Chinese grabbing up Tokyo real estate


"I'm looking to buy a building close to a station near Shinjuku, for around ¥200 million. Do you know any good properties?" "Please hook me up with a used condominium located in an area slated for redevelopment. Anywhere is okay." The seminars target affluent individuals in major Chinese cities such… Read


Train gropers who fall to temptation intentionally targeted by extortion squads


The latest scam in the news these days involves turning the tables on perpetrators of sexual assault on crowded passenger transport, and hitting them hard in the wallet. This is referred to in Japanese as chikan kyokatsu (extorting gropers). How does this work? In a nutshell, teams of three or… Read


Looking at the future from the perspectives of various ages


“At 15,” said Confucius, “my heart was set on learning. At 30, I stood firm. At 40, I had no more doubts. At 50, I knew the will of heaven.” Good for him. If only we could all be like Confucius. Maybe we could, living in simple times like his.… Read


Bedbugs? Damn -- Japan's got 'em too


The weekly "be between" online survey in the Asahi Shimbun (Oct 14) asked readers if they liked insects. Out of 2,581 respondents, an impressive 43% replied in the positive, naming such favorites as dragonflies, fireflies and butterflies. Among the majority 57% who say they're not favorably inclined toward six-legged creatures,… Read


Beware the dark side of health checks: Part 2


In old Japan doctors were priests and exorcists chanting prayers and incantations. Scientific medicine represents progress no doubt, and the vastly expanded life span is solid testimony in its favor. Still, there are problems, and President magazine (Oct 13) raises some of them in a lengthy feature whose title, “The… Read


The fate of Johnny and Associates may play out according to the yakuza model


Johnny and Associates, the talent agency whose founder, the late Johnny Kitagawa, was exposed by the BBC last March to have been an unrepentant pedophile who preyed on the young performers it groomed for stardom. The company has since been facing a myriad of troubles, and to cut its losses… Read


The price tags and perils of being a prostitute in Shinjuku


Coming on the heels of the hottest September in recorded history, October 2023 will be remembered as the month when the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department launched the biggest crackdown on prostitution in recent memory, snaring no fewer than 80 streetwalkers. Just prior to that event, Spa (Oct 3) interviewed several… Read


Beware the dark side of health checks


“The biggest lie of all,” biologist Kiyohiko Ikeda tells President magazine (Oct 13), “is the health check.” Really? Aging Japan is awash in health checks. Turn 65 and the pressure to submit to them mounts. You feel fine? Don’t be fooled. Cancer lurks in dark corners before it bursts into… Read


Calamitous climate change means saying 'sayonara' to lovely autumn weather


Back in 1982, female vocalist Naoko Ken scored a hit record with "Natsu Akiramete" (Give up on Summer). The lyrics of its refrain, in English, went: "Darlin' can't you see? I'll try to make it shine. Darlin' be with me! Let's get to be so fine." Four decades since Naoko-chan… Read


Soaring costs, overcompetition threatening yakiniku restaurants


As the cooler autumn weather approaches, more consumers start craving barbecued beef, referred to as yakiniku. Typically this consists of thin slices of marinated beef, cooked at the table over a gas burner or charcoal. Even when not labeled as such, the cuisine boasts a strong Korean influence, although the… Read

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