Iwate

Nestle Japan releases new yoghurt Kit Kat to raise funds for typhoon-affected regions

The new release is a great example of how big companies can support local businesses in the wake of a disaster.

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Iwate Prefecture uses samurai pictograms to help educate and inform foreign tourists

From “Charge OK” to “Watch Others When Washing“, this set of downloadable icons for businesses is informative and hilarious at the same time.

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Is any “fowl” play involved? Nope, Morioka Zoo’s animals just like to sleep in weird positions

Morioka Zoo in Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture has a host of both fierce and cuddly animals on its premises. Among the zoo’s current highlights are opportunities to see a baby giraffe, make dinner for the elephants, and feed raw meat to a lion. Oh, and did we mention that the animals there seem to have a penchant for looking dead while simply taking a snooze? 

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RocketNews24 reporting from America…n World shopping complex in Iwate Prefecture

Tired of being called “uncultured” by those around them, our reporters Mr. Sato and Yoshio made a road trip to Iwate Prefecture and all of its historical sites such as the Chusonji Golden Hall and Kenji Miyazawa Fairy Tale Village. It was the perfect place to learn more about Japan’s rich cultural heritage.

However, as they drove along Route 4 heading for the over-900-year-old Morioka Hachiman Shrine, something unusual caught Mr. Sato’s eye. “It’s a big red Ferris wheel!” he shouted, immediately forgetting about the site where Emperor Ojin’s spirit is enshrined.

Grabbing Yoshio’s arm, he forced the car to an off ramp and closer to the Ferris wheel, which they would soon learn was not just any old wheel, it was the American World Ferris wheel!

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Newsflash: AKB48 members attacked by saw-wielding “fan” at handshake event【UPDATED】

At 4:55 p.m. today, the company behind many of Japan’s larger idol groups, AKS, released a statement regarding an attack on members of AKB48 and event staff during a handshake event in Iwate Prefecture this afternoon.

Members Rina Kawaei (19) and Anna Iriyama (18), as well as a male member of the venue staff, are said to have been injured, with a 24-year-old male taken into police custody.

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Grab some tissues: Beloved cat lost in Tohoku disaster comes home over three years later

The Tohoku disaster of March, 2011 continues to impact the daily lives of the people of the region even to this day. We have no doubt that its effects will linger in Japan for decades to come, so it’s easy to see why nearly every story related to the disaster leaves us teary-eyed. This story will also likely have you reaching for the tissues, but at least they’ll be happy tears.

On Friday last week, one elderly couple in Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture was reunited with the beloved cat they’d lost in the 3/11 disaster — just over three years since the adorable feline went missing and was presumed dead.

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Wow, Japan, is that a giant wooden phallus in your hot springs, or are you just happy to see m–oh. I see. Well, uh, I’ll just be on my way then. Um…maybe one quick photo…

As you are surely already aware, Japan has quite a few unusual, phallic festivals allegedly intended to be fertility rites for couples hoping for children. They’re also great attractions for curious tourists or anyone who wants to try frosted penis-bananas. Iwate Prefecture, perhaps not wanting to be left out, has a phallus festival of its own. Its standout feature? The phallus riding event! And, great news, ladies, they’re taking applications!

(Before clicking below, use your best judgement about whether or not this is something you should be reading at work.)

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10-year-old letter arrives from daughter lost to tsunami (you might need tissues for this)

‘I wonder if you’ll have a grandchild when you get this letter?’  These are the words written by a woman 10 years ago, before she lost her life in the March 2011 tsunami. Her mother and father were shocked to find the letter containing them arrive in the mail this January. While there was no Hollywood movie ending where their beloved daughter turned up alive and well, the letter has at least given them a chance to hear some of the things she never had the chance to tell them in life.

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Netizens threaten travel boycott over Iwate Prefecture’s upskirt pic thoughtcrime proposal

The northern prefecture of Iwate has Japanese netizens furious over a recent proposal by police there to criminalize pointing a cell phone towards someone if it is suspected the would be photographer is trying to get an upskirt pic.

