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Madame Tussauds brings world's most famous celebrities to Japan

Madame Tussauds brings world's most famous celebrities to Japan
majirox news - Sep 29, 2011

Madame Tussauds will be coming to Japan. Outside of Buckingham Palace, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is perhaps the most famous attraction in London, featuring astonishingly lifelike, full-scale replicas in wax of famous personalities such as Nelson Mandela, David Bowie, Marilyn Monroe and Winston Churchill. Tussauds now has permanent exhibits in 13 cities throughout the world. The exhibit in Tokyo will run from Sept. 30 until January next year and features 17 different figures. "Each figure takes close to four months to make in our workshops in England," says a spokesman for Tussauds. (majirox news)
Japan's post-tsunami tourism haunted by atomic fears
AFP - Sep 27, 2011

(Fears about the effect of leaking radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant have all
but stopped the influx of visitors)

Seagulls flock around passengers on the deck of a cruise boat, hoping for scraps; hotels and inns show no-vacancy signs and fresh oysters are served in seaside restaurants. But despite an appearance of normality, business is far from booming in Matsushima, where serene pine-covered islands have attacted generations of tourists to an area classed as one of Japan's three most beautiful spots. (AFP)

First Boeing 787 lands in Japan
AP - Sep 28, 2011

The first Boeing 787 landed Wednesday in Tokyo where launch customer All Nippon Airways will prepare the long-delayed aircraft for its inaugural commercial flight. The plane took off from Everett, Washington Tuesday morning to cheering workers after a three-year delay in bringing the new wide-body jetliner to market. Boeing missed the initial May 2008 delivery target and had repeatedly delayed its introduction because of problems in development. The plane goes into service on Oct. 26 with a special charter flight from Narita International Airport to Hong Kong. ANA will begin using the 787 on regular domestic routes on Nov. 1. (AP)

Gleeful Boeing hands first 787 to Japan's ANA
Reuters - Sep 26, 2011
(A 787 Dreamliner sits on the tarmac at Boeing Commercial Airplanes manufacturing facilities at Paine …)

Boeing Co workers presented the company's first 787 Dreamliner in the pouring rain to All Nippon Airways on Monday, capping nearly a decade of development of the world's most advanced jetliner. Around 500 Seattle workers flanked the gleaming, carbon-composite aircraft as it was slowly towed toward its Japanese buyers at a podium outside the planemaker's mammoth Everett, Washington, production plant. Supplier problems, late design changes and a two-month strike on the production line have put the new aircraft more than three years behind schedule. (Reuters)

A compact guide to guidebooks on Japan
Japan Times - Sep 27, 2011
News photo
(Grand tour: Tourists stand on the edge of Lake Motosu in Minobu, Yamanashi Prefecture,
in July, with Mount Fuji in the background.)

Despite the Internet revolution and resultant websites and blogs offering information about every conceivable aspect of any country you'd care to name, many people make sure a copy of their favorite guidebook is in their $500 suitcase or $5 backpack before boarding a plane. When you're surrounded by a language and culture not your own, there is something reassuring about being able to thumb through a book to find that hotel, bar, restaurant, train station, bus stop or sightseeing spot you're desperately looking for. (Japan Times)

White pine trees among symbols of Yakushima
Yomiuri - Sep 21, 2011

The late Fumiko Hayashi wrote in her novel "Ukigumo" (Floating Clouds) that it rained "35 days in a month" on Yakushima island, 60 kilometers south of Kyushu. The island is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is famous for its rainy weather and yakusugi cedar trees that are more than 1,000 years old. But, according to a leader of a local volunteer group, Yakushima also is home to other symbolic trees. These are yakutanegoyo, a species of Japanese white pine, which only grow in the wild on Yakushima and Tanegashima islands, according to Kenshi Tezuka, leader of the volunteer group overseeing the white pines on Yakushima. (Yomiuri)

Tsunami hits Japan hotel prices
etravelblackboardasia.com - Sep 19, 2011

Japan hoteliers have experienced a hit from the recent quake and tsunami, with major cities witnessing a double-digit drop in average hotel prices for the first six months of the year. Feeling the brunt of natural disasters, Japan's cities Hiroshima and Kyoto witnessed double digit price falls of 38 percent, 33 percent in average rates. Despite experiencing similar impacts, New Zealand's Wellington and Auckland have experienced an adverse effect, welcoming a 15 percent and three percent growth for the same period. According to Hotels.com, Australian hotels also welcomed growth, with the country achieving three times the global average three percent hotel price growth with a nine percent increase over the period. (etravelblackboardasia.com)

Fun is brewing in Yokohama
Japan Times - Sep 16, 2011
News photo
(Down the hatch: A group of attendees try out a variety of brews at the 2009 edition of
the Great Japan Beer Festival in Yokohama.)

