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

Why do the Japanese Work Such Long Hours?

The Japanese word “karoushi”, meaning “death from overwork”, is a term that has gained recognition across the globe and is arguably testimony to the zeal with which many Japanese people carry out their work. Westerners observing Japan’s high standard of living and yet long labour hours often struggle to fully comprehend the Japanese mindset. The prevailing ideology for many in the west is that we “work to live”, in Japan, however, many appear to live to work.

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China Sees Increase in Families Mourning the Loss of their Only Child: The “One Child” Policy Hits Hard

Regardless of the society in which one lives, the loss of a child to a tragic accident or illness creates can be devastating. In China in particular, such incidents are creating serious social problems, and it all has to do with the one child per family policy that was introduced in the late 70s.

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Concern as Japan Sees an Increase in Solitary Non-Employed Persons (SNEPs)

Solitary Non-Employed Persons is a term that perhaps many are unfamiliar with. It defines those who are unemployed and, if you exclude relatives, those without any ties in society. These ‘without occupation or social network’ wanderers are referred to in short as “SNEPs”. More specifically, the term can be applied to anyone of the working age 20-59 years who is not enrolled in education, is unemployed, unmarried and has no ties outside of one’s family. And according to reports online, Japan is witnessing a sudden increase in these such people.

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What do the Affluent Men of China Yearn for More than Anything Else?

On January 20, 2012, United Arab Emirates’ English newspaper National (Electronic version), published an article that featured an affluent Chinese man named Hoan. It revealed that what some of China’s wealthiest men are looking for is not an increase in material fortune but rather a mistress to perfect their social status. According to the report, if you’re wealthy and happen to be living in China, the presence of a mistress is a symbol of one’s success in society in some circles.

Nevertheless, like many a member of the single male demographic, these affluent Chinese men are sometimes confronted with the problem of just how to go about meeting available members of the opposite sex. Here, what many man with bucket-loads of cash are increasingly turning to is online dating.

Let’s take a quick look at the process for a man like Hoan.

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Could The Way We Behave on the Train Reveal Our True Personality?

Just spending a few minutes on the train, it is possible to gain quite an insight into the type of people who use public transport; whether it be the guy crashed out after a heavy night of drinking with his pals, the student listening to his music player on full blast, or the person completely immersed in their favourite book, the types of behavior are varied to say the least.

The inside of the train carriage is a rather peculiar environment in that, on the one hand, it is a public space in which one must abide at least to some degree by the rules of proper public conduct. However, it also provides us with our own private space in which to shut off everything around us and relax while travelling.

By observing the way in which people spend their time on the train, however, we can learn a lot about an individual’s personality, claims Tsugumi Tachibana, a Japanese counselor in love relations. From a romance perspective, Tachibana analyzes in-depth the correlation between public behavior and personality traits. Her findings can be found below and might just help us learn a little more about that one special person on the train or bus that you’ve been admiring from afar.

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A Chinese Perspective: Some of the Most Surprising Cultural Differences upon Coming to Japan

On February 1, a Chinese newspaper writing primarily for Chinese nationals residing in Japan published an article titled “Some of the Things that  Surprised Me when Coming to Japan”. Written by Chinese men and women who have experienced the Japanese lifestyle, the publication gives accounts of some quite startling differences between Chinese and Japanese customs and what is taken for granted as common sense.

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Japanese Convenience Store and Yahoo! Launch Ready-to-Cook Meal Delivery Service

When it comes to preparing a gourmet meal you can be proud of, an investment of time and a good recipe book are often required. If you’re a busy parent or living alone while working full time, just dashing out to gather the ingredients — not to mention actually preparing the meal — can prove rather time consuming and, let’s admit, a little bothersome.

The intricacies of it all leave many abandoning hope, opting for the greasier ‘ready prepared’ meal option or dining out at a local restaurant. But even those who do make the effort to cook have probably found themselves saying “This just doesn’t have the same impact as the dish I tried at the restaurant the other day,” every so often. If only there were a way to replicate the same taste at home!

If you live in Japan, a collaboration between convenience store chain Lawson and Yahoo! (yes, that Yahoo!) may be the answer to your culinary conundrums: a new home delivery service that offers not ready-to-eat meals, but rather a combination of ready-to-cook dishes that can be thrown together to create a tasty meal of your own.

