Thursday, February 28, 2013

US 'pivot to Asia': Is John Kerry retooling it?

When John Kerry spoke at his confirmation hearing to become secretary of State, Asia experts took notice when he seemed to back away from a key aspect of President Obama's vaunted "pivot" to Asia. 
"I'm not convinced that increased military ramp-up [in the Asia-Pacific] is critical yet," Mr. Kerry said at the January hearing. "That's something I'd want to look at very carefully."

The "rebalancing" of America's focus and resources — away from the Middle East and toward a rising Asia — was considered part of the legacy of Kerry's predecessor, Hillary Rodham Clinton. China had been put on notice that the United States was reasserting itself as an Asia-Pacific power. But was Kerry suggesting, as some surmised, that the US would now focus more on engagement with a rising China? 

Was he signaling that the "pivot to Asia" is no longer a guiding priority?

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Comment: What he was signaling is "there's no one at the wheel!" Secretaries of State don't freelance or make policy changes on their own accord. They're just supposed to carry water for the president and take the blame when the SHTF. When it comes to Obama's pivot to Asia, John Kerry is supposed to be the pivot man in this circle jerk.

This is proof positive that Obama is not the great leader that Ed Schultz and Chris Matthews say he is. He's nothing more than a sock puppet for his masters at Goldman Sachs and the military industrial complex! Wake up Japan, you're about to get royally screwed by the Obama-Nation of Desolation spoken of by Daniel the profit! Yeah, I know, I spelled it that way on purpose...

Two U.S. Navy sailors accused of Okinawa rape face 12-year sentences | The Japan Times

Prosecutors sought prison terms of up to 12 years Wednesday for two U.S. sailors charged with raping and injuring a woman in her 20s in Okinawa last October.

In the pair’s lay judge trial before the Naha District Court, prosecutors recommended a 12-year sentence for Seaman Christopher Browning, 24, and a 10-year sentence for Petty Officer 3rd Class Skyler Dozierwalker, 23.

Presiding Judge Hideyuki Suzuki is scheduled to rule Friday.

The defendants’ acts “ignored the human rights of the victim” and were “extremely vicious,” prosecutors said in a statement.

The two sailors pleaded guilty the previous day, but Browning denied having conspired with Dozierwalker in advance.

When the presiding judge asked if the two had anything to say before the session closed, they apologized to the victim, expressing words of remorse.

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Comment: I agree that these two nimrods shouldn't get punished any more harshly than your typical Japanese would be punished for the same crime. If the Japanese want to convince the U.S. to revamp the SOFA agreements to give them custody of US personnel suspected of crimes, then the American's should and would be justified in demanding there be some consistency in how the "Rule of Law" is applied to non-Japanese persons and US citizens in particular while they are in Japan. If only we could do the same in the US for bankers and politicians who are robbing the nation blind but, that's another matter altogether. Anyway, getting back to the subject, I also would agree that Japanese perps get off far to easy too!

Nago fishing co-op OKs base fill | The Japan Times

The head of a fishermen’s cooperative in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, said its members will agree to landfill work necessary for the planned relocation of the Futenma military base to the city’s Henoko coastal area.

“We are unable to fish freely in the planned landfill site. I believe 99 percent of our members will agree to the work as they want the issue to be settled soon,” Hiroshi Kohagura told reporters in Tokyo on Tuesday after the Defense Ministry submitted to the cooperative a document asking for an agreement to the landfill plan.

The agreement of the association, which has fishing rights for the surrounding ocean area in Henoko, is required if Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima is to give the green light to the landfill work.

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Comment: Wow, I wonder how many typhoon bottles of Sake it took to get them to agree to that? Knowing how Okinawan fishermen lover to drink, a lot more than 99!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Trial of 2 US sailors in gang rape case begins in Okinawa: Voice of Russia

The sailors were arrested on October 16 in Japan’s southern prefecture of Okinawa. According to the NHK channel, the accused have pled guilty but said they hadn’t planned the assault.

The rape case stoked outrage among the Japanese and triggered mass protests against the US presence in the country that has been associated with series of military sex crimes. Many demonstrators have demanded to reduce US troops and bases on the island.

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Okinawa's Remote Yaeyama Islands Promote Sustainable Tourism

People flock to Okinawa's remote Yaeyama Islands for rich nature and unique Okinawa culture remained to this day. The islands show the latest sustainable tourism, balancing between tourism development and their amazingly rich nature.

Okinawa, the southernmost Japanese archipelago, will become even more of a cultural draw to global travelers in March 2013. Renovated Ishigaki Airport will reopen on March 7, welcoming international adventure seekers and cultural explorers to the surrounding Yayeyama Islands, where Okinawa's tradition and culture still reign supreme.

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Move Afoot To Relocate US Military Base In Japan's Okinawa Island

Japan's Defense Ministry officials on Tuesday held talks with a fishing cooperative of Nago city in the Okinawa prefecture on reclaiming land off the city's coast for the relocation of a U.S. air base.

The move comes after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised President Barack Obama that he would take immediate steps to relocate the U.S. Futenma Marine Corps Air Station in accordance with a bilateral agreement between the two countries, Japanese media reported.

Defense Ministry officials met with representatives of the Nago Fisheries Cooperative Association and handed over papers seeking their approval. The Ministry plans to file for a permit with the prefectural government for the land reclamation project.

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Two U.S. sailors admit raping Okinawan woman ‹ Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion

Two U.S. sailors on Tuesday admitted raping a Japanese woman in Okinawa last October, news reports said, in a case that generated huge anti-American anger on the strategically vital island.

Skyler Dozierwalker, 23, and Christopher Browning, 24, were arrested after they attacked the woman in central Okinawa during a brief trip.

