Coffee-flavored Ramen Available in Tokyo’s Katsushika-ku

This message is intended for Curzon and Nichi Nichi:

I saw this on the Japanese news today:

That’s right. Coffee flavored ramen. It’s a 5-minute walk from Ohanachaya station on the Keisei line. And it’s apparently pretty good. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to eat this strange ramen and let me know how it tastes. Good luck and godspeed!

News Marathon 10: Divided on a female emperor: 4 from Imperial Standards Council Share their views

A good blog post on Japan’s imperial system can be found here (Thanks Metroblogging Tokyo). Anyway, here’s the story: via Goo News:

PM Koizumi’s personal advisory panel, “The Council of Advisers on Imperial Family Standards” gave their 6th meeting on May 31, asking the opinions of 4 experts in a public conference. Their stances were divided along the lines of maintaining the current male imperial line system, allowing a female emperor, and allowing a female emperor only if taken from the mother’s side.

The panel consisted of: Professor Yasuo Ohara of Kokugakuin (Religion and politics), Asst. Professor Shuji Yagi of Takazaki School of Economics (Constitutional Law), Koji Takahashi of Shizuoka University of Welfare (Imperial Family Studies), and Koichi Yokota of Ryutsu Keizai University (Constitutional Law)

Both Ohara and Yagi supported the patrilineal system. Ohara explained, “The fact that we have followed a male imperial line consistently is the root of our national integration’s power,” and Yagi went on to say, “It is not for modern people to change a male line that has continued unabated for 125 generations.” Both suggested either restoring the old prince system or adoption.

Going further, Professor Ohara explained, “Going with a female line would call the legitimacy of the imperial family into question, with some seeing it as a ‘chance to abolish the imperial system.’” He stressed that changing tradition to allow a female emperor might lead to the end of Japan’s imperial system.

Yagi gave historical examples of emperors such as Emperors Keitai and Koukaku that ascended to the throne despite being “virtually unrelated” to the imperial line.

Meanwhile, Professor Takahashi expressed his opinion that Japan should allow a female emperor. When asked why, he responded, “The basic question of who is most suitable to ascend to the throne is whether he (or she) will be widely supported.” As for the order of succession, Takahashi believes that the first-born is best since it is easy to determine.

Professor Yokota also approved of a female emperor. He added, “Unreasonable suggestions such as an adoption system or restoration of the nobility, or changing tradition in order to allow a female emperor will raise the question of whether there is a need to adhere to the imperial system.”

The advisory panel plans to enter into detailed discussion on the matter on June 8th after asking the opinions of 4 other experts.

News Marathon 9: Press Release: East Japan Bank to Begin Selling Japan Investment Trust Management Co.-managed “Japan Good Dividend Rebalance Open”

This is to inform that East Japan Bank will begin selling Japan Investment Trust Management Co.-managed “Japan Good Dividend Rebalance Open”.

The money management fund “Japan Good Dividend Rebalance Open” is a fund operating with the objective of bringing equal-weighted investments by ranking the Nikkei 500 stocks used in the average in order of highest predicted dividend earnings yield, and using the top 70 brands as investment targets.

(1) Using stocks on the market in Japan’s securities markets, the fund operates with the proactive goal of developing trust funds.
(2) In operation, the fund ranks the Nikkei 500 stocks used in the average in order of highest predicted dividend earnings yield and uses the top 70 brands as investment targets.
(3) In investments, we operate fund allocation to each brand with the goal of always bringing equal-weighted investments. However, depending on the scale of trust funds, stock price changes of capitalized brands, and wether the trust funds have entered redemption reserves the fund may not be equal-weighted investments.
(4) The fund will undertake review of the capitalized brands and adjustment of the capitalization ratio (rebalance) once a month.
(5) The fund will undertake a closing of accounts 4 times a year (the 7th of Jan., Apr., July, and Oct. (when that day is a holiday it will be done on the next business day) and shall as a rule pay dividends at those times. The dividend amount of the January account settlement shall be decided based on the baseline price standard if the baseline price is above the initial principal.


News Marathon 8: April Salaryman Consumption falls 3.1% in real terms


According to a Ministry of Home Affairs survey on the April finances of “salaryman” households released on May 31, the consumption spending for one household was 354,991 yen, a substantial decrease 3.1% from this month last year, excluding price changes. This is the first decrease from the same month last year in two months. In nominal amounts displaying the amounts of money actually paid the decrease was 3.0%.

Looking at consumption by expense items, education was the area most depressed with a real decrease of 22.2%. Discretionary income, which is real income after non-consumption expenses such as taxes and social insurance fees are deducted, increased 3.7% in real terms.

News Marathon 7: Obesity Survey: The situation of salarymen who can’t lose weight

Yahoo News:

Kaoh Corporation presented the results of their “Life and Times of the Modern Fat Salaryman” survey on May 30. The survey highlighted a situation where more than 60% of salarymen know that their lifestyles make it “easy for them to get fat” yet “eat fast” “take meals at irregular times” and can’t change their habits or lose weight.

The survey assembled data from 323 married salarymen aged 30-59 living in the Tokyo area. According to the survey, 43% have tried to lose weight but 57% of those actually got fatter. The life habits of those who “fatten easily” are most directly expressed in how they spend their days off, with more than half of them saying “I prefer to relax on my days off,” “I’m a night person,” or that a tiring day causes them to “spend my days off lazing around the house.”

The weight-losing “winners” all commonly “took the stairs instead of the elevator,” “get off the train one station before my destination and walk the difference,” regularly engaging in strenuous exercise. All subjects were equipped with walking meters, and it was found that the daily steps taken by the “winners” averaged 14,900 while the “losers” only took 8546.

Kaoh says of the survey, “The 1500-step difference in steps between the two groups amounts to a walking distance of about 1 kilometer. Weight loss requires general efforts to improve eating habits, but one cannot forget to make a conscious effort to move his or her body even during a busy day of work. (Mainichi Shimbun, by Yasushi Kumagai)