Japan

tamyu

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#31
MercuryCrest said:
From an excellent blog:

This is an old story, but I still like telling it. Japanese researcher Shun Akiba has apparently discovered "hundreds of kilometers of Tokyo tunnels whose purpose is unknown and whose very existence is denied."
So, I'm wondering, this guy, Shun, wrote a book available here, but there seem to be no English translations. Has anyone heard of this book before? Does anyone know if it's available in English anywhere?
A bit late on the reply, sorry. I have never read the book or heard of the guy...
But a search around the Japanese web gives the book a pretty low rating and a pretty poor opinion of the guy. Most reviewers point out that no one has "found secret tunnels" - the book is a collection of "urban legends" about tunnels, and combined with known tunnels, to make a huge conspiracy theory... The thing is, the tunnels that have been "found" are all normal tunnels (access tunnels for the subway, shipping tunnels, utility tunnels, etc) and there is no room for a web of secret tunnels. The Tokyo underground is packed as it is - there honestly isn't much room to squeeze anything secret in there.

Apparently 90% of the book is the author offering increasingly more outrageous theories for these tunnels, with no actual research or exploration. A couple reviews point out that he didn't even do the most basic of research - I guess the only "secret" tunnel he did enter can be looked up and is listed as an unfinished bomb shelter that began construction during the war but was abandoned at the end. (Not all that strange.)

I myself had a laugh at a quote from the guy saying that there were secret tunnels in a specific spot (including map, apparently), with a reviewer linking to a map showing a grid of very non-secret utility tunnels in the exact same spot. The author's response was that the *secrecy* of the tunnels is being denied, not that they are there. He seemed oblivious to multiple reviewers pointing out that as they are mapped, known, and being used for utilities... It was kind of hard to call them "secret".

I wouldn't have very high hopes about this.
 

MercuryCrest

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#32
As much as I distrust reviews, that does seems to sour the grapes, doesn't it?

Oh well. I had high hopes as I love underground mysteries, but I shall have to delight in the various urban legends of tunnels in the 'States.

Thanks, Tamyu!
 
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#33
I think this is strange enough to fit in Fortean News Stories. Crooks having websites.

Japan’s largest yakuza family launches own website amid falling membership
Published time: April 02, 2014 19:26
http://rt.com/news/japan-yakuza-launch-website-953/

Kenichi Shinoda, the boss of Japan's largest yakuza gang, the Yamaguchi-gumi, in 2011 after his release from a Tokyo prison. (AFP Photo / Jiji Press)

The Yamaguchi-gumi, the biggest yakuza group in Japan, has launched its own website with a welcoming song and an anti-drug message. The PR campaign comes amid the mafia’s weakening public image, falling membership, and police crackdown.

At first glance of the website, which welcomes visitors with a sign reading "Banish Drugs and Purify the Nation League," one would not think that it represents a criminal organization.

However, the site was created by members of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan's largest mafia group, which is involved in activities ranging from prostitution to extortion and white-collar crime.

At the top of the homepage is a video depicting a pilgrimage to a shrine by top echelon members, including its head Shinobu Tsukasa.

The footage is accompanied by a folk-style theme song, called Ninkyo Hitosuji, which celebrates manhood and the life of a yakuza member. The ideal of this manhood has been glorified in various Japanese Ninkyo eiga, or ‘Chivalry films,’ dedicated to an image of a noble yakuza.



The webpage also has sections that offer glimpses into the everyday life of the group – a video showing its members pounding sticky rice for a New Year festival and photos of the emergency relief provided by Yamaguchi-gumi after the Kobe earthquake in 1993 and after the Tohoku earthquake in 2011.

Experts say the group has created the site in an effort to revamp its image of “anti-social forces,” as it was branded by the police, and emerge instead as a humanitarian organization.

"By presenting an anti-drugs theme, it shows concern for social welfare [and] it shows pictures of the group doing emergency relief after the [Fukushima] and Kobe earthquakes," said Jake Adelstein, a journalist and author who has written extensively on organized crime in Japan.

"The yakuza motto is 'help the weak and fight the strong.' In practice, it's usually the reverse."

Others consider that the organization established the website as a reminder of its roots. The anti-drug campaign was first launched in 1963 by former oyabun (“father figure”) of Yamaguchi-gumi Kazuo Taoka who reportedly had strong opinion about drug use, according to Mai-nichi newspaper. The campaign was “dedicated to the eradication of amphetamine abuse.”

Amphetamine-based stimulants came onto the Japanese market in 1931 and were applied to everything from fighting low blood pressure to motivating kamikaze pilots. At the end of WWII, the drugs were popular in combating fatigue and hunger. Meth addicts were hard to control as they committed a number of horrifying crimes.

Mai-nichi explained Taoka’s firm stance against drugs by saying that "after the war, many of [Yamaguchi-gumi] members began taking narcotics and about ten of [Taoka] top lieutenants became narcotic addicts.”

The current oyabun, Tsukasa Shinobu, reportedly shares the views of his predecessor. Thus, the site may have been launched to remind Yamaguchi-gumi members to behave themselves.

Drug use among the yakuza is frowned upon, and is considered to be a far worse crime than prostitution, gambling, or blackmailing. The group believes that using illegal drugs “creates a weak country” and goes against the characteristics of a noble yakuza.

