(English) Government Considers Ending Dance Ban

(English) The national government and the Liberal Democratic Party have started examining revisions to the Entertainment and Amusement Trades Control Act that would end the ban on dancing after midnight in clubs and bars. The move is part of the government’s efforts to promote culture via relaxed regulations. The revisions would mandate how establishments can attract patrons and how they should handle highly inebriated patrons while eliminating the need to obtain a permit from the local public safety board. At the earliest, the new law could be submitted to the extraordinary session of the Diet this fall. The revised law would also permit post-midnight live performances at jazz bars and live houses depending on their proximity to residential areas and other conditions. Source: Nishinippon Shimbun 8/13

Read More 8月. 14, 2014, 12:27

(English) More Foreigners Visit Kyushu

(English) The Kyushu District Transport Bureau announced that 634,449 foreigners visited Kyushu between January and May, making for a 15% year-on-year uptick. A dramatic increase in the number of port calls by Chinese cruise ships has contributed to the rise in visitor numbers. Between January and May 2014, the Port of Hakata welcomed 75 cruise ships, or the same number that made ports of call all last year. In total, 49,000 visitors landed at the port, 300% increase year-on-year. The Transport Bureau says it will continue promoting Fukuoka in overseas markets in hopes of attracting 1.4 million visitors this year. Source: Nishinippon Shimbun 8/12

Read More 8月. 13, 2014, 17:19

(English) City Presents Scholarships to First Batch of Sponsored Students

(English) On Aug. 8, Fukuoka City held a conferral ceremony for the eight recipients of its Startup Scholarship Loan. The ¥100,000/month scholarship is given to local university students to subsidize study abroad for up to one year on an exchange program sponsored by their university Students who join a local company or start their own company upon returning to the city are exempt from repaying the loan. “I want to improve my communication skills, expand my personal networks and tell everyone about Fukuoka,” said Misa Kirikihira, a 4th-year student in the Kyushu University Faculty of Law who will spend one year at Newcastle University in Great Britain. Source: Nishinippon Shimbun 8/12

Read More 17:18

(English) Island City to Get New High-Rise Condos

(English) Fukuoka City announced that four companies—Osaka-based Sekisui House and Fukuoka-based Nishi-nippon Railroad, Fukuoka Jisho and Saibu Gas Kosho—will team up to build four high-rise apartment buildings on Island City in Higashi Ward. The four buildings will range in height from 32 to 46 stories and cost ¥32.6 billion to develop. Construction is slated to begin in 2016 and last seven years. According to project leader Sekisui House, the buildings will use renewable solar and wind power to reduce CO2 emissions. One building will contain a day service center and and apartments equipped with handrails for the elderly. Source: Nishinippon Shimbun 8/11

Read More 8月. 12, 2014, 10:13

(English) City Hall to Test Work-at-Home Scheme

(English) Fukuoka City announced that it will begin a trial run of a work-at-home scheme for city employees who need to care for children or elderly relatives. The City aims to encourage similar schemes in the private sector by taking the lead with this initiative. The only other local government in Kyushu with a work-at-home program is Saga Prefecture. According to the City, 75 employees, many of whom were women, voluntarily resigned last year to care for children or elderly relatives. The City provides unpaid leave for childcare and eldercare, but has been examining ways to improve the workplace environment for women. Employees who work under the new scheme must work at least four days a week using a laptop computer provided by the City, and they must work at least one day a week at their workplace. They will be tasked with data entry and document creation, insofar as the jobs contain no personal information. Source: Nishinippon Shimbun 8/11

Read More 10:12

(English) Kyushu Gets First Tanita Shokudo

(English) On Aug. 6 Tokyo-based health monitoring scale manufacturer Tanita opened one of its health food restaurants in Yakuin. Dubbed a Tanita Shokudo, it is the company’s first restaurant in Kyushu and the third in Japan. The Yakuin shop is managed in cooperation with local cram school operator Anem Holdings. Menu items at Tanita Shokudo restaurants, like the company’s staff cafeterias, are limited to 500 kCal and 3 grams of salt. The restaurant, which will be open from 11:00 to 15:00 until mid-August, Monday~Saturday (Closed Sundays and holiday), also features an on-site health counseling room. The daily lunch starts at ¥ 780, and store hours and menu options will be expanded later. Based on Tanita’s plan to open one Tanita Shokudo per prefecture, Anem looks to expand to other areas of Kyushu in the future. Source: Nishinippon Shimbun 8/5

