The good folks at The Japan Daily have picked up three blog posts for sharing with their readers.
To read The Japan Daily, go here.
|Source: Google Maps.|
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 hit Nagano Prefecture and surrounding areas in central Japan on Saturday night, the weather agency said.
No tsunami warning was issued.
The 10:08 p.m. quake measured lower 6 on the Japanese seismic scale of 7 in northern Nagano, and lower 5 in Niigata Prefecture, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
An aftershock registered lower 5 in northern Nagano at 10:37 p.m., according to the agency.
|Above, the Godzilla statue in Hibiya, Chiyoda Ward in Tokyo. Chiyoda|
is the top pilgrimage area for anime fans. Photo by Armand Vaquer.
A bulk of the anime we know and love are set in real-life locations in Japan. Often, the stories are based on a specific location mentioned in the anime, such as Ikebukuro where popular anime Durarara! and its sequel are set. In other cases, the setting is not mentioned but fans are quick to identify the location using scenes found in each episode. One such example would be the hit franchise The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, which featured scenery from Nishinomiya in Hyogo Prefecture. Avid anime fans have had a long tradition of making pilgrimages to key spots in their favorite series through an activity known as Seichi Junrei. There’s now even a website dedicated to documenting these spots and they have recently released a ranking of the wards in Tokyo that contain the most number of pilgrimage spots.
|Above, when one compares the anime (left) and the actual place |
in Tokyo, pilgrimages may not seem so far-fetched after all.
|Above, the former Texas School Book Depository and the Dal-Tex Building|
behind it at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Photo by Armand Vaquer.
|Above, Nakamise Dori in Asakusa, a shopper's paradise. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
Tokyo, Nov. 20 (Jiji Press)--The dollar accelerated its bull run to approach 119 yen at one point in Tokyo trading Thursday after repeatedly renewing its seven-year high recently, as the Japanese government has effectively tolerated the yen's rapid weakening.
|Above, some goodies I bought on a past trip to Japan. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, the Saikai Bridge near Sasebo. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
West Japan Railway Co. said Wednesday it will expand its lineup of unlimited ride passes for foreign travelers from next March.
By newly offering three area passes that can be used in western Japan, the company, better known as JR West, aims to explore new demand from foreign travelers in connection with next year's 40th anniversary of the Sanyo Shinkansen bullet train line between Osaka and Hakata in Fukuoka Prefecture.Hakata Station is in Kyushu's largest city, Fukuoka. From there, visitors can travel to Mount Aso Volcano National Park and Sasebo City (and the nearby Saikai Bridge), where much of the action in Rodan (1956) took place.
|Above, Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, one of the world's most visited |
tourist attractions according to Travel + Leisure. Photo by Armand Vaquer.
Japan’s tourism industry is experiencing a major upswing, as the fall of the yen makes the country an increasingly affordable destination.
International tourist arrivals to Japan have doubled in the last decade, to more than 10 million in 2013 – the majority of them from other parts of Asia.The article does mention that a factor that could hinder further growth in tourism, need for more slots at Tokyo's two airports, Haneda and Narita, especially Haneda.
|Above, the meeting point at Terminal One at Narita International Airport. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
The number of visitors to Japan in January-October grew 27.1 percent from a year before to 11,009,000, already topping the full-year record of 10,363,904 marked in 2013, an estimate by the Japan National Tourism Organization showed Wednesday.
As a result, the number of visitors in 2014 is on track to hit a record high for the second straight year.The article cites the weakened yen and the easing of visa requirements for some Southeast Asian countries for the surge in foreign visitors.
|Above, Johnny Rockwell as Superboy in 1961.|
|Above, Jim Walsh with John Rockwell at the Superman Celebration Luncheon. Photo courtesy of Jim Walsh.|
|Above, a fuel-efficient United Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
NEW YORK (AP) - Planes are full. Passengers clamor for amenities. Investors want a payout. New planes are on order.
Those are all reasons the airlines likely won't be passing their recent savings on fuel along to fliers in the form of lower fares.
In fact, fares are going higher. And those bag fees that airlines instituted in 2008 when fuel prices spiked aren't going away either.It appears that shareholders will be getting dividends with the savings that the lower fuel costs have provided. So if you were counting on the airlines to help you to cheaply get to Japan or elsewhere, guess again.
|Above, the Goodyear blimp Columbia over Point Mugu in 1967. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, Columbia at Point Mugu in 1967. This blimp was in service from 1963 to 1969. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, the current L.A. Goodyear blimp, Spirit of America, at its base in Carson. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, my copy of Cult Movies no. 7. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, a traditional-style Japanese cemetery in Niigata. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
Trying out a coffin, posing for a tombstone photo, and simulating the scattering of one's own ashes into the ocean: Japan’s elderly are taking funeral preparations into their own hands, with ‘end of life’ preparations gaining popularity in the country.The article includes some innovative tombs now available for "occupancy" in Tokyo. Included are mult-storey, vault-style interactive graveyards. These just may become the next big thing in Japanese tourist attractions.
|Above, Akihabara's "electric town" section of Tokyo. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
TOKYO —Japan’s economy dropped into a recession after a second-straight quarter of contraction, official data showed Monday, in a huge blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s bid to turn around years of laggard growth.
