3 Things You Need to See in Japan Before They’re Gone



3 Things You Need to See in Japan Before They’re Gone

If you ask most people to name something synonymous with Japan, they’ll probably say “geisha, anime, and sushi.” And while all three of these items are originated in the land of the rising sun, and are popular abroad, they’re not the only things that represent the island nation. If you’re planning a trip to Japan, you’re going to want to make sure that you time it properly so you can experience one of these popular festivals and immerse yourself in Japan’s vibrant culture.

Tenjin Matsuri in Osaka

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If you’re planning a trip in late July, then be sure to book your dates around the 24th and 25th for Tenjin Matsuri (“matsuri” means festival), which takes place in Osaka on the same dates every year. It’s one of the most popular festivals in the country, ranking in the top three events for locals and visitors. Just like anywhere else, summer is a popular season for festivals, and this one has a history dating back 1,000 years. Tenjin Matsuri celebrates the Sugawara Michizane deity, who presides over scholarship and learning.

While Tokyo and Kyoto are considered to have more reserved residents that might be shy to interact with foreigners, Osaka is considered more laid-back, making it a welcoming option for visitors who don’t speak Japanese. The two-day festival includes outdoor events, theatrical performances, and processions as well as plenty of opportunities to eat, drink, and be merry.

Awa Odori Matsuri in Tokushima

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Find us a nation that hates dancing and we’ll be very shocked. Just like anywhere else, dancing in Japan is a way to celebrate, connect with loved ones, and share cultural traditions. Awa Odori Matsuri is a festival that takes place every August in Tokushima and is specifically focused on celebrating various dance forms that originated in Japan. Often ignored in favor of more fast-paced cities like Tokyo, Tokushima transforms into a vibrant oasis as processional dances take place daily throughout the six-day event.

Performance troops come from across the nation to showcase their well-crafted dances. Awa Odori Matsuri has become so popular that the event attracts millions of visitors from around the world. In addition to processional dances, there are stages with riser seating set up for easier viewing as well as the occasional dance competition between competing troops. If immersing yourself in Japanese culture is your goal, consider this festival a crash course.

Sapporo Autumn Festival in Sapporo

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Sapporo is a city located on the northernmost major island within Japan—Hokkaido. Most people might be only vaguely familiar with the city because of the beer that has the same name (and yes, that beer is brewed there!). But Sapporo is also well-known for its numerous festivals that take place throughout the year. You might be aware of their winter festival, Sapporo Yuki Matsuri, which often features astounding structures etched entirely from ice or snow—but we’re not here to talk about that.

If you come to Sapporo in September, then you’re in for a real treat because you can plan your trip to coincide with the Sapporo Autumn Festival. Foodies, wine lovers, and craft beer fans will rejoice at this event because it centers around good food, drinks, and camaraderie. However, plan accordingly because the festival dates can shift depending on when autumn is set to start each year. While this is usually in September, the specific dates can change. In 2019, the Sapporo Autumn Festival will take place from September 6 through the 29th. But since that’s almost the entire month, you have a bit more flexibility and won’t feel pressed to create an itinerary focused on a small window of time.

4 Amazing Beaches in Japan



4 Amazing Beaches in Japan

Japan is a beautiful country on all levels. It has incredible architecture in the cities (both modern and ancient); tall, statuesque mountains; stunning green gardens and forests; and much, much more. It also has some amazing beaches that you just have to see. Here are four of the best beaches in Japan to put on your itinerary.


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Located in south Wakayama, Shirahama is known as the region’s “natural wonder.” To be completely accurate, though, this breathtaking beach is not actually one hundred percent “natural.” While the sand that makes it up is truly fine, white sand, this sand is not actually from this area. Most of the beach is made up of sand brought in from Australia. The cliff formations and hot springs are real, though, as is the jewel-like blue water, which is enough to make you forget that it took a little work to put this whole thing together.

