Can you handle the heat at Fukugonji’s annual firewalking festival?

Over the course of a year, we humans can accumulate a lot of mucky emotions. We inevitably forget the dangers that certain fiery passions, like anger and envy, can do to our psyches. In order to remind ourselves to retake control of these troublesome fires that burn within us, we must take a walk through physical flames and let the fear of literal fire burn away our emotional impurities.

At least, that’s the idea behind Fukugonji’s annual firewalking festival! Each year, on second Sunday of December, this Zen Buddhist temple in Aichi Prefecture invites all members of the public to step across their scorching coals and reclaim inner purity at the Fukugonji Akiba Grand Festival. This year, the festival promises to be particularly entertaining, as well as spiritual and somewhat scary, as one might expect from firewalking.

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Creepily cute mascot Okazaemon gets female counterpart in Okazaennu

April this year saw the nationwide emergence of Okazaemon a regional mascot (called yurukyara in Japan) who operates out of Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture. In spite of looking like a strung-out cat that will stab you for its next fix, Okazaemon has captured the hearts of mascot fans with his offbeat charm.

In fact, Okazaemon’s ever-rising star has earned him second place in the Regional Yurukyara General Elections after Funasshi, another breakout mascot success of 2013. And with such notoriety there are bound to be those who emulate the formula. Enter Okazaennu: the female weird kanji cat character.

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Two Japanese youths arrested for placing an exploding bag of dog poop in a local police box

Two youths were arrested by Aichi Prefecture police on June 11 after they placed a plastic bag full of dog feces and lit fireworks inside a police box, showering the small room with the bag’s contents.

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With No Cash for Upgrades, Local Government to Disconnect Some PCs from Net and Tape up Ethernet Ports

On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will end support for its XP operating system which is still installed on one-third of PCs in Japan. After that date, the company will no longer provide corrective updates should any security flaws be discovered, meaning users will be more susceptible to risks such as information theft and leakage. Though local governments are moving ahead with replacement plans, “cost concerns” and “worries about human error” are weighing heavily on some municipalities as talk of strategies including simply unplugging vulnerable machines and duct taping their ethernet ports becomes worryingly common.

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The Japanese version of the popular travel information site Trip Adviser recently published a list of the best factory tours in Japan. Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the nation’s most popular exports makes it to number one. Read More


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