Archive for the ‘Japan’ category

Japan’s Latest Export – The British Bullet Train

August 25, 2007
British Bullet Train
An Artist’s Impression of the British Bullet Train

The first train of what will eventually be a new fleet of high-speed trains in the United Kingdom arrived from Japan this morning. The high speed trains, which can travel up to 140 MPH, will eventually link the heart of London to the famous Channel Tunnel in southern England.

The trains will cut the current travel time by more than half, allowing easy access to the London Olympics in 2012.



Japanese Prime Minister Receives Severed Pinkie By Mail

August 24, 2007
Shinzo Abe
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has been heavily criticized by Japan’s right-wing extremists for refusing to pray at the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, received a severed pinkie finger in the mail at the Liberal Democratic Party headquarters this week.

Yoshihiro Tanjo, 54, was arrested in suspicion of mailing the severed digit, which arrived at LDP headquarters in an envelope. Also found in the envelope were a letter of protest, and a DVD containing scenes of Tanjo cutting off his finger.


Jewelry Store in Japan Unveils $250,000 Gundam Statue

August 23, 2007
Platinum Gundam Figure
$250,000 Gundam Figure

A jewelry store in Fukuoka, Japan created a platinum Gundam figure with a .15 karat diamond in its head. The statue, reportedly worth around $250,000, was created by the famous Japanese jeweler Ginza Tanaka and toy maker Bandai. It will be on display in the Ginza Tanaka store in Fukuoka until Sunday.


Toilets in Japan Burst into Flames

August 21, 2007

On at least three separate occasions last year, toilets made by Toto, Japan’s largest toilet manufacturer, have suddenly burst into flames.

No one was injured in the incidents, although having your toilet spontaneously combust must be somewhat disconcerting.

Company spokesperson Emi Tanaka helpfully explained that the fire would have been “just under your buttocks.” Nice to know.

At least 23 other toilets were reported to have smoke coming fron the seat.

The problem was apparently in the wiring of the toilet’s heated seats, a popular feature in Japan. The affected toilets belonged to the “Z series” line of luxury toilets, which cost up to $300.


via – The Japan Times

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Japan Hopes to Develop a “New Internet”

August 19, 2007

Japan’s communications minister Yoshihide Suga said today that Japan is going to start researching and developing the technology for the “next generation” of the internet.

Apparently, this “new internet” will be faster, and will offer better security that the slow, virus-laden piece-of-crap internet that you’re reading this post on. And, given prior precedent with Japanese technology, it will likely be very, very small and come in a variety of cute colors.

The technology will be ready by 2020.


via – The Japan Times

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Students at a Japanese University have been Drinking Toliet Water since 1993

August 16, 2007


From Mainich Shimbun:

A plumbing blunder at Hiroshima University’s Higashi-Hiroshima Campus resulted in water for toilet flushing being sent to drinking taps for more than a decade, it has emerged.

University officials announced the mix-up on Friday. The problem was uncovered after about 80 students at the campus who drank the water in July fell ill, with symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea.

Granted, it was water meant for flushing, and not raw sewage. Still…



via – WeirdAsiaNews

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Invasion of the Body Snatching North Koreans

August 16, 2007

Unbelievable. The Asahi Shinbun is reporting that the Japanese have tentatively identified yet another Japanese citizen abducted by North Korea.

A newscaster on state-run television in North Korea bears a striking resemblance to a Japanese who went missing off Tottori Prefecture in 1988, prompting an investigation into whether the two men are one and the same, sources said.

The government is comparing a photo of the announcer with those of Tomiyasu Yakura, who left Sakaiminato port in western Tottori Prefecture to go fishing in August 1988, and has not been seen since.

Yakura’s boat was found eight days after he left port, but he was nowhere to be found.

The resident of Yonago, in the same prefecture, was 36.

Let me be as clear as possible. I think Japanese right-wingers are crazy. They drive around in their black vans belting nationalistic and often racist propaganda. They insist that Japanese politicians pray to enshrined war criminals at Yasukuni Shrine. They want to rewrite the history of WWII to say that the war was America’s fault. They insist that all the Japanese army did in Nanking was hunt down resistance fighters and hand out lollypops to children. They’re nuts.

However, can you really blame them for wanting to bomb the hell out of North Korea? Imagine if American citizens started randomly disappearing off the streets and then showing up in Argentina, for example. The American right would have the Stealth Bombers in the air before you can say “living la vida loca.”

As much as I hate to agree with crazy people, maybe it is time to revise the Japanese Constitution. It doesn’t have to be overly edited. A couple of sentences will do:

“Japan renounces the use of force to settle international disputes. Except for with North Korea. We reserve the right to bomb those bitches back to the stone age.”


via – I, Shingen

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