Oarai Sun Beach

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The largest beach in the Kantō region, Oarai Sun Beach has the parking lot to prove it. So many visitors come to enjoy this beach every summer that a “monster parking lot” was built to hold all of their cars. This lot has 7,000 spaces, so there should be an open one for you! Once you get to the beach itself (which is even more enormous than the parking lot), it is covered in a pretty white sand that is thankfully absent of all the rocks and debris you might step on other beaches. The water is calm for the most part as well, thanks to the rock formations in and around it, making this a great place for swimming and snorkeling.

Jodogahama Beach

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If you have read any of our other articles, you will know that we are suckers for volcanic rock formations. That’s reason enough to put Jodogahama Beach on our list of beaches to visit, as it is decorated by some truly amazing white volcanic stones that were created more than 52 million years ago. You can also see the remains of ancient lava flows here, as well as a calm sea and lush, green forests of pine trees. This beach is easy to get to and easy to love, but surely difficult to leave!

Yonaha Maehama Beach

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Almost every list of beautiful beaches in Japan agrees that the number one spot goes to Yonaha Maehama Beach in Okinawa. This is a great destination for both visitors and locals, as it is around 400 miles away from the rest of Japan. This means that not only is it more peaceful than the city, but the air is cleaner and the general vibe here is a more relaxed one. With nearly 4 miles of beach to spread out on, there is plenty of space for everyone who wants to come and sunbathe or walk in the sand without feeling crowded. To make it even better, the water is a dazzling shade of light blue that makes it look like something from a postcard or a watercolor painting.

4 iconic pop culture sites (and where to see them)




4 iconic pop culture sites (and where to see them)

When you go on vacation do you stick to classic attractions like museums and castles? Or would you rather do a bit of sleuthing to find eye-catching places you saw in a movie or television show? If that’s you, this means that pop culture has played a major influence on your travel decisions. And if you’re in need of a bit more inspiration to decide where to go next, these four iconic pop culture sites should help make up your mind.

Shibuya Scramble Crossing, Tokyo

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Made famous by: Lost in Translation

If you’ve seen this award-winning flick that starred Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, you know that Lost in Translation was as much an “advertorial” for visiting Tokyo as it was about two people awkwardly trying to manage the culture shock and discomfort of adjusting to life in an entirely new country. Shibuya is a very popular district in Tokyo that’s known as a nexus of entertainment fashion, and the site of the infamous Shibuya Scramble Crossing.

This is literally an intersection right in front of one of Tokyo’s busy JR East train line stations and between massive multi-level department stores. While you can certainly enjoy the experience of doing the scramble by crossing back and forth across the three intersecting streets, you can also visit the Starbucks in the Q-Front building that overlooks the crosswalk from up high.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

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Made famous by: Game of Thrones

If you’re not a Game of Thrones fan, you probably know Dubrovnik as a gorgeous seaside town in Croatia that’s perfect for summer vacations and music festivals. That is certainly true, but if you did watch the popular HBO show, you’re well aware that Dubrovnik also serves as the filming location for the fictional King’s Landing. Pretty much any place that has been used as a backdrop in the show is now a popular tourist destination.

But Dubrovnik has doubled down on their new-found interest. If you plan on visiting here, visit the city museum that doubled as Littlefinger’s brothel, then stop by the Trsteno Arboretum, which is where Lady Olenna Tyrell stayed during her visits to King’s Landing. After all of that Game of Thrones sightseeing, just enjoy the architecture of this historic medieval town. And if you visit Dubrovnik in the summer, time it right so you can experience the nation’s largest festival, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.

The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

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Made famous by: The Shining

You may have read one (or several) of Stephen King’s many books or watched the accompanying movies. Well, it turns out that King was inspired to write The Shining after he visited this hotel. The Stanley Hotel is a turn-of-the-century establishment located in Estes Park, Colorado, near Rocky Mountain National Park. Apparently, even the literal King of horror (pun intended) was so spooked by his stay at this hotel that he wrote The Shining.

If you’ve never read the book or watched the movie directed by Stanley Kubrick, it’s the story of a man (infamously played by Jack Nicholson) who is hired to be the on-site groundskeeper/maintenance man for a hotel during the offseason. But shortly after his arrival with his family, spooky things begin to happen. And in real life, this gorgeous architectural gem that debuted in 1909 is said to be haunted. Rather than downplay this rumor, the hotel embraces it by acknowledging that The Shining renewed interest and investments in the space. If you’re up to the challenge, the Stanley Hotel even offers a night tour.

