University students show the names of their favorite works of author Natsume Soseki during an international symposium at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., on April 18. (Hikaru Uchida)
Meiji Era novelist Soseki becoming trendy across the world 100 years later
Even almost 100 years after his death, novelist Natsume Soseki (1867-1916), who counts popular writer Haruki Murakami among his fans, is gaining new converts throughout the world amid globalization.
Protesters show their opposition to the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to the sea off Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, on April 19. (Koshin Shisui)
Sit-in against relocation of Air Station Futenma marks 10th anniversary
NAGO, Okinawa Prefecture--After 10 years of sit-ins, protesters opposing the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to an offshore site here showed on April 19 that they have lost none of their passion and conviction.
Naomi Takasu, center, asks people at an Earth Day event at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo on April 19 to become involved with a signature-collecting campaign to have the Japanese people awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. (Sayuri Ide)
Group to award Nobel Peace Prize to war-renouncing Japanese continues to seek support
A group campaigning to award the Japanese people the Nobel Peace Prize for abiding by the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution isn't backing off its grassroots effort, now that it has secured an official nomination.
A Free Gauge Train is shown to the media in a rail yard in Kumamoto on April 19. (Jun Kaneko)
New train that can traverse different tracks starts trials in Kumamoto
KUMAMOTO--In development for nearly 20 years, a new type of train that can automatically vary the length between wheels on both sides with variable gauge axles depending on the width of the tracks started test runs here on April 20.
A weeping relative of a missing passenger aboard the sunken ferry Sewol shouts as she tries to march toward the presidential house to protest the government's rescue operation in Jindo, South Korea, on April 20. (AP Photo)
Divers pull bodies from sunken ferry; toll tops 50
MOKPO, South Korea--The confirmed death toll from South Korea's ferry disaster rose past 50 on April 20 as divers finally found a way inside the sunken vessel, quickly discovering more than a dozen bodies in what almost certainly is just the beginning of a massive and grim recovery effort.
Buyers check the quality of nori laver seaweed at the final  bidding of Saga nori this season in Saga on April 18. (Katsuyuki Iwaizako)
Seaweed harvest in Ariake Sea the worst in 14 years
SAGA--The seaweed harvest in Japan’s primary “nori” laver production center was especially poor this season for the first time since a massive crop failure in fiscal 2000.
Kartika Anggita Tanuwijaya, left, learns how to make white canes from Chiaki Shiba, director of nonprofit organization Rokusei, at the With Handa vocational center in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture. At right is Jorobekova Shirin. (Makoto Takada)
Visually impaired learn independence in making white canes for the blind
HAMAMATSU, Shizuoka Prefecture--Founded in 1996 as Japan's first vocational center for the blind, the With Handa vocational center today has become a major producer of domestic white canes for the blind and visually impaired.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama meet on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg on Sept. 5, 2013. (Pool)
Abe, Obama to discuss stronger alliance, China at talks in Tokyo
WASHINGTON--Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama will reaffirm their commitment to a strengthened bilateral alliance when the two leaders meet in Tokyo next week.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye before a trilateral summit meeting in The Hague on March 25 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
DRIFTING ALLIANCE: Obama wants concession on TPP to offset Abe's Yasukuni visit
After the trilateral summit of Japan, the United States and South Korea at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in The Hague in March, President Barack Obama, who coordinated the meeting, asked Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to stay in the room for a private head-to-head.
Akira Amari, state minister in charge of the TPP, talks to reporters in Washington on April 17 after negotiations with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. (Tomoya Fujita)
Japan, U.S. far apart in TPP talks on beef, pork, dairy products
Japan and the United States are mired in a stalemate over beef, pork and dairy products as negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement enter the final stage.
Local residents collect soil samples for inspection in a park in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, while measuring airborne radiation. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Minister sorry for delay in releasing survey results on radiation exposure
Industry minister Toshimitsu Motegi apologized April 18 for a six-month delay in releasing the results of a survey in Fukushima Prefecture about the amount of radiation each resident will likely be exposed to per year.
Evacuees from Tamura, Fukushima Prefecture, attend a meeting in February to discuss the lifting of the evacuation order for the city's Miyakoji district. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Fukushima and the world benefit from full disclosure of radiation information
What should policymakers think about the effects of exposure to low levels of radiation in areas affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster?
Zenrin Co.'s digital maps service now available for tablet device users (Provided by Zenrin Co.)
Zenrin digital map service now available for tablet users
KITA-KYUSHU--Zenrin Co. said it has started offering its digital map service that shows the names of home owners and individual buildings to users of tablet devices.
An explanation of prenatal testing is given to a pregnant woman. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Down syndrome births over past 15 years up twofold
The number of babies born with Down syndrome has doubled over the past 15 years, according to Japanese health officials.
Junichi Hamada, president of the University of Tokyo, right, and Oh Yeon-cheon, president of Seoul National University, hold memorandums to set up offices in each other's campus at a symposium on April 14 at the University of Tokyo in Bunkyo Ward. (Kazutaka Ito)
Top universities in Japan, S. Korea set up offices to promote cooperation
With the relationship between Japan and South Korea on the rocks, the University of Tokyo and Seoul National University are hoping to be a catalyst to improving ties, setting up offices at each other's campus to promote active exchanges.
The main robot from "Gundam Reconguista in G" ((c) SOTSU・SUNRISE)
'Gundam' creator Tomino working on two new projects at age 72
Director Yoshiyuki Tomino, creator of the “Mobile Suit Gundam” robot anime franchise, announced two new projects: a “Gundam” film and a remake that will be jointly produced with a Hollywood studio.
South Korean navy personnel try to install buoys to mark the sunken passenger ship Sewol in the water off the southern coast near Jindo, South Korea, on April 18. (AP Photo)
Captain of sunken South Korean ferry, 2 crew arrested
MOKPO, South Korea--The captain of the ferry that sank off South Korea, leaving more than 300 missing or dead, was arrested on April on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need--three of whom were seen lifeless in the drowned vessel by a diver who was unable to get them out.
A new emblem featuring a high school girl character wearing an "obako" costume in a collaboration with manga series "Yuritetsu" (Provided by Yuri Kogen Railway)
Train-loving 'Yuritetsu' cuties adorn Yuri Kogen Railway cars
A popular manga about a high school girls railway club has ended, but the train-loving "moe" (adorable) characters will live on as their images will adorn the sides of train cars on the Chokai Sanroku Line.
Natsume Soseki (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
VOX POPULI: Even weeds have their own particular beauty
On April 20, The Asahi Shimbun will begin running "Kokoro" (Heart), a masterpiece serial novel first written for this newspaper a century ago by Natsume Soseki (1867-1916).
Several packs of ready-to-eat taco-seasoned ground meat are available in a box, right, or in a plastic package. (Chae-soo Choi)
OMIYAGE FROM JAPAN: 'Chanpuru' culture melds Okinawan, Mexican cuisines in taco rice
Editor's note: This series showcases various kinds of "omiyage" (souvenirs) from around Japan. We introduce you to "must-buy" items that you can get at prefecture-operated shops for promoting local tourism products in Tokyo. The series appears on Saturdays.

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