Japan: Drone footage captures 'Snow Wall' phenomenon

Drone footage captured the stunning snow covered Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route in the Murodo Plain, Sunday. The area is believed to receive some of the heaviest snowfall on the planet, estimated to reach around 66 feet (20.1 metres). A huge path is carved through the snow using 30-tonne ploughs, locally coined Kumataro and Kuma-o. This creates two towering walls on both sides of the road, a phenomenon known as the 'Snow Wall' or 'Yukino-Otani.'

Located 8,038 feet (2449.9 metres) above sea level, the Murodo Plain contains 1,000 year old virgin trees; valleys emitting volcanic gas; Japan’s only glacier and the Shomyo falls, which stand at a staggering 1,148 feet (349.9 metres).

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published April 19, 2015, 07:52 (GMT)

Japan: Drone captures TONNES of nuclear waste being stored at Fukushima

Millions of tonnes of radioactive soil and debris, filmed by drone footage, can be seen packed in black bags in a temporary storage site at Tomioka, Fukushima prefecture, Thursday.

The Japanese government is planning to move the contaminated waste to new radioactive waste storage facilities in Okuma and Futaba.

The new facilities at a size of 16 square km (6.2 square miles) are set to hold 30 million tonnes of radioactive debris for up to 30 years, at which time it is planned to be moved outside of Fukushima prefecture.

A magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck off the coast of Japan on 11 March 2011, resulting in Japan's largest nuclear disaster at its Fukushima nuclear facility.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published April 16, 2015, 17:00 (GMT)

Japan: Crowds go nuts for the Festival of the Steel Penis

The Japanese Kanamara Matsuri - the Festival of the Steel Penis - held each spring in the city of Kawasaki, drew in huge crowds as festival goers took part in processions, carrying giant phalluses on 'Mikoshi' (portable shrines) to the Kanayama Shrine on Sunday.

Penis themed toys and candy were worn and displayed as the people celebrated the legend of the teeth-bearing demonic vagina that was thwarted by a steel penis, which broke the demon's teeth.

The festival, which began in 1977, attracts sex workers who pray for protection against sexually-transmitted diseases, as well as offering divine protection for prosperity, marriage and harmony.

Today the festival has become a tourist attraction, as well as being used to raise money for HIV research.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published April 5, 2015, 13:39 (GMT)

Japan: Driverless cars for ultra-ageing society hit Japanese roads

Driverless cars hit the streets of Japan for the first time, Tuesday, in Suzu city. Kanazawa University has been working in cooperation with the Suzu city government in Ishikawa Prefecture in order to facilitate the campaign.

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Published on March 31, 2015, 12:17 (GMT)

Japan: See Tokyo KFCs SWAMPED as ‘Christmas Fried Chicken’ craze kicks off

Hundreds queued outside Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) branches in Tokyo, Wednesday, in anticipation of the chain’s annual Christmas menu.

Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, but due to a successful marketing campaign, many Tokyo locals have been eating at the KFC’s various outlets every Christmas for the last 40 years. Many even pre-order their dinners up to two months in advance.

The tradition began in 1974 after an expat, unable to find turkey during the holidays, decided to settle for chicken at a KFC outlet in Aoyama. An employee reportedly saw the potential market for a yuletide menu, kicking starting the company’s "Christmas Chicken" campaign.

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Published on December 24, 2014, 17:07 (GMT)

Japan: Festival goers hurl insults at priests

The annual Akutai Matsuri, or Cursing Festival, got rather rowdy at the Atago Shrine on the peak of Mt Atago in Ibaraki on Sunday.

13 priests dressed up as a mythical demon called "Tengu" and traveled through the grounds, making offering to the residents along the way. Meanwhile participants were encouraged to yell insults at the "demons" and to try and rob them of their offerings, as this is so to bring good luck for the New Year. Participants explained that they believe it helps to relieve stress in the otherwise reserved Japanese culture.

Akutai Matsuri is said to have begun around 300 years ago during the Edo period. In recent years more and more foreigners have also started to join the festival, hurling insults in English at the priests.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on December 21, 2014, 16:14 (GMT)

Japan: This guinea pig bridge will warm your soul

The Nagasaki Bio Park Zoo has found a highly original way of moving large amounts of guinea pigs between enclosures, with footage on Friday showing the fluffy creatures crossing a hall via a hand made bridge before scuttling through a plastic pipe.

Staff at the zoo installed the bridge in order to move the guinea pigs from one enclosure to another when the former needs cleaning. The guinea pigs are then attracted to food that is waiting for them in the next enclosure. General Manager Kimitaka Kamichika explained that he wants to "break the barrier between human and animals."

