Meet the people and organizations who are tackling the problem of childhood hunger in Japan

Tough economic times can and do happen everywhere in the world. Even in wealthy, developed countries like Japan, some folks struggle every day to make ends meet. Sometimes, those people are families with young children.

Childhood hunger is a worldwide problem, and while no one deserves to go hungry, it is an especially sad situation for children. For one thing, they can’t really do anything to help better their situation, and secondly, they need the food and nutrition to help their bodies continue to grow properly. In Japan, approximately 16 percent of two-parent families are financially unable to provide enough food for their children, and that number jumps to 32 percent for single-parent households, according to a 2012 survey. But there are some who refuse to stand by doing nothing and are dedicating themselves to feeding the hungry children in Japan.

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What Japanese women really think about the gender gap in Japan【Video】

During our Women in Japan series, we discussed some of the powerful reasons to be a woman in Japan. From a Westernised viewpoint, it’s sometimes hard to accept the fact that, while Japan is still very much a patriarchal society, many women (not all, but many) here don’t actually want to be out there smashing glass ceilings and “leaning in” at the office when instead they could be doing things that women were traditionally appreciated for in Japan, namely cooking, housekeeping and raising the kids.

If you’re still in doubt as to exactly what Japanese women think of the gender gap in their country, this informative street interview video from YouTuber Yuta Aoki should provide some answers.

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Six types of Japanese people you’ll meet while living in Japan — An illustrated guide

A while back, we had some fun talking about five of the more noteworthy types of foreigners you’ll meet in Japan, based upon observations drawn from our time spent working and living here in the Land of the Rising Sun. Whether you’re a Plastic Sensei, Hateimus Japanicus, Secret Ninja, Bubble Dweller or Kid in a Candy Store (or indeed, all of these at different times), we reckon there’s probably quite a lot foreign residents can find to nod their heads at when considering each of those five extreme types.

But what about the flip side of the coin? Spend enough time as a foreigner in a country like Japan—a place that’s 98.5% ethnically Japanese—and you’ll be sure to notice that Japanese people will approach you, the foreigner, in a number of different ways. Today we’d like to share our thoughts on six kinds of Japanese people foreigners might meet during their time in Japan. See how many of them you’ve come across during your time traveling or living in the country!

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Japanese cell phone provider gives same-sex couples with Partnership Certificates family discount

Cell phone service in Japan isn’t exactly cheap, and if you spend a lot of time on your smartphone talking with clients, chatting with friends, or otherwise keeping in touch with the rest of the world, it’s not hard to run up a monthly bill in the neighborhood of 10,000 yen (US$84). Thankfully, Japanese providers offer a variety of discounts to help soften the blow, with reduced rates for family members being a huge help.

Now, as part of the changing societal concept of what constitutes a family, Japan’s largest telecommunications provider has begun offering family discounts to same-sex couples who present documentation of their union.

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Meetings and more meetings: Foreigners list the pros and cons of working at a Japanese company

It’s no secret that Japan may be headed for a bit of a labor crunch, as the population ages and many older workers reach retirement age with fewer young up-and-comers to replace them. And, while the Japanese government seems reluctant to take measures to replenish the shrinking workforce with foreign laborers, non-Japanese workers are nevertheless entering Japanese corporations and workplaces in record numbers.

But Japanese offices are also notorious for their long hours, slow pace of advancement, and frequent, long meetings. Traditional Japanese companies seem stuck in an old-school work culture even as companies in the rest of the world offer increasingly progressive work-life balance programs, workplace perks, and office hours.

With this stark contrast in mind, our Japanese sister site tracked down seven non-Japanese workers to get their for-realsies impressions of what it’s actually like to work at a Japanese company.

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Japanese TV show produces baffling list of five household habits that will shorten your lifespan

It seems like we’re constantly being bombarded with tips and tricks about how to make our lives better or how to improve our quality of life. We’re always being told to change the way we eat, the way we sleep, include some daily physical activity, and re-organize our lives. Everyone has something different to say, but one thing they seem to have in common is the positive spin they put on their life improvements.