The Painted Ladies, San Francisco

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Made famous by: Full House

San Francisco is an iconic and historic town in its own right. From the TransAmerica Building to its cable cars traveling up and down Powell Street, the city is a photographer’s dream. But if you grew up watching TGIF on ABC or you’re getting your nostalgia kicks from Netflix’s Fuller House, you’re probably familiar with this particular pop culture location. The Painted Ladies are Victorian-style homes that sit across from Alamo Square. Each of the homes is painted in three colors to help them stand out.

While this tourist attraction has continued to rise in appeal, you might be a bit bummed to realize that very little Full House filming took place in San Francisco. These iconic homes were used in the opening credits and in establishing shots of the show. In truth, only one episode, “Comet’s Excellent Adventure,”was shot in the city.

So do you have your bags packed yet? The next time you’re planning a vacation, definitely check out the “traditional” attractions. But also be sure to do a bit of Googling and find the pop culture sites that will take your trip to the next level.

Then and now: the life of the oldest person alive



Then and now: the life of the oldest person alive

When you manage to live for more than a century, things are naturally going to progress a lot while you are around to witness it. That is certainly the case for Kane Tanaka of Japan, who is currently 116 years old. The supercentenarian took over the title of world’s oldest person in July 2018, upon the death of the former oldest person, 117-year-old Chiyo Miyako. During both their lifetimes, the world’s population growth, cultural shifts, and technological advances occurred at an accelerating, head-spinning rate.

Born in Fukuoka, Japan, Tanaka’s birthday is January 2, 1903 — the year Ford released his Model A, one of the very first automobiles.  The oldest man ever was also Japanese. Jiroemon Kimura (1897–2013), who lived to be 116. Currently the oldest known living man is Gustav Gerneth of Germany, who is 113. Here’s a brisk timeline of what has changed, evolved and progressed on the planet since they were born.

A whirlwind of technological progress

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During the past 100-plus years, technology, science, and medical advances in research and treatment have increased at a near-exponential pace compared to past generations. At the dawn of the twentieth century, for example, people such as Tanaka witnessed the infancy of airplanes, radio, and automobiles. Yet, they have also lived to see the rise of wireless devices and space travel by humans.

And of all the small, incremental leaps along the way, you might be surprised when some of these firsts came about. In the years just before Tanaka was born, for example, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin in 1900 invented the first lighter-than-air flying dirigible, according to Toughtco.com’s timeline of Great 20th Century Inventions. The first year of the twentieth century also saw the modern escalator come into existence, while the safety razor, the first radio transmission, and the compact modern vacuum came along in 1901. Air conditioning, neon, the lie detector, and the Teddy Bear were close behind, all debuting in 1902.

Let there be light — and cars

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One of the major technological advances for people around the turn of the last century was the introduction of the car. The year of Tanaka’s birth saw the release of the original Ford Model A, the first car produced by Ford Motor Company. She is now alive to witness the first electric cars coming onto the market for consumers. It was also 1903 when the Wright brothers invented the first motorized, gasoline-powered, human-piloted airplane.

In 1905 came Albert Einstein’s  Theory of Relativity, making forever famous the equation E = mc2. We can all thank Mary Anderson, who in 1905 received a patent for windshield wipers. Likewise for breakfast lovers in 1906, for William Kellogg’s invention of Cornflakes. Lewis Nixon invented the first sonar like device that year, as well, with naval and marine-research implications.

Another big leap in marine technology came with 1943’s invention by Emile Gagnan and famed diver and oceanographer Jacques Cousteau of the aqualung, enabling the first scuba divers to stay submerged with their own air supply– not connected to a hose to the surface above for oxygen.

