- American poker-faced popstar Lady Gaga capped off a May trip to Japan with a visit to the 634-meter Tokyo Sky Tree broadcast tower, enjoying the view from the observation deck at 350 meters.
- Meanwhile, earlier in the month, a 50-year-old man, who claimed to have been “treated violently by security personnel,” was arrested for pestering visitors to Tokyo Sky Tree with a right-wing propaganda truck.
- A Kobe soapland manager was charged under the Child Welfare Law for employing a 13-year-old girl at his club.
Manboo Plus, Tokyo’s first “cleavage cafe,” opened in Kanda, offering eyefuls of booby, and shoe shines as well.
- A 61-year-old government employee in waste management was arrested for running a Chinese hooker ring out of some apartments in Tokyo’s Toshima Ward.
- The website kangaeroo.com posted a story about four kangaroos escaping from a farm in Chiba and running wild in the streets for a few hours before being recaptured.
- Japanese baseball fans reacted swiftly and negatively—to say the least—when Softbank Hawks pitcher Brad Penny bolted for the US after throwing just 64 official pitches in NPB. On Twitter, Penny was branded “fat, a fraud and the second (Kei) Igawa, among other things too vulgar to reproduce,” wrote The Japan Times’ Jason Coskrey.
- Also under fire in the Twitter-sphere, an American based in Chiba Prefecture got hammered for soliciting donations to get his family out of Japan and back to Kansas to avoid the further “radiation poisoning” of his kids. He managed to raise $7,500 through a charity website before coming under cyber-attack on Twitter and various blogs.
- A disgruntled fan of AV actress Sola Aoi, star of the classic Big Tits Zombie, is demanding that her Twitter account be terminated because she has so far refused to “follow” him on the social-networking site.
- A Facebook site was started to raise money for the cancer treatment of a one-year-old girl from Russia at a Tokyo hospital. Her father had helped with rescue efforts in Miyagi shortly after the big quake last year.
LOOK MA, NO HANDS!
- Sharp is marketing a robotic hands-off vacuum cleaner called Cocorobo that can speak to you in three languages—Japanese, English and Chinese—and also knows a little Kansai-ben. For good measure, the device can also “send photos taken from your home to your cellphone.”
- Astronaut Mamoru Mori was enlisted to demonstrate Honda’s new Uni-Cub “floating car seat” that employs hands-free robotics technology. To maneuver the device, simply “sway your body from side to side … to turn, rotate full circle and zip around.”
- In Los Angeles, Toyota rolled out a new version of its popular RAV4, billing it as the world’s first all-electric SUV. It will be sold only in California to start with and boasts a range of 160km on a single charge.
- Bass player Donald “Duck” Dunn, who played with Booker T. & the MGs, as well as the Blues Brothers band, died at age 70 while in Tokyo for a few shows at the Blue Note. Dunn passed away alone in his sleep… a very un-rock ‘n’ roll death.
- NTT Docomo announced it will offer a service this summer for users who want to access anime and music on their smartphones and tablets, and all for flat-rate monthly fees of ¥420 (anime) and ¥315 (music).
- 77 Surveillance cameras at Tokyo Sky Tree
- 55 Surveillance cameras in the Kabukicho district of Shinjuku
- 82.3cm Average bust size of a 17-year-old girl in Japan, according to government data from 1992
- 325,000-plus Followers of 28-year-old porn star Sola Aoi on Twitter
JUST DON’T THROW ANY STONES
- Architect Sou Fujimoto revealed a 914-square-foot completely transparent glass house in Tokyo that leaves little to the imagination.
- Fujimoto is also responsible for what is being billed as the “largest public toilet in the world” near Itabu station in Ichihara. It consists of a “single sit-down toilet surrounded by glass … and looks out over a garden of cherry, plum and peach trees and potted plants,” all ringed by a 6-foot-high fence.
- Japan PM Yoshihiko Noda was snubbed by Chinese President Hu Jintao because the Chinese were unhappy that Tokyo hosted a general meeting of the World Uyghur Congress.
- Two English-speaking men made off with a diamond ring worth nearly ¥50 million from a De Beers jewelry store in the Matsuzakaya department store in Nagoya.
- A Kinki University research team found that sludge samples from the mouths of two rivers emptying into Tokyo Bay showed that radioactive cesium contamination linked to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant had increased by 1.5 to 13 times since August.
- The report said the contamination “poses no immediate health risk since no seafood from Tokyo Bay has seen contamination levels exceed the government-set threshold.” Wait a minute… people actually eat seafood that comes out of Tokyo Bay?
- The Japan Football Association’s “Supergirl Project”—we kid you not—has finally paid dividends in the form of 187cm goalkeeper Erina Yamane, who will man (or woman) the sticks for Nadeshiko Japan at the London Olympics.
MEN BEHAVING BADLY OVERSEAS
- Yoshiaki Nagaya, a 32-year-old Japanese Consulate official in San Francisco, is facing 14 counts of felony domestic violence and three charges of assault with a deadly weapon in a US court. On one occasion, he apparently stabbed his wife with a screwdriver, prosecutors said.
- A Japanese perv was sentenced to 17 years in prison and a lifetime of supervision by a Chicago court for conspiracy to advertise child pornography. Futoshi Tachino, 32, was busted as part of a global child pornography ring, US Justice Department officials said.
- Thirteen foreigners, mostly from China, have been picked up at Narita Airport since April 2011 for buying fake passports and trying to get on flights headed to the US, Canada or Europe.
- Talk about a failing grade, meteorological observatories across Japan “failed to predict 73 percent of all the tornadoes and strong wind gusts that occurred in the country since March 2008,” says a report by the Japan Meteorological Agency.
- The Consumer Affairs Agency warned that a red color additive called cochineal made from insects from South and Central America “could trigger breathing difficulties and other allergic reactions.” Cochineal is used in processed foods, drinks, medicine and lipstick in Japan.
Compiled from reports by AP, Japan Today, The Japan Times, The Tokyo Reporter, The Asahi Shimbun, The Mainichi Daily News, Daily Yomiuri, AFP, Reuters, Kyodo, Kangaeroo.com, Voice of America and The Telegraph.