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Ryukyu Shimpo – Postbox drifts to Iriomote from tsunami-hit Miyagi town

On December 28, 2012, local residents found a postbox that had drifted from Minamisanriku-cho in Miyagi Prefecture to a spot near the mouth of the Yutsun River in Taketomi-cho, in the northeastern area of Iriomote Island. It must have been swept away by the tsunami that came after the Great East Japan Earthquake, on March 11, 2011. Staff of the Okinawa branch of Japan Post collected the postbox on February 4, and will transport it to their Tohoku Branch. They are considering how to use it as a memorial of the tragedy. The sign in Japanese “Seven Utatsu” is still visible, indicating that the postbox was from the 7-Eleven Miyagi Utatsu store, located in the Utatsu district of Minamisanriku. Devastated by the earthquake, the location is now vacant.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A stroll through the Tsuboya Pottery District in Naha | CNN Travel

The air is fresh from a recent rainfall as we step onto a tiny street in Okinawa’s capital of Naha. On a cloudy day, it’s even more apparent that this city -- with its chunky concrete buildings designed to withstand typhoons -- would never make a “Most Beautiful Places in the World” list.

But it does have its share of charming nooks and crannies.

One of them is the centrally located Tsuboya Pottery District.

“People from mainland Japan come here to get gifts,” says my guide, Keiko Gibo, as we stroll along the winding, coral-and-limestone-paved Tsuboya Yachimun Street. “Okinawan pottery is well known. And it's very good quality.”

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U.S. forces seek closer ties with communities | The Japan Times

A senior official with the U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa said the U.S. military intends to strengthen cooperation with local authorities to conduct relief operations smoothly in the event of a huge earthquake.

Robert D. Eldridge, deputy assistant chief of staff of government and external affairs for the U.S. Marine Corps at Camp Butler, said in a recent interview that efforts to boost U.S. military cooperation with Japanese authorities have already begun.

U.S. officers attended a disaster meeting hosted by the Shizuoka Prefectural Government last May, together with officials of nine municipalities, including some from Aichi and Mie prefectures, according to Eldridge.

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Comment: Maybe the US military should try to seek closer ties with the "LOCAL" communities first! It's good that they participated in disaster relief after the tsunami and all but, they don't do a whole lot, if anything, to patch things up with the locals in Okinawa and maybe that's part of the problem! They say that charity begins at home, why not send a bunch of he-men out there to cut weeds along the highways or something. They are getting pretty tall in most places because there's no money in the budgets for it anymore. They spent it all on VIP boondoggles. At least out there cutting weeds, the people would see them doing something positive, something other than causing mayhem! That would help some, don't you think?

Japan film distributor goes bust; Senkaku row blamed | The Japan Times

Film distributor Prenom-H Co. has gone bankrupt, affected by China’s dispute over the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, Teikoku Databank Ltd. said Monday.

The Tokyo-based company received Tokyo District Court approval for the start of its bankruptcy procedures on Feb. 21, according to the credit research agency. Prenom-H left ¥643 million in debts.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Ryukyu Shimpo – Spoonbill recovers to return to the wild

On February 14, as its caregivers looked on, the black-faced spoonbill that had been receiving medical treatment in an animal hospital in Naha since the end of last year was safely released back to the wild. Its injuries have healed but the bird was becoming weak because its broken leg had made it unable to catch prey for itself. The spoonbill was looked after by the people at the Manko Waterbird and Wetland Center in Tomigusuku. The bird stepped out of a box at the center and walked around for a short while before taking off and flying up into the blue sky.

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U.S. envoys secretly visited Pyongyang | The Japan Times

U.S. officials made two secret visits to North Korea last year in an effort to improve relations after North Korea leader Kim Jong Un assumed power, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

Citing unnamed former U.S. officials familiar with the trips, the newspaper said the visits in April and August were aimed at encouraging the new leadership in Pyongyang to moderate its foreign policy.

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Comment: And like everything else the Obama-Nation of Desolation Administration does, it's abundantly clear that they screwed it up!

P.S. don't get me wrong, Bush was a F#$% up too! It's just that this Nimrod takes incompetence to new heights, or make that lows...

U.S. early-warning radar system to be installed near Kyoto ‹ Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion

Tokyo and Washington plan to install a U.S. early-warning radar system at a coastal base near Kyoto to bolster defenses against the North Korean missile threat, reports said Sunday.

The X-band radar, capable of precisely tracking the trajectory of a ballistic missile, allows US forces to launch intercept missiles from the ground and sea once a ballistic missile has been detected.

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Comment: Cool, if they got this radar set up there, maybe that will mean the AWACS (early warning) planes out of Kadena might get to take a break and I won't lose Channels three and five all the time...

Nonsensical doomsday scenario for the West | The Japan Times

• There are 1 million U.S.-dollar millionaires in China. (“To get rich is glorious,” said former leader Deng Xiaoping.)

• Seventy percent of the homes in China are bought for cash.

• China’s total trade — the sum of imports and exports — is now bigger than that of the United States.

• “They’re going to eat our lunch,” whimper the fainthearted in the West.

It’s not just the Chinese who are coming. The Indians and the Brazilians are coming too, with economic growth rates far higher than in the old industrialized countries, but it doesn’t even stop there.

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Comment: What a crock of leftist clap-trap drivel! The author of this piece poo-pooh's the very real possibility of WWIII happening to bemoan the how the "brics" will have to deal with non-issues like Global Warming which of course the formerly rich western nations created. 

Maybe when the storm troopers brandishing their Kalashnikov rifles bust down her door in the middle of the night and load her on a train headed for a "re-education center" she'll wake the hell up and smell the Fascism! Actually, if you take a moment to really think (instead of emote) about it, that's a very commonsensical doomsday scenario!

Abe to seek base landfill permission | The Japan Times

The government may apply early next month for permission from Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima for landfill work required for the planned relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, officials said Saturday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama reaffirmed at their summit Friday at the White House that the Futenma base will be moved without delay to the Henoko coastal area of Nago from the crowed city of Ginowan, in line with the current bilateral plan.

