This week on Japan News Roundup, Polish woman becomes first foreign female Shogi pro, Japan gets some help locating an open stall, Japanese work culture gets gets some breathing room, and more.
Shogi is the Japanese form of chess and is very competitive within Japan, even having its own Japan Shogi Association for training professionals. The 25 year old graduate student was able to overcome professional player Minami Sadamasu at the 44th Women’s Master, or Meijin in Japanese. The aspiring pro hopes to master her craft and move up to Shodan level, the starting point for the women’s senior ranking.
Japanese Company Creates New Service to Help People Find Open Toilets
Major Telecommunications company KDDI Corp houses new service to help citizens on the go find open toilet stalls in different stores, stations and complexes to save you time and agony. Those emergencies will have you panicking no more as censors placed inside stall doors will detect if the door is shut and send the signal back to the website, allowing patrons to see how many open stalls are in different restroom locations, thus fast-tracking your toilet finding needs and streamlining your day. KDDI also hopes this will help stores with complaints about having too few of bathrooms.
Master Sake Brewer Comes Out of Retirement for Good
Naohiko Noguchi, beter known around Japan as a “God of Sake Brewing” announced he is coming out of retirement to open a new brewery in Ishikawa Prefecture at age 84. He says he plans to make sake until the end as he felt sick not working and doing what he loved for the past two years of retirement, brought on by previous health issues. He is the creator of multiple award winning sake’s and his disciples have gone on to work for many different brewers across the country. Good news for sake lovers.
Famous Japanese Author Haruki Murakami Reinvigorates Bookstore Sales
With a new release on February 24th, bookstores across Japan eagerly prepare for the onslaught of fans rushing to buy his new title, “Kishidancho Goroshi”, or “Killing Commendatore”. Pre-orders have already sky-rocketed, constituting businesses to do second print runs much earlier than usual. An employee of the bookstore chain, Maruzen, said “Books by Murakami are hands-down hits,” essentially instant classics. The novel will be put out as a two-part novel, just as “1Q84” originally released as. It will be exciting to see how the unannounced plot will unfold in this highly anticipated work.
Japanese Government Rolls out New Program to Curb Overwork, Fuel Consumerism
With the help of business lobby, Keidanren, the Japanese government is introducing a program called Premium Friday, in which Japanese salarymen leave work early, at 3 pm, on the last Friday of every month. This comes in the wake of some overworking scandals among big companies and many voiced aggravations about the working culture in Japan, spurring more thoughts into its reform. The hope is to give some relief to company employees as well as encourage them to travel, go shopping, and spend more on various activities with their longer weekends. It’s a step in the right direction.
That’s it for this week’s Japan News Roundup!