Frosty relationship rumored between Empress Masako and sister-in-law Crown Princess Kiko


When Shukan Shincho (May 23) says “cold war,” it doesn’t mean what first springs to mind – the ideological geopolitical half-century-long confrontation between democracy as represented by the United States and communism as represented by the Soviet Union. It means the increasingly frosty relationship between two royal women: Empress Masako… Read


New service will tell your boss to 'Take this job and shove it' -- for a price


Serving notice of resignation to an employer can be highly stressful. Even downright unpleasant in some cases. So like certain other unpleasant tasks, why not hire a professional stand-in to do it for you? And indeed, services have sprung up to cater to people seeking to avoid such situations. They're… Read


Obnoxious customers driving store staff crazy with impossible demands


After dining on beef and rice at a Yoshinoya chain restaurant in Tokyo, a woman confronted the cashier: “Where’s my coupon?” Fifty-yen discount coupons had been advertised. Other customers were receiving theirs. “Where’s mine?” The cashier apologized for the oversight and hastened to make it good. The woman was not… Read


Mixing business suits with sports footwear gradually catching on


About three decades ago, newspapers reported the closing of the final shoeshine concession at Narita International Airport. Demand had been drying up, the reporter wrote, because more Japanese -- following a worldwide trend -- were wearing casual footwear when they went abroad. Now Nikkan Gendai (May 8) follows another emerging… Read


Tokyo taxi firm actively recruiting foreign drivers


"Is the interior temperature comfortable?" the driver of a Hinomaru taxi, Austrian Wolfgang Ruger, 52, asks his passenger in polite Japanese. Somewhat relieved, the gentleman in the back seat returns his smile and nods in the affirmative. Being driven about by a foreigner is an everyday occurrence in cities like New… Read


Some worry that 'kirakira' names will cause kids to be bullied in school


Once upon a time there was a boy named Prince – more or less. Actually his name was Oji, which means Prince. His parents intended no harm. The idea had been, his mother explained when matter came up for consideration in family court in March, to give the boy a… Read


'Gyo-jo' reflect gyoza's popularity among young females


Chinese-style pot-stickers, known generically in Japan as gyoza whether they are prepared by frying, steaming or boiling, are bite-size dumplings containing pork, Chinese cabbage, garlic and other ingredients. The cities of Utsunomiya and Hamamatsu have been engaged in a seesaw battle for the title of the nation's biggest per capita… Read


Reckless bicycle riding endangers lives


Motor vehicles in the wrong hands are deadly weapons. We’ve always known that, and harsh reminders came in the form of two April tragedies occurring within two days of each other – one killing a mother and child in Tokyo, the other two young adults in Kobe.  Bicycles, we like to… Read


Never mind 'sekuhara' -- now Japan's got 'shokuhara' (eating harassment)


In September 2018, the teacher at an elementary school in Gifu City exhorted the children in his class to finish their lunches, leaving no food unconsumed. The request seemed reasonable enough: school dining halls have long tried to cut down on waste. But some of the kids found discomfort in… Read


High school girl skirt lengths and hair fashions once again in a flux


As Japan finds itself on the cusp of a new imperial reign -- to be named Reiwa, according to the government's announcement on April 1 -- the nation's collective eyes briefly turned upwards, in the direction of the over 1,200 years of continuous, uninterrupted generations of Japan's imperial family. Having… Read

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