Wheelchair - User Rolls Out A Road To The Waves On Kobe Beach

Wheelchair-user rolls out a road to the waves on Kobe beach

KOBE--A beach trip is not always high on the itinerary of wheelchair users as their apparatus is prone to getting stuck in the sand--but the dream of a road to the waves has become a reality at a beach here.

A path of special beach mats laid out on the sand at Suma beach enabled a 10-year-old girl in a wheelchair in late May to enjoy her first ever experience of getting close to breaking waves.

Read More

Exhibition Charts Music History Via Vinyl Lps

Exhibition charts music history via vinyl LPs

The Yomiuri ShimbunOSAKA — When producer Naoki Tachikawa read an article about 30 years ago predicting vinyl record production would cease in the future, he strongly believed the culture needed to be preserved. The article prompted him to donate 17,000 records from his collection to Kanazawa Institute of Technology (KIT) in Kanazawa.

Based on Tachikawa's donation, the institute founded the Popular Music Collection at its library in 1992. The number of items in the collection has since expanded to 240,000, thanks to donations from music critic Ichiro Fukuda (1925-2003) and many other enthusiasts around the nation.

Read More

Ozawa Leads Chamber Orchestra To Milestone

Ozawa leads chamber orchestra to milestone

By Kazumasa Ikeda / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterMITO — The Mito Chamber Orchestra (MCO), for which Seiji Ozawa serves as general director, will celebrate its 100th regular concert series in October.

The resident orchestra of the Art Tower Mito comprises accomplished instrumentalists, including internationally successful soloists and principal members of orchestras. During the past 27 years, the MCO has experienced generational changes while taking what Ozawa describes as "an ensemble close to the pinnacle of chamber music" to higher levels.

Read More

Japanese Swords Carve Out Larger Fanbase

Japanese swords carve out larger fanbase

By Akihiro Takeda / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterMore and more people are being drawn to the wonder of Japanese swords, with a sizable number actually wanting to hold one in their hands. What is it about Japanese swords that ensnares the hearts of people today? I love samurai TV dramas myself and took a look into the mystery.

At a dojo training center I visited, several men and women in hakama skirts were swinging mock Japanese swords through the air in complete silence. Only the sound of the blades parting the air could be heard.

Read More

Disaster - Hit Fukuoka Pref. Man Caring For Dog Adopted By His Late Wife

Disaster-hit Fukuoka Pref. man caring for dog adopted by his late wife

ASAKURA, Fukuoka -- A man struggling with the loss of his wife, an animal-lover, to flooding caused by torrential rainfall here has taken up the task of caring for a dog that she adopted.

"There's nothing I can really say. She loved animals," said 69-year-old Shigemi Kojima, who had lived with his 69-year-old wife Hatsuko in Asakura's Haki district. The dog was adopted by Hatsuko when she found him abandoned while on a walk, and she and her daughter named him "Gonta," Kojima recalled while petting the beloved canine.

Read More

Introducing Hokkaido's Answer To Kumamon Mascot: Melon Bear

Introducing Hokkaido's answer to Kumamon mascot: Melon Bear

YUBARI, Hokkaido -- With Kumamoto Prefecture's "Kumamon" mascot becoming a household name across Japan, it is also worth mentioning "Melon Kuma" -- a bear-themed mascot originating in this northern city.

With most of its face resembling a melon, Melon Kuma is supposed to have transmogrified from a regular bear into a fierce-looking bear with a largely green face.

Read More

Why Are Foreign Women Continuing To Be Forced Into Prostitution In Japan?

Why are foreign women continuing to be forced into prostitution in Japan?

The issue of foreign women being forced into prostitution in Japan does not seem to be fading away. For instance, earlier this year, three people in Gunma Prefecture were found guilty of forcing a Cambodian woman into prostitution. There have been other cases of this kind of human trafficking in the prefecture as well, mainly around the popular Ikaho hot spring area. With this sort of stark reality in mind, the Mainichi Shimbun decided to look into the issue and ask why the problem hasn't been solved.

"I've been forced into prostitution." These were the alarming words posted on the Cambodian Embassy's Facebook page in December 2016 by the woman who had been lured from Cambodia to Gunma Prefecture.

Read More

Samurai - Sword - Shaped Scissors Prove Popular With Foreign Tourists

Samurai-sword-shaped scissors prove popular with foreign tourists

Samurai-sword-shaped scissors developed by a manufacturer in Gifu Prefecture in central Japan are proving popular with foreign tourists as well as schoolchildren shopping for souvenirs.

The "Japanese sword scissors" by Nikken Cutlery Co. in Seki, Gifu, mimic decorative features found in the swords used by such feudal-era figures as Oda Nobunaga, a 16th-century warlord, and Sakamoto Ryoma, who tried to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate in the 19th century.

Read More

Perverted Reality: Women Outpace Men At 'love Doll' Exhibit

Perverted reality: Women outpace men at 'love doll' exhibit

Admirers at a "love doll" exhibition in Tokyo are a far cry from the stereotypical image of an introverted pervert fulfilling his dark fantasies with an anatomically correct plastic companion in his lonely apartment.

Visitors at the venue can be heard praising the beauty and life-like appearances of what are essentially toys used by men for simulated sexual acts. These accolades often come from women.

Read More

Photoscape / End Of An Era For Shimokitazawa Market

Photoscape / End of an era for Shimokitazawa market

By Kazuki Wakasugi / Yomiuri Shimbun PhotographerThe brown, light blue and gray tin roofs of Ekimae Shokuhin Ichiba, a shopping street whose name literally means a food market in front of a station, form a patchwork in front of Shimokitazawa Station in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo. This small strip has been popular for many years but is destined to disappear as early as this autumn.

"It used to be crowded with so many customers it was hard to walk along the street," said Yu Hirota, who operates the clothing shop Americaya, recalling the old days. The 81-year-old has been selling U.S.-made jeans and other clothing he procured from sources such as U.S. troops stationed in Japan, as well as food and other items, for more than 60 years. He has decided to shut up shop for good because of the street's scheduled demolition.

Read More

Mother Crafts Kendo Gear, Passes On Skills To Daughter

Photoscape / Mother crafts kendo gear, passes on skills to daughter

Photographer Beautifully embroidered "do" breastplates for kendo are displayed on the shelves at Kobayashi Isshindo Budoguten, a Japanese martial arts equipment shop in Machiya, Arakawa Ward, Tokyo.

At the shop, which marks the 150th anniversary of its foundation this year, fourth-generation shop owner Reiko Inagaki, 64, is busy repairing the protective gear worn by kendo martial artists every day.

Read More