A retired Japanese yakuza crime boss, who does not want to be identified. (AFP Photo / Frank Zeller)A retired Japanese yakuza crime boss, who does not want to be identified. (AFP Photo / Frank Zeller)

The Japanese yakuza is considered one of the most feared criminal syndicates in the world, as well as the richest one. Members do not shy away from the public and have office buildings, business cards, and even fan magazines.

From 1992 to 2010, the number of yakuza members and associates remained steady at roughly 80,000, according to the National Police Agency.

However, as a result of security crackdowns and the tightening of laws, the criminal syndicate has fallen in numbers. The number of members fell to an all-time low in 2013, slipping below the 60,000-member mark for the first time on record, police said.

The Yamaguchi-gumi, based in the city of Kobe in western, Japan took a hit last year. It has for decades been the largest syndicate, but according to Japan's police agency, it lost 2,000 members from the previous year, with 25,700 gangsters on staff in 2013.
Police said they suspect the site may signal that the group is expanding its operations.
 

Wreckless

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#34
Japanese city covered in mysterious foam after earthquake
The strange foam was spotted in the southern Japanese city of Fukuoka, around 90km from the epicentre of the earthquake

An unexplained carpet of foamy bubbles filled streets in the centre of the southern Japanese city of Fukuoka in the early hours of Saturday morning – shortly after tremors from a devastating earthquake of magnitude 7.3 shook the town.



Twitter users posted pictures of the mysterious foam, with one calling it “disgusting”.


“I saw it just after the earthquake,” said Kazuki Nabeta, who lives in the busy central district of Tenjin, where the bubbles were found.

Some have speculated that the earthquake may have caused an underground pipe to burst.

“People were posting pictures on Twitter and it was near my house, so I went out to have a look,” said Mr Nabeta.

“There was a fire engine there. There wasn't anything special about it – it was normal foam.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...y-foam-bubbles-after-earthquake-a6987216.html
 

ghughesarch

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#37
are we all missing the vital piece of evidence, quoted in the OP?
“People were posting pictures on Twitter and it was near my house, so I went out to have a look,” said Mr Nabeta.

“There was a fire engine there. There wasn't anything special about it – it was normal foam.”
 

Mythopoeika

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#39

Swifty

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#45
As per Varoger's original suggestion, I agree that we need to celebrate the more unusual (to Western eyes) side of Japanese culture .. let's start with something I've found by random choice just to start this thread ..

 
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#50
Drainspotters!

A city in central Japan recently held a lottery for decorative manhole covers after a series of them became twenty-times oversubscribed.

Maebashi, which is 77 miles (124 km) north of Tokyo, put ten second-hand manhole covers on the market for 3,000 yen ($27; £20) with three different designs, and was surprised to receive over 200 applications to buy them, broadcaster NHK reports.

According to TV Asahi, the winners may have grabbed a bargain, given that new covers cost some 60,000 yen each, but some of their collectors have still yet to decide what to do with them.

One buyer, who took the day off work to drive up from Tokyo to collect his 40 kg (88 lb) purchase, shares the dilemma of many people who make off-the-wall purchases: where to keep it now that he's got it. "I'll put it in my porch, then I'll think about what to do with it," he told NHK.

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-41525394
 
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#52
A labor standards office in Tokyo, Japan, released details this week about what led to the death of a 31-year-old reporter, revealing that the woman died from overwork.

Miwa Sado, who worked for public broadcasting company NHK, logged 159 hours of overtime and had only taken off two days in the month prior to her death from heart failure in July 2013. Labor inspectors determined that Sado’s death was caused by karoshi, a Japanese term that means ‘death from overwork.’

Though the local labor standards office concluded its case in May 2014, the details were not made public until Wednesday, Japan Times reported. ...

http://www.ajc.com/news/japanese-re...ng-159-hours-overtime/c0CPH8BpQFpyFu0FjZtabI/
 

Mythopoeika

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#56

Swifty

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#58
Look like you've got a seagull in your mouth and exercise your facial muscles at the same time

 

Kingsize Wombat

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#60
The terrifying Japanese demon festival that probably sends kids into therapy for life

The mythology behind the ancient, annual Japanese Paantu festival tells of how a mysterious and odd-looking wooden face washed ashore on a beach located on the northern shore of island of Miyako (or Miyako-jima). The arrival of the mask was the impetus for the festival which has been held over the course of several centuries. On other islands in the Miyako chain, the festival is closed to outsiders like many other religious ceremonies held on the various islands that make up the Miyako Islands of the Okinawa Prefecture, so not much is actually known about the gathering which is held in early September. However, details about the clandestine event are not a complete mystery.
http://dangerousminds.net/comments/...festival_that_probably_sends_kids_into_therap

Actually, several European cultures have a similar thing, with Santa's bad off-sider, Knecht Ruprecht:

Knecht Ruprecht is Saint Nicholas' most familiar attendant in Germany. According to some stories, Ruprecht began as a farmhand; in others, he is a wild foundling whom Saint Nicholas raises from childhood.

Ruprecht wears a black or brown robe with a pointed hood. Sometimes he walks with a limp, because of a childhood injury. He can be seen carrying a long staff and a bag of ashes, and on occasion wears little bells on his clothes.[2] Sometimes he rides on a white horse, and sometimes he is accompanied by fairies or men with blackened faces dressed as old women.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knecht_Ruprecht
 
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