“A further delay of the facility’s relocation would wear out the patience of the United States,” a senior government official said in Tokyo.

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Comment: Wear out the patience of the US??? What about the patience of the Okinawan people? That's been worn out since the Satsuma invasion of 1609! 

On the flip side, Abe has given El-presidente of Ustates Unitas or the Obama-Nation of Desolation as I like to call him, his assurances. That sounds comforting, NOT! What sounds disturbing about this is found midway down the article where Governor Nakaima has said he will not block the application process but added that there is no way he is going to approve it. That makes me think that Abe will circumvent this and make it happen. That allows the base to get built and Nakaima to keep his promise. If old Hamlet were here, he might put it this way, "Something is rotten in Naha!" You can substitute Tokyo or Washington for Naha and it would be just as correct!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Japan Australia: Kentucky Chicken Rice Sandwich

The Kentucky Chicken Rice Sandwich went on sale at KFC in Japan on February 7th. The bun less sandwich features ketchup rice, cheddar cheese special tomato sauce, and special mayonnaise sandwiched between two pieces of the Colonel’s Original Recipe chicken fillets.

Kind of reminds me of the KFC Double Down, which made its debut in Australia last year. The Kentucky Chicken Rice Sandwich is on sale for 450 yen (USD$4.80).

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Ryukyu Shimpo – Road accidents involving Yambaru kuina hit record high

On February 14, the Ministry of the Environment’s Naha Nature Conservation Office announced that in 2012 there were 49 road accidents involving the endangered Yambaru kuina or Okinawa Rail, the highest number since recording began in 1995. For the first time this year, on February 7, an accident involving a Yambaru kuina occurred on Prefectural Road 70 in Sosu in the Kunigami district, resulting in the death of the bird. The Office appeals to drivers to slow down for the sake of these birds.

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Comment: That headline says it all doesn't it! I always knew that folks up in Yanbaru were notorious for drinking and driving and what the heck is a Kuina doing behind the wheel of  a car anyway. Oh, maybe it was one of those drunk driving farmers or fishermen from up north who were driving and the Kuina was just riding shotgun for shits and giggles. Nah, couldn't be, most of them farmers and fishermen don't have a driver's license anyway. Was probably one of their wives driving home from the liquor shop to cook dinner. They probably needed to get some Awamori Sake cause they drank the half part of a typhoon bottle for lunch. Even if the Kuina's weren't behind the wheel or riding shotgun, they're kinda scatter-brained and they don't stand a chance once granny spots one and puts her foot in the carburetor!

Anyway, here's an oldie but goodie for you, "Why did the chicken cross the road, to show the Yonbaru Kuina that it could be done!" 

Note: if your going to be in Texas, just substitute Armadillo for Kuina and this joke works there too.

Anti-Osprey group set to disband | The Japan Times

Saying it has “served a certain mission,” the organizing committee of a major rally against the deployment last year of MV-22 Ospreys to a U.S. air base in Okinawa announced Friday it will disband.

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Comment: All good things must come to an end so they say. Hey, even the Beatles disbanded! Too bad though, I was really looking forward to the protests when the Air Farce brings their version of it to Kadena next year.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Map It! Okinawa: "Shizen Sekitei, The Natural Stone Garden"

You never know what hidden gems are tucked away in the far corners of the Motobu forest. In the town of Izumi near Highway 84 there is a hilltop... and at the base of hill are stairs made of natural rock leading you into a garden...a garden filled with large stones and precious greenery. Welcome to Izumi's Shizen Sekitei, the Natural Stone Garden (自然石庭) of Motobu.

The entire land belongs to an elder couple, Mr. and Mrs. Tokeshi-san, who are now the 4th generation residents of this very beautiful place. In fact, this is their home. Though they do have family in parts of California, they speak very, very little English, but they are one of the sweetest people you will ever meet on the island. If you are looking for a place just to absorb the serenity and quietness of nature, then let your journey begin here.

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Metro government’s Senkaku donations gathering dust | The Japan Times

The ¥1.48 billion that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government collected in donations to buy and maintain the Senkakus is just lying idle, waiting to be used, after the central government nipped in to snag the disputed islets in September.

Money began pouring from last April after Tokyo’s hawkish governor at the time, Shintaro Ishihara, said the metropolitan government would purchase three of the islets from their Saitama owner. China and Taiwan also claim the uninhabited cluster in the East China Sea.

But then-Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s administration beat Ishihara to the punch and bought the islets in mid-September. The metropolitan government’s account for receiving donations was officially closed Jan. 31.

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Comment: Well, the right thing to do would be to give the money back to the people who donated it but, we're talking about the government and does anyone out there really believe they will do the right thing? That would be like asking a junkie to give back a dose of heroin!

US airman admits to drinking before accident, Okinawa prosecutors say - Okinawa - Stripes

A U.S. airman has admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol, which led to a traffic crash on Okinawa earlier this month, the Naha District Prosecutor’s Office said Thursday.

Soon to be "former" Senior Master Sgt. Eric Simmons, 41, of Kadena Air Base, was released from Japanese custody earlier this week following his admission of drinking. He also admitted to rear-ending a vehicle and fleeing the scene of the collision around 11:30 p.m. Feb. 10 near Uruma, said Nobutaka Hiramitsu, deputy chief of the prosecutor’s office.

The prosecutor’s office said it will now seek to file criminal charges against Simmons.

The island has been under curfew, and servicemembers have been forbidden from drinking or being drunk off base for the last three months following a string of crime and embarrassing alcohol-fueled incidents.

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Comment: But, it's OK, if you remember when this story first came out he claimed that he wasn't breaking curfew because he was on his way to work at the time of the accident. That explains why he fled the scene, he didn't want to be late!

“Let’s You and Him Fight,” Japan’s Prime Minister Tells Obama.