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Could Serious Smog Problems See China Moving Its Capital Away from Beijing?

Recent reports from Radio France Internationale (RFI)’s Chinese site suggest that China’s pollution problem is raising serious concerns within the country itself. In the push for economic growth, the China is also becoming increasingly aware of what could potentially develop into a serious problem if steps are not taken soon. In this connection, there has been heated debate on the Internet suggesting that Chinese authorities are proposing moving the capital away from Beijing.

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How the Expired Copyright License of Old Literary Works Could Keep Japan’s Cultural Soil Fertile

When it comes to reading famous literary works whose copyright license has expired, there is one piece of software that is renowned for doing the job rather well. It goes by the name of “Aozora Bunko” and is a digital contents reader available on a wide variety of devices; there’s even a version available for smart phone users. It is currently host to a plethora of copyright-free material rich in Japanese history and culture. What’s particularly exciting is that the more time goes by, the more the library of works can be seen to grow.

Anyone with an interest in old Japanese masterpieces – and can read Japanese – will surely be lured in by what this software has to offer. In this connection, on January 1 this year, the legendary writer Eiji Yoshikawa’s work “Miyamoto Musashi” is also set to be added to the collection. Miyamoto Musashi is a bestselling novel depicting the life of legendary samurai Musashi Miyamoto, who actually existed during the Japanese Edo era.

Just what makes all this free content possible is the rule that governs copyright licensing laws: 50 years after an author has passed away, copyrighted works are released freely into the public domain.

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It’s Never Too Late to Learn: 98-Year-Old University Student Puts the Youth of Today to Shame

Age knows no bounds when it comes to the pursuit of knowledge, and that can definitely be said for this outstanding member of society in particular.

Despite being 98 years old, Mr. Murakawa is currently studying at Momoyama Gakuin University in Osaka. His road to scholarship began five years ago when he decided to enroll in a course in the History of International Politics; one of many courses also aimed at adults or those who have already established themselves in society. Presently, Mr. Murakawa is also enrolled in a course in International Law.

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Our Gluttonous Reporter Mr. Sato Devours a 65-Strawberry Parfait Tower!

From 18 January 2013,  Japanese sweet specialist Cozy Corner released a dessert that will leave anyone with even a slightly sweet tooth wiping the drool from their lips and exclaiming, “I’m witnessing a dessert revolution!” Just what type of dessert could we be talking about? None other than a gigantic 65-piece strawberry parfait weighing in at, wait for it, a shocking 2,000 kilocalories! Shortly after hearing this announcement, our reporter Mr. Sato carried himself off to the establishment in question to see what all the fuss was about.

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Japanese Man Places Ad For “Girlfriend” on Google – Nabs Himself 5 Girls at Once

Google’s Ad Words service is a tool used for displaying adverts based on the keyword one enters into the Google search engine. For example typing in “sushi” would yield a selection of sushi-related adverts at the top of your search. The actual price of placing an advert is rather on the reasonable side, and increasingly not just organizations but individuals are jumping on the band wagon.

For an individual wishing to use the service, perhaps the most typical course of action would be to post information about an item you were selling or looking to buy. However when it comes to technology, there will always be unintended methods of use that have up until now eluded even the most creative of minds.

Let me introduce you to a young Japanese man who found a rather obscure use for the Google Ad Words tool by placing an advert for, wait for it… a girlfriend!

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Survey Reveals that 65.5% of Japanese Male Office Workers Have Considered Divorce

In a survey conducted by Japanese magazine Nikkan Spa, 200 married male office workers aged between 20-40 were asked whether they had ever considered divorcing their spouse. As part of our recent love and relationships series, we’ve translated the results below for your delectation. Get ready for some seriously blunt answers and eye-opening reading.

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How to Butcher a Wild Boar in Your Kitchen- Chiharu’s Firsthand Experience Reveals All!

Few meat eaters have ever had to butcher their own meat, and we’d wager that most, given the choice of “slaughter and prepare your own or go vegetarian”, would choose to lead a herbivorous life over getting busy with a cleaver. But not Japanese blogger Chiharu-san!

In her blog, “Chiharu no Mori”, writer Chiharu details her experiences living a life of self-sufficiency and, in this particular episode, butchering and preparing a wild boar. It’s a fascinating look at a process that few of us have experienced nor would ever care to partake in, and we have to commend Chiharu for being brave enough to actually get her hands dirty like this. Be warned, though, the following images are not for the squeamish.

