Chalk drawings made on the walkways in Mirage Land in Uozu, Toyama Prefecture, set a world record for the "largest display of chalk pavement art" on Oct. 12. (Makoto Ukai)
Colorful sidewalk chalk drawings set world record in Toyama
UOZU, Toyama Prefecture--Sidewalks in Uozu's Mirage Land amusement park were certified on Oct. 12 by Guinness World Records as the world's "largest display of chalk pavement art."
A table towel embroidered with cat images from Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture (Choi Chae-soo)
OMIYAGE FROM JAPAN: Onomichi's famous cats featured in table towel souvenir
Editor’s note: This series showcases “omiyage” (souvenirs) from around Japan. We introduce “must-buy” items available at prefecture-operated shops in Tokyo that promote local tourism products. The series appears on Saturdays.
(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)
ASAHI HAIKUIST NETWORK/ David McMurray
Moonlight follows the road to the end
Kyoto Sumiyama Asakura Mokko woodworking studio's Cosmo Coasters are beverage coasters made of surplus maple, black walnut and other woods. (Nanako Ito)
KYOTO GOES KAWAII: Made-to-order wood furniture by Kyoto Sumiyama Asakura Mokko
Editor’s note: This series showcases what we are calling “kawaii” (cute) items made locally in the iconic Japanese city.
Geisha and their apprentice “maiko” learn how to defend themselves from an attack in a class given by police officers at the Yasaka Kurabu theater in Kyoto’s Higashiyama Ward on Dec. 17. (Yuki Kubota)
Kyoto’s geisha, maiko learn how to ward off attackers
KYOTO--Dozens of geisha and their apprentice “maiko” took a class in the art of self-defense for protection against unwelcome attention while walking alone on dark, deserted streets at night.
Shuichi Koshihara makes washi Japanese paper in a traditional handmade fashion on Nov. 14 in Omachi, Nagano Prefecture. (Hidehito Matsumoto)
Washi paper from Nagano captures beauty of autumn leaves
OMACHI, Nagano Prefecture--Papermaker Shuichi Koshihara wows visitors to his workshop by adding a colorful fall-foliage motif to his traditional Japanese paper, but he says there is no magic trick to creating high-quality washi.
Australian Ambassador to Japan Bruce Miller (Photo by Shigetaka Kodama)
Australian ambassador: Soseki’s novels are products of a transitional period
Australian Ambassador to Japan Bruce Miller discovered the works of literary legend Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) during his time at the University of Sydney, where he studied Japanese literature.
Fountain pens decorated with the “makie” technique from the early 20th century will be on display at the Makie Kobo Namiki museum. (Tomoko Adachi)
Pilot to open museum for signature 'makie' fountain pens in Hiratsuka
HIRATSUKA, Kanagawa Prefecture--Leading stationery maker Pilot Corp. will open a museum here on Jan. 15 showcasing its line of pens adorned with a sprinkling of gold and silver dust particles over wet lacquer designs.
The ultimate in “osechi” dishes, priced at 1.398 million yen (Provided by Senshintei Oono)
Ultimate New Year 'osechi' yours for a cool 1.4 million yen
SANJO, Niigata Prefecture--For Japanese wanting to splurge at New Year, a company here is offering what might be the ultimate in “osechi” (set of New Year traditional dishes)--priced at 1.398 million yen ($11,800), excluding tax.
A Sanfrecce Hiroshima cap (Choi Chae-soo)
OMIYAGE FROM JAPAN: Sanfrecce Hiroshima's '3 arrows' represent strength through unity
Editor’s note: This series showcases “omiyage” (souvenirs) from around Japan. We introduce “must-buy” items available at prefecture-operated shops in Tokyo that promote local tourism products. The series appears on Saturdays.
A woman shows off a bottle of “junmai-shu” sake made from ginkgo flower yeast at an Aichi prefectural government office in Nagoya. (Koichi Morohoshi)
Aichi brewers, researchers develop sake that uses local ginkgo flower yeast
INAZAWA, Aichi Prefecture--A sake brewer and prefectural research institute here have successfully developed a “junmai-shu” sake that uses local ginkgo flower yeast from Japan’s largest ginkgo nut producing city.
Kofu's Inden-ya Uehara Yushichi Co. produced a designer handbag in cooperation with Italian fashion house Gucci using traditional "Ise katagami" stencils. (Chisato Matsumoto)
Traditional Japanese artisan firm teams up with Italy's Gucci
KOFU--A collaboration between a centuries-old Japanese artisan house and renowned Italian fashion giant Gucci has resulted in a runaway success.
From left: Voice actress Nami Okamoto, manga editor Yohei Sadoshima and "Space Brothers" anime producer Koji Nagai take part in an exchange program in Indonesia in 2013. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Exports of 'Cool Japan' anime, dramas jump 30%
Export values of Japanese dramas and anime increased 30 percent in fiscal 2013 from the previous year, according to data released by the communications ministry, reflecting government efforts to promote "Cool Japan" material overseas.
Uracchi, Okayama Prefecture’s mascot character, hands out a tissue packet showing the Lower House election date to a citizen in Okayama. (Shuhei Yamashita)
2014 CHOICE: Cuddly mascots out in force encouraging citizens to vote in Lower House poll
In Okayama Prefecture's push to get voters to the polls, it has enlisted Uracchi, the prefecture's mascot in the image of a demon girl, to conjure up interest in the Dec. 14 Lower House election.
A Nishi-Nippon Railroad Co. train decorated with Jibanyan, a character of “Yokai Watch,” at the Nishitetsu-Fukuoka (Tenjin) Station in Fukuoka on Dec. 1 (Motoki Nagasawa)
'Yokai Watch'-themed train runs in Fukuoka, the franchise's birthplace
FUKUOKA--A train decorated with illustrations from the "Yokai Watch" video game and anime franchise is now running on Nishi-Nippon Railroad Co. (Nishitetsu)'s Tenjin-Omuta Line in Fukuoka Prefecture.
A set of Etimo Rose crochet needles with grips comes in a special case. (Choi Chae-soo)
OMIYAGE FROM JAPAN: Hiroshima needles make a point about precision
Editor’s note: This series showcases “omiyage” (souvenirs) from around Japan. We introduce “must-buy” items available at prefecture-operated shops in Tokyo that promote local tourism products. The series appears on Saturdays.
Shigeru Miyamoto speaks during an interview Oct. 25. (Taro Karasaki)
Nintendo's game meister Miyamoto to gamers: Not all fun and games
A sobering message to gamers from Japan’s master creator of games: If you truly aspire to come up with the next blockbuster (think “Mario Bros.” or “Legend of Zelda”), your best bet is to put down the console and go outside.
Calendars made from recycled paper that were once origami cranes are currently available for purchase. (Ananda Kokumai)
Origami cranes donated to Hiroshima find new life as calendars
Sales have started for 2015 calendars made of paper recycled from the tons of origami cranes donated to the Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima.
Battledore paddles depicting Japan's notable people in the news during the year are on display in the Kyugetsu Co. doll shop in Tokyo's Asakusabashi district. (Louis Templado)
Wood paddles highlight Japanese, others who made a smash hit in 2014
Tennis star Kei Nishikori just missed out on his first major title in 2014, but he earned another honor, along with three Japanese Nobel laureates, sumo standout Ichinojo from Mongolia, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)
ASAHI HAIKUIST NETWORK/ David McMurray
Glazed snow on the steps . . . sliding a crisp bill into the mailman’s envelope

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