Shinzo Abe, Japan’s Prime Minister of the month, is meeting with President Obama. This is the fifth PM from Japan that Obama has met with. It won’t be the last.

Japan has a few useless islands that China is trying to get by force. Abe wants the U.S. to back Japan in keeping these islands. “Let’s you and him fight.”

He is also concerned that North Korea keeps launching missiles. “Tell them to stop.”

He is pretending that Japan just might sign a deal that lets U.S. farmers export food to Japan. “Back us up, and maybe we’ll let you fatten us up.” Japan’s farmers, who could not compete successfully against an American 4H club, will veto that deal, just as they have ever since 1946.

America pays for Japan’s defense because (1) we need Japan to keep useless islands away from China, and (2) we need a port for our carriers, so that the boys can let off a little steam on shore leave.

Japan encourages this so that it can keep corporate taxes low, so that Japan’s export sector can bankrupt American firms, which pay taxes to defend Japan.

Americans call Asians inscrutable. Japan’s politicians sound pretty scrutable to me. “Back us up this time, and we’ll let your businesses have access to our markets.” Wink, wink.

This has worked ever since 1946. There is no good reason to believe it won’t work again.

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Japan Photo per Day - The Moss-Covered God

Mizukake Fudo Statue, Hozen-ji Temple, Namba, Osaka
The coin offerings box in front of the Buddhist temples (saisenbako) is almost omnipresent in Japan. But there are some unusual cases, when the offerings are of a different kind…

At Hozen-ji, a temple located close to the Dotonbori area from Osaka, you will find a very unusual statue, with an equally unusual custom: in front of the statue there’s a bowl of water and, instead of offerings, the visitors are… splashing the statue with water! The statue represents the god Fudo Myo-o (Acala by the Sanscrit name), a wrathful god (see here a typical Fudo Myo-o statue), one of the most respected and loved deities in Japan, and because of this custom, the statue is called Mizukake Fudo (mizu means “water"). Today, after many years of water-splashing, the statue is completely covered by moss and it doesn’t seem so wrathful anymore. Only the flames from the back (which are said to burn the evil) are reminiscent of the original, frightening image…

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Dollar drifts lower below ¥93.40 | The Japan Times

The dollar eased slightly below ¥93.40 in Tokyo on Wednesday after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has grown cautious about proposed purchases of foreign bonds.

At 5 p.m., the dollar was quoted at ¥93.35-36, down from ¥93.46-46 at the same time Tuesday. The euro stood at $1.3408-3409, up from $1.3336-3340, and at ¥125.16-19, up from ¥124.62-65.

Speaking before the Upper House Budget Committee in the afternoon, Abe said it has become “almost unnecessary” to set up a proposed public-private fund to buy foreign bonds.

“Even though the dollar stays on an uptrend against the yen, it may experience deeper adjustments if it comes under sales repeatedly on remarks deemed negative by market players,” an official at a major Japanese bank said.

Early in the morning, the greenback rose to around ¥93.80 on purchases to take advantage of anticipated strong demand for dollars for commercial settlements, traders said.

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Comment: Make no mistake about it, this is not a case where the dollar is "strong" against the Yen. What we are witnessing here is a case of economic Seppuku. The situation was a case where the Yen was hanging onto the cliff-face by its fingernails and instead of offering it a hand up, Abe just trimmed them with a nail clippers. It looks as though the race to the bottom between the Yen, the Euro and the dollar will be won by the Japanese. Not to worry, die is cast and eventually the other currencies will crash and burn too.

Senkaku clash could draw in U.S.: think tank | The Japan Times

The United States “could become directly involved in a military conflict” between Tokyo and Beijing over the Senkaku Islands, the Congressional Research Service said in a report.

Its report on Japan-U.S. relations said that “China has conducted increasingly aggressive operations by dispatching both military and maritime law enforcement ships and aircraft to the area” since Tokyo bought part of the islets from a private owner last September.

China’s locking of weapons-targeting radar on a destroyer near the islets was “considered a major escalation in the standoff,” the congressional think tank said.

The incident also “sparked questions about whether the Chinese operator was acting on orders from Beijing, military commanders, or his own discretion,” it said. China has denied the use of weapons-targeting radar.

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Comment: China's government, economy and military are all top down central command and control organizations. To "freelance" or act on your own discretion will get you a hole in the back of your head and a member of your immediate family will get billed by the government for the bullet. To say that a commander did this at his own discretion is only a way for the nimrods in Beijing to deflect responsibility. This is how China Beta-tests stuff. They stir the pot and if something goes awry, they can always blame it on some "nobody" down low in the food-chain who "allegedly" acted without authority. Mark my words, this guy was getting his orders direct from the Party Heads in Beijing.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Okinawa bar owners say ban on off-base drinking forcing closures - News - Stripes

Tsutomu Arakaki, owner of Amazonesu, a club located on Gate 2 Street, outside Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, stands in front of his shuttered bar on Oct. 23, 2012. The recently imposed military curfew has completely stalled his business

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Bar owners in Okinawa say off-base drinking ban causes forced closures - The Japan Daily Press

Bar owners associations in Okinawa filed a petition yesterday asking the U.S. military to end its ban on off-base alcohol consumption and seeking help from the island governor to help loosen the rules. According to them, since the ban, there was a very steep drop in drinking among servicemen, which is causing them financial decline. In fact, 23 bars around the Marine Corps’ Camp Hansen alone have closed shop.

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Mike's Ryukyu Alzheimer's: When Hungry: Unhealthy Food Tastes Good (Photo)

Man, I wish I could remember where I shot this food photo.

Today was one of those days. Five trip reviews, a travel photo essay and a photography tip were submitted online. Digging back through past photo files, I came across this delicious-looking dish.

That order probably has enough cholesterol in it to kill an elephant. But, I don't care.  I have to find something like this, right now.

