Japan in first national quake drill since tsunami Japan on Thursday conducted its first national earthquake drill since the March 11 disasters that left 20,000 dead or missing and triggered a nuclear crisis. Police supervised traffic at some 100 points in central Tokyo while passengers were guided to safe zones from train stations in a simulation of a post-quake scenario in which all rail and subway services are suspended. Disaster Prevention Day is an annual drill to train for a potentially deadly magnitude-7.3 quake scenario in Tokyo and is held to commemorate the anniversary of the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, which killed more than 140,000.
1 Sep A new erotic photo book is achieving brisk sales in spite of not revealing any of the faces of the female models nor full nudity, reports weekly tabloid Shukan Asahi Geino (Sep. 8). The magazine says that the book emphasizes the subtle aspects of swimsuits and uniforms: The skirt of a sailor suit gently rises to expose high up a thigh; a sock is visible just before a change into a swimsuit; and an exercise session gently reveals a bare midriff. The book "Natsufuku Joshi (Summer Clothing Girls)," by Million Publishing, is recording tremendous sales, ascending to the top of the photo book section of Amazon.jp at the end if July (and still holding that position now). (Tokyo Reporter)
1 Sep Following BEAST, CN Blue has been reported to be caught up in Japan due to their entrance being denied for visa problems, delaying their upcoming press conference. CN Blue was originally supposed to enter Japan through the Haneda Airport on August 31 but was denied for the same reason BEAST was denied earlier this month. The group has an official press conference for their major debut on September 1 as well as music video filmings. (soompi.com)
1 Sep With the aid of bacteria that lowers the level of sodium in soil, a farmer in the city of Iwanuma, Miyagi Prefecture, harvested 150 tomatoes last month on farmland that was swamped by the March 11 tsunami. The cyanobacteria - also called blue-green algae - is found in seawater and sludge on the seafloor. Since it consumes salt when it photosynthesizes, it lowers the level of sodium when mixed in soil. Farmer Etsuo Iizuka, 62, used the soil on his 1,000-sq.-meter tsunami-damaged farm to plant 400 tomato plants in June. Each yielded about 10 tomatoes. (Japan Times)
31 Aug Vines creep across Tomioka's empty streets, its prim gardens overgrown with waist-high weeds and meadow flowers. Dead cows rot where they were left to starve in their pens. Chicken coops writhe with maggots, a sickening stench hanging in the air. This once-thriving community of 16,000 people now has a population of one. In this nuclear no-man's land poisoned by radiation from a disaster-battered power plant, rice farmer Naoto Matsumura refuses to leave despite government orders. He says he has thought about the possibility of getting cancer but prefers to stay - with a skinny dog named Aki his constant companion. Nearly six months after Japan's catastrophic earthquake and tsunami, the 53-year-old believes he is the only inhabitant left in this town sandwiched between the doomed Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station to the north and another sprawling nuclear plant to the south. (twincities.com)
31 Aug A growing number of Japanese men and women keen to lose weight are slipping into underwear which claims to burn hundreds of calories a week, simply by wearing them. Perfect for exercise-shy food-lovers, the MXP Calorie Shaper Pants are made with non-elasticated material that the company claims can make muscles work extra hard while walking or climbing stairs. The new underpants, from the Tokyo-based Goldwin company, claim that the average 10 stone man who walks 90 minutes a day while wearing them can lose 210 kilocalories weekly - the equivalent of half a litre of beer. (telegraph.co.uk)