The Bio Park opened in 2004 and strives to create natural habitats in order to keep the 2,000 animals happy and in high spirits.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on December 19, 2014, 14:55 (GMT)

Japan: See people simulate their own FUNERALS

Elderly people took death into their own hands by simulating their funerals in Saitama, Wednesday. Customers of Japan’s booming ‘end of life’ industry can try out coffins, scatter their ‘own’ ashes and chose their preferred funeral music.

The number of death-related businesses in Japan quadrupled between 2000 and 2013, reaching nearly 2,000 establishments across the country. During that period, the industry's revenue has skyrocketed from 263 billion yen ($2.3 billion; €1.80 billion) to 598 million yen ($5.2 billion; €4.1 billion).

The increase in investment has also seen plenty of Japan's branded creativity and innovative technologies being implemented in the funeral business. Ryogoku Ryoen, a multi-story graveyard in Tokyo, is equipped with a system that retrieves the correct tombstone or urn based on the identity card provided.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on November 26, 2014, 09:09 (GMT)

Japan: Kemono lovers flaunt their inner furry BEAST

Kemono enthusiasts dressed up as their favourite furry characters at the 7th Kemocon Furry Convention 2014 at the Kazusa Academia Hall in Chiba, Saturday. Kemono, which translates as 'beast,' is a popular genre of Japanese art and character design.

Widely seen in drawing, painting, manga, anime and video game designs, over 200 Kemono characters at the convention included rabbits, mice, foxes, dogs and cats. Games, dance parties and photo ops were among the activities at the event.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on November 22, 2014, 11:58 (GMT)

Japan: Toyota unveils first hydrogen-powered car

Toyota launched its first mass-produced hydrogen fuel-cell car in Tokyo on Tuesday. Sales of the hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai start December 15 in Japan, and from mid-2015 in the USA and Europe.

The four-door vehicle emits only water vapour and generates electricity from compressed hydrogen gas, making the car suitable for drivers who want to reduce their carbon footprint. However fossil fuels are still used to produce and pressurise the hydrogen power the car runs on.

The Mirai can travel 650-700 kilometres (400-435 miles) on its twin hydrogen tanks and will initially retail in Japan for 6.7 million yen ($57,414; €46,060). The vehicle can be refuelled in three to five minutes.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on November 18, 2014, 09:39 (GMT)

Japan: Check out this 21st century electronic jewellery of the future

A Japanese diamond artist and founder of "Core Jewels," a jewellers in the Aoyama neighbourhood of Tokyo, has designed high-tech jewellery containing Near Field Communication (NFC) electronic chips that allow users to access secure private data stored on their computers. The jewellery functions as a key, enabling the user to access hidden, personal files on either a desktop or laptop computer.

Labelling his philosophy of jewellery "Luxedge," a combination of the words "luxury" and "edge," Masanori Yamazaki, the architect behind the new technology, claims to have transformed jewellery from being confined to conventional ideas to 21st century, revolutionary designs.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on October 26, 2014, 14:34 (GMT)

Japan: Abandoned PETS of Fukushima find new homes

An adoption party for pets left behind during the Fukushima evacuations in 2011 was held for the first time in Iwaki on Sunday.

Hosted by volunteer group Lysta, the aim of the adoption party is to find adoptive parents for the abandoned pets, but also to reunite them with their original owners. One woman was reunited with her dog after two years through this event, and spoke of her grief after leaving him behind.

Lysta currently looks after 11 dogs and 70 cats, including some born after the nuclear disaster. Of the 81 animals, two-thirds were found close to the nuclear plant. Lysta representative, Rie Luzuki, quit her job as a sales assistant after hearing about the abandoned pets struggling to survive in the no-entry zones and began to take them in. The group comprises 40 volunteers as well as two paid staff members.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on 12-Oct-2014, 13:07

Japan: Anyone for a BLACK cheese burger?

Customers at Burger King’s Shinjuku Yasukuni street branch in Tokyo tried the Kuro Pearl and Kuro Diamond burgers on Friday, the latest additions to the fast-food chain's Japanese menu.

The Kuro Pearl burger features a black bun and a slice of black cheese darkened with bamboo charcoal, topped with an onion-garlic sauce coloured with squid ink and a patty seasoned with black pepper. The Diamond version has fresh vegetables added.

The black burger is not the first to be released by Burger King, which had debuted the first Kuro burger, with black buns and black ketchup, in 2012.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on 06-Nov-2014, 14:00

Japan: Gamers heaven! PS4 and Xbox One DEBUT at Tokyo show

Gamers flocked to the Makuhari Messe exhibition centre in Chiba on Thursday at the opening day of the Tokyo Game Show (TGS).