More than 9,000 people slurped and swilled at last year's 200-beer extravaganza in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, but this time there's added incentive to sip up. The Japan Craft Beer Association invites you to raise a glass toward those in their industry suffering in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake; and they will give your cash to local governments in need of help. Association President Ryouji Oda believes a rich beer culture is integral to healthy communities, and the decision to donate money started with a desire to repay "counterparts in Japan and overseas who have sent thoughtful inquiries about the safety of breweries, beer pubs, distributors and tasters." (Japan Times)

Typhoon No. 12 heavy rains damage World Heritage Site
Yomiuri - Sep 14, 2011

The Cultural Affairs Agency has decided to conduct a full-scale investigation into the damage caused by Typhoon No. 12 to a UNESCO World Heritage Site that spreads across Wakayama, Nara and Mie prefectures. Agency staff were to be sent on Wednesday to investigate the harm done to the heritage site known as "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range." Huge landslides occurred within the site on ancient roads known as Kumano Kodo, and there was also damage to the Kumano Sanzan shrines. It may take several years to restore the areas to their original state. (Yomiuri)

Year-round playground Yamanashi
Japan Times - Sep 4, 2011
(Square meal: Houtou, a local speciality.)

In all of my visits to Yamanashi Prefecture, never before has catching sight of Mount Fuji left my heart beating so fast. Certainly, any view of that lofty symbol of Japan is sure to impart a sense of awe at its scale and natural beauty. But this time, it was the 121-degree freefall right after my fleeting glimpse that rocketed my pulse rate and took my breath away. With at least seven major twists, and 1,000 meters of track that rears up to 43 meters (141 feet) above ground level, Takabisha is the latest Guinness world-record addition to Fuji-Q Highland in Fujiyoshida. (Japan Times)

Thatching plans for an ecological future
Asahi - Sep 4, 2011

Such is the march of progress. Concrete, metal, wood, carbon slats and clay roof tiles define the way homes are built today. But over the centuries, one technique has endured: the thatched roof. Not only is it one of the oldest building techniques known, it offers the added advantages of durability and protection from the elements -- although one cannot downplay the risks of fire hazard. The work of creating a thatched roof from scratch also fosters community spirit, still alive and well in rural Japan but less so in the nation's cities. Although many regard thatching as a dying art, a new generation of craftsmen in Japan is trying to keep it alive. One of those is Minoru Shiozawa, a representative of Kayabuki-ya, a company that runs thatching workshops. (Asahi)

Echizen-Ono: The home of a castle, and pure, clear water
Yomiuri - Sep 4, 2011

ONO, Fukui--I boarded a one-car train on the JR Etsumihoku Line at Fukui Station. It was Saturday daytime. The train was filled mostly with locals, the window curtains drawn. I occasionally peeped out to find the scenery increasingly deserted. I was relived when I arrived at Echizen-Ono Station, where I could feel the expanse of a town, albeit surrounded by mountains. Crystal-clear groundwater flowed out from the end of the station's platform, hinting at Echizen-Ono's rich water source. The station's natural spring is known as Eki-shozu. (Yomiuri)

Things get a little fishy in Meguro
Japan Times - Sep 2, 2011
News photo
(Sanma in the city: Merchants cook up sanma (Pacific saury)
for visitors at last year's Meguro Sanma Festival.)

Expect long lines and the smoky aroma of grilled fish to fill Tokyo's Meguro district as the Meguro Sanma (Pacific saury) Festival comes back to the streets on Sept. 4. The annual festival will carry special meaning this year as up to 6,000 sanma will be delivered fresh from the city of Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, one of the areas heavily affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11. With the toppings of sudachi lemon and grated daikon (radish), also donated by cities in Tokushima and Tochigi prefectures, the fish will be offered free to visitors. (Japan Times)

By TS on Oct 4, 2011
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Author:T. SATOH