Andrew Miller

Andrew, who is from London, England, first came to Japan in late 2006 where he worked as an English teacher in the Tochigi prefecture. After becoming a little more accustomed to the culture and the language, he moved to Tokyo in 2009 where he has been residing since. He has a passion for the Japanese language and has even created himself an “unofficial” Japanese name(安努龍). In addition, Andrew has an interest in a wide genre of news and as a freelance translator is keen to relay the subtle differences between cultures to readers around the world.

All Stories by Andrew Miller

Fukushima Prefecture Produces First Thesis on the Effects of Internal Radiation Exposure: Children of Fukushima Unaffected?

A thesis which assesses the risks of internal radiation exposure within Fukushima Prefecture following the explosions at the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, suggests that the effects of internal radiation fall far below that recorded after Chernobyl.

Ryugo Hayano, who works as a professor at Tokyo University’s Science Research Department, has collected the findings of doctors who conducted research into internal radiation exposure among those living inside of the Fukushima Prefecture. He consolidated these findings into an English journal entitled ‘Proceedings of Japan Academy Series B89’, which is available on the net.

The latest journal is a collection of reports that looks at the degree of radiation exposure through daily food consumption and it is reported to be the first of its kind.

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Japanese Permanent Resident Status to be Awarded to Overseas Students? A New Appeal by the Mayor of Kyoto

On April 10, the mayor of Kyoto Keiji Yamada made public his intentions to appeal to the government to award overseas students who graduate from Kyoto University with the right to permanent residence. It is a proposal entitled ‘Kyoto University Special Ward’ and also incorporates other supportive measures for foreign students. With a decrease in student intake within Japan in recent years, it is hoped that by providing incentives for academically skilled overseas students, Kyoto will not only be able to compete with other cities like Tokyo but will also be able to add a new lease of life to its cultural city.

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The Worrying Aging Effects of Too Much Computer Work

In the past decade or so, the widespread use of computers in both the public and private sphere has seen the personal computer become an indispensable part of our daily lives. Whether it be creating a chart of company expenditures or simply recording important appointments in a software-based diary, almost all of our work has been a layer of digital varnish. The birth of the laptop computer has meant that work can be done virtually anywhere, with a wealth of information available in a few clicks and taps of the keyboard. As wonderful as all this is, it’s easy to overlook some of the problems that arise from a computer-centric life. Here we’ll take a good, hard look at the downside to spending the vast majority of our day plugging in and screen-facing.

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Scientists in Japan Succeed in Deciphering Human Dreams

A research team, whose major investors include some of the biggest telecommunications companies in Japan, has announced that it has successfully deciphered the contents of human dreams with high precision by analyzing the human brain’s activity during sleep.

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Theft of Toilet from Public Park in Kyoto Leaves Authorities Baffled

At around 10 a.m. on April 2, a man living in the town of Fukuchiyamashi, Kyoto called the police after he discovered that the light of a nearby parking lot had been vandalized with white spray-paint. Upon arriving at the scene, officers also discovered that an expensive, multi-function toilet had been stolen from a park located nearby.

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Smuggling of Human Flesh Capsules on the Increase in Korea. Even Reports of Dog Flesh?

Earler this week, Japanese website Niconico ran an article suggesting that the capsules containing ground up human fetuses are being smuggled into Korea.

As shocking as it sounds, this is not the first time such stories have appeared online. Incheon International Airport Customs and Excise Department reportedly made public the discovery on 31 March this year.

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Wasei English: 20 Words of English Origin that Japanese People Often Mistake for the Real Thing

How many of you have ever heard of the Japanese word ‘wasei eigo’? A direct translation into English would be “Japanese-made English”, but put more simply the word refers to English words that, after a little tampering, have been adopted into the modern Japanese lexicon and used on an everyday basis. Despite having their origins in English, wasei eigo words often have quite different meanings to those on which they are based. Consequently, Japanese visitors to English-speaking countries using terms like “baby car” and “key holder” — words that are thought to be “English” in Japan — are often met with raised eyebrows and blank stares from native English speakers.

