Nagano

Nagano Prefecture dodges yet another typhoon – Does it have some kind of magical force field?

This past week marked the 19th typhoon of the season. Hitting Japan very soon after typhoon No. 18, Vongfong–which translates as “wasp” in Cantonese–battered the islands of Japan with incredibly heavy rains and strong winds.

While much of Japan suffered under the powerful force of nature, one prefecture remained virtually untouched, even while all of its neighbors took a beating. Find out why after the jump.

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Handsome Nagano police officers get their own manga

Since 2013, the Nagano Prefecture Police Department has run a 4-panel manga series called Keisatsu-no Oniisan! (literally “Big Brother Policeman”) on its website. It depicts two police officers, one young and the other middle-aged. Now, thanks to their increasing popularity, they’re getting a manga in a magazine, Manga Time Jumbo, devoted to 4-panel manga.

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A sperm donation from your father-in-law? Maternity clinic in Nagano sparks debate

When a couple is ready to have children but there is an infertility issue with the father-to-be that prevents normal conception, in this day and age they have a number of options to consider. Artificial insemination from an anonymous donor is one route to take, as is as adoption. Or here’s another approach–if you’re the mother, how about getting pregnant through in vitro fertilization with a sperm donation from your husband’s father? 

For this article, we’ll be taking a slightly more serious tone than usual as we explore that very issue and the current controversy surrounding it. It’s become the topic of intense debate in Japan over the past few days after new details about the practice emerged from a maternity clinic in Nagano Prefecture. Join us as we introduce the facts and examine some of the ethics involved through reader opinions.

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Sweet, delicious and extra cold: snow apples from the Japanese alps

Japanese apples are legendary for their gigantic round shape, sweet taste and a hefty price tag due to their flawless appearance. Recently, a “new” kind of apple has been getting popular in the mountainous and very snowy prefecture of Nagano. It seems that apple growers there have decided to make the most of the winter precipitation that covers their fields by burying freshly picked apples for several months under a huge pile of snow. The “snow apples” are said to be even juicier, crisper and sweeter after spending the winter months hibernating under the snow.

But how can you make a snow apple, and what other tasty produce can you bury in the snow? Click below to find out!

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Fangirls fawn over Nagano police station’s new pretty-boy mascot characters

The central police station in Nagano Prefecture is revamping its image by introducing a new pair of mascot characters. But unlike the jiggling yellow blobs and big-headed animal abstractions that we’re used to seeing, these two image characters are beautiful men, drawn in a popular manga style that often appeals to young women. They’ve only been around for a couple of days, but these pretty-boy policemen are already attracting a lot of attention!

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Nagano police bust up cannabis tempura camping party

Late last month 51-year-old resident of Azumino City, Nagano Prefecture, Kazuhiko Shirasaka, allegedly called together a camping party with around 30 other people including 62-year-old Naofumi Katsuragawa who lived in nearby Ikeda Town. Little did they know, these young rascals would be cooking up the makings of an after-school special, if late-middle-aged people still went to school.

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Waves Frozen in Place on Lake Kizaki, Nagano Prefecture

Winter. It’s cold and miserable most days, but every so often the freezing winds produce something magical that is awesome enough to take your mind off of your frozen toes. This is one of those things.

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Google Maps Easter Egg Lets You Street-View Famous Open-Air Hot Springs Bath

On 15 January, a tweet emerged revealing a secret Google Maps Street View available nestled deep in a valley in Nagano Prefecture.  The tweet simply read “Open-air bath on full display in Street View.”

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Anime Princess Marriage Certificates Big Hit with Japanese City

It seems like nearly every city, town, and village in Japan has a cute mascot character to represent it. Usually these are yuru-kyara, anthropomorphic characters often designed with qualities representing whatever that municipality is known for.

The city of Suwa, Nagano, however, knows that the worth of a mascot character should be judged not by how well it represents the region, but by how well it sells. And in Japan, nothing sells better than cute anime girls.

That’s why they came up with Suwa-hime, or Princess Suwa, a young anime princess from medieval Japan with her own manga, voice actress, and line of original figures and goods.

Since her creation in 2011, Suwa-hime has been such a success that the city has even started printing her on their official marriage certificates, and the nerdy public official who came up with her is likely basking in splendid vindication of his hobby for the first time in his life.

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TripAdvisor Ranks Top 20 Japanese Travel Destinations For Foreign Visitors, Hiroshima Edges Kyoto For Top Spot

The Japanese arm of tourism website TripAdvisor gathered user comments and evaluations from the past year and used them to rank the Top 20 travel destinations in Japan over that time. Hiroshima Prefecture maintained its popularity with two destinations in the Top 5 while five Kyoto sightseeing spots made the list.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and A-Bomb Dome moved to the top of the list after coming in second last year. Read More

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