Accelerating into the information age

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All of the prerequisite technologies that made personal computing possible came about in the 1950s and 1960s, most importantly the microchip. In 1976, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs released the Apple I, one of the first personal home computers with the portability and price to make it practical for businesses and individuals to own. The first PC from IBM came along in 1981. On the medical front, laser eye surgery was just beginning to be worked on by Patricia Bath; also that year the Space Shuttle made its first flight.

Science, information, technology, and commerce all started to come together in 1989, the year in which Tim Berners-Lee is credited with inventing the World Wide Web.

In Tanaka’s native Japan, she no doubt witnessed the rise of steam railroads as a child, and her country was at the forefront of developing high speed rail throughout the last century, and today the vast network of lines features bullet-shaped trains whizzing across the landscape at anywhere from 80 to 200 mph. Newer maglev train lines have recorded test speeds up to a hair-raising 374 mph.

Beyond transportation wonders, Tanaka has lived long enough to see television go from nonexistent, to black-and-white, to ultra high-definition, whether she is aware of such advances or not. Personal communication in her lifetime has gone from the telegraph to nearly everyone having a Star Trek like communicator from science fiction in their back pocket — not to mention talking to Siri and Alexa to adjust the thermostat.

China-Japan: Xi, Abe reach 10-point consensus to promote bilateral relations



Xi, Abe reach 10-point consensus to promote bilateral relations

Xi, Abe reach 10-point consensus to promote bilateral relations


Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Osaka, Japan, June 27, 2019.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reached on Thursday a 10-point consensus to jointly promote the healthy development of bilateral relations, according to a senior Chinese diplomat.

The consensus was reached during a meeting between Xi and Abe ahead of a summit of the Group of 20 major economies slated for Friday and Saturday in the Japanese city of Osaka, Wu Jianghao, director-general of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told reporters.

China and Japan have enjoyed a generally good momentum in the development of bilateral relations, Wu said, adding that there are also divergences between the two countries.

Both leaders agreed that China and Japan should focus on consensus while managing differences, said Wu.

Among the consensus, Xi and Abe spoke highly of the sound momentum in the development of China-Japan relations and agreed that as both countries have entered a new era of development, joint efforts are needed to build bilateral relations that meet the requirements of the new era.

While the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, the two leaders saw fresh opportunities for developing bilateral relations as mutual interests and common concerns between the two countries are increasing day by day.

Secondly, the two leaders reiterated that their countries will hold fast to various principles stipulated in the four political documents between China and Japan and implement the political consensus that they are cooperative partners who never pose a threat to each other.

The two countries will also uphold the spirit of replacing competition with coordination and continue to push forward the China-Japan relations on the right track.

Thirdly, Xi and Abe agreed to maintain close communication, strengthen high-level guidance and keep increasing political mutual trust.

Abe, on behalf of the Japanese government, invited Xi to pay a state visit to Japan in the spring next year. Xi agreed in principle to the invitation. The two leaders have instructed their respective foreign affairs departments to maintain communication on the timing of the state visit.

Fourthly, the two leaders agreed to further deepen the convergence of interests between their countries and strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in a wide range of areas such as science and technology innovation, protection of intellectual property rights, trade and investment, finance, medical and health, old-age care, energy saving and environmental protection and tourism.

The Japanese side sees the Belt and Road Initiative as a promising idea for linking diverse regions, while China welcomes Japan to actively take part in the high-quality construction of the Belt and Road.

The two sides will continue to strive for solid results in third-party market cooperation.

China and Japan support their respective enterprises to expand mutual investment and pledge to provide a fair, non-discriminatory, and predictable business environment for the other’s enterprises.

Fifthly, Xi and Abe stressed that China and Japan, both important contributors to the development of the Asian civilization, should inherit and carry forward the achievements of Asian civilization, and advocate equal dialogue and mutual learning among various civilizations.

The two countries should keep strengthening people-to-people exchanges and cooperation based on their profound historical and cultural origins. The two leaders agreed to kickstart within the year a high-level consultation mechanism on people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two countries.

Sixthly, the two leaders agreed to actively carry out friendly non-governmental exchanges between China and Japan, so as to increase mutual understanding and strengthen the people-to-people bond.