So come with us now as we look at the top 20 wasei English words that cause Japanese people trouble when they break them out while abroad.

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First Confirmed Reports of H7N9 Bird Flu in Humans With the Death of Two Men From China

The Chinese government announced on March 31 that two men from Shanghai have died from a variant of bird flu known as H7N9. It is the first time transmission of this type of bird flu has been confirmed in human beings. After contraction of the virus, both men showed symptoms of pneumonia.

The Chinese Health Authorities announced that the 87 and 23-year-old men first showed symptoms of a fever, pneumonia and similar characteristics in March of this year. The 87 and 27-year-old-men died on 4th and 10th of this month respectively.

Shortly afterwards, a detailed inspection into their deaths was carried out where it came to light that both men had been infected with the H7N9 strain of the bird flu virus. It has also been confirmed that a woman in the eastern province of China, Anhui, has been infected with the same strain of bird flu. Her current condition is critical, exhibiting identical symptoms of pneumonia, however the woman is said to be receiving medical treatment.
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Have Japan’s Anti-Smoking Laws Gone Too Far? Smokers Begin to Feel the Pressure

In recent years there has been a dramatic change in attitudes towards smoking in public places in Japan. While it was a common sight to see someone walking along the street with a cigarette in their hand until a few years ago, nowadays it is becoming increasingly rare to see. It is fair to say that smokers have adopted a much politer approach to smoking in public. The movement towards a smoke-free environment is one welcomed by many, however accompanied by this is the tendency to drive smokers into corners and ostracize them for lighting up. Anti-smokers are increasingly pushing forward their demands, seeing a pollution-free environment as part of their right to a healthy lifestyle. But is it going too far?

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Japan Gets Tough on Cyclists Violating Traffic Laws. Jail Sentence for Heavy Offenders?

Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office officially announced that it intends to prosecute cyclists who repeatedly violate road traffic laws in Japan. Ignoring a red light or not stopping when necessary may also become subject to penalty, with a three-month jail sentence or a fine of up to 50,000 yen. In addition, riding parallel with other cyclists or failure to make use of one’s light under conditions of poor visibility could carry fines of up to 20,000 yen and 50,000 yen, respectively.

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Why Foreign Businessmen are Receiving Lessons on Doing Business the Japanese Way

Below is an account from Sayaka, a reporter over at our sister site Pouch. It is an intriguing look at differences in business culture between Japan and the west. It makes one realize that there is no perfect business strategy as such but by incorporating the best parts from each culture, one can get pretty close to their own perfect business model. Moreover, Japan’s business culture has to be one of the most unique in the entire world.

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Are Rotting Pig Corpses to Blame for China’s Electric Pink Drinking Water?

A little while back, we reported on the air pollution problem over in China. This week, however, a different form of pollution has come to light. On first sight, you’d be forgiven for mistaking this for a prop from a mutant zombie movie. However what can be seen in the picture above is in fact the tap water of a residential area in Jinan, China. In total, over 500 inhabitants of the area have fallen victim to this most recent ‘pink water’ phenomenon.

Obviously drinking the stuff is out of the question and many residents have been forced, as a temporary measure, to secure rations of bottled water. Just how contaminated this water is remains unclear, but even more intriguing is what caused the phenomenon in the first place. And how harmful could it actually be? Could simply giving the stuff a good, long sniff be hazardous to people’s health?

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How to Break Up When the Other Half Just Won’t Let Go: Spit in Their Face!

“Hey, there’s no way I’m splitting with you, babe. After all, we’re supposed to be lovers, right?”

Moving words from our own Mr. Sato there, but perhaps relationships aren’t always quite so straightforward? What if, for example, you feel that the relationship you’re trapped in has all the passion and energy of a punctured party balloon, while your partner is still penning sonnets and writing messages in fire outside your window? There’s no easy way to tell them that it’s over. Or is there? One 23-year-old Tokyoite thinks she may have stumbled upon a powerful, if slightly disgusting, method.

