Police crackdowns fast making hot-rodder spectacles a fading memory


Japan's noisy bosozoku (hot rod gangs) used to assemble in large numbers, bringing hell-bent-for-leather antics and ear-splitting exhaust sounds to otherwise quiet suburban communities. But as Nikkan Gendai (Oct 13) reports, the gangs, particularly those in Kansai, are only a vestige of their once-noisy glory, and last year might have… Read


Reduced splash, easier smart phone operation among reasons more guys prefer to pee while seated


As one's ability to express one's self in the Japanese language improves, the less a learner applies pronouns. Rather than saying, "I do X," whereby X represents some activity, Japanese can get the same meaning across by saying the equivalent of "X is being done," with no confusion in the… Read


The 'zombification' of married life


The divorce rate peaked in 2020 and is now falling. Does that mean marriage is resurging? No, says Spa! (Oct 12). Married couples are “zombifying,” is the magazine’s melancholy conclusion. Instead of divorcing, as they once might have, they grimly endure each other. It’s better, or seems so, than the… Read


The reality of coronavirus home care: 'Disaster medicine'


Dr Jun Sasaki parks his car and unlocks the trunk. It’s Aug 26, 35 degrees in Tokyo. Dr Sasaki is making a house call. The contraption in the trunk looks like a large air purifier. In fact it’s an oxygen enricher, portable but weighing some 20 kg. There’s no elevator… Read


Saitama's new ordinance banning walking on escalators gets off to a standing start


The Saitama prefectural government poster reads, "On the escalator, stay put! It's required. The first ordinance in Japan!! Let it begin from Saitama Prefecture. It continues at the bottom: "An ordinance to promote safe use of Saitama escalators. To take effect from October 1, 2021." Five cartoon figures stand alternately… Read


Chiselers find new ways to bilk people out of typhoon insurance


The word yakebutori is applied to those who profit from the losses of others following a fire or other disaster. It seems to be a neverending story. Noting that during the 2020 fiscal year, the number of people consulting the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan regarding troubles over typhoon… Read


Japanese curry shop pleasing palates of New Delhi residents


In a classic example of carrying coals to Newcastle, CoCo Ichibanya, a chain of curry and rice specialty restaurants with headquarters in Ichinomiya City, Aichi Prefecture, made headlines in 2020 when it announced plans to offer its dishes to consumers in the home of curry, the Indian subcontinent. Specifically, in… Read


Working until you're 70? Is it desirable? For some, sure...


“Live to 100, work to 70.” That seems to be where we’re heading. Is it sustainable? asks Spa! (Sept 21-28). The first half of the equation may be. The second is hitting snags.   Effective this past April, Japan’s official retirement age is 70, up from 65. New laws passed then… Read


Working to plug the royal leaks before they become a deluge


Princess Mako Naishinno, eldest daughter of Crown Prince Akishino and niece of Emperor Naruhito, will turn 30 on Oct 23. By then, if things go as planned, she will have become Mrs Mako Komuro and soon thereafter take up residence with her husband, attorney Kei Komuro, in New York City.… Read


Smartphones make porn addiction a growing problem


The trouble with the smartphone is that there’s no trouble with it – it gives you everything you want. The trouble with pornography is not its moral murk but its physiological impact on the brain. The trouble with pornography delivered via smartphone is that it’s ubiquitous, effortless, mostly free, and… Read

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