‘Two Michelin Star’ Food Poisoning at Puffer Fish Restaurant in Ginza

The Tokyo metropolitan government announced that a woman who had a meal at a puffer fish restaurant ‘Fugu Fukuji’ in Ginza, Tokyo complained of lip numbness and a headache, and was temporarily hospitalized. Chuo City health centre came to the conclusion that the woman had food poisoning from puffer fish because she ate the toxic liver. The restaurant is due to have its business suspended and Tokyo metropolitan government is also considering administrative punishment.

According to the restaurant, Fugu Fukuji was awarded two stars in ‘The 2011 Michelin Guide to Tokyo, Yokohama, Kamakura’ which evaluates restaurants and hotels.

According to the metropolitan government, the woman and a male acquaintance started the meal at about 8pm. She ate ‘Kimo Ponzu’ which uses the liver of the tiger puffer. At about 10.30pm, she complained of food poisoning symptoms and was hospitalized in the healthcare facility in Shibuya city. She was discharged the next morning.

‘Kimo Ponzu’ was not on the restaurant menu. The puffer fish chef reported to the healthcare facility ‘I provided it because the customer asked for it. I have served it to her male acquaintance in the past’.

In interviews, the restaurant has stated, ‘We are sorry that we have disappointed our customers. We seriously regret what we have done.’

Adapted and Translated from Sponichi Annex


Puffer fish (‘fugu’ in Japanese) is one of the most celebrated but also most notorious of Japanese dishes. Special licences are required to prepare and serve the fish in restaurant, as the toxic parts need to be carefully removed to ensure they do not contaminate the parts of the fish that are eaten. Some consider the liver to be the most delicious part of the puffer fish, but it also the most poisonous and consuming it can result in death. Serving the liver in restaurants was consequently banned in Japan in 1984.


Baby Macaque Monkeys on Mt. Takasaki

In the prime of their mischievousness







On Mount Takasaki Natural Zoo in Oita City, where wild Japanese macaque monkeys have made their home, the babies born this year can be seen playing vigorously with the ‘jungle gym and slide’ installed specially for them.

According to the zoo, a total of 94 baby macaques were born to two groups on Mount Takasaki between May and September 2011. At a month or two old, they are grown up enough to play in groups, and they start to integrate into the macaque society. In the evening, the mothers come to collect their babies and go back to the mountain together.

Adapted and translated from asahi.com

Japanese manga outstrips Tintin

ONE PIECE initial print run of 4,000,000 – a publishing history first

On 4 November 2011, the first-run printing of the 64th volume of ONE PIECE (Shueisha Inc.), a Japanese comic book series by Eiichiro Oda, reached 4,000,000 copies; a Japanese publishing history first. According to Shueisha, the cumulative circulation of the ONE PIECE comic books in Japan is more than 250,000,000. The 64th volume print run surpasses the initial print run of the 57th volume, released in March 2010, which reached 3,000,000 copies.

Adapted and Translated from asahi.com 

Cumulative sales of Les aventures de Tintin (first published in 1929) are estimated at around 350,000,000, a figure which has already been matched by Akira Toriyama’s DRAGON BALL (first published in 1984). As a relative newcomer, ONE PIECE (first published in 1997) has a phenomenal following in Japan and its latest volume looks set to break all sales records.

Never heard of ONE PIECE? Find out more on the Shonen Jump website.

Best selling cumulative sales of manga and comic books:

1. ONE PIECE                      250,000,000 copies

2. DRAGON BALL               156,050,000 copies

3. Kochikame                        155,270,000 copies

1. Classics Illustrated          1,000,000,000 copies

2. X-MEN                               400,000,000 copies

3. Les aventures de Tintin  350,000,000 copies
3. Asterix                                 350,000,000 copies
3. DRAGON BALL                350,000,000 copies

Invite 10,000 foreigners and create ‘Safe Source’ word of mouth

¥1.2 billion requested by the Commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency

On the 19th  of October, Mr Mizobata, Commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency, held a press conference at the tourism trade fair ‘ITB Asia’ as it kicked off in Singapore. He announced a plan to pay for 10,000 foreigners to visit Japan in 2012, to help the recovery of foreign tourism which has dropped significantly in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake. The Tourism Agency will invite foreign sightseers to share their experiences via the Internet and show the world how safe and secure Japan is. ¥1.2billion (£10 million) for this project has been requested from the 2012 fiscal budget.

The Tourism Agency will recruit 10,000 visitors via the Internet in several languages, including English, Chinese, Korean and Spanish. They will select foreigners who can share their experiences via membership-based social network services such as Facebook and the micro-blogging site, Twitter. These people will be provided with complimentary round-trip air tickets. After the budget year ends, the Agency is planning to continue the project the following summer as well. The Commissioner, Mr Mizobata said, ‘We want people to transmit the image of a safe and secure Japan, by word of mouth, leading to an explosive recovery of foreign tourism.’

Adapted and Translated from jijcom

I’ll be reporting  when the Japan Tourism Agency announces how the selection process will take place, so bookmark this blog and check back soon!

What do you think about this plan to increase tourism? A great idea or could the money be better spent elsewhere?

Japan’s Most Dangerous Festival?

Traditional Festival Kicks Off in Osaka, Japan

The annual “Kishiwada Danjiri Festival” commenced in Kishiwada, Osaka today.

The festival highlight is “Yarimawashi” during which four-ton wooden floats are pulled at a right angle around street corners. Groups of men pull the floats at speed, encouraged by great cheers from the thousands lining the streets as each Yarimawashi is performed.

The Kishiwada Danjiri Festival expects more than 500,000 visitors over the 17th and 18th of September.

Translated and adapted from NTV NEWS24

Five Kishiwada Danjiri festival facts:

  1. The Kishiwada Danji Festival began in 1703
  2. Men risk their lives, dancing on top of the danjiri as they’re dragged around the streets
  3. More than 40 men have died in danjiri accidents over the last 100 years of the festival
  4. Each danjiri is sponsored and costs around 200,000,000 yen to make (over £1.5 million!)
  5. All Kishiwada residents must contribute to the cost of the danjiri – you can’t live in the city if you refuse!