The two sides should take the opportunity of the ongoing China-Japan Youth Exchange Promotion Year to actively carry out various exchange activities such as study tours.

Seventhly, Xi and Abe reiterated that their countries will adhere to the path of peaceful development and be partners in peaceful development.

In this respect, China and Japan should strengthen communication and cooperation in security, actively promote the building of constructive bilateral security relations and gradually set up solid strategic reciprocity and mutual trust.

The two leaders agreed to further strengthen dialogue in diplomacy and security.

Eighthly, the two leaders agreed to properly handle sensitive issues and manage disputes and differences constructively.

The two sides will continue to promote the implementation of the principled consensus on East China Sea issues and make joint efforts to safeguard peace and stability of the East China Sea, so as to turn it into a sea of peace, cooperation and friendship.

Ninthly, the two leaders believe that China and Japan, both important Asian countries and major global economies, should jointly safeguard multilateralism and the free trade system, actively steer regional integration, advance the building of an open world economy, and promote the common development of all countries.

The two sides agreed to make the G20 play its important role in promoting the steady development of the world economy and improving the global governance system.

They also agreed to accelerate negotiations on the China-Japan-South Korea Free Trade Agreement and strive for concluding negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership within the year.

Tenthly, Xi and Abe believe that China and Japan should actively fulfill their international responsibilities, face various global challenges shoulder by shoulder, and strengthen communication and coordination on such global affairs as development aid, climate change, arms control and disarmament as well as health care, so as to jointly make contributions to world peace, stability and development.

5 Countries With The Most Debt




Countries With the Most Debt

If you live in the United States, you have surely heard a lot about the billions of dollars that America owes to other countries. This is not an uncommon thing, though, as countries loan money to and accept money from each other all the time. Just like with individual loans, accepting a lot of financial help from other countries can add up to a lot of debt. In 2017, global debt rose to an incredible 225% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) according to Focus Economics, which means that many countries owe a lot more money than they earn each year. Here is a look at the five countries that have the most debt, according to Focus Economics.



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As you walk the cobbled streets of Italy, taking in all the enormous, ornate cathedrals and looking at all the fashionable people, the last thing on your mind is that this country might have money problems. Like any country, though, Italy has its share of debts — and it has some pretty big ones. According to GraphicMaps, Italy has an external debt of $2,444,000,000,000 (USD), which, when put in terms of GDP, will be 131 percent of its earnings in 2019. Fortunately, though, this number is expected to fall to 128 percent by 2023, which is still high, but much more favorable.



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This is where things get a bit tricky. If you just look at the amount of money owed to other countries, Venezuela doesn’t even crack the top ten. But if you compare this debt to the country’s GDP, things look a lot worse — and the country comes in at number four on the list of countries with the most debt. Venezuela’s public debt is 152 percent of its GDP in 2019, which is more than one and a half times as much money as it brings in each year. According to World Population Review, this country is currently going through a very rough patch in terms of finances, so it is not clear at this time whether the debt will increase or decrease over the next few years.



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The winner of the bronze medal for highest external debt is Lebanon. This country has been struggling for some time, and its debt is expected to increase from 153 percent to 156 percent between 2019 and 2023. This is only barely more than Venezuela, so there could be a competition for this third place spot in the coming years.

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Greece was one of the most successful empires in the ancient world, contributing everything from myths to democracy to our modern culture. Today, however, the country is mired in debt. Greece was required to take multiple bailouts. Its external debt currently stands at 175 percent. This debt has been steadily decreasing over the years, however, and is projected to be almost 10 points lower by 2023.



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If you were expecting the United States to be number one on this list, you aren’t alone. And technically, America does owe the highest debt in the world: 29.27 trillion dollars. But when you take into account how much money the country brings in per year, Japan takes the top spot, with a debt of $3,240,000,000,000, which is a whopping 236 percent of its GDP (the United States “only” owes 108 percent of its GDP). This number might seem incredibly high, but one must remember that Japan has one of the world’s largest economies, and has a population of over 127 million people.




