As bee populations dwindle, robot bees may pick up some of their pollination slack

by Amina Khan One day, gardeners might not just hear the buzz of bees among their flowers, but the whirr of robots, too. Scientists in Japan say they’ve managed to turn an unassuming drone into a remote-controlled pollinator by attaching horsehairs coated with a special, sticky gel to its underbelly. The system, described in theContinue reading “As bee populations dwindle, robot bees may pick up some of their pollination slack”

Japanese white-collar workers are already being replaced by artificial intelligence at Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance

Most of the attention around automation focuses on how factory robots and self-driving cars may fundamentally change our workforce, potentially eliminating millions of jobs. But AI that can handle knowledge-based, white-collar work are also becoming increasingly competent. One Japanese insurance company, Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance, is reportedly replacing 34 human insurance claim workers with “IBMContinue reading “Japanese white-collar workers are already being replaced by artificial intelligence at Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance”

The Japanese art of (not) sleeping

By Brigitte Steger The Japanese don’t sleep. This is what everyone – the Japanese above all – say. It’s not true, of course. But as a cultural and sociological statement, it is very interesting. I first encountered these intriguing attitudes to sleep during my first stay in Japan in the late 1980s. At that timeContinue reading “The Japanese art of (not) sleeping”

Aokigahara: Japan’s Suicide Forest

by Kristy Puchko Northwest of the majestic Mount Fuji is the sprawling 13.5 square miles of Aokigahara, a forest so thick with foliage that it’s known as the Sea of Trees. But it’s the Japanese landmark’s horrific history that made the woods a fitting location for the spooky horror film The Forest. Untold visitors haveContinue reading “Aokigahara: Japan’s Suicide Forest”

Woman torches her son’s room when he refuses to clean

Police in Toda, Saitama Prefecture, have arrested a 71-year-old woman on suspicion of setting her son’s room on fire. Eiko Sasaki is suspected of setting fire to her son’s room at around 9 a.m. Sunday, Sankei Shimbun reported. The fire spread and destroyed the 50-square-meter apartment. According to police, Sasaki has admitted to the chargeContinue reading “Woman torches her son’s room when he refuses to clean”

New trend in Japan of photographing dads jumping next to their daughters

A series of photos sees Japanese dads jumping next to their daughters They are part of a new book by Japanese photographer Yûki Aoyama The book’s title roughly translates as Daughter and Salary Man Sick of awkward father-daughter portraits? Well one photographer has found an effective – if a little odd – way of makingContinue reading “New trend in Japan of photographing dads jumping next to their daughters”

World’s oldest person dies at 117

Misao Okawa, the world’s oldest person according to Guinness World Records, has died at the age of 117. Okawa passed away Wednesday morning in Osaka, Japan, Tadahi Uchimura, a local official from the city told CNN. She left behind three children, four grandchildren and six great grandchildren. Okawa was born on March 5, 1898. HerContinue reading “World’s oldest person dies at 117”

World’s First Robot-Staffed Hotel to Open in Japan

by Tanya Lewis What if you could check into a hotel, have your luggage carried to your room and order a coffee — all with help from a team of robots? A new hotel at a theme park in Nagasaki, Japan, hopes to make that dream a reality. The Henn-na Hotel (whose name means “strangeContinue reading “World’s First Robot-Staffed Hotel to Open in Japan”

Japan man arrested for dumping a quarter-ton of porn

A 70 year old man who dumped almost a quarter of a tonne of pornography in a Japanese park is unlikely to be charged, police said Tuesday, because the stash belonged to an ill friend. Hideaki Adachi was spotted unloading 17 sacks of films and magazines, which included around 500 VHS video tapes, from theContinue reading “Japan man arrested for dumping a quarter-ton of porn”

New research projects that climate change may increase female:male ratio

Climate change could affect the ratio of human males to human females that are born in some countries, a new study from Japan suggests. The researchers found that male fetuses may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Since the 1970s, temperature fluctuations from the norm have become more common in Japan, andContinue reading “New research projects that climate change may increase female:male ratio”