Posts Tagged With: Nagoya

Japanese Part-Timers ‘Terrorize’ Employers with Pranks


Stuffing out cigarettes in sushi, wearing pizza dough as a mask and cleaning feet in the dishwasher – these are just some of the stunts part-time workers are pulling to the delight of their Twitter followers and the chagrin of their employers.

While the part-timer pranks may not seem particular unusual to readers outside Japan, the behavior has raised eyebrows in Japan – a nation that takes dedication to work and strict discipline very seriously.Since a man posted a picture of himself lying inside a refrigerated ice cream case at his convenience store job online, local media have unveiled a new case of an employee documenting mischief on Facebook or Twitter almost daily. The trend has even spawned a new expression brimming with hyperbole: “baito tero” or “part-time job terrorism.”All the cases so far have involved workers at fast-food restaurants and convenience stores, sparking conjecture that the real cause underlying the misbehavior is the frustration of employees with low-paying, part-time jobs.

Other commentators, however, say social media is to blame.


Crazy Japanese part timers“For young people, the most important thing is to stand out and be noticed. For example, since social networks have become popular, cute girls have tried to attract attention knowing that some have become models after being discovered through social media. Whereas in the past, those girls would have been scouted when they were out and about walking around,” Britney Hamada, a comic book artist and television personality said on a television program last week. “That’s just escalated more and more and translated into these kinds of ‘crimes.’”

Nearly a quarter of high-school students in Japan use Twitter, while only 14% use Facebook, according to a September survey of over 4,500 students by ZKAI Co.

Whether the clowning around is down to part-time job dissatisfaction or social media overload, employers have been less than understanding, sometimes taking action that has arguably caused greater inconvenience to customers.

Nagoya-based chain restaurant Bronco Billy Co closed a Tokyo branch in early August to retrain staff after an employee uploaded a picture of himself sitting inside a refrigerator on the job.

Only a week after the closing, however, the company decided to permanently close the branch out of consideration for its responsibility to “provide a comfortable moment for the customer through delicious food, good service and a clean and fun restaurant.”

At a Lawson convenience store where an employee climbed into the refrigerator, Lawson, Inc. removed all ice cream products, dismantled the offending ice cream case and temporarily closed the store. Photos uploaded by curious neighbors show the windows shuttered and the parking lot closed off.

“All our employees and affiliate stores will work as one to regain customers trust so that this kind of thing never happens ever again,” the company said in a statement.

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Back to the future: take a 500 kph ride on the new Maglev Shinkansen (bullet train)

Now you will never have an excuse to be late ever again! Not yet travelling by the speed of light, but we’re getting there!

Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) has begun test runs of a magnetically levitated train that can reach speeds of up to 500 kph with an eye toward commercial operations beginning in 2027.

The test runs got under way on Aug. 29 on an extended Yamanashi Maglev Test Line over a distance of 42.8 kilometers using the latest prototype L0 train cars.

The test runs will initially involve five linked L0 cars and reach speeds of 500 kph.

The Yamanashi Maglev Test Line was extended from its previous length of 18.4 kilometers. The longer test line will allow JR Tokai to conduct test runs at 500 kph using a long link of train cars, as well as through long tunnels.

To prepare for actual train operations, the company will also assess the environmental impact on the ground and examine ways to reduce maintenance costs. When put into commercial operation, the maglev train will run on the yet-to-be-constructed Chuo Shinkansen Line, which would link Tokyo and Osaka.

An additional nine train cars will be constructed by fiscal 2015, with eventual test runs involving up to 12 train cars that would extend to a total length of 299 meters.

Among the participants at a ceremony on Aug. 29 to mark the start of the test runs were Yoshiyuki Kasai, JR Tokai chairman, Akihiro Ota, the transport minister, and Yamanashi Governor Shomei Yokouchi.

“We want to export technology completed in Japan to the United States so that it becomes the international standard,” Kasai said during a speech at the ceremony.

Ota said: “This provides pride and hope as a technology power, and it will also be important in dealing with natural disasters. We want to provide support for the realization of this technology.”

Ota and others also took a speedy ride as part of a test run.

“I experienced the ride at 505 kph,” Ota told reporters. “My body felt the sense of speed, but it was not at all uncomfortable and conversation was possible as usual. There was not much vibrating.”

Research started on the “linear motor” propulsion floating system in 1962. Cumulative test runs have exceeded 800,000 kilometers.

