Tokyo's Asakusa neighborhood is one of the capital's top tourist destinations. Sensoji Temple and the shopping arcade nearby offer visitors a glimpse into traditional Japan. This coming weekend, though, the area will be full of Brazilian energy and the passionate rhythm and music of samba.
Now in its 32nd year, the Asakusa Samba Carnival, modeled after the Rio de Janeiro original, has grown to become Japan's biggest samba festival. Originally started in 1981 after Taito Ward invited over the winning group of that year's Carnival in Rio, the festival today features thousands of dancers - male and female - dressed up in gorgeous costumes.
Japan has been stung by its third political scandal in a week after the country's new industry minister - whose predecessor resigned over allegations of misspending - admitted that his staff had spent office money at a sex bar. (The Guardian)
The government said Friday it has chosen Nobel physics prize laureates Shuji Nakamura and Hiroshi Amano and five others as this year's winners of Japan's top cultural award, the Order of Culture. (Kyodo)
In possibly a legal first, a female civil servant on Tuesday sued the government over what she calls institutional sexism at the ministry she works for, citing almost two decades of blocked promotions and pay raises. (Japan Times)