Yakuza University: It’s a hard knock education

Higher education for many yakuza begins in jail.

 Le monde criminel possède souvent son propre langage et ses propres expressions. Les yakuza ne font pas exception à la règle. Par exemple, plutôt que de dire « aller en prison » (刑務所に行く : keimusho ni iku), ils diront « aller à l’université » (大学に行く : daigaku ni iku).

AKB48: A Microcosm Of Dark Corporate Japan. Sexual exploitation of child labor is sooo cute. (Book review)

AKB48 aren't just a band of  teenage girls creepily sexually exploited by a money-grubbing management team that includes an ex-yakuza associate, they're also symbols of how badly workers in Japan get screwed over--in every way.

Shohei Sakakura has linked Black Companies with the nation’s most famous and lucrative girl group AKB 48. “AKB48 and the Black Companies,” and his indictments make Walmart look like a towering monument to worker’s rights. Yasushi Akimoto was a Zegen with a vision – having never been popular in high school himself, he recognized the deep sexual frustration and vast need for sexual fantasies festering in the educated and dateless Japanese male.

Confessions of A Yakuza Bodyguard/芸能界のドンの用心棒の告白

In October of 2011, it became illegal to profit the yakuza in any business including showbiz.  The attempts to ban yakuza from the entertainment world have sadly been more amusing than effective.

It may come across as an excuse but the entertainment industry will never see the end to altercations with the local yakuza regarding profit. When I was requested to be the bodyguard, I initially thought that I would serve as the fixer for yakuza issues. In actuality, Suoh asked me to work for him after the shootings targeting him, which later turned out to be staged by nobody but Suoh himself. I did not for a second imagine that I would be asked to “destroy” or “kill” an actress when I first took the job.

The Tokyo Vices Of The Great White Journalist: Christopher Johnson

The Troll. The Bully. Self-proclaimed journalist. Terrible nuisance.天の邪鬼

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, I heard that your daughter gives really good head… and so does your son.
Hey, I wanted to hear if your children are getting a good sleep because… when you get fired, and I get fired, you’re going to have to put your kids out of international school and into Japanese school and I’ll be waiting for them. (Troll, 2007)

Hey, Baby? You’re fired & don’t come back. Maternity Harassment (MATAHARA) and The Working Woman in Japan

Fighting Against Maternity Harassment is a grass roots effort

According to Japanese Trade Union Confederation, matahara is an abbreviation of “maternity harassment.” The word refers to mental or physical harassment that some workingwomen go through when they announce to their colleagues that they’re pregnant or after they come back to the office from maternity leave. Some women come back to find themselves demoted or receiving a pay cut. In the worst-case scenario, some are even pressured to quit or fired. Harassment comes not only from men in the office but other women as well—sometimes out of irritation that their workload will increase, sometimes out of a kind of jealousy.

Heal Your Expat Heart: Find Your Element Workshops Starts September 14

Well-known and respected Yogini, Mae Yoshikawa will be conducting a workshop in June.

If you feel like you’re on someone else’s path, feel creatively blocked, are bored with your current job, and remain unsure about whether you are maximizing your potential and/or whether you ever will, you are not alone. We created the “Find Your Element Workshop” and the “Enhance Your Element: Introduction to Mindful Meditation” to help connect you with what you want and with who you are.

How did Japan’s Whalers Of The Past Feel About Their Job & The Whales They Killed?

whales kissing

Despite the popular opinion that Japan’s dedicated pro-whaling community comes from a background of legendary, barbaric whalers who slaughtered whales without mercy, some reports show that pre-harpoon whalers were actually very considerate for the feelings of these giant creatures. Sociologist Hiroyuki Watanabe’s book titled Japan’s Whaling, takes a broad look at the entirety of the […]

Governmental Parties to Youth: ‘We can be cool too!’

The bands on the lineup for Shimokitazawa's youth voting and rock event for Sunday's election.

Prime Minister Abe and opposing parties have been vying, sometimes with music, to attract the first-time youth voters to join their sides.

Your red dress is waiting. love and leukemia and coming home


Michiel “Mimi” Brandt passed away on July 9th 2012, from complications of her third bone marrow transplant. She was thirty years old. She was one of the founders of this blog and my BFF (Best Friend Forever). If you’ve read Tokyo Vice, you’ll find the following acknowledgement: “Michiel Brandt, the most cheerful researcher and two time leukemia survivor in the world. She’s inspirational”.

I’ll have to correct that.

“She was the most cheerful researcher and four-time leukemia survivor in the world. She was inspirational and the best friend I have ever had.”

Manga and Dating Sims: The Real Path to Japanese Mastery

Check out our review of Benjamin Boas' story of how he got interested in Japan through games and manga.

Boas also provides some useful vocabulary for the basic Japanese learner, particularly while exploring manga and anime’s odd visual effects to communicate emotion, such as veins popping to signal anger which often resemble traffic intersections, and teardrops the size of ostrich eggs to symbolize embarrassment. Boas also touches on the fact that characters often respond to getting excited by girls’ underwear by getting intense nosebleeds or 鼻血(hanadji), which I first thought to be chopsticks sprouting from their noses (pictured below).