How Pathetic And Immature Donald Trump Is: Asked Navy to Hide McCain Warship



White House Asked Navy to Hide McCain Warship

The Navy destroyer the John S. McCain near the Philippines in 2014.Credit Bullit Marquez/Associated Press

The White House asked the Navy to hide a destroyer named after Senator John McCain in order to avoid having the ship appear in photographs taken while President Trump was visiting Japan this week, White House and military officials said Wednesday.

Although Navy officials insisted they did not hide the ship, the John S. McCain, they did give all of the sailors aboard the day off on Tuesday as Mr. Trump visited Yokosuka Naval Base.

Two Navy sailors, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said that the McCain sailors were not invited to hear Mr. Trump speak that day aboard the amphibious assault ship Wasp, while sailors from other American warships at the base were.

A Navy service member based on Yokosuka said that all of the American warships in the harbor were invited to send 60 to 70 sailors to hear Mr. Trump’s address, with the exception of the McCain. When several sailors from the McCain showed up anyway, wearing their uniforms with the ship’s insignia, they were turned away, the service member said.

White House aides, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to speak publicly, confirmed the request was made but said that Mr. Trump did not know about it. A United States official said on Wednesday that the White House sent an email to the Navy with the request on May 15.

But the president denied on Twitter on Wednesday night having any involvement: “I was not informed about anything having to do with the Navy Ship USS John S. McCain during my recent visit to Japan.”

Mr. McCain, of Arizona, who died last year from brain cancer, was derided repeatedly during his life by Mr. Trump, who once disparaged Mr. McCain’s service because he had been held as a war prisoner in Vietnam, saying, “I like people who weren’t captured.”

The president’s animosity toward the senator did not subside with his death.

Navy officials approached last week by The New York Times about plans for the McCain during Mr. Trump’s visit declined to comment. But one official said on Thursday that sailors aboard the destroyer were told to hide signs that identified that warship during Mr. Trump’s visit.

The White House request to hide the name of Mr. Trump’s rival, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, is the second episode to engulf the Navy in Mr. Trump’s single visit to the Wasp.

At least a few service members wore round patches emblazoned with a likeness of Mr. Trump and the words “Make Aircrew Great Again” — a play on the president’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” — on their flight suits while listening to their commander in chief speak.

Images of the patches promptly went viral. “They’re inappropriate & against regulation,” tweeted Mark Hertling, a retired three-star Army general.

Just days later, the Navy was embroiled in the McCain news. “All ships remained in normal configuration during the president’s visit,” said Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Navy spokesman.

The acting defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, denied knowledge of the White House request. “When I read about it this morning, it was the first I’ve heard about it,” he told reporters on Thursday during an appearance with his Indonesian counterpart in Jakarta. Asked if he planned to order an investigation into the matter, he said, “I want to find out a little bit more.”

The Wasp, an amphibious assault ship that hosts the new F-35B Lightning fighter jets, had actually been in Sasebo, Japan, and was moved to Yokosuka in time for the president’s visit.

The Chief of Naval Information, the public affairs arm of the Navy, posted on Twitter for the first time in five and a half years over the matter. “The name of the U.S.S. John S. McCain was not obscured during the POTUS visit to Yokosuka on Memorial Day,” the Navy said, using an acronym for president of the United States.

Navy Chief of Information


The name of USS John S. McCain was not obscured during the POTUS visit to Yokosuka on Memorial Day. The Navy is proud of that ship, its crew, its namesake and its heritage.

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The disclosure that the Navy entertained a request to hide a warship named after an American war hero from a president who did not serve is likely to resurface questions about whether Mr. Trump has politicized the military.

Mr. Shanahan, the president’s pick to become defense secretary — and who will soon be visiting Tokyo after his time in Jakarta — has taken pains to go along with White House requests, many of which were delayed by his predecessor, Jim Mattis. But this effort could make Mr. Shanahan’s confirmation fight in Congress more difficult.

The destroyer John S. McCain is named after the senator, as well as his grandfather, John S. McCain Sr., a Navy admiral during World War II, and his father, John S. McCain Jr., an admiral in the Vietnam era.

