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  • Friday, 29th May 2015
    In General Japan News,

    Mount Shindake erupts on Kuchinoerabu Island

    A volcano on the tiny island of Kuchinoerabu erupted this morning (May 29th), causing the inhabitants to evacuate. More than 100 people were taken to safety after Mount Shindake unexpectedly blew its top.

    Columns of thick black smoke were seen from neighbouring islands such as Yakushima, as Japan's meteorological agency raised the alert level to five. This is the highest it can go and meant that all 140 residents of Kuchinoerabu needed to be evacuated. In the aftermath of the eruption, a five-minute volcanic quake was felt.

    The agency said that pyroclastic flows, dense currents of rock fragments and hot gases from the explosion had reached the island's north-west shore, but no injuries or damage had been reported. An emergency response team and self-defence forces have been sent to the island by prime minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo.

    He said that everything was being done to ensure that all of the islanders are taken to safety. Chief spokesman for the government, Yoshihide Suga, added that a vessel belonging to the coast guard was on the scene aiding the evacuation.

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  • Thursday, 28th May 2015
    In General Japan News, Weather In Japan,

    Tokyo's temperature hits 30 degrees for first time this year

    The mercury topped 30 degrees C in Tokyo this week for the first time in 2015, marking the beginning of the hot season.

    Japan's capital was not the only location in the country to bake in the sunshine, as places across the country reported similar temperatures on Tuesday (May 26th).

    The Japan Meteorological Agency said that thermometers showed 30.1 degrees in central Tokyo at 1pm on the 16th consecutive day for higher-than-average temperatures in the Kanto region.

    A total of 928 points across Japan are monitored by the agency and no fewer than 88 of them have topped 30 degrees this week.

    Isesaki in Gunma prefecture reached 32.3 degrees; Tajimi in Gifu prefecture recorded 32 degrees; and Kyoto was marginally cooler at 31.5 degrees.

    The Fire and Disaster Management Agency is reminding people to drink plenty of water and use their air conditioning units when necessary.

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  • Wednesday, 27th May 2015
    In General Japan News, Weather In Japan, Japan Entertainment News,

    Japanese films do well at this year's Cannes Film Festival

    The film industry in Japan has had notable successes in recent years, but in order to continue to develop it is important to gain the world's attention. One of the annual events when this can be achieved is the Cannes Film Festival and this year saw a number of Japanese movies perform well.

    A total of seven films from Japan were selected to be screened at Cannes. Director Kore-eda Hirokazu returned with his latest work Our Little Sister, after his other piece, Like Father, Like Son won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2013.

    The Un Certain Regard section, which runs alongside the more well-known Palme  d'Or, featured two Japanese films. While Kawase Naomi gained praise for AN, it was Kiyoshi Kurosawa who won the directing prize for Kishibe no Tabi, which translates as Journey to the Shore. The winning film is a supernatural drama about a grieving widow who is haunted by her dead husband. It received mixed reviews by critics, but managed to wow the judges at Cannes.

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  • Tuesday, 26th May 2015
    In General Japan News, Weather In Japan, Japan Entertainment News, Business In Japan,

    Could 4-hour coffee queues in Japan spell the end for green tea?

    Green tea has long been the favoured drink in Japan, but it seems the nation's taste for coffee could be posing a threat. Since Blue Bottle, a Californian coffee roasting company opened branches in the country, queues to enter the establishments have been so long that some people have waited four hours to get their hands on a cup, reports the Associated Press.

    Blue Bottle is not the first American company to have seized the imagination of the Japanese, with the likes of Taco Bell and other fastfood outlets having done well in the nation before. What is different about the artisanal roaster's approach, however, means that the initial flurry of interest could continue.

    James Freeman, the musician that founded Blue Bottle, openly admits that the concept for the brand was influenced by kissaten - the old-style tea shops of Japan. Unlike other large-scale chains, these Blue Bolt has taken this concept to provide slow coffee experiences, as opposed to sweet concoctions to go. Think dimly lit venues, with good music and real drip coffee.

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