As the world continues to dump down oil barrels prices, searching for new political collaborations and resources alternatives, shutting down nuclear plants (well, Japan still needs to learn from this one) and reinventing itself towards a greener path. We can finally sing along (paraphrasing Phill Collins): "I can feel it coming : green is in the air tonight, oh Lord And I've been waiting for this moment for all my life, Oh Lord "
A victim of its own actions, yields on Japanese debt have been pinned near zero ever since the Bank of Japan embarked on its aggressive bond buying program. Europe isn’t much of an option too, as yields turned negative this year on the region’s own quantitative easing.
On Saturday, the People's Bank of China announced that it will cut the benchmark deposit and loan interest rates by 25 basis points starting 1st March. That would put the one-year deposit rate at 2.5 percent and the one-year lending rate at 5.35 percent.
Eurozone finance ministers agreed to extend Greece’s bailout deal for another four months, provided it came up with a list of reforms by this week. Under the deal, Greece will still live under the EU/IMF bailout which Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras had pledged to scrap.
This week, euro-area finance ministers prepare to reconvene in Brussels to try and break an impasse over financing Europe’s most indebted state, Greece.
U.S. non-farm payrolls increased by 257,000 in January, capping a total gain of 1 million workers since November, the strongest three-month increase in 17 years.
With the Japanese lower house of parliament currently debating a bill to legalise casino gambling, the subject of gambling is a trending topic in Japan right now. The bill is the culmination of ten years of lobbying - not least by former Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara - and is seen by many as paving the way for the construction of some of the largest casino sites anywhere on earth.
By Todd Wojnowski
“Trust me.” -- It’s perhaps the least-trustworthy sentence in existence—even children know to put their guards up when they hear it. There’s something diabolical in it that we connect with Hollywood villains and used car salesmen. Directly asking people to trust you is a sure way to tip off that they probably have no reason to, probably shouldn’t.
By Bonson Lam
The Stone Garden in Kishiwada Castle brings together the present and the past in a symbolic way. It was designed by Mirei Shigemori; a famous architect and designer who also built the Kokuan tea house in Kyoto.
By Philip Patrick
As an agnostic, I have never really felt comfortable with the whole “customer is God” philosophy. I know I’m supposed to feel charmed, but I can’t help experiencing mild embarrassment as I am showered with “welcomes” and “thank yous” and “I’ll be waiting for your next visits” by shop staff in Japan, often when I have only dropped into their store to get out of the rain. Basically, I don’t think I’ve really earned it.
By Tomoko Kamishima
More than 800 stone statues sit close together at Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple. Splendid autumn leaves put their arms around the statues and give them a comforting hug. The location of today’s Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple (northwest outskirts of Kyoto) was once a location used for open-air burial.
By Bonson Lam
The best way to get free Wi-Fi in Osaka is to stay in a Wi-Fi enabled hostel or hotel. Surprisingly, you are more likely to get free Wi-Fi at the cheaper accommodation providers, like Hana Hostel or J Hoppers. A lot of business hotels, known for its compact, no-frills 3 star service levels, also provide free Wi-Fi. Hotels like Dormy Inn or Toyoko Inn are also known for its excellent connectivity in all its guest rooms as well as the public reception areas with no password requirements. . They also offer free internet computers at their reception or front desk areas. Higher up in the luxury stakes, Hotel Monterey and Fraser Residences also offer Wi-Fi in all their rooms, while Sheraton Osaka offers Wi-Fi in the reception area to registered guests.
By Dale A. Brown
The Sendai Pageant of Starlight is one of Japan's biggest winter illumination displays. Each year from December 6th through December 31st, 600,000 Christmas lights illuminate the zelkova trees along Jozenji-dori in downtown Sendai. At adjacent Kotodai Park (Kotodaikoen), accessed via the Kotodaikoen subway station on the Nanboku line, are several picture worthy light displays. Across from the park, a temporary ice rink is set up for anyone to enjoy.
By Joan Bailey
Melon-flavored ice cream from Hokkaido. Natamame (sword bean) tea from Hyogo. Mikan juice from Wakayama. Usually such unique regional items can only be savored by visiting the prefecture or city they are from.
By Jane Kitagawa
“The gentleman was here on a holiday in January 2013 with his family,” explains Bruce Gherbetti, deputy chairman of Kizuna Child-Parent Reunion, discussing the case of a Canadian man who had reached out to their organization after his Japanese wife abducted their son.