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Behold: Free Wi-Fi at Peak of Mount Fuji

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3,776 meter high WiFi: Now you can check your email and post a selfie on Instagram from top of Mount Fuji, for free

Alexander Martin writes: Free Wi-Fi has reached a peak in Japan, the nation’s highest peak in fact.

Overseas tourists conquering the summit of Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain at 3,776 meters, can now use mobile devices to share their experience via social networking websites or, if so inclined, check their work emails.

Mobile carriers NTT Docomo Inc. and KDDI Corp. have both set up free Wi-Fi hotspots for foreign visitors at the highest spot in Japan. The services, launched last week, will be available until September when the climbing season ends.

Docomo’s service “is aimed at attracting more overseas visitors to Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures, home to Mount Fuji,” the company said in a statement.

Instructions for using the Docomo service are available on fliers at the mountain’s main climbing routes. The KDDI service requires the downloading of an app in advance. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Art of Japanese Woodblock: Upcoming Katsushika MFA Boston Exhibition

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The art of Japanese woodblock master Katsushika Hokusai will flood the MFA Boston from April 5 through August 9, in possibly one of the largest shows of his work ever mounted in the U.S. The exhibition will be comprised of 200 works from its collection, spanning the artist’s 70-year career.

Imagery from Hokusai’s ukiyo-e woodblock prints and paintings have become iconic all over the world, and the MFA Boston happens to have the largest collection of Japanese art outside of Japan. Prints such as Under the Waves Off Kanagawa and Phoenix will be presented alongside lesser-known pieces, such as painted lanterns and delicate cut-out dioramas.

Three Women Playing Musical Instruments, (1818-44). (Photo: MFA Boston)

Three Women Playing Musical Instruments, (1818-44). (Photo: MFA Boston)

Museum-goers will be given a rare chance to see a textile work by the artist: a piece of silk square (called a faukusa in Japanese) that prominently features a mythological Chinese lion. The piece would most likely have been used as a gift wrapper in the 19th century. Read the rest of this entry »


Japan’s Defense Ministry Asks for Record Budget Increase in Response to China’s Heightened Military Aggression

A Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force Type 90 armored tank fires during an annual training session near Mount Fuji in Gotemba, west of Tokyo, Aug. 19, 2014. Reuters
A Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force Type 90 armored tank fires during an annual training session near Mount Fuji in Gotemba, west of Tokyo, Aug. 19, 2014.  – Reuters

TOKYO—Took Sekiguchi reports: Japan’s Defense Ministry has requested a budget of ¥4.899 trillion ($47.1 billion) for the coming fiscal year starting April 1, a 2.4% increase over the amount for the current year. If granted, it would be the third year in a row Japan has expanded its military spending following a decade of cuts.

“We have an immediate neighbor whose military expenditures are at least twice as large as Japan’s and second only to the U.S. defense budget.”

— Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

The figure, requested by ministry Friday, doesn’t include spending related to U.S. bases in Japan, or for the purchase of a new government airplane for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. If these items are included, the total budget request would be ¥5.054 trillion, the largest ever for the ministry. It would also come as Mr. Abe continues his program to beef up the country’s defense capabilities.

“So call me a right-wing militarist if you want..”

Citing the continuing need for ocean surveillance amid tensions with China over disputed islands in the East China Sea, the ministry is requesting 20 patrol planes and five patrol helicopters. It is also looking into acquiring an early-warning radar system and aerial drones. Read the rest of this entry »


Japan Ground Self Defence Force Tanks Take Part in an Exercise at its Higashi-Fuji Training Ground in Gotemba