A preparatory environmental impact report will be released this autumn as part of plans to begin construction on the Chuo Shinkansen Line in fiscal 2014.

JR Tokai is planning to begin operations between Tokyo’s Shinagawa and Nagoya in 2027. It has plans to eventually extend the line to Shin-Osaka by 2045.

Plans call for linking Shinagawa and Nagoya in 40 minutes and Shinagawa and Shin-Osaka in 67 minutes.




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Must see: ハーフ (hafu) A new movie about what it is to of mixed ethnicity


With an ever increasing movement of people between places in this transnational age, there is a mounting number of mixed-race people in Japan, some visible others not. “Hafu” is the unfolding journey of discovery into the intricacies of mixed-race Japanese and their multicultural experience in modern day Japan. The film follows the lives of five “hafus”–the Japanese term for people who are half-Japanese–as they explore what it means to be multiracial and multicultural in a nation that once proudly proclaimed itself as the mono-ethnic nation. For some of these hafus Japan is the only home they know, for some living in Japan is an entirely new experience, and others are caught somewhere between two different worlds.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, one in forty-nine babies born in Japan today are born into families with one non-Japanese parent. This newly emerging minority in Japan is under-documented and under-explored in both literature and media. The feature-length HD documentary film, “Hafu – the mixed-race experience in Japan” seeks to open this increasingly important dialogue. The film explores race, diversity, multiculturalism, nationality, and identity within the mixed-race community of Japan. And through this exploration, it seeks to answer the following questions: What does it mean to be hafu?; What does it mean to be Japanese?; and ultimately, What does all of this mean for Japan?

Narrated by the hafus themselves, along with candid interviews and cinéma vérité footage, the viewer is guided through a myriad of hafu experiences that are influenced by upbringing, family relationships, education, and even physical appearance. As the film interweaves five unique life stories, audiences discover the depth and diversity of hafu personal identities.


Featured Hafus


David (28) was born in a small village in Ghana, to a Ghanaian mother and a Japanese father. After spending 6 years in Ghana, they moved to Tokyo. However, due the to difficulty of adjusting to their new life in Japan, his parents separated when he was 10, after which he spent the next 8 years in an orphanage with his two brothers. When David went back to Ghana for the first time in his early 20s and saw the disparity in quality of life between his two countries, he realized how blessed he was to have grown up in Japan. He now uses his talents to raise funds to build schools back in Ghana.


Raised entirely in Sydney, Sophia has only a few memories of Japan, where she visited her relatives as a child. At 27, Sophia decided it was time to explore her Japanese heritage, and so she has relocated to Tokyo, leaving behind friends, family and a job she enjoyed. She is determined to make a life for herself in Japan while attempting to learn the language from scratch. Will Japan live up to the expectations she’s held for so long? Will she be able to assimilate? And, ultimately, how will she identify herself after spending some time here?

The Oi family

Gabriela (Mexican, 37) and Tetsuya Oi (Japanese, 41) met when they were students both studying abroad in the United States. They fell in love, married and moved to Nagoya, Japan. In 2002, they welcomed a baby boy, Alex Oi, and two years later Sara. Alex (9) and Sara (7)have been attending Japanese elementary school. However, worried about how her children will straddle three languages (Spanish, Japanese, and English), Gabriela has started to investigate whether she should send her children through the international school system in Nagoya. Alex has also been increasingly showing physical symptoms of stress due to the teasing he receives from his classmates for being hafu. Through the Oi’s, this film looks at the tough decisions parents have to make in raising multicultural children.


Venezuelan-Japanese Edward (28)dreams of a multicultural Japan. Raised entirely in a single-mother home in Kobe, Ed received his formal education through the international school system.  There he found himself feeling disconnected from the surrounding Japanese community and upon leaving for university in the US, he felt no desire to return. But a few years later, he returned to Japan to take care of his aging mother and discovered a vibrant online community of mixed people, prompting him to form the offline community Mixed Roots Kansai (MRK). Through MRK, Ed is working toward realizing his dream of raising multiracial and multicultural awareness by pushing forward public dialogue and understanding of the changing demographics of Japan


No one can tell that Fusae (35) is hafu just by looking at her. Fusae was born and raised in Kobe, to a Korean father—now a naturalised Japanese citizen—and a Japanese mother.  Until she was 15, she was raised to believe that she was entirely Japanese. Upon finding family documents alluding to her Korean roots, she confronted her mother to discover her mixed heritage–a traumatic experience for her at the time. After this revelation, she began looking into the differences between Japanese and Korean cultures. But 20 years later she is still struggling to redefine her place in society as a Korean/Japanese descendant. She has become actively involved in Mixed Roots Kansai. She feels by helping to organize such social events, she is helping younger people like her find acceptance with their mixed identities.