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Sega Japan Offers $22k to Play Games With Latest Job Offering, Total Working Hours: 1 Week

For many of us out there, the recent festivities of the New Year will be leaving our pockets empty and our stomachs a little bloated, but if a certain recent job advertisement is anything to go by there’s a way to make some quick cash on a large scale. No this is not some dodgy backstreet deal but a fully fledged chance for a six month contract with Sega.

The position offers a 2 million yen (US$22.5k) compensation, and while it’s ongoing for a six month period, the actual hours of work sum up to no more than one week!

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The Taste of Luxury in a Can: Japanese Canned Food Worth Your 100 Yen

Consider the following scenario: you’re having a chat with a friend about some of the high quality foods on the market out there. You mention some of the more refined dishes you’ve tried first hand and how, as much as you’d like to eat them day after day, doing so would undoubtedly leave a large hole in your wallet. If your friend responded by saying, “I have a product just for you. It’s got the high class factor, is easy on the finances, and is packed into a small can.”, I’m sure you’d think he’d lost the plot a little.

Inaba and other Japanese food companies beg to differ, and have developed a new set of canned food products that turn the notion that cheap ≠ quality on its head. 

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Measure Asia’s Air Pollution with a Map Based on the Length of Your Nasal Hair!

In recent years along with many other developing Asian nations, China has been increasing its level of industrial manufacturing as it readies itself for remarkable industrial growth. However, neglecting its environment for the sake of industry has brought with it the problem of dense smog pollution, with microscopic smog particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or less having been detected in overwhelming large amounts in China’s air in recent days.

The smog is the same as that found in factory exhausts, car fumes and the like. Measured per cubic meter, at one instance the observed value of pollution in Beijing reached levels 10 times the Chinese government’s recommended safety level. If one were to go by the Wealth Health Organization (WHO)’s recommended value, the figure rises to 40 times greater than normal. When it comes to pollution, it is thought that of the asian nations undergoing remarkable growth, 70% of nations are reaching a critical level. The toxic substances that seep out into the environment cause asthma, pneumonia and even in some cases death.

Of course, those living in highly polluted areas will surely want to know how their air compares, but measuring the levels each time can prove tiresome and expensive. With this in mind, one innovative company called Clean Air Asia has stumbled upon a way determine just how polluted your air is, and has designed an interactive map based on – wait for it – nostil hair.

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Japanese Researchers Unravel the Mechanism Behind the Cause of Depression.

A research team from universities in Nagoya, Japan, has come one step further in developing an effective medicine against the debilitating disorder that is depression.

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North Korea’s High Class International Hotel! Our Reporter Mustered Up His Courage and Checked it Out First Hand.

In recent years, North Korea has received attention for its provocative behavior towards neighboring countries and its desire to prove itself on the technologically and militarily scale, increasingly pushing itself ‘emerging nation’. Last year’s infamous set of failed Windows XP-powered missile launches didn’t help.

More recently, there has been a clear shift towards North Korea presenting itself not as a country of restriction and famine, but one of rising social and cultural prosperity. A prime example of this would be the public release of pictures of fully-fledged amusement parks and public amenities. Just what North Korea’s intentions behind all of this are remain a bit of a mystery, but one cannot help wonder exactly what type of facilities are on offer and how they compare to the rest of the world in terms of quality and convenience.

In 2012 our reporter, Kuzo, stayed in North Korea’s Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyan. Read about his impressions of the hotel and the room he stayed in below!

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‘”Married Men Don’t Look Happy!” “Wives Unnecessary!”: An Increasing Number of Japanese Men Opting for Bachelorhood

In Japan, the number of men and women choosing to marry later in life is on the increase and has reached a figure that can no longer be ignored. When it comes to the Japanese male demography, just why are so many choosing the single life? My Navi News asked 300 of its male readers the following question:

“Have you ever thought ‘Marriage isn’t for me’ or ‘I prefer the life of bachelorhood’?”

The results obtained were a little on the unexpected side:

Yes: 39.7%
No: 60.3%

The men who replied ‘yes’ were asked their reasons for snubbing a life of marital bliss. Their answers in full after the break.

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