John Stuart

Having originally set forth from Vancouver, Canada on what was supposed to a three-hour tour, John found himself washed up on the shores of these well-charted and populous isles some 25 years ago. Now working as a Tokyo-based freelance translator, he enjoys drinking in many of the city’s tachinomiya (standing-only bars) in his free time, but after short spans often finds himself in search of a chair.

All Stories by John Stuart Translations

Japanese Cosmetic Group Shiseido Abolishes Animal Testing, Fuzzy Little Critters Rejoice!

Founded in 1872, Shiseido, one of the world’s oldest cosmetics companies and the fourth largest, announced on Feb. 28 that from April onward it would put an end to all testing on animals in the development of raw materials for its cosmetic and quasi-pharmaceutical products.

Read More

Okinawa Prefecture Cancels Plan to Use Young Women’s Thighs as Advertising Space


The Okinawa Convention and Visitors Bureau (OCVB) along with the prefectural government have cancelled their plans to use space on women’s bare thighs for marketing the islands as a graduation trip destination to students outside the prefecture. Citing criticism, the two bodies stated January 24, “Placing temporary tattoo-like stickers on the thighs of young women to advertise Okinawa is not in line with prefecture’s brand image.”
Read More

Feline Fantasy: Japanese Homebuilder Creates Ultimate Home for Cat Lovers and their Furry Friends

How much do you love your cat? Really, how much? Would you consider purchasing an entire home specifically designed to make life as pleasant as possible for your favorite feline? If so, Japanese homebuilder Asahi Kasei may have just what you’re looking for. And for the hardcore cat lover, it just might be—sorry can’t resist—the cat’s meow.
Read More

Which Company’s Employee Would You Like to Marry? Nintendo Tops Rankings in Japan

An Internet survey asking Japanese men and women aged 20 to 39 which company they would like a potential marriage partner to work for ranked Nintendo number one.

The survey, conducted November 28 and 29, 2012, received 500 valid responses. Filling out the top five were All Nippon Airways (ANA), Tanita (electronic scales), Google and Apple. Reasons given for choices were wide-ranging including, “It’s a hot company,” and “My partner is unlikely to gain a middle-aged bulge (working there).”
Read More

Japan Considering Bringing Back 6-Day School Week, Teachers Not Overly Enthusiastic

In a review of the current five-day school week currently being used in public schools across Japan, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology said it is considering Saturday classes and a re-introduction of the six-day school week that was phased out between 1992 and 2002.

New curriculum guidelines mandating increased classroom hours resulting from a re-examination of the Ministry’s Yutori Kyoiku, (pressure-free education) program were introduced to elementary schools last year, and fully implemented in junior high schools this year. In seeking the use of Saturdays, the Ministry hopes to improve the academic ability of the nation’s youth by securing more teaching hours. It also hopes to dispel concerns of a widening “education gap” between public schools and private schools, many of which continue to implement Saturday classes.
Read More

Paying Just $11 a Day, Subcontractors Ripping Off Fukushima Nuclear Accident Decontamination Workers


The Tokyo Shimbun has discovered that workers involved with national government controlled cleanup projects resulting from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant are being ripped off by subcontractors.

Despite being able to rent lodging facilities from the government and others for free or for very little money, contractors forcibly deduct inflated accommodation and meal charges from workers’ pay. When the 10,000 yen (US$111) a day “danger pay” provided to contractors by the government (read: taxpayers) is taken into consideration, it means the contractors themselves end up forking out a measly 1,000 yen (US$11) a day per worker.
Read More

Flashlight Automatically Turns on in Earthquake

Living in an earthquake-prone country like Japan means constant vigilance in terms of disaster preparedness. Though the Great East Japan Earthquake of 11 March 2011 struck during daylight hours, there’s no guarantee that a disaster of similar magnitude won’t strike at night. Most people keep a flashlight or two at home, however, if power is cut as a result of an earthquake, as groping your way around in the dark while in a panicked state might not be as easy as you think.

