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2008 Volume 1


Toyako - Scenic Site G-Summit

The scenic resort of Toyako, in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, will be the site for the next G8 Summit. World leaders will discuss issues including the global environment in this area of great natural beauty, with its crater lake, forested mountains and nearby sea coast, that is also a fine example of sensitively adapting sports and leisure facilities into the environment. Facilities constructed for the Summit will include advanced environmental technology such as snow cooling system.


"Eco" - The New Brand Image  

Companies today are investing in recycling and reuse systems not just because it makes economic and ethical sense, but also because it appeals to consumers and enhances their brand image. In two examples, a chain store network saw it was wasteful to just discard unsold food items and is testing a program to reprocess them into food for pigs who will eventually provide meat for the store's own eco brand of pork. And a major brewing company is pioneering systems for reprocessing beer by-products into cow feed, as well as recycling almost all items used at the brewery.


New Year's Friendly Demons

Unique to the Oga peninsula in Akita, the custom of namahage is at least 900 years old. Each New Year's Eve, villagers dress in grotesque masks and straw costumes to represent namahage, demon messengers from the mountain gods. Uttering wild cries, the demons visit each home in turn to scold its children for being lazy or misbehaving. After this duty is over, food and sake bring out the demons' friendly side and they bless the home and promise to protect it for the coming year.


The Miniature World of Omake

It's a traditional aspect of the Japanese character to enjoy the skillful creation of miniature worlds, and we see this again today in the omake boom. From their origin as small toys included in packets of candy to promote sales, omake are now a large business in Japan that may follow other Japanese subcultures like anime and manga and spread in popularity worldwide. Produced for a limited period, omake recreate entire detailed worlds from cartoon characters to wild animals, food and home appliances, and have a large following of collectors.





2008 Volume 2


Winter in Japan's Snow Country

Thanks to Japan's complex geography and climate, the winter season here offers many sights found nowhere else. This video introduces three highlights of the Japanese winter: Niseko, famous among skiers for the world's finest powder snow and its superb hot springs; Mount Zao, ehere the ski slopes are topped by a forest that's frozen by ice-laden winds and coated by snow into a myriad of wonderful shapes; and Jigokudani Onsen, a mountain hot spring resort where the bathers are monkeys and humans may only watch.


Tree Surgeons at Work

Japan has one of the strongest traditions of communities caring for their surrounding nature. This is especially true for old trees, partly due to an ancient belief that nature gods reside in certain vigorous long-lived trees. As a result, everywhere you go in Japan you can find magnificent specimens, many over 1,000 years old. Today, these traditions are being given a modern technological boost by tree surgeons, who complement their human skills with the latest equipment for treating elderly or diseased trees.


Robot, a remarkable companion

Japan leads the world in the development and use of robots, especially humanoid robots. Recent advances in this field promise to revolutionize the way society works, as we begin to see the use of robots expanding from the factory floor into almost every aspect of our lives. Some of the most exciting developments are in nursing and welfare, and of these the most promising is a robot known as RI-MAN. This humanoid nursing aide is able to use its whole body to pick up and carry patients, using pressure sensors on its surface to ensure that its touch is always gentle as well a strong.


World's Biggest Comic Convention

Comic Market, known to fans as Comiket, is the world's largest comic convention, a 3-day event that attracts a huge crowd of over 500,000 visitors. Held twice a year since 1975, Comiket was created as a place for Japan's countless amateur manga comic book writers and artists to sell and promote their privately produced fanzines known as doujinshi. Also providing a space for cosplayers to act out their costumed homage to anime and manga characters, Comiket continues to play a major role in promoting this Japanese pop culture that now has fans all around the globe.






2008 Volume 3


Tokyo Girls Collection

Like many aspects of Japanese youth culture, its street fashion is influencing trends worldwide. At Tokyo Girls Collection, top models walk the runway just as they do in the Paris haute couture collections, but there's an important difference – these fashions are all meant to be worn on the street, and the audience are normal young women rather than exclusive industry insiders. In a format likely to be adopted for fashion-conscious youth in other countries too, the show, open to anyone who can buy a ticket, also uses an innovative high tech system (via the audience's mobile phones) for placing orders in real time as the products are displayed.


Japan Tourism Goes Green  

Green tourism is a growing trend, and it's spreading widely in Japan. And naturally, it's being given a special Japanese twist. Farming and hillside communities are developing tours to introduce city visitors to the traditional land use and work practices of the Japanese countryside, long famous for its close integration of human and environmental needs. People can for example, help to work the satoyama , an area around each village that remains partly wild, but has been carefully tended over the centuries to provide the village with sustainable resources and a beautiful landscape. Volunteers are widely available to help the growing number of overseas visitors joining these tours.


High-Tech Hairpieces

Japan has a long tradition of making fine wigs, and their quality is world-renowned even today. In contrast to the focus on fun and fashion that dominates many overseas wig markets, Japanese wigmakers have focused very strongly on total realism and comfort. Each client's head shape and remaining hairline are precisely mapped to allow the factory to produce a custom wig that fits perfectly and looks just the way the client wants. And a high tech solution that creates microscopic irregularities in the fiber surfaces now allows wigs made of synthetic fibers that behave and look just like real hair under all conditions.


Railway Country

Railways were introduced into Japan quite early – in the 1860s – and the nation would go on to develop one of the world's most intensive passenger rail networks, with 27,000 km of track reaching into every part of the country. When you add the comprehensive subway systems found in major cities, it's no exaggeration to say that rail travel forms a close and familiar part of every Japanese person's life from their earliest childhood. Fast, extremely punctual, high-tech and safe, trains carry the Japanese to work, to school and on vacation. As a result, the nation has huge numbers of train lovers of all ages, and a new railway museum – where you can actually drive a train – is proving a big hit.





(c) Embassy of Japan in the Philippines