That’s not strictly true for Japanese television though. One recent program seemed to be taking a cue from the fear-based strategies of American TV, and spent an entire segment talking about habits in your household that are likely to decrease your lifespan.

Find out the five habits you should be wary of, apparently, after the jump.

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Five things you should know before coming to Japan【Video】

According to statistic, anywhere from one to two million people visit Japan per month, and more foreigners are working and living here than ever before. That’s a lot of people hopping a plane over, and especially if yours is a one-way flight, preparing yourself mentally before you arrive in Japan is just as important as the physical things you pack with you in your suitcase.

Think you’ve done all your research when it comes to the Land of the Rising Sun? Check out this video on five things you should know before making the big move.

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New study suggests Japanese people born in late winter at higher risk of suicide

While Japan is famous for its animationfood, pop-culture, it’s also infamous for its extremely high suicide rates. Many Japanese students and salarymen succumb to the pressures of school and work by taking their own lives. There is little knowledge about what factors increase the risk of suicide, but recent research has found that people, namely adolescents, born between January 1 and April 1, are 30 percent more likely to commit suicide

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In Japanese elementary schools, lunchtime means serving classmates, cleaning the school 【Video】

Last month, we took a look at how in Japan many children are expected to commute to school without their parents’ help starting in elementary school. That’s not the only amazing display of responsibility that’s part of everyday life for Japanese kids, though.

Not only do Japanese schools not have school busses, they also don’t have food-serving or cleaning staff. That means it’s the students themselves who’re responsible for distributing school lunches and keeping the building clean, and the diligence with which they go about their tasks would put many full-blown adults to shame, as shown in this video of all the things Japanese grade schoolers are expected to do during a typical school day in addition to studying.

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Top 10 things even Japanese people think they’re too obsessive about

It’s no exaggeration to say that Japan is pretty obsessive when it comes to societal safety and manners. Japanese people often go to ridiculous/disgusting lengths to stay safe and to make sure that visitors are aware of all the unspoken rules that permeate throughout the country.

But sometimes it’s all just too much, even for the native Japanese themselves. So we present to you a list of the top 10 things that even Japanese people think they’re too obsessive over. Are you just as paranoid as they are, or would you be considered a carefree spirit in Japan? Read on to find out!

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Japan: one of the few countries in the world where married couples must have the same surname

With Japan consistently appearing in the lowest ranks for gender equality in industrialised nations, the adoption of Prime Minister Abe’s recent bill to promote the role of women in the workplace has been a welcome development in what remains a traditionally patriarchal society.

What the headlines fail to mention, however, are the archaic laws entrenched in the country’s Civil Code that continue to hold women back, including same surname requirements upon marriage, and differences in the minimum marriageable age and re-marriage prohibition period for both sexes.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women has again called for a revision of Japan’s current laws, slamming the country for being one of the few industrialised nations where it remains illegal for married couples to have different surnames.

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Domestic culture shock – 30 things people from Hokkaido experience when they move to Tokyo

When foreigners first move to Tokyo, they’re often amazed and overwhelmed by Japan’s biggest bustling metropolis. But sometimes culture shock can be more localized, and just because you haven’t left the country doesn’t mean there aren’t any surprises in store when you move to a new town.

Hokkaido has more than five times the area of any other Japanese prefecture, and the lowest population density in the country to boot. So when someone born and raised on the northern island moves down south to Tokyo, which is more than 90 times as crowded as Hokkaido, he’s sure to be surprised by a lot of things, and here are 30 of them.

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Poll asks for the top 10 times Japanese men are disappointed in their adult daughters

No matter how much you love your kids, no matter how strongly you want to protect them and guide towards what you believe are the best decisions, at some point they’re going to grow up and lead their own lives. Past a certain age, you just have to face the reality that your while they’ll always be your children, they’re also now adults, and you have to accept them as the people they’ve chosen to become.

