The Last samurai
whole world can learn from bushido, said Tom Cruise at a press
conference in Tokyo promoting The Last Samurai, one of the years
most anticipated movies, which opens on December 6.
Standing alongside veteran co-stars Ken Watanabe,
Hiroyuki Sanada and Koyuki, Cruise paid homage to the values of
traditional Japanese culture and reiterated his admiration for the
warrior spirit that inspired him to play the role of Captain Nathan
Algren, an American soldier who is taken hostage by the last surviving
clan of samurai during the Meiji Restoration, and who discovers
in his captors an extraordinary code of loyalty and honor.
Apple store Ginza
Apples first overseas retail store held its grand opening
on November 30 in Tokyos Ginza district, bringing one of Americas
leading high-tech shopping concepts to Japan. Strategically located
across the street from the Matsuya Ginza department store, Apple
Store Ginza rises four levels above ground and is filled with legendary
products from a full range of Apples latest computers to the
entire iPod family and the iSight web camera, not to mention a host
of digital cameras and camcorders designed to operate with the Mac.
The store also holds over 400 educational events every month, and
a series of appearances by high profile candidates, the first one
being architect and media creator Maricio Herrera-Palma, are scheduled
Open: 10am-9pm, Daily
3-5-12 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo (Nearest stn: Ginza exit # A13)
Clinton gets soft
Former US President Bill Clinton recently met for the second time
with the parents of a Japanese exchange student gunned down in
a trick-or-treat accident in Louisiana in 1992. The incident, which
took place during his presidency, led Clinton to advocate tighter
gun control measures during his administration.
Ex-lepers steam at being turned away at onsen
A Kumamoto hot-spring resort turned away a group of people formerly
infected with leprosy, citing concerns that the disease would spread
to other guests despite the local government maintaining there was
no such risk.
East of Iraq
Ailing former finance minister Masajuro Shiokawa, commonly known
as Shio-ji, suggested that Iraq is constantly on the mind of recently
re-elected Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, and that the future
of the LDP rests on the handling the rebuilding of the Middle Eastern
state. Matters werent helped when a group of armed assailants
fired rounds into the Japanese Embassy early on November 18, although
there were no reported casualties.
An American environmental activist and a Dutch photographer were
arrested by local authorities in Wakayama Prefecture on suspicion
of cutting whale nets that stranded live whales in the bay near
the traditional whaling village of Taiji.
Zico, head coach of Japans national soccer squad, didnt
gain any points to his credit late last month when his lackluster
team scraped a draw against Cameroon, creating few chances and displaying
an aimless, tactless game the Brazilian is known to field.
A hospital mix-up added to the misery of a family when the wrong
corpse was delivered to their home. It occurred at a Tokyo hospital
when two elderly patients of the same surname passed away at the
same time, causing filing errors at the morgue.
New York Yankees outfielder Hideki "Godzilla" Matsui,
who became the first Japanese player ever to hit a home run in a
World Series, returned to Japan on Friday after completing his first
season in the major leagues. Matsui, 29, who arrived at Narita airport
to come home for the first time since Feb 3, was the only member
of the Bronx club to take part in all 163 games this past season.
Tokyo on Alert
The al-Qaida international terrorist network warned Japan that it
will attack Tokyo as soon as Japanese troops are deployed in Iraq,
Radio France said. In a statement sent by email to London-based
weekly Arabic magazine al-Majallah, an al-Qaida spokesman said al-Qaida
will infiltrate deep into Tokyo and attack the Japanese capital
as soon as Self-Defense Forces troops set foot on Iraq, according
to the report.
The message acknowledged al-Qaida's involvement
in November's deadly attacks on British targets in Istanbul and
said Japan can be easily destroyed and the Japanese will come to
face the reality, the radio report said.
Kumamoto Hotel Criminally Charged
Justice Ministry's Kumamoto District Legal Affairs Bureau has filed
a criminal complaint with police against a hotel in Kurokawa hot
spring resort, Kumamoto Prefecture, alleging that it violated the
Hotel Business Law in connection with the hotel's refusal to provide
lodging to former patients of Hansen's disease.
Criminally charged are Ai Ladies Kyuden Kurokawa
Onsen Hotel, its head office, Aistar Company Ltd., and the general
manager of the hotel. The Justice Ministry's local office, having
received November 18 a report on the incident from Kumamoto Prefectural
10 years after facing charges of child molestation, Michael Jackson
is back in court defending similar allegations of lewd and disorderly
conduct with a minor. Jacksons Santa Barbara ranch was raided
whilst the singer was in Vegas shooting a music video, and despite
his proclaiming innocence, an arrest warrant was issued following
a 14-hour search of the infamous property called Neverland.
South of the Border
Its not just immigrants but onions that now have a hard time
crossing the Rio Grande, after US authorities recently discovered
a batch of Mexican green onions caused an outbreak of Hepatitis
A in Pennsylvania.
The owner of a vodka store in Volgodonsk, Russia, was charged with
manslaughter after the winner of a vodka-drinking contest he had
arranged died of alcohol poisoning. The deceased man had downed
1.5 liters of 80-proof liquid in half an hour. Five other contestants
ended up in intensive care units, while others returned the next
day for more.
Despite mixed reviews and shady figures, ambushed soldier-turned
celebrity Jessica Lynchs autobiography was ranked number one
on the New York Times list of nonfiction best sellers. Lynch
received $1 million in advance payments.
Beating around the Bush
US President George W. Bushs recent visit to Britain was taken
none too lightly by Londoners dissatisfied with influential US policies
in IraqDissenters dyed the fountains of Trafalgar Square in
red, while a chasing Bush campaign proliferated among
cell-phone users where by the presidents whereabouts were
tracked, sending armies of protesters his way.
The Golden State
Newly-elected California Governor Arnie was sworn into office in
a toned-down ceremony, in which he stressed that all the years of
training and body-building have taught him one thing people,
and the State of California, are stronger than they think they are.
Phil Spector denies murder charge
Legendary record produ-cer Phil Spector has appeared before a California
court, formally charged with murder.
B-movie actress Lana Clarkson was found at his mansion in February
with a fatal gunshot wound to her face. Mr Spector pleaded not guilty
to her murder during a brief hearing in Alhambra, near Los Angeles.
He remains free on $1m bail. Mr Spector made his name in the 1960s,
when his Wall of Sound technique transformed pop music and he produced
acts like the Beatles and the Ronettes.
EU hi-tech crime agency created
The European Union is setting up an agency to co-ordinate work to
combat the rising tide of cybercrime. The European Network and Information
Security Agency will help educate the public about viruses, hacker
attacks and other security problems. It will also act as a co-ordinator
for Europe-wide investigations into virus outbreaks or electronic
attacks. ENISA has a budget of 24.3m euros (£17m), will start
work in 2004, based in Brussels.