Saturday, March 31, 2007

British Teacher Found Dead in Sand-filled Bathtub

Update 7: [Saturday March 31st] The late-nite news shed a little light on a theory that is gaining steam in the murder case of Lindsay Ann Hawker.

It is suspected that the alleged killer, Ichihashi Tatsuya, had his eye on Hawker for a period of time before actually approaching her. Partly fueled by interviews with local residents, the theory goes that he had been stalking her. It is speculated that he knew where she lived, worked, and socialized with her friends.

Update 8: [Monday April 2nd] Over the weekend Lucie Blackman's father spoke out in support of the Hawker family.

Articles being carried by both the Japan Times and the Mainichi (English) hint at growing impatience with the pace of the investigation. Mr. Bill Hawker demonstrated impressive restraint and diplomacy during the first news conference last Wednesday when he said that he was satisfied with the investigation being carried out by police (a diplomatic tact was likely coached by members of the British embassy). Now he is attempting to apply some pressure by saying that the country has been "shamed" by this crime.

Update 11


Thursday, March 29, 2007

BizCast on TPR

Trans-Pacific Radio just started a new podcast, called BizCast, that focuses on, you guessed it, business in Japan.

They've got a pretty crazy array of Japan-related podcasts and articles now. Don't quite know where they find the time!


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

British Woman Murdered

The police are searching for the suspected murderer in the death of 22 year old English teacher, Lindsay Ann Hawker.

The late-night news dedicated nearly 5 minutes of their program on Tuesday to discussion of the details of the crime, but what is surprising is that the body was allegedly discovered by police on Monday night.

The delay in reporting on this case, especially by the print media (Kyodo, to its credit, has a couple of items on its website that were posted on Tuesday), is a little strange. This story has not been deemed front page material by most news outlets.

As for the big English-language newspapers in Japan, the Yomiuri and Japan Times still haven't filed a story related to the alleged murder. Meanwhile, the Asahi lists ramen shops, flu shots, and possible landslides as being more news-worthy (one must click past the front-page headlines to reach the article linked to below).

I think most people would agree that if a non-Japanese woman or man was suspected of killing a Japanese, then the story would receive much more attention.

This case is reminding people of what is commonly thought to be impossible: that a foreign resident of Japan can actually be the victim of a crime. Up until now (1pm Wednesday), reporting has reflected that common stereotype.

Hopefully we will have a more complete account of what happened once they nab the guy who is the prime suspect.

And on a side note, how did the police lose the suspect even when they were in the guy's apartment to begin with? Kyodo reported that he escaped from the officers barefoot!

Update 1: [Wednesday March 28th] The Japanese version of the Yomiuri Newspaper posted a brief article on its website at 2:37 this afternoon. It seems that the best place to get a detailed report on this crime is the international media (BBC).

Note: the suspect's name is Ichihashi, not Ichihachi as claimed in the BBC piece.

Update 2: The Japanese version of the Asahi Newspaper covers the same information revealed in the international press in an article posted at 3:17pm today (Tokyo time).

Update 3: Lindsay's father and boyfriend landed in Japan today and have since given a press conference pleading for information regarding the whereabouts of Ichihashi. The nightly news dedicated the first 10 minutes of the broadcast to the murder.

Update 4: [Thursday March 29th] All of the major news outlets have finally come around. It is now Thursday morning, and most papers are carrying articles (Japan Times) that detail yesterday's press conference. Everyone seems to be coming around to what Lindsay Hawker's family has asserted all along--that she had only known the suspect for a short time and was not dating him. The suspected murderer, Tatsuya Ichihashi, has still not been found.

Update 5: Forensic specialists have determined that Lindsay was bound with gardening wire and then strangled. It seems likely (although this is unconfirmed) that the severe beating she suffered preceded her being tied up.

Update 6: [Friday March 30th] The Yomiuri newspaper (Japanese) detailed some of the things that the suspect, Ichihashi Tatsuya, bought at a hardware store before police figured out where he lived. The Asahi (Japanese) talks a little bit about the chronology of events leading up to Hawker's death. The Mainichi (English) ran a story alleging that Ichihashi kept her tied up in his apartment for a while before killing her.

Updates 7 and 8
Update 9
Update 10
Update 11


Monday, March 26, 2007

World Swimming Championships 2007

Crazy comeback courtesy of Park Tae-hwan from South Korea! In the final of the 400m freestyle Park was up against some pretty stiff competition. He is the owner of the Asian record for that distance, but going into the final turn he was in fourth place.

During the final 50m he looked like he had a motor hooked to his feet. I don't know why anyone would want to swim 400m without a break, but he clearly had more in the tank than everybody else. He rewrote his own record by 1.42 seconds, and all this at only 17 years of age! His time was 3:44.30.