Meaning of “Hafu”

Hafu refers to somebody who is Half Japanese. The word Hafu comes from the English word “half” indicating half foreignness. The label emerged in the 1970s in Japan and is now the most commonly used label and preferred term of self-definition. Half-Japanese persons commonly introduce themselves by saying “I’m Hafu (Hafu desu)”. In modern Japan, the Hafu image projects an ideal; English ability, international cultural experience, western physical features – tall with long legs, small head/face, yet often looking Japanese enough for the majority to feel comfortable with. Yet the label Hafu highlights the genetic make up of half Japanese people, emphasizing the existence of foreign blood. Fashionable images of half Japanese people have become prominent especially with the increased appearance of Hafus in the Japanese media. Hafus now fill the pages of fashion magazines such as Non-no, Can Can or Vivi equivalent to Teen Vogue or Elle in Europe. Hafus are frequently seen on TV, often in the role of newsreaders, celebrities or DJs. To name a few, these include people like Becky (British/Japanese) – a young celebrity, Christel Takigawa (French/Japanese) – a newscaster, Kaela Kimura (British/Japanese) and Anna Tsuchiya(American/Japanese). The appearance of Hafus in the media has provided the basis for a vivid image of half Japanese people.

Why Hafu and not Daburu

In order to correct the negative nuance of half foreign-ness, a new term was created in the 1990s: “daburu,” deriving from the word double. It emphasises that Hafus are not half anything but one person with two different heritages. However this word has largely not been adopted by the Hafus themselves due to its overemphasis of positive self-assertion, and many feel that the term Hafu is acceptable.

Hafus in Japan

Japanese governmental statistics tell us that there were only 5,545 recorded international marriages in 1980. This more than doubled in 1985 when 12,181 international marriages were recorded. The figure doubled again 5 years later in 1990 with 25,626 marriages consisting of one foreign national. The number has steadily increased since then. It reached its peak in 2001 with 39,727 interracial marriages – this is 7 times the 1980 figure. Multiracial individuals or more specifically Hafus are therefore growing dramatically in Japan. Owing to the fact that data on ethnic/racial background is not collected anywhere in the Census in Japan (i.e. only nationality), it is hard to say exactly how many Hafus or mixed ‘race’ individuals live in Japan. However in 2004 we know that there were 39,511 international marriages, which accounted for about 5.5% of all marriages in Japan. A high number of them were between Japanese and Chinese (13,019), Philippines (8,517) and Korean (8,023) individuals. There were only 1,679 American Japanese, 524 Brazilian Japanese, 403 British Japanese marriages. So we can say that visible Hafus are a minority of the minority.

Internationalization in Japan

The number of foreign nationals living in Japan has increased in recently years. In 1985, about 850,000 foreigners lived in Japan. That figure doubled to 1,700,000 in the year 2000. Over the last few years the number has been steadily growing and in 2006 there were about 2,100,000 residents with foreign nationality. Therefore the number of foreigners in Japan in 2006 was almost three times that in 1985. This is a firm indication of Japan’s increasing internationalization.

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Things to do: (With the little ones) Kids’ theater to offer ballet, opera, story-telling

Kids’ theater to offer ballet, opera, story-telling

The Nagoya Touring Children’s Theater project will offer opportunities to enjoy opera on July 25 and 26, Aug. 1 and 2, ballet on Aug. 15, 16, 17 and 18, and traditional “kyogen” on Aug. 20 and 21, Classic concerts will be performed on Aug. 24 and 25. Kyogen is a theater form of short comic or satirical plays.

Admission is ¥700 for children 3 years old or above.

For details, please check (in Japanese) or call 052-249-9387.

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Something’s a bit fishy; Nagoya hosts rare goldfish in first-of-its-kind display

Rare breeds: A girl watches rare goldfish at an exhibition at the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium in Minato Ward on Wednesday.

Jikin, found in Aichi Prefecture, izumo-nankin, from Shimane Prefecture and tosakin, of Kochi Prefecture, are being featured at a special exhibition at the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium in the city’s Minato Ward. Although the goldfish species exist in the nation’s immediate surroundings, their origins remain unknown.

