It seems to be the opposite of underwear theft, and yet it’s still very creepy.

There are crimes of passion, crimes of desperation, crimes of opportunity, and then sometimes there are crimes that just seem to defy all emotion and logic. One such crime occurred in the relatively quiet prefecture of Gifu, in the form of unlawful drying of underwear.

On 12 May, a 61-year-old office worker was returning home from work at around 5 p.m., but received a shock upon looking at his laundry rack. There, next to his own undergarments, hung an undisclosed amount of women’s underwear that he had never seen before.

The man called police and an investigation was launched into the mystery underwear. By checking surveillance camera footage from the surrounding area, the Gifu Prefectural Police were able to learn that at about 8:20 that same morning a man had entered the property and hung the underwear.

The more difficult task was then tracking the suspect afterward and identifying him, but the police eventually managed to do that too, and on 5 June arrested a 66-year-old man living in Yaotsu Town, Gifu Prefecture.

▼ I’m always impressed with what they can do with those cameras

As of this writing, there has been no announcement on whether the suspect admits or denies drying the underwear, but he is said to be cooperating. The authorities are also trying to determine what, if any, relationship exists between the suspect and victim, as well as a possible motive.

They’re certainly not alone either, because netizens are at a complete loss to understand why someone would do such a thing.

“Ah yes, just as a thought, I don’t understand this at all.”
“I wonder if this …continue reading


The reasons to love this tropical fruit keep piling up.

Summers are getting hotter, and Japan is no exception to that. So it’s more important than ever to stay cool, hydrated, and nourished. According to Japanese banana importer Sumifru, bananas are actually excellent at preventing heatstroke. The tropical fruits can replenish potassium, vitamins, and antioxidants that are lost through sweating, and their naturally occurring fructooligosaccharide can help a queasy stomach.

What’s more, bananas have a fair amount of magnesium, vitamin B6, and niacin, which can boost melatonin and serotonin levels to rejuvenate a heat-weary body. Though they’re on the high side in terms of natural sugars, it depletes slowly, so you’ll avoid the sugar crash you’d experience by ingesting something more processed.

But when it’s so hot and humid–especially in densely populated areas like Tokyo–how do you keep them from going bad quickly? Sumifru explains that the ideal storage conditions for bananas are to keep them in a well-ventilated room from 15 to 20 degrees Celsius, or 59 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

But if that isn’t possible, they recommend storing them in the fridge once their skins start to form brown spots, or “sugar spots”. Putting them in the fridge before the spots form means they won’t get sweet. And make sure to wrap the whole bunch in newspaper or a plastic bag to retain an ideal environment for them! Sumifru also notes that even if the skins darken in the fridge, it doesn’t mean the fruit inside has gone bad.

▼ “Yes!! A sugar spot!!”

Sumifru’s recommendation for enjoying bananas in summer is to wait for those sugar spots to form, then cut them into chunks and freeze them on a tray so they …continue reading


Students are also asked if they’re satisfied with the amount that they have to spend.

Remember back to the simple days of your youth when you got money for doing absolutely nothing but existing? It’s seriously a shame that adulthood doesn’t come with a free monthly allowance clause.

Since the amount of allowance money that parents give to their children varies from family to family (as does New Year’s otoshidama gift money), Japanese human resources company Recruit was curious to learn what amounts families are shelling out for their high school-aged children these days. Therefore, it implemented an online survey in May which asked 1,000 high school students (273 males and 727 females) around the country who receive a monthly allowance how much they receive, when they receive it, and if they’re satisfied with the amount. Before you ask, “But why don’t they just get a part-time job?” remember that part-time jobs may not be as common for Japanese high school students as they are for students in other countries, with the pressures of university entrance exams, cram school at night, and “not-mandatory-but-mandatory” club activities taking up lots of time.

OK, let’s dive in to the survey results. A Japanese high school student’s typical monthly allowance comes out to be an average of 5,582 yen (US$41.28–but remember, the yen is currently at its lowest value against the US dollar in 20 years). For reference, that’s just under the cost of the Pokémon Legends: Arceus Nintendo Switch game, which retails for 6,578 yen.

▼ If you see Meiji-era scholar Yukichi Fukuzawa peeking out at you from your monthly allowance, you’re a lucky high school student indeed. He appears on Japan’s 10,000-yen banknote.

<img src="" alt="" width="640" height="480" srcset=" 1600w,,113 150w,,480 640w,,576 768w,,768 1024w,,1152 1536w,,70 95w" …continue reading


Machine-learning A.I. used to try to skirt Japanese censorship laws.

Last October, officers from the Kyoto Prefectural Police arrested Masayuki Nakamoto, a resident of the city of Takasago, in Hyogo Prefecture. Nakamoto stepped into the sights of law enforcement when he began selling copies of adult videos online, and on Wednesday a verdict was reached in his trial.

