When the foreign press needs a bit of spice, it seems that Japan is often the place to turn for some quirky news. This weeks round-up of fun Japan stories includes De Niro, pandas and porn.
Movie star De Niro plans to open a Japanese themed hotel and condo in New York:
Robert De Niro, a business partner of the celebrity favorite Nobu Restaurant and Hotel chain, plans to open a 140 unit condo and hotel complex where mini-bars contain green tea and sake and sushi rolls can be found on your pillows instead of the usual mint.
With only about 1,400 pandas left in the world, China has offered Japan two of them as a “goodwill gesture”:
After the death of the much publicized and loved Ueno Zoo panda, LingLing, China has offered to lease a pair of giant pandas to the zoo, possibly paying up to US$1million a year for the loan. However, the animal rights group PETA denounced the deal yesterday, saying the animals would be miserable in a zoo and calling for Japan to halt the deal. Other critics also argue that this is an attempt by China to try and repair its public image, destroyed through the Tibet issue.
A Japanese council employee has been caught looking at 780,000 porn websites at work in nine months:
The 57 year old man, who works in Kinokuya in southern Japan, was finally caught looking at almost 10,000 pages containing explicit content per day when his computer caught a virus. According to sources, the man was allowed to keep his job but his wages were cut by approx. ￥20,000 per month (about ten new-issue DVDs, or about a fifteen month online subscription to your favorite fetish site, according to a blogger).
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