This coming spring will mark four years since the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011. While that’s not nearly long enough for the those who experienced the tragedy first-hand to forget about the destruction, sadness, and fear, some politicians are concerned that in time memories will fade, which is why a bill is being introduced in the Japanese Diet to establish March 11 as an official day of remembrance of the disaster.
Nov 2, 2014
Some people see things in black and white while others tend to judge each incident as a unique situation with its own parameters of right and wrong.
Take drunk driving for example. There are many who would say that under any circumstance getting behind the wheel of an automobile with significant levels of alcohol in the system deserves punishment. And then there are some that say there may be exceptions to the rule.
Luckily for some government workers who got picked up by police for drunk driving, more than a few district court judges appear to belong to the latter camp.
Oct 19, 2014
Local elections are coming up soon in Taiwan, and one of the positions being contested is Magistrate of Hsinchu County. With more than 500,000 constituents, the title comes with a pretty hefty amount of clout, and challenger Cheng Yung-chin, who occupied the office during the early 2000s, is hoping to reclaim the seat.
So to help boost his campaign, the politician has released a video to show voters the kinds of things he values: tranquility, nature, and shapely, bouncing breasts.
Sep 17, 2014
In Japan, work comes first. For most people, their professional life takes priority over their family, romantic, and personal lives, with long hours and short vacations being the norm.
Given that environment, it’s no surprise that after their shift ends, many people want to stop off at a bar for a cold beer to wash the taste of work out of their mouth. For a one-month period, though, that wasn’t an option for civil servants in Fukuoka City, due to a temporary ban on drinking outside their homes. Obviously, this wasn’t a popular rule among workers, and one man was so upset he’s now suing the city, asking for a single yen in compensation.
Jul 7, 2014
Until about a week ago, Ryutaro Nonomura was a relatively unknown prefectural assemblyman from Hyogo in Japan’s Kansai region. Name recognition is extremely important for politicians in Japan, where ballots often require voters to write in the name of the candidate they’re voting for, so under normal circumstances the fact that the whole country now knows who Nonomura is would be a major boon for his political career.
Unfortunately, “manically crying while responding to allegations of misuse of government funds” is anything but normal, but that’s exactly what has caused Nonomura’s sudden rise to fame. Aside from making citizens shake their heads at the conduct of public officials, Nonomura’s meltdown has caused people to both laugh and cringe.
And now, it’s ready to make them dance.
Jun 22, 2014
It’s only been a few months since Japan’s consumption tax jumped from five to eight percent, making everything consumers buy instantly at least three percent more expensive. Some sneaky retailers even took advantage of the opportunity by tacking an extra three percent onto their displayed, pre-tax prices.
Now comes a rumor of an entirely new revenue stream the Japanese government might be moving to secure: a tax on cell phones.
Jun 9, 2014
Even the most conscientious planners can be smacked upside the head by life sometimes. Whether from a medical situation, accident, or family tragedy, you could find yourself in need of financial assistance just to make ends meet. Luckily, social safety nets exist for just this reason.
Still, it can be hard to swallow one’s pride and ask for help, which is why staff at the welfare office should be especially sensitive to the feelings of applicants, but a recent investigation into practices at the Osaka welfare bureau have uncovered that many applicants encountered shocking insensitivity, sometimes so callous it crossed into sexual harassment.
May 16, 2014
Back in 2012 the Japanese government earmarked one billion yen (US$9.8 million) for the Kindigi project which grants subsidies to publishers so that they can digitize their works to sell online. The ebooks are intended to allow people in regions affected by the Tohoku Earthquake to get easier access to information. As an added bonus it was hoped this would give Japan’s ebook market a shot in the arm all over the country as well.
However, one year after the digitization of 64,833 works was completed with tax money having paid for half the cost, a group of people involved in the publishing industry have been distributing flyers and organizing meetings over the handling of Kindigi. They found that among the thousands of ebooks were several that they deemed controversial including 100 “erotic” works such as Aan… Ecchina Kaikan Ai (Ughnn… Dirty Pleasure Love).
Japanese online retailers looking for a change in the sales tax system before they “raise the white flag”
Apr 30, 2014
So, now that we’re one month in, how’s everyone enjoying the latest sales tax increase to 8 percent? Pretty awesome isn’t it? I’ve been getting a lot more use out of those one yen coins recently.
Not everyone is as lukewarmly amused as myself, however. A consortium of Japan’s online businesses, including ebook sellers and advertisers, met on 10 April to hash out some demands for the government before they get taxed right out of the competition since business such as segments of Apple and Google aren’t necessarily subjected to Japanese sales tax rules.
