Tarento Kaori Manabe (center) joined Rie Kuwabara (left) and Masako Ohara of the comedy duo Kuwabara Ohara at a recent event to promote the second collection of Fast Retailing clothing line G.U. The first collection of ¥990 jeans appeared in 2006 under the concept of “buying freely, wearing freedom,” and the current lineup features clothing as cheap as ¥490 with a “trendier outlook” geared toward people of all ages. “I think it’s casual and sophisticated at the same time,” Manabe said. “I like it because I feel like if I were walking my dog in this outfit, I’d be able to give off more of a ‘celebrity’ vibe.” Satomi Honda
Model Marie, 21, startled everyone at a recent AIDS awareness concert when she said, “I have to let you know, I have sex about five times a day. That’s how much I love it.”… Actress Yu Yamada (Seigi no Mikata), 24, was appointed honorary chief of the Yoyogi police station for a day, to help promote a law enforcement effort aimed at preventing bag-snatching… Kotaro Koizumi, the eldest son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, will star in the TV series Koru Senta no Koibito (“Call Center Lover”), starting next month. CB
Clothing-averse pop star Tsuyoshi Kusanagi might be back on the celebrity circuit again, but his lightning-fast rehabilitation hasn’t come without the odd hitch. Weekly magazine Shunkan Bunshun reported in its June 11 edition on a feud between NHK and Johnny’s, the imperious talent agency behind Kusanagi’s supergroup, Smap. In an article rich in sensationalism and low on specifics, the magazine claimed that NHK had incurred the wrath of Johnny’s after it defied a request from the agency not to transmit a live broadcast of the press conference held with Kusanagi after his arrest. As a result, it seems that the broadcaster wasn’t even invited to the soft-focus conference held with Kusanagi on May 28, prior to his TV comeback. Does this mean that Smap won’t be appearing on NHK’s end-of-year extravaganza, Kouhaku Uta Gassen? Your guess is as good as ours.
Courtesy of Glico
Good news for Tokyo office workers who are feeling peckish but can’t escape on a conbini run. Office Glico (www.ezaki-glico.net), an offshoot of the snack maker best known for its Pocky brand, is satisfying their cravings with the Refresh Box. This plastic container takes up just a B5-paper-size worth of desk space, but is stocked with ten varieties of goodies, all costing just a mere ¥100. There are no service, maintenance or equipment fees, and Glico staff stop by once a week to restock the shelves (with new items). Other options include the Ice Refresh Box (which adds a freezer for ice cream) and the Three Temperature Refresh Box (which throws in a fridge for good measure). The service is available in all 23 wards, plus Kawasaki, Yokohama, Chiba, Saitama and various areas nationwide.
sites to see
Oita-based online culture magazine Kakula.jp scored an unlikely hit recently with their Homerare Salon (Salon of Praise). Users looking for a quick pick-me-up enter their name, gender and occupation, and are then bombarded with flattering comments. These range from the generic (“You’re so smart!”; “You’ve got a lovely smile!”) to the more specialized (be it “Hey, you’re in great shape!” for construction workers or “Your miso soup’s the best!” for housewives). The application has proved such a success that Kakula is now making it available as a blog plugin, meaning that everyone can start spreading that automated love.
Some of the steel used to build the 332m, 4,000-ton Tokyo Tower was salvaged from American tanks destroyed in the Korean War
Following the Great Kanto Earthquake on September 1, 1923, prisoners in Tokyo’s jails were allowed to go home and check on their families on the condition that they later returned—and all did
During a tour of Japan, American baseball legend Babe Ruth played in the outfield at Jingu Stadium while holding a traditional Japanese umbrella to protect himself from the sun
When Edo changed its name to Tokyo in 1868, an alternate reading of the kanji led some to refer to the city as “Tokei”—a name still seen in some older English language texts
Sir Rutherford Alcock, head of the British diplomatic mission in Japan, was the first non-Japanese to climb Mt Fuji—in 1860—Mark Buckton
Wondering where to hook up with wireless internet in Tokyo? The bilingual website Freespot maintains a list of hundreds of Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the city. The feature that caught our eye, though, is the filtering function (Japanese only, alas) which allows users to search by location and type of establishment. Handy icons indicate whether power supplies and other amenities are available. So if you’re looking to enjoy an afternoon pint while surfing the web in Shinagawa, or want to check your Twitter feeds while strolling a shotengai in Chiyoda-ku, Freespot’s got you covered. Somewhat redundantly, the site lists internet cafes and manga-kissa, but more useful categories include hotel lobbies, train station waiting areas, convenience stores and schools.
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