What matters at Christmas time is the spirit, right? For those yet to be convinced, a tiny Japanese pavilion in Paris offers to initiate Westerners to a 700-year-old gift-giving ritual known as Origata.
You could hardly be further from the push and shove of the holiday shopping season: the tiny wood-panelled cubicle in the city's Latin Quarter is like a hybrid of concept store, art gallery and miniature temple.
Opened this month by Japanese businessman Takeshi Sato together with a young Frenchman, Joan Larroumec, the Miwa pavilion is billed as an exclusive members' club, offering a gateway to Japanese high culture.
Except for the word "ori", meaning to fold, Origata bears no relation to the paper-folding craft of origami.
Since the 14th century, Keishosai Ogasawara's family have held the keys to the art as chiefs of protocol for the imperial family, handing down its codes generation to generation and -- in recent years -- sharing them with the public.
She travelled from Tokyo to witness the opening of the pavilion, which was ceremonially inaugurated by two Shinto priests.
A former Bridgestone Corp. (5108) executive agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to fix prices for auto parts, a day after a grand jury indicted another executive and two former workers at the Japanese tire maker. (Bloomberg )
People enjoy viewing the 15-meter snow walls of the Yuki no Otani (Great Snow Valley), along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route that passes through the Northern Japan Alps to link Toyama and Nagano prefectures. (The Japan News )
Tokyo prosecutors plan to look into whether a man, who has been arrested for allegedly vandalizing copies of Anne Frank's diary, is mentally competent to be held criminally responsible for his actions, informed sources said Wednesday. (Jiji Press )
Apparently perplexed but thrilled to find himself in the spotlight, Iwao Hakamada, formerly the world's longest-serving death-row inmate, made his first public appearance Monday in Tokyo since being released from prison and hospitalized. (Japan Times )
Aichi prefectural police are investigating a possible link between the discovery of the bodies of a husband and wife and their eldest son, and the body of a male relative of the deceased family who was found hanging by his neck in a hotel. (Japan Today )
The body of one of two missing workers who died on March 30 after a floating pier overturned while being unloaded from a barge during construction work on a remote rocky atoll, was found on Sunday, the coast guard said. (Japan Today )