Police say that they want to “expand” their approach to catching perverts sneaking naughty photos, but critics say this proposed legislation will turn any man with a cell phone into a potential criminal, regardless of whether their finger goes anywhere near the shutter button.

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Nearly 290,000 people still living in shelters two and a half years after the Tohoku disaster

The devastation from the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami will not soon be forgotten. It has left an indelible footprint on the collective consciousness of Japan and, indeed, the rest of the world. While photos of Japan’s speedy response in many of the stricken areas are certainly inspiring, it’s important to remember that the prefectures worst hit by the natural disaster are still in the process of recovery, with a great many citizens continuing to live in refugee shelters.

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A century of culture: Isao Tomita and Hatsune Miku pay musical tribute to author Kenji Miyazawa

This year marks the 80th anniversary of Kenji Miyazawa’s Death, and as a tribute to the celebrated writer a revival of the Ihatov Symphony was performed in his hometown of Hanamaki City, Iwate Prefecture on 29 August. The symphony was composed by Isao Tomita, a true originator of electronic music in Japan and features Hatsune Miku the iconic vocaloid who embodies the trail blazed by Tomita decades ago.

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The Iwate Miracle Tree returns…after a few quick adjustments

The monument for the Iwate miracle tree, which as you might remember was the only pine tree out of 70,000 left standing following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, is finally nearing completion. The project, though, has not been without its fair share of troubles. Read More

Tsunami Survivors Share Their Stories: Resurrecting Otsuchi, Japan

Following the most powerful earthquake ever to hit Japan, the sheer scale of the tsunami which smashed into northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011 was unprecedented. Coastal communities were devastated by waves which at their highest reached 40.5 meters above sea level, travelled up to 10km inland, and swept everything along with them. Mud, debris, cars, boats, houses, and fire.

The small town of Otsuchi in Iwate Prefecture was one of the hardest hit. About 10 percent of the population perished or went missing, including the mayor and many town officials. Iwate’s leading local newspaper, the Iwate Tokai Shimbun, was unable to continue operating as their printing press was washed out to sea, and two of their reporters were killed.

In 2012, a group of journalists banded together to once again start reporting the news from Otsuchi to support the town’s recovery, using the Internet to connect with people. Tsunami survivors have shared their stories of terror, panic, suffering and hope for the future through this new newspaper, known as the Otsuchi Mirai Shimbun (“Otsuchi Future Times”). These stories have been translated from the original Japanese into English by a team of 28 hard-working volunteers from Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S., and published on the second anniversary of the disaster as a Kindle ebook.

Here are some excerpts from these true stories of survival:

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[On Location at Somin Naked Festival] I Was So Cold I Actually Thought I Was Going To Die

Japan’s premier naked festival, Sominsai (Somin Festival), was held this year on January 29 at Kokuseki Temple in Iwate Prefecture.

The name “naked” is somewhat misleading though, as participants are required to wear a fundoshi, a piece of white cloth which can best be descried as a traditional Japanese G-string. This scant clothing offers little protection from the blistering, below-freezing cold participants are expected to endure. Nevertheless, the toughest of men from across Japan come to test their mettle by trekking through grueling icy course from the temple to the river that’s cold enough to make you feel like you’re dying.

I know this because I took part.

That’s right, your fearless reporter put his life at risk to bring the experience of Kokuseki’s Sominsai to you, our beloved readers.

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Japan’s World Heritages Fly Well Under Radar

Did you know that Japan has 16 locations on the list of UNESCO World Heritages? Could you name them all with any sum of money on the line?

Survey Research Center, Co. Ltd. conducted a survey that showed that most people could not. When asked whether they were interested in Japan’s world heritages, 67.8% of those surveyed responded affirmatively. However, only 4% of respondents knew all 16 Japanese sites.

See how many you can name before looking at the list below:

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