Because, when I'm hungry, unhealthy food tastes great !

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A Japan Photo per Day - A Shrine for Romance

Yasaka Shrine, Gion, Kyoto
One of the most unusual Japanese customs is the cult of enmusubi 「縁結び」: en means “destiny” and musubi means “to tie together", so enmusubi can be loosely translated as… “matchmaking".

I found such shrines in Kyoto, one of them right next to the Kiyomizu-dera (the Jishu Shrine) and another inside the Yasaka Shrine. Dedicated to Okuninushi-no-Mikoto, the kami of love, marriage and matchmaking, these shrines can be recognized easily, because the statue of the kami with the “Hare of Inaba” are placed on the right of the torii.

Many young people are coming here, alone ar in couples, to pray, to buy some good luck charms or only just to take a picture…

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ryukyu Shimpo » Levels of air pollution in Okinawa exceed national environmental standard

Concerned about the effects of air pollution from China, on February 7, the Environmental Preservation Division of the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) released measurements of particles called PM2.5 (that are smaller than 2.5 micrometers) that originate from sources such as car exhaust. This data has been recorded since January 1, 2013, and on their website they state that the daily average values for Okinawa from January 23 to 25 exceeded the national environmental limit of 35 cubic micrometers. Updated estimates during those three days were between 40.9 and 49.6 cubic micrometers.

The OPG began reporting the data in response to increasing numbers of inquiries from citizens about the effect of air pollution from China. As of February 5, the OPG had measurements taken since January 30, but in addition to that data, they then also analyzed the values before January 29, finding that the three days mentioned surpassed the national reference value. Head of the division’s Atmospheric Environment Section, Ken Kinjo, commented that the relationship with air pollution in China is unclear.

On their website, the OPG suggests that people wear masks and avoid going outside when there is smog. They recommend using anti-virus masks because the PM2.5 particles are so small.

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Comment: The relationship between Okinawa and China's air pollution Unclear??? Give me a freaking break!!! China has no anti-pollution controls and thanks to incompetent and corrupt American politicians of all stripes over multiple administrations now makes all the worlds products. Okinawa has no heavy industry to speak of and is down wind of all of the above. Unclear my @$$!

Okinawa Marine arrested after allegedly jumping roof to roof - Bad behavior in the Pacific - Stripes

 CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Another drunken off-base trespassing incident has riled Okinawa’s leaders just days after the Marine Corps followed other services and relaxed strict curfew and drinking rules for its servicemembers in Japan.

Pvt. Nicholas J. Kelly, 22, who is assigned to Camp Foster, was in Japanese police custody Tuesday after entering a local resident’s yard Monday afternoon, climbing on homes and attempting to jump from a rooftop to escape authorities, according to a spokesman for the Okinawa prefectural police.

Kelly smelled of alcohol but refused a breath test, police said.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

No release of evidence over China’s weapons radar lock: Japanese government - The Japan Daily Press

Official sources from the Japanese government revealed on Monday that the decision has been made not to disclose its evidence of China‘s usage of weapons targeting radar on military ships based. This is because Japan does not want to reveal its intelligence operations or any other security secrets.

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Comment: This is silly if you ask me. The information they're trying to protect was sold to the Chinese long ago in exchange for bundling a bunch of illegal campaign contributions during the Clinton administration. It was about the same time they made that deal with the North Koreans to stop their nuclear program in exchange for a couple hundred metric tons of rice. You know how that all turned out, the Norks got the rice and the nukes, the Chinese got the all those US military secrets and Bill got just enough money to shut Monica and all the other floozies up till after the election.

Okinawan Artist Shinzan Yamada « GaijinPot In Japan Blogs GaijinPot In Japan Blogs

Celebrated Okinawan born artist, Shinzan Yamada was born in 1885 and died in 1977. Several of his major works are stored in the collection of the Meiji Shrine Memorial Art Museum in Tokyo. Though throughout his life he created many masterpieces, one piece in particular stands out above all the others. We know it as the Peace Prayer Statue enshrined in the Okinawa Peace Memorial Hall (Heiwa Kinendo) in Southernmost Okinawa.

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Ryukyu Shimpo – Hoan-den in Motobu may become nationally-designated Important Intangible Cultural Property

On January 25, Masami Shibata of the Osaka-based War Remains Research Association that is engaged in heritage work for war-related sites, researched the Hoan-den in Jahana, in the Motobu district, and then on January 29 visited a location in Tancha that was built to observe enemy aircraft. The association plans to request support from the central and prefectural governments to restore the post to how it was when it was first built.

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Advanced Miso Soup Recipe | More Things Japanese

miso soupMiso Soup is a traditional part of Japanese cuisine. It is often served as a side for meals, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  I’ve done another, more simple version of this dish before.  If you want a simple miso soup, check it out.  The thing that makes this recipe different, and so much better, is that I make the dashi (broth) from scratch rather than from a packet of hon dashi.  Doing everything yourself will elevate a great bowl of soup to something really special.

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BBC - Travel - Specials - Okinawa. Japan's Secret Paradise

Okinawans worship pork in all its forms. From sliced pig's ears in vinegar (mimiga) to boiled pig's trotters (tebichi), the entire pig is consumed, so don't be surprised if you see pig's faces for sale in Naha's Makishi Public market! You'll also find swine celebrated in rafute, pork ribs simmered in ginger, rice wine, soy sauce, and brown sugar, as well as in ikasumi-jiru, a tangy blend of pork and cuttlefish stewed in black squid ink.

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Comment: That pork "thingy" ought to keep the radical Islamists and orthodox Jews away. Now with the two biggest threats to world peace taken care of, if we can just convince the Chinese not to nuke us when they come to steal, and they will come to steal it eventually, all of the oil and natural gas that sits on the bottom of the ocean beneath the Senkaku isles, we'll be fine...

