This Week In Japan #28 (October 16rd, 2020)
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Hosts of This Week In Japan
Born in England, Julian is a writer, videographer & musician living in Tokyo. When he’s not drinking copious amounts of English Tea, he can be found studying Japanese or trying to master the surprisingly complex basics of the Jiuta Shamisen.
Founder of Japan Insider (Former Ryu Tokyo). Japanese-born entrepreneur. Yasu spent his life around the globe – Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Australia, and the U.S. He hopes he had more time to play Japanese RPGs. MBA from Columbia University in the City of New York.
The Demon Slayer Movie is Already Breaking Records
Tickets for the upcoming Demon Slayer movie, Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Ressha, went on sale the 13th of this month. The movie comes out today and is already making history, but not in the way you might think.
TOHO Cinemas Shinjuku has scheduled an unprecedented 42 screenings of the film on it’s opening day. Out of the 12 screens located inside the theatre, 11 will be premiering Demon Slayer. Screenings will begin from 7 a.m. and will end with the last screening starting from 2:50 a.m. the next morning. An additional 41 screenings are scheduled for Saturday as well.
The sheer number of screenings soon became trending on Twitter with words such as “TOHO”, “Demon ticket”, and “movie theatre site.” Many people commented on the extremeness of the schedule, with some joking that the schedule is actually busier than the train schedule in rural towns.
The movie is based on the hit manga series, Kimetsu no Yaiba, which currently has over one hundred million copies in circulation.
Nuclear Power Plant to Open for the First Time Since 2011 Tsunami
The Tohoku Electric Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant has been approved by governor Yoshihiro Murai and will be restarting its second reactor some time in 2022. The nuclear facility has not been in operation since the Great Tohoku Earthquake of 2011. Located in Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture, it was the closest nuclear facility to the epicenter. All three reactors managed to persevere through extreme ground shaking as well as the following tsunami without taking any significant damage.
Despite being unharmed, all three reactors of the plant were shut down after the earthquake according to legally mandated procedures. Reactor 1 has since been planned to be decommissioned. But following a request to restart the second reactor from Tohoku Electric Power Company that was made all the way back in 2013, the Nuclear Regulatory Agency has finally approved the reactor. The seven year wait was due to the NRA waiting for new regulations to be created before conducting the inspection.
During the tsunami, the 14.8 meter tall seawall managed to save much of the facility from flooding. Just north of the facility, a small town was completely wiped away from the tsunami. The 14 meter high wall is cited to be the idea of Yanosuke Hirai, who insisted for the higher walls at the time of the facilities construction. Following the 2011 tsunami, it has since been built up to an even higher 17 meters.
Major Banks Decide to Bail Out Japan Airways/Ramen Shops Continue to Go Under
On the 13th of this month, five major Japanese banks agreed to pay over 400 billion Yen to ANA holdings, the parent company of All Nippon Air. The money will be given as a loan in order to strengthen the financial base of Japan’s airlines, who has suffered a major loss of business due to the coronavirus. The contract is slated to be signed this month.
Another industry that is being hit hard by the effects of coronavirus are ramen shops. Often run by individual owners rather than a chain, the delicious noodles are becoming less widespread. In this year alone, over 34 shops have shut down due to a lack of business, and more closures are expected to continue. Estimations are looking at around 50 shops total shutting down, the highest number of closures since 2000. The stoppage of foreigners coming into Japan has been cited as a particular hit to industry. With no inbound tourists and many customers eating out less, recently opened shops are finding it hard to stay afloat.
An Undefeatable Crane Game
Have you ever felt bad for trying just one-too-many times at a crane game machine? One Japanese Twitter user shared his bad luck last Thursday after losing 200 times in a row at a single crane game.
In Japan crane games, also known as UFO catchers, are a common sight at game centers and contain a wide variety of prizes such as figures, snacks, clothes, gadgets, and more. The difficulty of the game can vary on the weight and shape of the prize and how it is arranged by game center staff. In this case, the Twitter user, who goes by the handle Ogatoon, claimed that the game was rigged to be impossible to win. Soon after, a staff member as well as police were called to investigate the game. Police then watched as the employee also attempted to win the prize, an attempt that would fail over 300 times.
Eventually, the staff member rearranged the item inside and was able to win. Ogatoon also was able to win after several tries. The police decided not to take action and left. After posting his ordeal on Twitter, many criticized the company for being a scam.
According to Sega, the games manufacturer, they are meant to be enjoyed with the knowledge that a prize may not always be won, and customers are encouraged to call staff for assistance if a particular prize seems unwinnable after many tries.
It is unclear whether or not Ogatoon was able to get a refund for his over 200 attempts, but one thing that is obvious is that one should be careful not to get caught by the UFO catcher.
This Week in Japan #35 (December 11th)
This week in Japan an unexpected Nintendo item becomes a collectable, Tokyo aims to eliminate gas cars, Demon Slayer wins out over parents, and more big news stories!
This Week in Japan #34 (November 27th)
This week in Japan, the Go-To Travel campaign is suspended, former Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn’s arrests found “illegal” by U.N. council, and more big news stories!