Or, alternatively, you could harbor resentment towards them, like the men polled for this survey of the top 10 ways Japanese fathers are disappointed in their daughters.

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How honest is Japanese society? So honest this train station is fine with a non-closable “gate”

A while back, we talked about how it’s common in Japan for people to place dropped property in a place where it’ll be easy to spot when the owner retraces his steps looking for it. There’s hardly any fear that anyone else will take it, whether the item in question is as cheap as a mitten or something much more valuable.

But such admirable conduct isn’t limited to private citizens’ interactions with one another. A recently tweeted snapshot of a train station ticket gate has been getting laughs in Japan for its unusual design, and while it is kind of funny-looking, it also shows the extremely honest character of Japanese society.

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Top 11 tweets to make you feel glad you don’t work in Japan

It’s no secret that working in Japan can be pretty miserable. Long hours, unpaid overtime, power harassment, and mandatory drinking parties with coworkers are just some of the factors that contribute to workers all over Japan leading stressful lives.

But misery loves company, so that’s why we present the top 11 tweets to make you feel glad you don’t work in Japan. Some of them are attempts at encouragement, some of them are commiserating, and some of them are so painfully sad that you can’t help but cry. So read on and see how your own work compares to Japan!

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Short documentary explores the significance of Japanese children being independent from a young age 【Video】

Many foreigners in Japan are shocked to see young Japanese schoolchildren walking to and from school by themselves, or even taking the trains or buses alone. While these sights would probably lead to more than a few concerned stares in many countries overseas, they’re perfectly typical scenes in Japan.

Australian TV channel SBS 2 recently shared a mini-documentary titled “Japan’s independent kids” on YouTube, which gives a brief look at the differences between one young Japanese girl’s commute to school versus that of a young Australian girl, while examining some of the societal factors that lead to differing expectations regarding independence for children in each country.

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Runny curry, no pudding spoons among complaints of Japanese prison inmates

From how often we talk about food and hot springs here on RocketNews24, you’ve probably surmised that, as a nation, Japan is pretty into bathing and dining. Those passions aren’t exclusive to law-abiding members of Japanese society, either, as a recent survey of inmate complaints at prisons in Japan found several focused on meals and baths, with requests for better curry and longer soaks in the tub.

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Son of the richest man in China: Escaping the Chinese system ‘would be suicide’

Wang Sicong, the son of the richest man in China, did an incredibly frank interview with the BBC for its three-part documentary on Chinese youth.

We caught the interview via Shanghaiist.

He said that for people in his generation, escaping China’s strict political system “would be suicide.”

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No booze please, we’re Japanese: studies show Japanese people are drinking less than ever

One of the things you may notice when you come to Japan is how much drinking seems to be going on. Certain Japanese societal circles (the workplace, university clubs, etc) run more smoothly with the help of alcoholic lubrication in the form of after-hours “drinking parties” to facilitate team-building and bonding—it’s called nomication (or nominication), a portmanteau of “nomu” (to drink) and “communication”.

So we were quite surprised to discover recently that Japan’s level of alcoholic beverage consumption is actually way, way down. But why?

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The JK business: New documentary examines the Japanese schoolgirl industry

From traditional culture to the latest in “Cool Japan,” Japan has a lot to boast about. Yet there’s another side to the island nation which has stirred up international contention over the past few decades.

Even those unfamiliar with specific components of Japanese popular culture have likely heard about the popularity of high school girls in Japan, as school uniform-clad girls often appear in the latest advertising, music videos, TV anime, and other forms of the country’s media. Dig a little deeper and you can also find a service industry which involves high school girls providing a range of services to older men in return for payment. Known colloquially as the “JK business” (the “JK” is derived from joshikosei, or “female high school student”), this phenomenon often includes such services as “JK walking” or “JK massages,” which may or may not be veiled fronts for prostitution in actuality.

Today, we’d like to introduce you to the darker side of the JK business through the lens of a short foreign documentary which has raised considerable debate online.

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