U.S. Marine Arrested for Trespassing on Okinawa Roof - JIJI PRESS

Naha, Okinawa Pref., Feb. 18 (Jiji Press)--Police arrested a U.S. Marine Corp. private stationed at Camp Zukeran in Okinawa Prefecture on Monday afternoon for allegedly trespassing on the rooftop of a local resident's home.

The 22-year-old suspect, Nicholas Kelly, has admitted the intrusion but remains silent about his motivation, the Ginowan Station of the Okinawa Prefectural Police Department said.

According to the station, police officers found Kelly at the rooftop of a 65-year-old business man's home in Ginowan after receiving a report from a passerby that "a foreigner is on the premises."

The officers arrested Kelly, who smelled of alcohol, after he became aggressive and tried to escape the scene.

Whale watching in Okinawa | CNN Travel

Whale watching in Okinawa
Surrounded by vibrant coral reefs, blue waters and white sand beaches, Okinawa is an attractive destination for Japanese in search of diving, surfing and sun.

But January through March brings something extra: humpback whales, which can be seen swimming, jumping and playing in the coastal waters of Japan's southernmost prefecture.

Spending much of the year in frigid Aleutian waters near the coast of Alaska, the whales migrate 5,100 kilometers south toward the Kerama Islands, just 40 kilometers west of Okinawa’s capital city, Naha.
The warmth of the Okinawan waters provides ideal breeding grounds for the whales and, luckily for us, a great place to watch the enormous mammals in action.

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Traditional textiles and bingata at OIST | Japan Update

An Okinawa traditional textiles and bingata show is being staged at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology beginning Monday, but there’s more than just displays.

OIST is working together with the NPO Okinawa Traditional Art's Craft Industry Cooperation Center and Japan Brand RYUKYU to find out what visitors really think about the products on display.  As the exhibition takes place the 18th through 24th at the Restaurant Floor Level B in the OIST Campus Center Building, officials from both OIST and the Industry Cooperation Center will be polling visitors to find out the strengths and weaknesses of the products being exhibited.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Build-up-to-WW3-Japan-displays-naval-muscle-amid-islands-strife-with-China - YouTube

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The Weaving of Flowers « Ryukyu Heritage Textiles

20/2 Cotton -- the Color of Shuri CastleShuri Hana Ori is a float weave structure that originated in Shuri, the capitol of the Ryukyu Kingdom, during the Ryukyu Kingdom period (15 – 19th century).  Shuri is located on Okinawa Island, Japan.

Hana means “flower” and “ori” means weaving in Japanese, therefore Shuri Hana Ori (or, Hana Ui in Ryukyuan) is essentially the “weaving of flowers”.  Shuri Hana Ori fabrics were historically woven with Ito Basho banana fiber or silk threads.  However, the designs may be woven with cotton and other fibers as well.

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Japan Australia: Valentine’s Day in Japan 2013

Valentine’s Day in Japan is very different from home in Australia. The date is the same, February 14th, but in Japan it is all about the chocolates. The tradition in Japan is for the girls to give chocolates to the boys. It is totally up to the girls to show who they like by presenting them with chocolate. The favour is returned to the girls on a special day called White Day, which is celebrated a month later on March 14th.

Girls can express their love to that special boy in their life on Valentine’s Day, but it is not as simple as that. There are different types of chocolate giving on Valentine’s Day. These include:

Giri-choco (義理チョコ) obligation chocolate given to male friends, work mates, family and bosses. Giri means ("obligation") in Japanese and choco, ("chocolate"). There is no romantic association with giri-choco and it is just chocolate that you have to give to people. These are usually ordinary, inexpensive store brought chocolate and can range in price from 100 yen to 500 yen.

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ANA wins Airline of the Year Award ‹ Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion

ANA, Japan’s largest airline group, has been named 2013 Airline of the Year by Air Transport World (ATW), the leading monthly magazine covering the global airline industry.

Washington DC-based ATW bestowed its first awards for excellence in 1974. Over 30 years later, they are regarded as the benchmark of quality and achievement for companies and individuals within the airline industry. Winners are chosen by a panel of judges composed of ATW editors from all over the world, after extensive debate, with nominations submitted from outside the magazine and the editorial team itself.

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Comment: Disregard the graphic, as old Foghorn Leghorn used to say, "that's a joke son!" On a serious side, I've had the pleasure of flying ANA many times over the years and I can attest from experience that this award is a well deserved one.

DVIDS - Minister for Foreign Affairs visits Marine Corps Bases on Okinawa

Fraud, Waste & Abuse, Just another Boondoggle or all of the above?

OKINAWA, Japan - Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Government of Japan visited Marine Corps Installations and met with key leaders from the Marine Corps to include Maj. Gen. Peter J. Talleri, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations Pacific and acting Okinawa Area Coordinator Feb. 16.

Kishida visited Camp Schwab where he was given a tour of the base and taken to VIP Hill, an observation point. At the observation point, Kishida was greeted by Col. Jonathan D. Covington, deputy commander for MCIPAC and received a brief from Hirofumi Takeda, director general of Okinawa Defense Bureau on the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma Relocation Facility.

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Comment: I think they call it "VIP hill" because in the last couple of decades (that's about how long this B.S. has been going on) several thousand so-called VIP's from heads of state and senior level ministerial officials on down to the local dog catcher have been taken to this spot so see it one last time before it is bulldozed and forever ruined. Can you just imagne how many jobs could have been saved had they only spent the money wasted on boon-doggles for big-wigs on productive things?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ryukyu Shimpo – Okinawa, Japanese newspaper, local news » Fishing town celebrates Lunar New Year

In Itoman, many people celebrated on February 10, which is New Year’s Day in the Lunar Calendar. At the fishing port in Itoman, where culture surrounding the lunar calendar still remains, fishermen flew flags and prayed for a big catch. This year, flags from last year’s national convention to promote a bountiful sea were also flown, creating a more colorful and vibrant atmosphere than in normal years. From early morning, many people visited the Hakugindo Shrine, where the gods of the sea are worshipped, and prayed for the safety of their families.

