Wednesday, April 17, 2013


One of my favorite places in the whole world is Koshien Stadium, home of the Hanshin Tigers. I love baseball and Hanshin is my favorite team. But it is challenging for me at Koshien to balance my role as a fan and as a visual anthropologist. I am literally juggling cheering paraphernalia, chu-hai, katsu curry and camera while sitting in a narrow seat (or suddenly standing after a good play) in a very crowded stadium. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Here are some shots from my recent pilgrimage when Hanshin took on the Yokohama Baystars.

And by the way, Hanshin won! And it was a special game because it was the first win for the rookie player Fujinami who was drafted right out of high school in the first round. Here's hoping he becomes a Hanshin star...

See details of the game (4/14/13):

See previous VAOJ posts and photos essays about Hanshin: click here.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

New website on Nonaka Kofun by the Osaka University Department of Archaeology

Announcement from EASIANTH:

The Osaka University Department of Archaeology has created an English-language website in conjunction with its Project for the Preservation and Utilization of Artifacts from Nonaka Kofun.

Built in the 5th century in Fujiidera City, Osaka Prefecture, the Nonaka tomb (kofun) is situated roughly at the center of the Furuichi Tomb Cluster. The 1964 excavation conducted by Osaka University revealed that this kofun offered many important clues for our study of state formation in Japan.

Nonaka Kofun is an especially valuable resource for the study of ancient Japan, with its numerous artifacts evidencing the military, economic, and technological strength of the Yamato Kingdom.

Many of the pictures and videos are being released to the public for the first time.


Friday, April 12, 2013

"Assistant judge fired for taking upskirt film"

I certainly don't want to break the spring mood of the previous few posts with yet another upskirt story. But this particular case took place in my own neighborhood and at a time when I theoretically could have been on the train. From Japan Today, 4/11/13.

A 28-year-old assistant Osaka district court judge has been fired after he was arrested for filming up a woman’s skirt while on a train last August.

The Diet’s impeachment court said that Toshiki Hanai, 28, had disgraced his profession with behavior unbecoming of a judge, Fuji TV reported Thursday.

Hanai was arrested after filming up a woman’s skirt on a Keihan train at around 8:30 a.m. between Neyagawashi and Kayashima stations. He was reportedly squatting and taking photos with his smartphone when he was spotted by another male passenger who then restrained him until he was handed over to the authorities, Fuji TV reported.

During police questioning, Hanai was quoted as saying that he was interested to know what kind of underwear the woman was wearing. His phone had images taken up other women’s skirts, police said.

The Osaka district court fined Hanai 500,000 yen and suspended him from duty, but the Diet impeachment court ruled that his behavior warranted dismissal.