25

Starbucks Refreshers, fruit juice-based beverages lightly caffeinated with green coffee extract, went on sale last year in the United States and have finally made their way over to Japan. Packaged in 200ml cans, the drink will go on sale at Seven Eleven’s nationwide for 191 yen excluding tax (about US$2) from June 25.
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Calbee partners with Baki the Grappler creator, Unleashes tyrannosaurus steak-flavored potato chips

Keisuke Itagaki, creator of the Baki the Grappler manga series, has teamed up with Calbee to produce Grappler Baki potato chips.

For those of you unfamiliar with the series, Baki is a young wrestler who travels and fights around the world, honing his skills in the hopes of following in the footsteps of his father, Yujiro, to become the strongest fighter on the planet. In staying with the theme of strongest, Itagaki decided the Baki-themed chips should be flavored after one of the most powerful creatures to walk the planet, Tyrannosaurus rex. According to Itagaki, the packaging of the chips is also designed to reflect “forcefulness” and “intensity,” traits associated with the popular manga character.
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ALIENWARE and JINS PC collaborate on must-have eyewear for the serious gamer

Cutting 50 percent of blue light while allowing 85 percent of visible light through, these new glasses are a must-have for any hardcore gamer or corporate desk slave.

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From cabbages to katanas – five awesome umbrellas from Japan!

Most people prefer to open their curtains in the morning to find bright, clear skies waiting for them, but with the arrival of the rainy season (known as 梅雨 tsuyu, and written with the characters for “plum” and “rain”) here in Japan we‘ve got a long stretch of wet weather ahead. If that has you down, perhaps channeling your inner superhero when you wake up in the morning and stepping out with this ninja sword umbrella will brighten your day. And if fantasizing about slashing enemy combatants isn’t your thing, maybe the romaine lettuce-inspired Vegetabrella from Tokyo Noble is what you need to put a smile on your face.

Take a look at these five rainy day inspirations helping ensure Japan stays dry during drizzling days of June.

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