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Alone in the Red Zone: Fukushima Town’s Sole Resident Speaks Out in Harrowing Documentary

After the great earthquake and tsunami that came with the calamities of March 11 2011, many residents to the Kanto region of Japan experienced turmoil on an unprecedented scale. If natural disaster wasn’t enough, there was also the explosion at the Fukushima nuclear plant, spreading radioactive contamination even as far as Tokyo. Now after two years, Fukushima’s 20-kilometer radioactive exclusion zone still remains in place.

While most families fled the contaminated areas in the early stages following the explosion, one brave man remained undeterred by it all, staying put in his hometown. Naoto Matsura (53) is believed to be the sole inhabitant within the 20-kilometer red zone.

Matsumura’s determination to remain rooted in the same place and see through the nuclear catastrophe has caught the attention of many, with his accounts even being adapted into a documentary. The documentary tells of the events after the great earthquake and Mutsumura’s reasons for remaining at his home despite all those around him fleeing, never to return. Perhaps even more interestingly, it gives some rather candid accounts of this man’s feelings towards Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the company that operated the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

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Our Reporter’s Top 10 Awesome Things About North Korea

OK, hands up: how many of you have ever paid a visit to North Korea? For purposes of photography, our man Kuzo recently found himself crossing the border into what is admittedly a country that differs in many respects to anything many of us have ever seen before. While he was there, he kept a list of things that stood out, impressed and downright confused him. Our reporter’s top 10 awesome things about North Korea after the break.

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More Than Half of Cleanup Staff at Fukushima Nuclear Plant on Counterfeit Contracts

It has come to light that the Japanese government’s Fukushima Daiichi cleanup plan is failing due to problems concerning counterfeit contracts. The government is now left reassessing its human resource strategy and considering how to effectively secure the number of employees required to carry out the work. As it presently stands, more than half of the laborers employed at the nuclear site are suspected of being involved in counterfeit contract work.

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Woman Raking Up $270 Monthly Phone Bill Unhappy About Social Security Cuts

On March 6, the Osaka edition of the Asahi Shinbun published an article which featured a single mother of two from Japan who was in receipt of a 290,000 yen (about $3,000) monthly social security allowance. Despite this hefty amount of cash arriving in her bank account each month, though, she was alarmed to hear that her benefits may be cut in the near future.

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Major Electronics Producer Sharp Forms Capital Alliance with Korea’s Samsung

Japanese electronics maker Sharp has in recent years seen a slump in sales. What is arguably required for the company to remain afloat in this tough consumer market  is a change in business strategies. As one of Japan’s most renowned sellers of liquid crystal displays, Sharp is hastily searching for ways to revamp its administration.

First there was talk of a possible alliance between Sharp and Taiwanese major electronic company Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. However, coming to a deadlock in investment negotiations, Sharp changed course by forming an alliance with a company that was arguably up until now its biggest competitor on the market, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. It was announced this week that a capital alliance between the two companies is in its final stages of negotiation.

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Korea’s Ban on Pachinko Pinball Gambling Sees an Increase in Gamblers Coming to Japan

In Japan, pachinko – a game similar to pinball but with multiple balls in play and minus the flippers – has always been a big business.  “Pachinkoten” (dedicated pachinko parlors) have become about as commonplace as temples and hot springs, and it’s not uncommon to see small crowds of men waiting outside such establishments early in the morning, waiting for them to open.

A phenomenon that is particularly noticeable in recent years is that of the large numbers of Koreans coming to Japan to gamble. Up until seven years ago, Korea’s pachinko industry was booming. However, when gambling laws were introduced to combat the recent rise in addictions, many players were left out in the cold with nothing to fill the gap. But with a thriving pachinko scene just a couple of hours away on the plane, many Koreans are heading to Japan to pick up where they left off.

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