On the afternoon of 25 April, the Lower House of Parliament passed an amendment to the nation’s Holiday Act which includes a new public holiday Mountain Day (Yama no Hi). The next step involves the amendment to go into deliberation in the Upper House where it is expected to be approved again.
Although this comes as welcome news to the nation’s tired workers, Japanese holidays tend to be arbitrary affairs named after random things like the ocean. This time, though, Japan’s newest holiday is name after something truly special. Still, I can’t help but be surprised how many fans of Mountain there are in Parliament…
Apr 26, 2014
During his visit to Tokyo, American President Barack Obama stepped out for a bite to eat with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Sukibayashi Jiro, widely held to be one of the finest sushi restaurants in the world. As you’d expect from their lofty positions, Sukibayashi Jiro isn’t an eatery for ordinary folks, what with its months-long reservation waiting list and set courses that cost 30,000 yen (US$294) yet only an amount of food that can be polished off in just 15 minutes.
And what about the sake the two leaders drank together? Surely, that must be an equally rarified brew, far out of the price range of anyone who isn’t the most powerful individual in his or her country. You probably even need a direct connection with someone in the industry to buy some, right?
Nope. Not only can you score a bottle for less than 10 bucks, but you can order it online right now.
Apr 23, 2014
This evening, U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in Japan. While here, he’ll be meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with the two scheduled to discuss strengthening diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Japan, and also the possibility of Japan participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.
Since we spend at least half of our time thinking with our stomachs, we can’t help but realize that Japan’s agreeing to the proposed trade agreement would likely mean lower import taxes on American beef. But while the possibility of a future with more meat has us excited, it comes with a gastronomic price, as the security measures surrounding the president’s visit mean that a number of beverage and ice cream vending machines in Tokyo have been temporarily shut down ahead of his arrival.
Mar 6, 2014
In June last year, we brought you news of whisperings in Japan’s Tochigi Prefecture about the proposed creation of a new public holiday, which was to be known as Yama no Hi, or Mountain Day. Since then we have heard little more on the subject, but the good news is that, although the plans may have changed a little, parliament is now considering a bill to make the national holiday a reality, meaning everyone may soon get an extra day off every August 11!
Dec 4, 2013
Paying taxes works a little differently in Japan. Often, large companies will simply deduct the required income tax from employees’ paychecks, and even file the necessary paperwork for them. On the other hand, workers have their earnings taxed twice, with residency taxes which are based on their income from the previous year and must be paid quarterly. Like most things in Japan, resident taxes can be paid with a fat wad of cash at the convenience store.
But perhaps the weirdest of all are government fees for public television in Japan. Not only do the bill collectors go door to door soliciting payment, but some administrators are looking to make people pay the fees whether they own a TV or not.
According to a study by the Ministry of Health Labor and Welfare, 518,000 teenagers are “strongly addicted” to the internet. In the eyes of the ministry, such a level of addiction can lead to irregular sleep patterns and unhealthy eating habits.
However, in an age where online access can be found everywhere, an addiction to the net can be one of the hardest to kick. So the Japanese government, in what it calls “an urgent need for action,” is looking into the effectiveness of “net fasting” which, as the name suggests, is an extended break from any online activity.
On 9 April the Cool Japan Promotion Conference and Pop Culture Subcommittee was assembled to discuss and strategize ways to encourage growth in Japan’s popular culture sector. The session dealt with all of Japan’s notable influences around the world from Gundams to soccer.
Buckle up everyone! We’re gonna talk about municipal ordinances!
We’ve all heard stories of real laws that seem to defy logic like “no petting horses on Sunday” and such. The survey addicts at MyNavi had asked people about some unusual local laws and what they got were reports of Cupid Committee’s and McMansions.
Running for election in Japan isn’t easy. But when your face is shown alongside titles like “pervert” and “molester,” it’s probably a lot harder than it ought to be.
Japan’s political system is a mess right now and, despite having seen six prime ministers come and go in as many years, the country is headed for an election next month, with one-time PM Shinzo Abe putting himself forward to be re-elected.
The politician was made a laughing-stock earlier this week, however, when the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) early morning TV show Asazuba accidentally displayed Mr. Abe’s photo alongside a news report about a sex offender’s arrest.
Despite having no relation to the incident whatsoever, Mr. Abe’s face filled viewers’ screens along with the shocking titles, prompting the nation to spit out its corn flakes, or at the very least dribble a bit of natto onto the table.