The videos the 44-year-old Nakamoto had been selling weren’t just simple pirated copies, though, but videos that he had altered to appear uncensored. Japanese adult videos are required by law to obscure the performers’ genitals, with placing a mosaic over them the most common form of compliance. Nakamoto, though, was selling adult videos that looked like they had their mosaics removed.

“Looked like” is because since the mosaic is hard-coded into the image of the commercially released video, it can’t really be removed. Instead, Nakamoto used an A.I. program, which via machine learning gained an understanding of what uncensored genitals look like, then used that knowledge to create a photorealistic simulated visual representation. Nakamoto then placed the simulated image over the mosaic, making the on-screen performers appear completely uncensored, despite this actually being the second round of digital additions to the original footage, and offered his doctored videos for sale online.

All of that brought charges of copyright violation and “display of obscene electromagnetically recorded media” down on Nakamoto once the authorities caught wind of what he’d been doing. Though he was released on his own recognizance, Nakamoto was back in the courtroom of Kyoto district court on June 29, where presiding judge Shinsuke Danjo sentenced him to two years in prison, with the sentence suspended for three years. The harsh two-year sentence, Danjo explained, was because Nakamoto had regularly and repeatedly engaged in selling the videos over the course of roughly 10 months, while …continue reading


What’s wrong? Snake?! Snaaaaake!

For about a week now, the air conditioner has become a lifeline for many across Japan struggling to do anything in this intense heat. For example, in Nagoya a school’s AC broke down, causing 25 students to complain of heatstroke-like symptoms and classes being cancelled for the rest of the day.

So, you can imagine the disturbance in the force caused by 9,800 voices crying out at once when their air conditioners all got cut off at the same time. The incident occurred in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture, on 29 June when a blackout swept through a large section of the city.

Normally, in cases like this, one would assume that there was too much load on the power station, but actually everything was running fine until about 2:10 in the afternoon. Tohoku Electric Power traced the outage to a substation in the city, and when they investigated it they found the charred remains of a snake. Smoke from the burning serpent had also caused six fire trucks to be dispatched to the scene.

▼ A news report on the outage

According to Tohoku Electric Power, the snake, which had possibly been looking for shade in all the wrong places, slithered into the substation and made contact with a live wire. This caused a short which triggered an automatic shutdown for safety.

Luckily, this meant it only took about an hour for the power to be restored, but one hour in this extreme weather during the hottest part of the day was still a lot for the residents to endure. Local businesses were affected too, such as a barber shop in the area who’s owner said he couldn’t operate without air conditioning.

In other parts of the country, however, there was an outpouring of sympathy for the snake in online comments, mixed with …continue reading


If it’s not Tokyo, can you guess which city made the list?

There are thousands of cities in the world, and each one has its own charms, benefits, and challenges for the people that live in them. And as it turns out, there’s a rating for that. Designed by U.S. magazine Economist Intelligence, the Global Livability Index analyzes the challenges people face in 173 cities of the world and assigns each one a rating based on five factors: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and social infrastructure.

Due to a tie, this year eleven cities made the top ten, and in tenth place, tied with Melbourne, Australia, is one Japanese city that not many Japanese people expected to be the highest ranked for the country: Osaka.

The announcement came as a shock to many since a lot of Japanese people regard Osaka as a city that’s rough around the edges, compared to Japan’s other major metropolises. Though by international standards a relatively safe place, by Japanese standards Osaka has a reputation for more aggressive personalities, and dirtier streets, than other cities in Japan, and with Tokyo deemed the most livable city in the world in 2020 by a different organization, many were surprised to see Osaka ranked higher than the nation’s capital, and Japanese Netizens turned to Twitter to express their surprise.

“What is so livable about Osaka?”
“Even though it’s [often] where the most murders happen in Japan?”
“Personally I think Sapporo and Sendai are easy to live in. It doesn’t snow that much there and the summers are cooler than Tokyo or Osaka.”
“Is Osaka really more livable than Tokyo?”
“I would have thought it was Yokohama. Osaka doesn’t have a good reputation.”

But many other netizens came to Osaka’s defense.

“For some …continue reading


Train photography may have been the motive for alleged Legomaniacs.

Aside from their intrinsic value as entertaining and educational toys, there has been a growing interest in Lego brand blocks as a lucrative investment, given sets’ relatively low fungibility. Unfortunately this has also made them targets for thieves.

That recently became a problem for one toy store inside a mall in Tokyo’s Adachi Ward. The store had was repeatedly the victim of a shoplifter who took several toys but mainly focused on the world-famous blocks, thus earning him the nickname “Lego Kid” among the staff.

But as with any repeat offender, it’s only a matter of time before they get caught. On 24 June, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police took the alleged Lego Kid, 24-year-old Naoto Daitoku, into custody for the theft of 12 toys on the evening of 16 December, 2021. It’s unclear how law enforcement was able to finally track down the Lego Kid, but they also arrested two accomplices aged 19 and 17.