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Bloodless bullfighting in Okinawa | CNN Travel

At a bullfight in Okinawa there's no matador and there are no weapons. Visitors who expect bloodshed will be disappointed.

A bullfight in Okinawa is a bout between two bulls, similar to Japanese sumo wrestling -- only these contestants weigh as much as a ton.

Bullfighting has been a pastime of farmers in the Ryukyu Islands as far back as the 17th century. Today, bullfights can be seen at any one of a dozen outdoor arenas on the main island of Okinawa most Sunday afternoons.

 In recent years, most of the matches have been held at the Ishikawa Multipurpose Dome in Uruma City. It's a large cement structure that seats up to 3,000 spectators.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Five Japanese Festivals You (Probably) Haven’t Heard Of

paantu mask

#5 Paantu Festival (パーントゥ祭り)

Where: Miyako Island, Okinawa
When: Various times; depends on the location
Why: Ritual exorcism
Claim to fame: Certified important intangible folk culture asset
Once widespread throughout Okinawa, this festival now only survives on the remote Miyako Island for that selfsame reason. Not for too much longer, though – most women now prefer having jobs instead of becoming priestesses. So if you want to go, the time is now.

Some people believe this festival has its roots in Papua New Guinea because of the distinctive wooden mask with the slit eyes and long nose.

There are at least two locations on the island where the Paantu Festival is still held. In Hirara City, paantus are celebrated as the bringers of joy. In this version, the paantus are three young men covered in leafy vines and mud from a certain spring. They run amok getting mud on other people, and in doing so chase away any evil spirits that might be near.

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Yesterday’s News: PET Bottle falls from Osprey « OkiNinjaKitty

It seems as though there is always some type of military related news going on recently in Okinawa. Whether it is the position of the people related to the Osprey or the misconduct of a United States Military member it seems like there’s always something. From my experience there are foreigners (as well as some Japanese people who do not live in or travel to Okinawa) out there who seem to have trouble wrapping their heads around why some of these issues are concerning to those who are in Okinawa. For that reason I figure that I would take a moment to share with you my thoughts on the topic as someone who lives here long term as a non-military person.

PET Bottle falls from Osprey – The Facts: 

According to an article in JapanToday on Tuesday February 5th a PET bottle fell from an MV-22 Osprey during a training flight near Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan City. The bottle was 22cm long bottle (aprox. 8in) and was said to have landed outside the base. Officials from the prefectural government of Okinawa then delivered a letter of protest to the US Marine Corps which urged them to ensure that this type of incident does not happen again.

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Map It! Okinawa: "The Old Higashionna Village Museum"

The aftermath of the 'Great Okinawan War' left many Okinawans distraught about the future of their homeland. It also left behind pieces of their heritage scattered throughout the rumble and carnage of the 82-Day campaign. Pages torn and wiped clean from the history books at an instant. Some lost forever. Putting it back together would be a major task. At the forefront in helping the Okinawans repair and preserve part of their history were two Naval Officers, Captain Willard A. Hannah and Lt. Cdr. James T. Watkins. On August 30th 1945, they opened a museum in a small house in Higashionna of Ishikawa, now Uruma City. It was first dubbed the Okinawa Exhibition Hall and was later changed to the 'Higashionna Village Museum' shortly after 24 April 1946 when ownership of the museum changed hands to the Okinawan Civil Government. The efforts of both men would lead to a bigger push to help the Okinawans preserve what was left of their culture and history, a process that would take decades.

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Golden Kings make it four-in-a-row | Japan Update

Okinawa routed the Shining Suns 75-59 in the first match. Naoto Kosuge scoring a team-high 15 points, while teammates Anthony McHenry and Terrence Woodbury each scored 13 and Jeff Newton added 10 plus 11 rebounds.

It got no better for the Shining Suns on Sunday, when the Golden Kings trounced them again 78-55 to boost their own record to 24-6, scoring their third and fourth consecutive victories.

Narito Namizato scored 17 points while picking up seven assists and three steals to lead Okinawa.  Terrance Woodbury fired 16

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U.S. report to deny Agent Orange in Okinawa | The Japan Times

A U.S. Department of Defense investigation into the presence of Agent Orange on Okinawa Island is set to support veterans’ allegations of the clandestine burial of potentially harmful chemicals there — but dismiss claims that the toxic Vietnam War defoliant was among them.

Sources knowledgeable about the final report say the inquiry is likely to uphold accounts that large amounts of military supplies, including pesticides, were dumped during the 1960s and ’70s at Okinawa installations — possibly including U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and a former military installation in the town of Chatan.

The admission is likely to fuel demands in the prefecture for environmental tests to ensure that the land — some of which has been returned to civilian use — is no longer contaminated.

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Comment: Why do we trust these bastards? Some people ask me if I believe in term limits for politicians? My answer is that depends. It depends on whether your talking about the number of terms they can spend in office or the length of their prison terms.

Japanese School Lunches: No Mystery Meat Allowed

If you went to public school in America like me, then you probably don’t have very fond memories of school lunches.

Bland chicken-fried steak with overcooked green beans, pizza cut into greasy squares, and tacos of questionable quality filled my childhood years and, in retrospect, I’m not sure how I survived it all.

These kind of school lunches aren’t the norm in other parts of the world, including Japan. In fact, the Japanese school lunch system is renowned the world over.

This past week I saw two articles that caught my eye: one praising Japan’s school lunches, and one about how grossed out some Japanese people are with American school lunches.

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Comment: Oh common now, where's your sense of adventure???

