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Bitter Japan Korea Relations Over the ‘Comfort Women’ Issue

Comfort Woman Statue in Busan, Korea

It is now 72 years since the Pacific War ended yet issues related to the Japanese military’s vicious behaviour in Asia still persist. One of these issues is that of the so-called ‘comfort women’ a term referring to women who were forced to provide sexual service to Japanese soldiers at military brothels in Japan s occupied territories between 1932 and 1945.

Levitating Bonsai Trees

Levitating Bonsai Trees

A new company in Kyushu, southern Japan  has used the crowdfunding website Kickstarter to fund a new product named Air Bonsai – bonsai trees are suspended in the air! The Air Bonsai system uses small magnets to suspend a charming fist-sized moss or lavastone covered bonsai plant two centimeters in the air above special ceramic dishes of fragments of lava rock. The missing ingredient for your home, right?

Cost Overshoot for 2020 Olympics

Tokyo Olympic Stadium

Tokyo won the right to host the 2020 Games by promising that 28 of the 31 competition venues would be held within a five-mile radius of the Olympic village. Originally, only shooting, modern pentathlon and one football venue were to be outside it. But costs have already quadrupled since then. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is seeking to move some of the events to other cities that already have stadiums built.

Fugu – The Fish More Deadly than Cyanide

Blowfish Japan

Recently in Osaka, Japanese police closed down a restaurant serving fugu, known in English as blowfish. Also known as pufferfish, it gets its name from its ability to expand its body in order to deter predators. The chefs who prepare fugu are among the most highly trained in Japan because a single mistake in preparation could kill a customer. The ovaries in particular, but also the liver and intestines, are potentially lethal. In 1975 a famed kabuki actor died after he insisted on eating blowfish liver. Since 2000, over two dozen people have died, mainly fishermen who caught the fish and insisted on preparing it themselves.

The Ginkgo Tree: A Link to the Dinosaurs

Ginko Leaf

The gingko tree can be seen planted by the side of roads all over Tokyo. Its fan-shaped leaf is the official symbol of the Tokyo Metropolitan area. The leaves change to a brilliant yellow before falling in late November/early December. Gingkoes can also be widely seen in Manhattan and in Seoul. As the tree originates in China, it thought that they were originally planted abroad by Korean and Chinese immigrants.

The Hugvie

The Hugvie, Japan

The latest fad coming to Japan, combining cuteness and technology, is the Hugvie, a human-shaped pillow with a skin-like texture, with slot in its head for a mobile phone. The user then carries on a conversation with a friend while hugging the soft robot.