Suffice to say, the politician was not pleased, and, suspecting this to be part of a “campaign of negativity”, took to his public Facebook page to tear TBS a new one…
Japanese Civil Servants Can’t Have Tattoos While Chinese City Workers Can’t Receive a Piece of Hard Candy; Regulations Run Amok
Jul 22, 2012
With just one week left to vote for the most evil employer of 2012, we’d like to shed some light on an overlooked “black corporation” – city governments. Sure, government workers often get a bad rap as being slow and overpaid with ridiculous job security. But in the words of Bob Dylan “the times they are a-changing.”
In Osaka, government workers will be forbidden to have any tattoos and a drinking ban is in talks for all the city workers of Fukuoka. But to really see the slippery slope that these labor reforms can lead to, we should turn our attention to the People’s Republic of China.
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons1
- Japanese opera singer records an incredible cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”2
- Friends too busy to go to the Pokémon Cafe? No problem! Pikachu himself will sit with you3
- Could this teen’s simple but genius idea help put an end to cyber bullying?4
- Japanese wasp-filled crackers: Their sting is far worse than a bite5
- Ariana Grande is learning hiragana and Japan can’t stop talking about it6
- The first videos ever shared on YouTube & Niconico leave us feeling rather… confused? 【Videos】7
- Two people tragically die after Chinese woman drops her cell phone into a cesspool8
- 16-year-old girl arrested for beheading classmate in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture9
- Woman’s best friend: Possibly the sweetest photos of a grandma and her cat you will ever see10
- Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”1
- No more photo retouches! New makeup for cosplayers claims to create photo-perfect skin2
- The cat hairband, for when cat ears just aren’t enough3
- New magnetic “slate” lets you write on actual paper, digitize your drawings in real-time4
- Cross-dressing Cosplay Idol Group a Huge Hit in China5
- Cross-dressing talent Matsuko Deluxe: AKB opening the Tokyo Olympics “would embarrass Japan”6
- Chinese netizens left reeling after father of slain Japanese hostage apologizes to the public7
- Do clothes make the man or the man make the clothes? Japanese Twitter user tries to find out8
- Attack on Titan’s Universal Studios Japan attraction opens9
- Side-boob Shirt is the useless evolution of last year’s Boob Turtleneck10
- Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”1
- Kyoto taxi drivers reduce convenience store robberies by 50 percent by doing absolutely nothing2
- Cosplay ideals vs. cosplay reality, a.k.a. cool vs. funny 【Photos】3
- Internet ready to shut up and take your money as preorders finally start for Cat Ear Headphones4
- Edo era Samurai were pretty gay5
- Ugly-cute makeup genius feeds off negative troll comments on Twitter6
- New magnetic “slate” lets you write on actual paper, digitize your drawings in real-time7
- Teacher draws over students’ doodles to make red pen masterpieces8
- Photos of people lining up outside of the Sapporo Apple Store make us feel positively frozen9
- Netizens hatch adorable baby birds from supermarket eggs, provide evidence10
- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”1
- Self-taught Singaporean artist creates unbelievably realistic art on plywood2
- Buyers’ remorse in China: After a record-breaking day of online shopping, the angry selfies begin3
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours4
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】5
- Japanese high school holds annual contest to decide the prettiest “girl” in school6
- Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”7
- Kyoto taxi drivers reduce convenience store robberies by 50 percent by doing absolutely nothing8
- Sorry guys! Video of “sexy ice cream girl” in Taipei only delivers on half its milky promises9
- Oysters’ amazing cleaning skills shock Japanese netizens who question their shellfish habit10
- Ariana Grande is learning hiragana and Japan can’t stop talking about it
- The first videos ever shared on YouTube & Niconico leave us feeling rather… confused? 【Videos】
- Two people tragically die after Chinese woman drops her cell phone into a cesspool
- 16-year-old girl arrested for beheading classmate in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture
- Woman’s best friend: Possibly the sweetest photos of a grandma and her cat you will ever see
- New garlic cola from Japan’s garlic capital is as surprising as its name proclaims
- Man kidnaps, imprisons 11-year-old to raise her to be his “ideal girl”
- New batch of socks with collars adds sailor suit style for your feet, plus lace and button-downs
- First Kit Kat Chocolatery shop with cafe opens in Kyoto! New Chocolatery items released too
- Flaptter flying machine from Ghibli’s Castle in the Sky brought to life!
- Historical Japanese swords turn into hot and battle-hardened Blade Boys in new mobile game
- Tokyo Disneyland raising admission, because it’s the Happiest Place on Earth, not the cheapest
- Forget shuriken: 10 stealthy and dangerous ninja tools you didn’t know existed