500 grams of premium Sato Nishiki cherries fetch record-breaking 1.4 million yen at the first auction of the year

TOKYO — The first auction of the year was held on Jan. 5 at Tokyo’s Ota wholesale market, with a number of Takarabune treasure boats decorated with colorful vegetables put on sale. The largest 3-meter-long boat was sold for 500,000 yen, the same price as last year. Dealers at the auction hoped for the earliest possible recovery of the areas in the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture hit by a powerful earthquake on New Year’s Day. In addition to two largest boats, four large boats were sold at 150,000 yen each. An official of Maruni Co., an intermediate wholesaler which bought the boat, said, “We are worried as there are … Continue reading

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Is it really a toy or genuine?

TOKYO, Dec. 23 – A series of capsule toys featuring Japanese local milk brands is making a big hit in Japan. The gacha toys created under the supervision of the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations (ZEN-NOH) are as small as a little finger but look precisely like a 1-liter milk carton or a 200-ml milk bottle, which you see every day everywhere in Japan. Having a retro feel that attracts mostly young people and a lineup that allures collectors, they are helping to create milk fans. You turn a lever of the gacha vending machine to get one of the six miniature milk cartons and bin, like that famous … Continue reading

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Hospitalized patients enjoy virtual strawberry picking using sense sharing technology

IBARAKI, Dec. 22 — Patients hospitalized at Shimuraomiya Hospital in Hitachiomiya, Ibaraki Prefecture, experienced on Dec. 21 picking strawberries virtually in a hothouse located 10 kilometers away. The patients wore on their arm a sensor that transmits their movements to a robot in a remote location using a technology called BodySharing. They cheered and clapped as they saw in a monitor a robot picking strawberries. The technology, which has been developed by H2L Inc., a startup based in Tokyo’s Minato Ward, involves detecting with a sensor an arm’s muscle movements, as well as the inclination of the arm and the speed of its movements, and sending the data to a … Continue reading

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A wide variety of daikon radishes displayed at washoku exhibition in Tokyo

TOKYO, Dec. 17 — Slim, long, round, red, big — the replicas of 25 local daikon radish varieties from across Japan is attracting attention of visitors at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo’s Taito Ward. The display is the main feature of a special exhibition on washoku Japanese cuisine that illustrates how the unique culture of Japanese food was formed, from various perspectives including science and history. The exhibit was organized to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of washoku’s inclusion in the list of intangible cultural heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2013. It is supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry … Continue reading

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To welcome new year happily

MIYAGI, Dec. 14 – In Kami Town, Miyagi Prefecture, makers of shimekazari, a traditional Japanese New Year’s decoration, have entered the busiest time of the year. To  prepare approximately 6,000 shimekazari Kazuko Ito, 73, and nine female farmers and neighbors gather at her house, adding the finishing touches to the shimenawa straw rope ornaments by decorating them with mizuhiki paper cords, hiba tree leaves, rice straws, etc.They use Hitomebore rice straws cultivated at Ito’s rice field and hiba leaves from local “Igune (homestead woodlands).” Shimezakari-making by female farmers began approximately 40 years ago to make their pocket money. “We do this to welcome the new year happily, like we buy … Continue reading

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