Mike's Ryukyu Gallery: Restaurant Photo with the Sigma 10-20mm

Just a quick photo from last night is all I have time for today. Lately, I've gotten so busy, I don't know what day of the week it is. When I downloaded today's photos I discovered it's Valentines Day here, right now. Danged if that didn't sneak up on me.  And, I'm glad  my camera reminded me about it.

The restaurant is Cantina "T" in Kin Village Okinawa, Japan. And, that gal is Momo.  She was nice enough to turn up the lights nice and bright for me. What I plan on doing is a TripAdvisor Review on the place. It's the only establishment, I know of in town, that serves Peruvian food. And, it is delicious.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Curfew eased for servicemembers in Japan - Stripes

U.S. Forces Japan adjusted its curfew rules Wednesday, pushing back the start by an hour to midnight for servicemembers  E-5 and below and dropping it altogether for higher ranks.

Servicemembers of all ranks in mainland Japan remain barred from drinking alcohol in public during the 12 a.m.-5 a.m. curfew, according to a USFJ statement.

The Air Force and Army immediately adopted the new policy. The Navy said it was delaying implementation pending further review. In the meantime, sailors must continue to abide by the old 11 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew on all ranks, Commander Naval Forces Japan officials said.

Marine Corps officials did not respond to a request for comment on Okinawa, though USFJ officials said restrictions on public off-base drinking there will remain in effect.

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In Japan, women, not men, throng stores to buy Valentine's chocolates ‹ Japan Today

Japanese women packed out stores on Wednesday to buy Valentine’s Day chocolates for all the men in their lives—partners, friends and bosses—while the men sat back with nothing expected in return.

The traffic in Japan is all one-way on Feb14, with men free to sit back and wait for the boxes of goodies to pour in. A month from now, Japan celebrates White Day, when men are required to reciprocate with a white gift.

Chocolate has been available in Japan since at least 1797, when it was given to prostitutes by Dutch traders—the only Europeans allowed a foothold in an otherwise closed country where traveling abroad was punishable by death.

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The Economic Impact of a War Between Japan & China -

Global economists are keeping their eyes glued to the Asia-Pacific region, where a bitter feud is brewing between two of the world’s most powerful nations over a small collectivity of islands in the East China Sea. The Chinese government argues that a treaty signed during the first Sino-Japanese War (1894-95) conferred ownership of the islands to China. Japan has long disputed these claims, and today argues that the islands are integral to its national identity.

The argument came to a head last September, when a boycott of Japanese products led Chinese demonstrators to target fellow citizens who owned Japanese cars. Three months later, the situation escalated when when Japanese jets confronted a Chinese plane flying over the islands; no shots were fired, but the act of antagonism has set a troubling precedent between the military forces of both nations.

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Comment: But unmentioned in this story is the fact that Obama is a closet Marxist and could just as easily dump the Japanese in favor of his philosophical kinsmen.

A Japan Photo per Day - Traditional Japanese Renjishi Dolls

Traditional Japanese Shishi Dolls
There’s a wide variety of traditional Japanese dolls, sometimes classified by how they are made, other times by what they represent. Most of them are easy to identify: geisha, noble ladies or samurai, but there are some representing less known characters from the Japanese traditional culture, like the Hina Matsuri Dolls, or the Ichimatsu Dolls.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Porn debut by ex-AKB48 member Eri Takamatsu not as scandalous as sex in showbiz | The Tokyo Reporter

The reporter says that AKB48′s prohibition on affection is total “nonsense” considering the inconsistencies involved. “There may be a ban on love, but sex is ok,” the source chuckles.

That is, sex with male members in showbiz. The reporter says that rising to the top through the “pillow trade,” or makura eigyo, is not dead in the entertainment industry.

“That evil custom is still firmly rooted in some ways in the business,” says the reporter. “AKB48 is not immune to the practice. Despite the no-boyfriends rule, it still exists, and the hypocrisy is extreme.”

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Comment: The no dating rule is for image only, the group's "Daddy" figure or "manager" looks like a pervert anyway and when one of them does a porno this is news. I guess we're supposed to be shocked by this?!

11 things all travelers should keep in their wallets | Wanderplex

what to carry in travel wallet
Most of us spend a lot of time obsessing about what to pack for our upcoming vacations, yet we rarely stop and think about what we pack in our wallets. We tend to just grab and go – taking the same stuff we carry around everyday and transporting them halfway around the world. But that’s not exactly a good idea.

Why? For one thing, your chances of being pick pocketed are higher when you’re in unfamiliar terrain, and for another, losing your wallet is much more of a catastrophe when you’re far from home. But negative things aside, it’s worth thinking about what you keep in your wallet because some of the items inside can make life a lot easier when you’re on the road. Want to know how? Read on to learn the 11 things all travelers should keep in their wallets, and why.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

OneWayJapan News: Japan Police Arrested US Airman In Okinawa After Drunk Car Accident

Photo: Wikimedia User "English: Abasaa - 日本語: あばさー"
Okinawa Police Station
The copyright holder of this work, releases this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide.

Japanese police said Eric Simmons, 41 years old, has been arrested, after he caused an accident followed by a traffic pileup while driving with about six times the legal amount of alcohol in his system.

The 41-year-old airman is stationed at the Kadena base of the US Air Force in central Okinawa.

Over the past few months, several US soldiers stationed in Japan have been arrested for misconducts and defying a night-time curfew imposed by the US military after two US soldiers allegedly raped a Japanese woman in Okinawa on October 16, 2012.

Last Week

Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima criticized the U.S. military last Friday after a water bottle dropped out of an Osprey that took off from U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Tuesday.

The incident was serious because someone could have been injured or killed. Ken Kohagura, a prefectural official in charge of issues related to the U.S. bases Okinawa hosts, explained that the incident was caused by human error, adding that U.S. forces are making every effort to prevent similar mishaps, yet he added that the U.S. military should not cause a burden or emotional pain on Okinawa residents.

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