Thankfully, Tokyo’s Force Media group has come up with an ingenius solution to this problem. And it’s much more than just a regular-old flashlight…
Read More

Toyota to Unveil Driverless Car at Consumer Electronics Show

Son, have you been drinking tonight?

Yes officer, I must say I’ve enjoyed a few libations this evening.

Well, I think you’d better step out of the car; we’ve got some pretty strict laws against that kind of stuff in this state.

But I wasn’t driving officer!

Isn’t anyone else in the car, son. Seems you’ve had more than just ‘a few’.

Honestly, Officer! Mr. Toyota has been at the controls the whole time…

Toyota Motor Corporation announced it would be unveiling a self-driving car at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) being held in Las Vegas January 8 to 11, 2013. The car, a Lexus LS600, is outfitted with radars, cameras and an array of sensors that allow it to be cognizant of its immediate environment.
Read More

Dirty to Clean with Just a Few Cranks: Safe Drinking Water for All


Reminiscent of a hand-cranked bingo number generator, Poly Glu International of Osaka has developed an easy-to-use portable water purification system, Eco-Polyglu, intended for those cut off from access to clean potable water.

The mechanics of the system are simple: pour dirty water in need of cleaning into the 10-liter capacity tank, add a packet of polyglutamic acid, insert a filter, and use the hand crank to spin the tank for about one minute. Voila! You now have water that is safe to drink. Change the filter and you’re ready to go again. The system’s water tank can also be easily detached and carried like a bucket.

Full video of this fantastic little contraption turning filthy liquid into crystal-clear water after the break.

Read More

Inconsistent with Current Claim, Chinese Diplomatic Document from 1950 Clearly States Senkaku Islands Are Part of Okinawa


In an interview with well-informed sources on December 28, Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun discovered Chinese diplomatic papers created in 1950 used the Japanese name Senkaku to identify the Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea. The same document also contained language recognizing the Senkakus as a part of Okinawa.

Currently China claims the islands are its territory as “a part of Taiwan.” Recognition by China in 1950 that the islands are a part of Okinawa is contradictory to its current claim and weakens the foundation of its present position.
Read More

Chinese Government Authorities Offer Cash Rewards in an Effort to Prevent Self-Immolations


With Tibetans continuing to set themselves ablaze in protest of oppressive rule by Chinese authorities, state media for Qinghai province reported that the government of the province’s Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture announced it would begin offering rewards of 200,000 yuan (about US$32,000) by December 27 to anyone at the scene who can prevent such suicides from occurring.
Read More

SECOM Unveils World’s First Flying Crime-prevention Robot


With shades of Minority Report, Japanese security services company SECOM unveiled an autonomous flying crime-prevention robot to the press on December 26. Basically a flying surveillance camera, the robot is the first of its kind in the world to be offered for private security use. Shuji Maeda, SECOM’s president, said he hoped to make the device available in 2014.
Read More

Comprising Just 2% of the Global Population, Japanese Pay 18% of the World’s Total Insurance Premiums

The Japanese love their insurance. According to the weekly tabloid Shukan Post, the average household in Japan pays 454,300 yen (approx. US$5,393) a year in life insurance premiums in an effort to feel safe and protect loved ones. Comprising just 2% of the global population, Japan pays 18% of the world’s total insurance premiums, this which works out to average insurance spending of US$3,500 per capita, the highest level in the world.
Read More

Less Bang for Your Yen, Starbucks Japan Reduces Amount of Brew in Some Offerings

Saying customers were complaining about its cups being too full, Starbucks Japan started reducing the amount of java in each pour of drip coffee this month. According to the company, feedback pointed out their full-to-the-brim cups left no room for adding milk and were too easy to spill. Some customers, however, are voicing displeasure about the unannounced reduction to their caffeine fix.
Read More

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5