Industry giants Sony and Microsoft debuted PlayStation 4 (PS4) and Xbox One during the event, hosted by the Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association (CESA) and Nikkei Business Publications. Besides showcasing gaming segments and hardware from international developers, TGS predominantly focused on debuts by Japanese developers.

TGS is billed as the biggest gaming event in Asia, with 400 exhibitors showcasing around 750 games. The show is expected to draw more than 200,000 visitors and will run until September 21.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on September 18, 2014, 09:27 (GMT)

Japan: Dengue fever scares Tokyo for first time since 1945

Tokyo Metropolitan Government conducted a cleaning maintenance inside Yoyogi Park amid a dengue fever outbreak Monday morning.

Workers drained the fountains and sprayed them with clean water to ensure that the insects are all washed away. They also sprayed pesticides to ensure all possible carrier insects were eliminated. Yoyogi Park is still closed to the public in order to ensure safety for visitors. Japan’s health minister urged the public not to panic after the popular park in Central Tokyo was closed because of a rare outbreak of dengue fever on Friday. Officials believe most of the people found infected had spent time in or near Yoyogi Park, where they were most likely bitten by mosquitoes that carried the disease. The Ministry of Health reported that 70 people had been found infected with the dengue virus in the past week, in the first outbreak in Japan since 1945.

Dengue, which causes fevers and in rare cases leads to death, is common in tropical climates, but not in temperate Japan. Officials said global warming might be playing a role in the spread of dengue to places like Tokyo. No fatalities have been reported due to the outbreak.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on September 8, 2014, 09:31 (GMT)

Japan: Nagasaki mourns atomic bomb victims

The city of Nagasaki held its 69th annual Peace Memorial Ceremony to commemorate the victims of the 1945 atomic bombing and to pray for lasting word peace. Thousands attended the ceremony at the Peace Memorial Park including those who had lost family members to the bomb detonation.

The United States dropped the plutonium-based 'Fat Man' atomic bomb on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, three days after dropping the uranium-based 'Little Boy' on Hiroshima. The twin bomb attack is estimated to have claimed the lives of around 50,000 people.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on August 9, 2014, 06:39 (GMT)

Japan: Hiroshima marks 69th anniversary of US atomic bombing

Sombre citizens gathered Wednesday at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Japan to mark the 69th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Those who came for the Peace Memorial Ceremony went silent as the Peace Bell was rung and sirens sounded throughout the city at 0815 local time (2315 GMT Tuesday), the exact time the bomb was dropped.

The bomb was dropped August 6, 1945 in the closing days of World War II and marked the first time a nuclear device had ever been used in war. Over 100,000 people died instantly, with tens of thousands more dying later from radiation sickness and cancer. A second atomic bomb would also dropped on Nagasaki.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on August 6, 2014, 02:31 (GMT)

Japan: Whalers hunt, harpoon massive mock-up whale

Hundreds of people gathered to watch whalers hunt and harpoon a large mock-up whale at Kayoi Whale Festival in Nagato, Sunday. Even though the International Court of Justice has banned whale hunting in the Antarctic Ocean, whaling remains an important part of Japanese culture and tradition.

The Kayoi Whale Festival paid homage to the 12th Century period when whalers started to use hand-thrown harpoons and nets. It is believed that whaling off Japanese waters began thousands of years ago.

Although the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, Japanese whalers have continued to hunt the mammal under a loophole that permits lethal research on whales. Hunted whale meat often finds it way into dishes at restaurants across the country. Whale parts are also used in the manufacture of soap, folding fans and fertilizer.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on July 20, 2014, 08:42 (GMT)

Japan: Typhoon Neoguri thrashes Kagoshima prefecture

Heavy winds and rain battered the streets of Kagoshima, on the southwestern tip of the of Kyushu island as Typhoon Neoguri hit southern Japan, Thursday.
Evacuees seeking shelter from the storm gathered in "Tatebaba Fukushikan" in Kagoshima. Around 90,000 people had been evacuated from Kyushu in anticipation of the storm, fearing potential landslides and flooding.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on July 10, 2014

Japan: Typhoon Neoguri kills two before hitting mainland

Typhoon Neoguri made landfall on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu on Thursday morning after being downgraded to a tropical storm. Two people were killed in the trail of devastation left as the storm moved through the Okinawa archipelago, with winds gusting up to 180km an hour.