Meghan McCain, John McCain’s daughter, spoke out on Twitter on Wednesday night against the White House request. Ms. McCain, who has rebuked the president over how he has spoken about her father, wrote that Mr. Trump was “threatened by the greatness of my dads incredible life,” adding that in the “nine months since he passed, Trump won’t let him RIP.”

Julian E. Barnes contributed reporting.

Blind Japanese Sailor Completes Non-stop Pacific Voyage



Blind Japanese sailor completes non-stop Pacific voyage

Mitsuhiro Iwamoto arrived at port in Fukushima in his 12-metre (40-foot) sailboat on Saturday morning, around two months after he left California.

WORLD Updated: Apr 21, 2019 13:16 IST

japanese sailor,pacific voyage,ocean
A blind Japanese sailor completed his non-stop Pacific voyage on Saturday, local media reported, becoming the first sightless person on record to navigate a vessel across the vast ocean.(Mitsuhiro Iwamoto/Facebook)

A blind Japanese sailor completed his non-stop Pacific voyage on Saturday, local media reported, becoming the first sightless person on record to navigate a vessel across the vast ocean.

Mitsuhiro Iwamoto arrived at port in Fukushima in his 12-metre (40-foot) sailboat on Saturday morning, around two months after he left California.

Iwamoto, a 52-year-old San Diego resident, sailed from the US city on February 24 with Doug Smith, an American navigator who verbally helped him by offering information such as wind directions.

This was his second attempt after his initial voyage was cut short six years ago when his yacht hit a whale and sank.

“I’m home. Thank you,” Iwamoto told the welcoming party after his yacht sailed into Fukushima, ending a journey of some 14,000 kilometres (8,700 miles).

“I didn’t give up and I made a dream come true,” Iwamoto was quoted by Japan’s Kyodo News as saying.

It was the first Pacific crossing by a blind sailor, Kyodo News said.

Iwamoto, who lost his sight at the age of 16, made the voyage to raise funds for charity, including efforts to prevent blinding diseases, according to his website.

First Published: Apr 20, 2019 12:22 IST

Japanese Professor May Face 10 Prison For Giving His Students Ecstasy



Breaking Bad: Japan professor may face 10 years jail for making students produce ecstasy

The professor told investigators he was aiming to further the “education” of his pharmaceutical sciences students, an official from the local health ministry told AFP.

WORLD Updated: Apr 17, 2019 10:51 IST

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
A Japanese university professor could face up to 10 years in jail after allegedly getting his students to produce ecstasy, officials said Wednesday, in an echo of TV hit series “Breaking Bad”. (Representative Image)(AP)

A Japanese university professor could face up to 10 years in jail after allegedly getting his students to produce ecstasy, officials said Wednesday, in an echo of TV hit series “Breaking Bad”.

Authorities suspect the 61-year-old pharmacology professor from Matsuyama University in western Japan got his pupils to make MDMA — commonly known as ecstasy — in 2013 and another so-called “designer drug” 5F-QUPIC last year.

The professor told investigators he was aiming to further the “education” of his pharmaceutical sciences students, an official from the local health ministry told AFP.

The ecstasy allegedly produced has not been found and has “probably been discarded,” added this official, who asked to remain anonymous.

If charged and convicted, he could face 10 years behind bars.

Japanese law states that a researcher needs a licence issued by regional authorities to manufacture narcotics for academic purposes.

The synthetic drug MDMA acts as a stimulant and hallucinogen and is the main ingredient in party drug ecstasy, giving users a heightened sense of energy, empathy and pleasure.

It has recently been used in research trials exploring its effectiveness in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

5F-QUPIC, also known as 5F-PB-22, is a cannabis-like drug banned in Japan in 2014 after it was suspected of causing traffic accidents.

It is unclear if there were any other similarities between the case of the Matsuyama University professor and that of Walter White, the fictitious hero of “Breaking Bad”.

White, played by Bryan Cranston, was a former chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer who starts manufacturing crystal methamphetamine to pay for his treatment and provide for his family — sometimes with the help of a former pupil.

First Published: Apr 17, 2019 10:50 IST