September 1, 2011
This week's required reading
By: Reg Dunlap | Sep 1, 2011 | Issue: 910 | One Comment | 2,829 views

Trilli Bagus


  • 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.”


  • Temperatures soared over 37ºC in in parts of Japan in August, the result of “a strong high-pressure system over the Pacific Ocean,” according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. In the words of radio DJ Adrian Cronauer of “Good Morning, Vietnam” fame, “The weather out there today is hot and shitty with continued hot and shitty in the afternoon.”
  • Not surprisingly, more than 7,000 people were taken to hospital with heatstroke in Japan in one week alone, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.
  • Get over it, dude. Italian motorcycle racing star Valentino Rossi said he’ll probably skip the October 2 Japanese Grand Prix over radiation concerns. The race will take place at Motegi, about 150 clicks from Fukushima.
  • A woman from Japan suffered minor injuries after being mugged during the rioting and looting in London, the Japanese Consulate General said.
  • Authorities searching the waters below Niagara Falls for a 19-year-old Japanese woman who took the plunge when “straddling a railing while holding an umbrella” for a photo op failed to find her, but they did discover the body of an unidentified male.
  • Japanese architect Shigeru Ban is in the process of rebuilding Christchurch Cathedral, damaged in New Zealand’s earthquake. His version will be made completely of cardboard, however, not wood or concrete.
  • A signed Japanese flag a British soldier took back to England as a memento of the Pacific War during World War II has been returned to the family of the Japanese soldier who originally possessed it in Akita Prefecture.
  • 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
—Five-year-old Kaio Miyagi at a ceremony at Nippon Budokan marking the 66th anniversary of the end of World War II


  • 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.


  • A microbiology professor at Azabu University estimates that one out of every four footbaths in Japan contains a strain of the Legionella bacteria, which can cause infectious diseases.
  • There is a device on the Japanese market which is basically just a tube designed for moms to suck boogers out of their kids’ noses. Other countries apparently have similar devices, but they opt for a small hand-pump over lung power.
  • Statistics have shown that judo can be a dangerous business. “Since 1983, 110 students have died while practicing judo either in gym class or as a member of a judo club,” according to a story in The Asahi Shimbun.
  • An ankle was the latest body part to turn up in an 18-liter container at an Osaka garbage disposal complex. Earlier, two more ankles and a head were found in similar metal containers.
  • Apparently, leftover symbols of the March 11 tsunami’s destruction have become quite the summer tourist attractions, drawing the curious to things like a beached boat, a broken seawall, and a lone surviving pine tree.
  • It was reported that a spike in radioactive sulfur from the damaged nuclear reactors in Fukushima was detected in California in late March, although it posed no health risk.
  • Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda ruffled some feathers in South Korea with his comment that Japan’s Class-A war criminals convicted by an Allied tribunal weren’t really war criminals after all.
  • Albert “Doc” Brown, an American dentist who survived the infamous Bataan Death March in 1942 that claimed 11,000 lives, died at the age of 105 at an Illinois nursing home. He might have disagreed with Noda (above).
  • Police in Kanagawa swooped in and arrested several members of a bogus religious outfit who swindled customers out of their hard-earned cash at so-called “healing salons.” The fraudsters claimed people would be healed of illness if they donated to the cause.

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



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  • outlawhorse

    Nice one, Metropolis. Noda was already Prime Minister when this went up.