▼ A news report on the arrest

Daitoku and the 17-year-old suspect have denied the charges of shoplifting the 55,000 yen (US$400) worth of toys, saying they “don’t remember.” However, the 19-year-old is said to be cooperating with police and reportedly admitted that all three of them stole the goods and sold everything afterwards.

One of the suspects also told investigators that the three of them became acquainted through being fellow “toritetsu” a subset of train otaku who enjoy taking photographs of rolling stock. This revelation no doubt comes as another blow to the much maligned toritetsu community, members of which appear to be regularly implicated in acts of violence, trespassing, and generally rude behavior.

In fact, a majority of the comments online seemed to focus on the suspect’s involvement in train photography, which is surprising …continue reading


Serious-faced samurai from Japan’s past are helping spread the word/smiles.

Getting a driver’s license is no easy feat in Japan, so if you’ve finally passed all the tests by listening for phantom trains and answering questions about motorcycles and towing 2,000-kilogram loads, odds are you’re going to be overjoyed. So it’s nice that Japan now legally allows you to smile for your driver’s license photo, at least in some parts of the country.

In Japan, the issuing of driver’s licenses falls under the jurisdiction of the police department. Last fall, the National Police Agency asked local departments to review their driver’s license photo regulations and ease unnecessary restrictions. Osaka, known as the center of Japanese comedy, quickly decided to drop its prohibition against smiling for your photo, and Tokyo came to the same decision shortly thereafter.

Ostensibly, the no-smiling rule had been put in place so that the license photo would present the bearer’s facial expression in a natural, undistorted way. As a result, while Tokyo and Osaka drivers can now smile for the camera, they can’t smile too big, The corners of your mouth can curve up, but you have to keep your lips closed, and your eyes must remain wide open as well.

Still, a little levity is now allowed, and as a reminder Japan’s Photo-Me brand of photo booths, which offer driver’s license-size photos that can be used in applications and renewals, are spreading the word with a tongue-in-cheek, smile-on-face awareness campaign starring two well-known but dour faces from Japanese history.

First up is Sakamoto Ryoma, 19th century samurai and progressive political thinker. Ryoma’s famous portrait shows him with his gaze fixed far in the distance, perhaps imagining a Japan no longer ruled by the shogunate’s feudal form …continue reading


Are they using the same Internet as me?

Ever since its beginning, the Internet has continued to enrich our lives by allowing us to see which Pokémon our personalities matched with or find new and unique ways to offend others. But now a government study is suggesting that it may also be the key to living a long and fruitful life.

In the 2022 edition of the Cabinet Office’s Annual Report on the Aging Society, a mail survey was conducted on over 2,000 men and women over the age of 65 across Japan. First they asked whether or not the seniors used the Internet and social media and then whether they felt they had something to live for.

According to the responses it was learned that three times as many elderly people who were active online also felt that they had a purpose in life, compared to those who stayed away from the Internet. The report concludes that this result proves “support for eliminating the digital divide of the elderly will continue to be important.”

▼ For those under 65, results may vary

Meanwhile, younger Japanese people online were rather surprised by the news and wrote comments expressing support for older people using the Internet mixed with concern that they might not be equipped to handle some of the dangers that lurk online.

“I hope their ‘purpose’ isn’t some conspiracy theory.”
“I’m old enough to remember life before the Internet when you had to get news from the TV, so I think its good that my parents’ generation has access too.”
“That’s good news, but I hope they have the literacy to be safe online.”
“Social media seems to have the opposite effect on me.”
“Whenever I see …continue reading


Aqours would not approve.

Last February a trial began in which a 28-year-old man was charged with stealing a large amount of school property because he was infatuated with the anime Love Live! Sunshine!! This month, the man responsible for trespassing and taking a range of classroom items from A/V equipment to desks was handed down a suspended sentence of four years for a two-year prison sentence, and we were given a much clearer picture as to why he did it in the first place.

According to testimony during the trial, after graduating from school the man moved out of his family home and rented a house in Shizuoka City where he got a job as a care-giver. Amidst the loneliness of his new living situation he had become engrossed in Love Live! Sunshine!! The anime which follows a group of students forming an idol group in a coastal city of Shizuoka Prefecture made him increasingly nostalgic for his own school days.

He decided to recreate the room where the characters would hold their music club on the second floor of his home, and at first bought a new desk online. However, it didn’t have the worn-in look that the school desks he remembered had, so for the full effect he made the decision to steal the rest from actual schools.

At the trial he officially stood accused of illegally entering three high schools within a four kilometer (2.5-mile) radius of his home, but he admitted that there were more. Each time he traveled by bicycle, entering unlocked doors and taking as much as he could carry each time, which on a bicycle isn’t much.

He wasn’t subtle either, and he was spotted by neighbors more than once. In one instance he even crossed paths with and officer on patrol who stopped him …continue reading