More than 500,000 people were evacuated from Okinawa and upwards of 90,000 from Kyushu as severe weather threatened to shut down power and cause flooding and landslides. Bodies of water including rivers could swell by up to 10m in height, according to Japan's meteorological agency.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published July 10, 2014, 07:18 (GMT)

Japan: Families flee wrath of deadly storm

Japanese residents took shelter from Tropical Storm Halong on Sunday which has so far killed one 78-year-old man in Gifu prefecture and injured at least 52 people. People could be seen queuing to board trains from Nagoya to the Mie prefecture, where some took refuge in makeshift evacuee shelters like Yokkaichi Kyouhoku Junior High School. According to public broadcaster NHK, local authorities have alerted over one million at-risk residents in southwest Japan to evacuate their homes.

Extreme weather conditions have also affected travel, leading to almost 500 flights being grounded on Saturday, and over 200 flights cancelled today. Bullet trains have also halted some services, leaving many stranded as Japan begins its annual Obon summer holiday.

The storm is next expected to head north, over Japan's main island, Honshu. Forecasters have predicted that eastern Japan, including the Tokyo metropolitan area, will be hit by heavy winds and around 40 cm (16 inches) of rain.

The storm was downgraded from a typhoon after making landfall in Shikoku Island and Hyogo prefecture on Sunday morning. A 6.1 earthquake also hit the northeastern coast of Japan on Sunday afternoon.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on Aug 10, 2014

Japan: Hamster butt is the latest national craze in Japan

Hamsters are now the craze in Japan, with thousands of people taking photographs of the animals behinds and posting them online in Tokyo, Sunday. Two books devoted to photographs of hamsters' posteriors have already sold nearly 40,000 compies, establishing the practice as a national craze.

Fans of the phenomenon have coined the term "hamuketsu," which combines "hamster" and "ketsu" - or buttocks in Japanese. A third book on the phenomenon is set to be released later in July.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on July 6, 2014

Japan: Fishermen don drag to attract fish and fortune

Fishermen caked in a full face of make-up donned women's clothing and danced aboard fishing boats for Ose Matsuri (Fisherman's Festival) in the Uchiura fishing port in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Friday. The eye-popping festival is meant to bring the fishermen safe trips out on the water and bountiful catches.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on Apr 4, 2014


Filmed by Bahag
for FRANCE 24 Mode

Japan: Faithful hounds live out golden years in canine care home

A new nursing home in Tokyo threw open its doors to ageing dogs on Wednesday in an attempt to provide elderly canines with a retirement plan. The luxuriously equipped retirement home offers its animal friends 24-hour medical care, gym and swimming pool access, as well as an opulent hair and nail salon.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on Jul 2, 2014

Japan: Clashes in Tokyo as "collective self-defence" ban lifted

Clashes broke out between anti-militarization protesters and police during a protest opposing the Japanese cabinet's decision to end a post-WW2 ban on "collective self-defence".

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on July 1, 2014

Japan: Pepper the robot can tell if you're happy or sad

Pepper, the Japanese humanoid robot which can sense emotions, was unveiled at a Softbank store in Ginza, Tokyo, on Friday.
Published on June 6, 2014

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on September 8, 2014, 09:31 (GMT)

Japan: Feline fans chow down on cat food on World Cat Day

Cat crazy customers flocked to Tokyo's 'Restaurant Mon Petit' on Saturday, donning cat ears and snacking on a range of "cat food inspired" dishes in celebration of 'Cat Day' on February 22.

The feline "French style dishes" follow the commercial recipe of Nestle? Purina PetCare Company's' Mon Petit', a cat food brand established in Japan in 1987.

As 'Cat Day' is celebrated February 22 every year, the restaurant is open to cat lovers and cat food lovers alike from February 20-24, 2014.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on February 23, 2014, 17:40 (GMT)

Japan: Mud festival makes holy mess

Mud was slung in copious amounts at the Mimusubi shrine in the Japanese city of Yotsukaido Tuesday, as grown men wrestled each other to the ground and hurled wet earth at their adversaries. The annual ritual is thought to bring a good harvest and good health for babies.

Widely known as the "mud festival," the event began with a ritual to pray for a good harvest, before battle commenced. A crowd of spectators was on hand to cheer the combatants on, and they too were coated in thick, wet mud. Shower facilities remained busy throughout the day.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on February 25, 2014, 13:03 (GMT)

Japan: Bathtime gets brutal as hundreds battle it out in bathtub race

Hundreds tried to paddle their way to victory in Ito on Sunday, racing traditional Japanese wooden bathtubs down the Matsukawa river for the annual Tarai-nori Kyoso event in Shizuoka Prefecture, Sunday.

The annual competition features seven races along a route of 400 metres (1,312 ft), with many participants donning costumes.

The race, which started in 1956 and is said to be inspired by the wooden tubs Japanese women used to wash their laundry at Matsukawa river, has become a regional token drawing locals as well as international tourists.

Filmed by Bahag for RT Ruptly, Berlin Germany
Published on July 6, 2014