Orders of regional Japanese fish dish jakoten explode after politician insults them

Karma is particularly strong when it comes to Japanese cuisine, apparently.

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Government declaration that ‘miso’ made since 1950s can’t legally be called ‘miso’ sparks debate

The decision incensed netizens around the country, with 2chan’s founder even getting involved.

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Fights break out at Japanese fight festival

The first rule of fight festival is: No fighting!

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Ukrainian sumo wrestlers take refuge in Japan to train for upcoming tournaments

What better place for them to train than the birthplace of sumo?

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No more neckties! Japanese prefecture abolishes necktie dress code for government employees

Decision is a plus for workers and the environment.

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Shikoku Island holds world landmark lookalike photography contest judged by AI

Many of the greatest places on Earth are all on one rural Japanese island.

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Japanese high school kendo coach caught forcing students to pay birthday-tribute money

Typically, students are encouraged to report bullying to the adults, but what do you do when the adult is the bully?

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Now you can ‘stay’ in a Japanese castle without even leaving your sofa

There are even futons for you to ‘sleep’ on!

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Ehime man arrested for hitting cop who interfered with his Pokémon GO game

When it comes to belligerent Pokémon players, Ehime Police gotta catch’em all.

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Japan’s biggest, baddest piece of playground equipment set to close down

The slide in a children’s playground in Ehime, not suitable for children, will be no more after injuries and safety worries.

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Japan’s most famous cat island moving towards plan to spay, neuter all of its kitty inhabitants

Aging, shrinking human population says it can no longer take care of all of the frisky felines.

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Japanese Twitter falls in love with unusual vending machine in Akihabara

There’s good reason why people from around Tokyo are making the trip to Electric Town to get a taste of these special beverages.

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Japanese origami vending machine makes news around the country

The unusual machine with the sweet folded paper designs is warming people’s hearts around Japan.

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Japanese citrus farmers deal with crop-stealing wild boars by killing them, selling their meat

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. When it hands you wild boars, make sausages.

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Parents of schoolboy ordered to pay 15 million yen after wayward soccer ball leads to man’s death

Earlier this week the Supreme Court of Japan set a ruling date of 9 April in the long-running case of a soccer mishap which resulted in a man’s death. The incident occurred when the deceased was riding a motor bike and fell trying to avoid a soccer ball that rolled out from a school yard.

In the decade since the incident occurred, the family of the man has been trying to hold the parents of the boy who kicked the ball financially responsible and so far has succeeded in two previous rulings. If the Supreme Court agrees with the previous two decisions then the boys’ mother and father will possibly have to pay 15 million yen (US$125,000) to the family.

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Japan’s “cat island” Aoshima is being overwhelmed by tourists

Aoshima (青島), which is incorporated into Ozu City, Ehime Prefecture, is a small, unpretentious island in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan (which one of our English-language correspondents has covered extensively). However, the 0.5 km² island does have one unique claim to fame–it’s known as a paradise for cats and cat lovers.

We actually featured Aoshima on our list of the 11 top cat islands in Japan back in April. After one Japanese Twitter user shared photos of the island’s hordes of cats online, Aoshima has experienced an unprecedented influx of tourists, leaving the local residents baffled and unprepared to deal with the flood of people streaming in.

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Ehime Prefecture’s new women’s prison decorated powder pink “to relieve feelings of oppression”

In Japan, there are currently 3,440 female inmates confined to seven correctional facilities which all together are built to hold 3,342 women. These statistics come from a spokesperson for the newly opened Saijo branch of Matsuyama Prison, which was built to address this overcrowding problem.

The new prison reportedly offers various facilities and services to cater to women’s needs, but most striking by far are the doors, barred windows and furniture all over the penitentiary, which appear to have been painted a soft pink color, as if to remind the inmates that they’re ladies first and convicted criminals second.

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Orange-flavored rice balls: Japan’s newest way to fuse vitamin C and carbs

Ehime Prefecture on the western coast of Shikoku is known all through Japan for its tasty mikan, or satsuma oranges. Although the fruit is delicious enough on its own, the people of Ehime love to think up new ways to enjoy the fresh taste of a local orange. In the past, we have seen funny-shaped oranges and even citrus-flavored fish, but now there’s a new way to get some vitamin C in your life: orange-flavored rice balls.

We dropped by a shop near the hot springs that inspired Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away which sells the rice balls. But these little delicacies are only available for a limited time, so click below to find out more about this surprisingly delicious culinary creation!

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Dogo Onsen to exhibit works by famous artists in Japan, let you spend the night in them

At Dogo Onsen in Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture, 2014 marks the 120th anniversary of the spa’s main building which stands as a notable landmark of the area. It’s a majestic and traditional building that some say was the inspiration for the bathhouse in Spirited Away.

To celebrate, the surrounding area will be hosting a large scale art exhibition in which the Onsen’s main building and at least ten other hotels and inns will be transformed into works by various modern artists. The actual event will run from 10 April to 31 December of this year, but a sneak peak was held from December of last year involving five prominent Japanese artists: Fujio Ishimoto, Yayoi Kusama, Shuntaro Tanikawa, Akira Minagawa, and Araki Nobuyoshi.

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Bicycle helmet law enforced in Ehime, failure to comply is punishable by… we don’t know

Westerners who come to Japan may be taken aback by the sheer numbers of bicycles in use in cities. Equally impressive is the degree to which people load their bicycles with shopping bags, children, boyfriends, and/or garbage bags full of aluminum cans for recycling. And yet, with all this, it’s a rare sight to see anyone besides tiny kids wearing a helmet.

Ehime Prefecture, known for its scenic bike paths and wide use of bicycles for commuting, is hoping to change that by enacting a law instructing cyclists of all ages to wear a helmet, or else.

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