May 9, 2012
This week’s required reading
By: Reg Dunlap | May 9, 2012 | Issue: 946 | No Comments | 2,073 views

Miwa Kaneoya


  • Ever wonder why those day-old deviled egg sandwiches at 7-Eleven are so darned tasty? Apparently it’s because the boiled eggs they use come from hens fed stevia and vanilla “for an improved sweeter taste.”
  • The website Twisted Sifter could not wrap its head around the fact that an apartment in ritzy Minami-Azabu was being listed for sale at ¥1.8 billion, calling it “The Most Expensive 1-Bedroom Apartment in the World.”
  • Former Chiba Lotte Marines manager Bobby Valentine ruffled some feathers in his new gig as Boston Red Sox skipper when he publicly questioned the dedication of infielder Kevin Youkilis. The players, led by Dustin Pedroia, quickly came to Yuke’s defense, saying maybe that crap worked in Japan (it didn’t) but that it wouldn’t fly in Beantown.
  • In other Lotte Marines-related news, infielder/DH Josh Whitesell was banished to the minor leagues after hitting opposing catchers with his bat during his swing follow-through in consecutive games. Ouch!


  • From the “Only in Japan” file: A column in The Japan Times mentioned that many pet groomers in this country now offer “claw decoration,” i.e., having your dog’s nails done. One “dog beauty artist” in Tokyo charges between ¥3,000 and ¥5,000 for all four paws. Apparently, a common request is for dog and owner to get matching nail art.
  • Good news for cat lovers. Cat cafés, where customers can “mingle freely with felines in a relaxed atmosphere,” might not have to abide by new Ministry of Environment regulations that limit the hours pets can be displayed (8am-8pm). It’s all part of a plan to reduce the stress level of animals at pet shops.
  • And a bit of good news for bald mice, as well. Researchers from the Tokyo University of Science have reportedly been successful in efforts to grow hair on hairless rodents. It’s tough enough to find a mate when you’re at the bottom of the vermin totem pole, but when you’re bald, too…
  • Another group of some ten protesters went on a hunger strike in front of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to show their displeasure over the government’s plan to restart nuclear reactors at the Oi power plant in Fukui Prefecture.
  • A Yokohama court gave a “spiritual salon” manager a suspended sentence after finding her guilty of fraud. The 48-year-old woman committed a “clever and malicious crime that took advantage of people’s worries about health and work to scam them out of money.”
  • Police were investigating the case of a severed wire in a wing of a Boeing 787 produced at a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries plant in Nagoya. The cut appears to have been intentional and is similar to other cases in 2002 and 2009.

great snakes

  • A 66-year-old man in Ushiku was found dead outside his house with bite marks on his head and arm and a 6.5-meter python nearby. The man’s son operates an exotic pet store in the area and had a reptile compound at the house.
  • Investigators think that the driver of a minivan in Kyoto that killed eight people, including himself, might have had an epileptic fit after dinging a taxi prior to the deadly crash.
  • A 67-year-old woman in Gunma Prefecture finally lived her college dream and entered the Tokyo University of Social Welfare, but not before she had survived severe poverty as a child, had lost a daughter in a car accident, was hurt badly herself in another car accident, and then survived being swept up in the killer tsunami last year.
  • 29.9 million Twitter accounts created in Japan before Jan 1, third most among countries, according to social media research company Semiocast
  • 127,799,000 Japan’s total population as of Oct 1, 2011, a decrease of 259,000, or 0.2 percent, from a year earlier, according to government data
  • 126,180,000 Japanese nationals as of Oct 1, 2011, down 0.16 percent from 2010
—An education ministry official after a Kyodo survey revealed that enrollment in nuclear energy-related programs at seven universities in Japan has dropped by 16 percent since the Fukushima nuclear crisis


  • So what do you get the city that has everything? Well, if you’re Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, you try to buy the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which is what he says the TMG plans to do.
  • In other international incidents, the Tokyo District Court tossed out a lawsuit filed by a couple of guys in China seeking damages from the Japanese government for when they were injured by a poisonous gas shell left behind by the Imperial Japanese Army after World War II.
  • Five grenades landed in the evacuated Japanese Embassy compound in Kabul over a two-day period as Taliban forces went on the offensive in the Afghan capital.
  • Researchers from the Meteorological Research Institute Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) have predicted that major typhoons with winds over 194kph may hit Japan every 10-20 years by the end of the century, as opposed to every 70-100 years now. Great… just what we need.
  • The dad of a university student killed 16 years ago after getting into a fight with another guy at Ikebukuro station has asked the cops to stop looking for his son’s killer. Pops wants the police to concentrate on solving other crimes they might actually have a chance with.
  • The body of the 37-year-old captain of a Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter that crashed into the sea off Aomori Prefecture was found some 50m below the surface on the seabed. Everyone else involved in the accident was safely rescued.
  • An irate truck driver for a transportation company in Ibaraki attended a hanami cherry blossom party at his boss’ house, then went home, got his wife’s car and returned, plowing into the house. He injured five people, including himself.

Compiled from reports by AP, Japan Today, The Japan Times, The Tokyo Reporter, The Asahi Shimbun, The Mainichi Daily News, Daily Yomiuri, AFP, Reuters and Kyodo.



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