Park is swimming in lane five which is the farthest yellow lane from the camera (this clip only shows the final 70m of the race).

And yes, that's me doing the play-by-play.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Mickey Mouse's Minions Smile Big But Can't Pour a Pint

Two cups of beer purchased at the same time (and poured by the same waitress) at Disney Sea in Chiba, Japan.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Suicide in Japan

Japan carries the dubious distinction of having the highest suicide rate in the industrialized world.

Guess what. It's doesn't have the highest rate in the world.

In fact, it doesn't even have the highest suicide rate in the G8.

DeOrio did some suicide myth busting over at Trans-Pacific Radio if you're interested.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Want Clean Air? You Need Clean Poo.

This is the type of air purifier that is used in the restaurant I went to last night. I have no idea whether the deer has anything to do with air purification.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Comfort Women

Click here for a very interesting post over at TPR dealing with the comfort women issue as interpreted by the Japanese government.


Breakfast at Cynthia's (Sept. 3, 2006)

Yong-nam, Cindy, and Mama An after an amazing Vermont breakfast hosted by Mama Brisson.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Baseball Season Begins (almost)

Garrett and I tried to go to a pre-season game between Tokyo and Nippon Ham, but it got, well, winded out. It wasn't even really all that windy, but that was the only reason that the two of us could come up with for canceling the game.

The next home game is slated for Tuesday at 1pm versus Orix. I have to work though, so that game's out of the question.

It looks like my first home game of the season will be versus Yomiuri on Thursday (also at 1pm).


Forced and False Confessions

Click here for a more in-depth look at why many people claim that the Japanese judicial system is backwards and scary.

A couple of points discussed in the article are whether the suspect is presumed innocent or guilty in Japan and if the 99.9% conviction rate is real?

You can also download the podcast version of the article if you would rather listen to it on the way to work.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Interview with Debito Arudou

The folks at TPR have posted a podcast featuring Japanese social activist Debito Arudou.

It's a good listen for those living, or interested, in Japan.


Friday, March 09, 2007

Baby's First TV Commercial

A friend of mine tracked down the first TV commercial that I did in Japan (about three years ago). She found it on YouTube, and it's the 15 second cut. I show up at the very end.

The main actor is Nagase Tomoya, one of the more popular members of TOKIO (a boy band) and an A-list star in Japan. He's very down to earth and was a lot of fun to work with.

The product is Lotte Toppo, and it's a type of snack stick with chocolate in the middle. I had to eat about 40 of them during the shoot...

Update: the clip got pulled from Youtube, so I'll repost it here if it reappears over there (and somebody lets me know that it's up again).


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Jack and Alex's Wedding (Sept. 3, 2006)



A quick read over at Japan Economy News on the number of corporate scandals in Japan over the years.

I would love to see some government numbers...


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Jack and Alex's Wedding (Sept. 3, 2006)

Post-ceremony pre-food pic of Jack and Alex.

Magda and Ryan Lucia in front with Yong-nam providing cover.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The "Bearded Girl" Hostess Club

Translation: "Bearded Girl". Location: Shinjuku (downtown Tokyo).


Sunday, March 04, 2007


Deep stuff going on over at RFD.


McDonald's Shop Closes in Shinjuku (Tokyo)

"Thank you for 30 years of patronage" the red banner reads. "This shop closed on the 27th of January".

No big loss for the McDonald's mother ship though--there are five other shops within four minutes of this place.


Trans-Pacific Radio

More stupid politician tricks discussed over at TPR.

It seems that there will soon be enough shocking comments that have come out of Prime Minister Abe's cabinet (as well as from Abe himself) to fill a book of gaffes. Think Bushisms, but a team effort.


Wedding Reception (August 19, 2006)

Late-nite poker crowd after the reception. (l to r) Josh, Aaron, Anna, and Scott.

(l to r) Anna, Scott, Nick, and Ben.

(l to r) Ben, Chris, and Josh.


Wedding Reception (August 19, 2006)

A bit of Wittenberg: Nick, Carrie, Jessa, and Michael. (note: I have lived with every person in this picture except for one. Michael, you're next!)

Regulars: Devon and Travis. (Shawn, Lisa, and Chris in the background).

King of the keg: Josh.


Wedding Reception (August 19, 2006)

Bristol horseshoes: disc and bottle are already on the ground, but Nick and Travis seem to have lost the plot.

Bristol horseshoes: team Josh and Ben (battle stances).


Wedding Reception (August 19, 2006)


Important people: Yong-nam, Carrie, Kate, and Anna.