The country’s gross domestic product shrank 0.4% in the July-September quarter, or an annualised rate of 1.6%, underscoring how an April tax rise dented growth in the world’s number three economy and weighing on the chances of a second levy hike next year.Raising taxes will make people modify their spending (in other words, tighten their belts). This is especially true with high-ticket items such as electronics, major appliances, furniure and automobiles. People will either forego or delay purchases of these items due to the tax bite.
|Above, Tokyo Tower and the moon. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
Airlines are increasingly offering overnight flights from Haneda Airport here as travelers seek to pack their weekend trips with more daylight hours for less money.Airlines offering (or about to offer) overnight flights include All Nippon Airways (ANA), United Airlines, Japan Airlines and Turkish Airlines. U.S. cities to be serviced include Los Angeles, Honolulu and San Francisco.
|Above, Siren and Lola wondering, "What the hell happened to our house?" Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, the plumber digging up the floor to get to the burst pipe. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
NEW YORK —While today he may be thought of with misgivings, if at all, Bob Hope reigned for much of the last century as America’s wisecracking avatar of comedy.
By the time he died in 2003 at age 100, Hope had conquered vaudeville, Broadway, recordings, live concerts, radio, films and, from its infancy, TV, where he remained a welcome presence into his 90s.
“By nearly any measure, he was the most popular entertainer of the 20th century,” writes Richard Zoglin.
That alone should bear out Hope’s career-long theme song, “Thanks for the Memories.” Yet memories of Hope have already dimmed, and his achievements, still felt by performers and audiences alike, now are largely taken for granted.In Zoglin's opinion, Hope invented the art form of stand-up comedy. Yet, when he asked a number of today's stand-up comics, Hope is never mentioned as an influence.
|Above, one of many photos of Bob Hope displayed at the Lakeside Golf Club.|
|Above, one of the moats that surrounds the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, the NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building from Harajuku, Tokyo. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
TOKYO —NTT Docomo, a personalized mobile solutions provider for smarter living, has launched its Jspeak face-to-face mobile translation service for smartphones and tablets, targeting travelers from abroad.
Jspeak is modelled on Docomo’s Hanashite Honyaku, the mobile-based automatic translation service now offered exclusively to Docomo subscribers in Japan. Jspeak will enable Japanese and non-Japanese speakers to enjoy face-to-face conversations simply by speaking into a smartphone or tablet to get a translation as screen text and voice readout. Ten languages - Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai - can be translated into Japanese and vice versa.Two plans will be offered. One for $.99 for one week and one for $2.99 for one month's service.
The dollar rose above ¥115.50 in Tokyo trading Thursday, aided by a stock market surge reflecting speculation that the planned consumption tax increase will be postponed.
At 5 p.m., the dollar stood at ¥115.77-78, up from ¥115.27-28 at the same time Wednesday.This is great news for potential American tourists to Japan as their dollars will buy more yen.
Fox News has obtained new documents from a government agency which contain detailed proposals for presidential action that could lead to legalization for undocumented immigrants.
Mike Emanuel reported this evening that sources say President Barack Obama was briefed on the plan before his Asia trip. Executive action could be announced as early as next week.
As part of the 10-point plan, up to 4.5 million illegal immigrants living with their American born kids would be allowed to stay in the U.S., an expansion of deferred action. The plan would also expand deferred action for DACA children. There is also a proposal to raise pay for ICE officers to boost morale.Obama refuses to allow the new Congress time to come up with any immigration reform measures, but instead will issue executive orders granting amnesty. Obama claims that he's "waited long enough" for action on immigration reform. But one has to ask why he did NOTHING when his party controlled both houses of Congress with super-majorities?
|Above, this is all I could see when I visited Mt. Aso in 2007. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
Japan is a country with a whole lot of volcanoes of all shapes, sizes and persuasions. From the iconic Mt. Fuji to the recently erupted Mt. Ontake, you really can’t swing a koto around here without hitting a geological pressure cooker. And nowhere is that truer than the Aso-Kuju National Park in Kyushu, where they literally have volcanoes on top of volcanoes.Although I didn't get to see much of Mt. Aso, at least I enjoyed the exhibits in their visitor center. Snow or no snow, I had an interesting adventure there.