The jikin, also known as the peacock-tail, have a white body with red fins. Their unique body color is achieved as they shed their scales one by one while young, causing them to produce white pigmentation of the skin.

The white pigmentation is also found in the izumo-nankin. Traditionally, the body color of this breed has been adjusted artificially by applying plum vinegar, which removes the pigment.

The tosakin, or curly fantail goldfish, has a large tail fin that spreads out horizontally, like a fan, as a result of a specific breeding method.

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Things to do in Japan this summer

Major music festival on tap in Nara this month

Musik Fest Nara 2013 will take place from June 14 through June 30 with concerts performed in various sites around the ancient capital, including temples, shrines, community halls and restaurants.

Admission to many of the concerts will be free, but there are some where a fee will be charged or reservations will be required.

Many of the shows will be held near Kintetsu Nara Station or JR Nara Station.

For more information, go to (in Japanese) or call 0742-27-6751.

Traditional umbrellas at Tokugawaen Garden

Visitors to the Tokugawaen Garden in Nagoya during the rainy season can borrow traditional Japanese bamboo and paper umbrellas.

The umbrellas are ready to be used for free between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. from June 11 to 16, and for ¥100 between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. from June 18 through July 15.

Admission to the garden is ¥300 for adults and college and high school students. The garden is closed Mondays except for national holidays.

It is located 10 minutes on foot from Ozone Station on the JR Chuo Line.

More information can be found (in Japanese) or by calling 052-935-8988.

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Breaking news: Japan is ready for the future and has just tested a 500 km/hr bullet train!

Dutch HSL train… eat your heart out!

Japan has tested for the first time its “floating” bullet-train, which employs the latest magnetic levitation technology instead of conventional wheels and which is built to travel at speeds of 500 kmph.

Travelers will be able to use the new generation L0 Series trains starting with 2027.

The first test was conducted on five cars of the bullet-train in Yamanashi Prefecture, with the carriages being driven by magnetic forces. The cars were pulled along the track by a special vehicle.

Wide-scale tests of the new train, which has a distinct aerodynamic “nose” at the front, will start in September.

The new train, designed by Central Japan Railway Co (JR Tokai), will first make the connection between central Tokyo and Nagoya station, cutting current travelling times from 90 to 40 minutes.

The train will be made of 16 cars carrying up to 1,000 passengers at a time. The line is planned to be extended to Osaka by 2045,according to the international press, but the ultimate plan is for Japan to have a spread high-speed mass transit maglev network.

Japan has become famous for its sophisticated rail network system, with bullet trains travelling at speeds of up to 320 kmph across more than 2,250 kilometers of tracks.

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Transport packed as Golden Week migration begins

Homeward bound: A boy and his father say goodbye to a relative Sunday before their bullet train departs from JR Sendai Station. Holidaymakers crowded trains, planes and automobiles as the Golden Week holidays started coming to an end.

Homeward bound: A boy and his father say goodbye to a relative Sunday before their bullet train departs from JR Sendai Station. Holidaymakers crowded trains, planes and automobiles as the Golden Week holidays started coming to an end.

Holidaymakers crammed bullet trains, flights and highways bound for Tokyo and other cities Sunday as the Golden Week holidays began to wrap up. During Golden Week (late April, early May there are many consequetive holidays so this stimulates Japanese to travel all around the country and even abroad, which causes a migration of epic proportions both at the beginning of Golden week and at the end when everyone wants to make it home in time before the work week starts off again and it is back to the grind stone.

Heavy congestion was expected on expressways Sunday evening, the Japan Road Traffic Information Center warned.

A 50-km bottleneck was expected on the northbound lanes of the Tomei Expressway between Nagoya and Tokyo starting at the Yamato Tunnel in Kanagawa Prefecture, while a 45-km traffic jam was forecast on a southbound stretch of the Kanetsu Expressway around the Takasaka service area in Saitama, the center said.

Meanwhile, almost all bullet train reservations to Tokyo had been snapped up as of Sunday afternoon, the Japan Railways group said.

The situation was little better in the skies, with more than 80 percent of airline seats already reserved for domestic flights bound for Tokyo’s Haneda airport on Sunday, Japan Airlines Corp. and All Nippon Airways Co. reported.

The traffic information center expects congestion on the nation’s highways to peak on Monday, the final day of Golden Week.

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