Random Japan

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BAD MEDICINE
An investigation was launched after it came to light that a man who claimed to be a doctor from a Canadian hospital treated some 250 people in quake-ravaged Miyagi Prefecture without a proper license.

A drug used to treat blood clots killed five people in Japan after causing some nasty side-effects in over 80 patients since March, the Health Ministry said.

Ryohei Yamanaka, 23, a flyhalf for Japan’s national rugby team, accepted a two-year doping ban from the sport’s governing body while continuing to claim his positive test was a result of a cream he used to try to grow a mustache. Yeah right, likely story …

It took 21 reprints, but a million copies were finally printed of an inspirational book by Japan soccer captain Makoto Hasebe called Kokoro o Totonoeru (Maintaining Peace of Mind).

Now this really is amazing. A transparent maze has been set up by Yoko Ono at Yokohama Triennale 2011, an international exhibition of modern art. At the center of the maze is a telephone, which sometimes rings. Lucky visitors who pick up the phone get to hear the voice of Yoko Ono. Hmmm … would that be considered reward or punishment?

A two-year-old boy escaped with a few minor scrapes after falling between a train platform and a stopped Nozomi bullet train onto the tracks at Nagoya Station. A quick-thinker hit the emergency switch and cut power before the train could leave.

Visually impaired people in Japan are apparently “suffering damage to their white canes … due to collisions with cyclists.”

Stats

15,600
People confirmed dead five months after the March 11 earthquake/tsunami

4,700
People still missing

87,000
Evacuees from the disaster scattered across Japan

4,817
Bereaved family members of people who died in World War II in attendance at a memorial service at Nippon Budokan

43
Wives of men killed in WWII at the service
2,700
Wives of the war dead who attended the same service 20 years ago

YOU DO THE MATH
Philip Brasor notes in The Japan Times that, even though Japan’s publicized suicide rate is extremely high at about 30,000 a year, the actual rate might be quite a bit higher.

“In many Western countries, deaths in which the cause is not apparent are often judged to be suicides, whereas in Japan only those deaths that are obviously suicides are judged to be so, and since the causes of some 140,000 deaths a year in Japan are categorized as ‘unknown’ the number of suicides could be appreciably higher,” explains Brasor.

Brasor goes on to note that there are so many “unknown” causes of death here because “there are only 137 physicians in Japan authorized to conduct autopsies.”

The mini vehicle boom continues in Japan with a record high 50.6 percent of households—one in every two—now owning one, the Japan Mini Vehicles Association claimed. Mini vehicles have engines no larger than 660cc.

Eisuke Sakakibara, a former Finance Ministry official known as “Mr. Yen,” said he expects the US economy to suck for years to come, possibly driving the dollar below the ¥75 mark.

Nintendo slashed the price of its 3DS videogame console by 40 percent, causing them to fly off the shelves much faster than usual. Sales increased 13 fold, in fact.

Not to be outdone, Sony whacked ¥5,000 off the suggested retail price of its PlayStation3 computer entertainment systems to give their sales a kick in the ass.

Jockey Hitomi Miyashita, 34, who rode more winners than any other female in Japanese horse racing history (626), has decided to call it a day and hang up her whip.

JTB says that, as of early August, its package tour sales to Kyushu for this summer were up 30 percent over a year ago. Tours to Tokyo, on the other hand, are way down as a result of March 11.

Who DO You Trust

Not The Government

This Pilot

Was Flying Wrong

Disaster drills transformed after March 11 earthquake

2011/09/02
With a new sense of urgency, the central and local governments started holding upgraded and expanded disaster drills around Japan. But in the areas that prompted such alarm, local leaders and residents were too busy trying to rebuild from the March 11 disaster to prepare for the next one.

"A disaster is happening right here at the moment," said a town official near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Japan holds Disaster Prevention Week usually from Aug. 30-Sept. 5 to coincide with the anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.

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