Read More 8月. 7, 2014, 11:16

(English) Can LCCs Survive with Osprey in Saga

(English) The Japanese subsidiary of Chinese low-cost carrier (LCC) Spring Airlines began its Narita-Saga route on Aug. 1. The new route is part of the prefectural government’s efforts to make Saga Airport a hub for LCCs, but the national government recently expressed its intention to deploy several SDF Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft at the airport and allow them to be used on a temporary basis by US Marines re-stationed there from Futenma Air Base in Okinawa. Saga Airport opened in 1998 and has been operating in the red ever since. To remedy the situation, the Prefecture proposed a plan in 2011 to attract LCCs. Spring Airlines launched a Shanghai route in January 2012, and Korean LCC T’way Air began offering Seoul flights last December. If Saga accepts the government’s plan, Prefectural officials will be faced with the issue of whether civilian and military aircraft can coexist at the airport. Source: Nishinippon Shimbun 8/4

Read More 8月. 6, 2014, 17:55

(English) 355th Chikugo-gawa Fireworks Festival Rescheduled

(English) If you missed out on this year’s Ohori Fireworks Festival, here’s your chance to see another an even bigger fireworks display in Kyushu. The 355th Chikugo-gawa Fireworks Festival did not go ahead yesterday (8/5) due to bad weather and is now rescheduled for tomorrow 8/7 (Thu.) 19:40~21:10. With origins in 1650, it’s one of the best known and largest fireworks display in Western Japan and serves as the finale to the Mizuno Saiten Kurume Matsuri. 18,000 fireworks are launched in parallel from two positions (Sasayama & Kyomachi), illuminating both the Chikugo River and sky. Get there early to spread out a blanket along the riverside and relax. Remember to check the official website for weather updates – the festival may be further postponed in case of bad weather. Full information & more fireworks listings: http://fukuoka-now.com/2014/06/fireworks-guide-2014/

Read More 11:20

(English) Former Hanshin Tigers Slugger Randy Bass in Fukuoka

(English) Former superstar slugger for the Hanshin Tigers baseball team, Randy Bass, will be at PARCO Tenjin tomorrow to promote his original brand of beef jerky – “Bass Triple Crown”. Bass will be at the Kitano Ace shop in the food section of PARCO between 13:00~15:00 and 16:00~18:00. Buy 2 bags (50g) or more and get your choice of photo with him or his signature. Bass is often credited as single-handedly turning the fortune of the Tigers which resulted in the team’s run and eventual victory of the Japan Series in 1985. He won four consecutive league batting titles; in 1986, he nearly became the first player in Japan to bat .400. Bass won consecutive batting Triple Crowns (1985 and 1986). In 1985, he was on a pace to break Sadaharu Oh’s record of 55 home runs in a single season, but fell short by one, because in the last game of the season the pitcher from Oh’s Yomiuri Giants threw only intentional walks. (source Wikipedia) He says he’s looking forward to meeting Hanshin Tigers fans there.

Read More 11:13

(English) Film: Karaage ☆ USA, Set in Oita Prefecture

(English) A new feature film set in Kyushu will be released this September. “Karaage ☆ USA” (2014/Japan/95 minutes) was filmed in Usa City, Oita – a city known throughout Japan for its mouthwatering specialty of karaage (fried chicken)! Former member of idol vocal group “Morning Musume” Ai Takahashi plays the main character Ayane – a girl who cannot eat fried chicken despite having been brought up in Usa. She returns to her hometown for the first time in five years with her American stepdaughter. While there she learns about the importance of family and home. The film will be premiered in Kyushu on Sep. 13, then shown across Japan. Be forewarned – you may leave the cinema with a craving for karaage!

Read More 8月. 5, 2014, 10:50
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