X Japan’s Yoshiki donates 10 million yen to disaster relief after western Japan’s torrential rain

One more step in the musician and band’s mission to help children in pain.

Last week a large part of western Japan was hit with extreme torrential rain caused by a passing typhoon. Certain areas were especially overwhelmed, receiving a month’s worth of rainfall in a little over an hour, and thousands of homes were damaged in the ensuing floods and landslides, with the death toll reaching 200 and counting.

Now that the rain has stopped, relief efforts are underway, but hampered by the current extreme heat and damage to transportation routes. On 10 July, the Japanese Red Cross Society announced they would be accepting donations for support to affected areas.

One of the first to step forward was none other than the multi-talented Yoshiki of X Japan. Hearing the news while in Los Angeles, he tweeted his sentiments.

“I just heard on the American news. I pray for the souls of those who died. And I hope the damage caused by the heavy rain will not spread further.”

While prayers for those lost is nice, it should always take a back seat to actions to help those still alive. So, Yoshiki also donated a sizable 10 million yen (US$89,000) to the Japanese Red Cross Society through his own charity organization The Yoshiki Foundation America.

This is but the latest in a series of generous donations made for various disasters over the years. Following the devastating Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011, Yoshiki raised 11 million yen ($98,000) by auctioning off his crystal piano which he used during X Japan’s final concert.

▼ Yoshiki playing “Endless Rain” on the crystal piano during their farewell concert

In 2015, Yoshiki, along with the rest of X Japan, donated over 28 million yen ($250,000); their entire take from two summer festival performances, to the Tohoku region.

He continued to support reconstruction of the area in 2016 by selling one of his prized drum kits for six million yen ($53,000). He also gave up 10 million yen after the Kumamoto Earthquake of 2016 to help rebuilding projects there as well.

Also, lest you think his generosity is only towards Japan, Yoshiki also donated $25,000 to help Texans overcome the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey as well as another $100,000 donation for them made through the MusiCares Foundation.

It’s easy to assume with Yoshiki’s refined lifestyle and globetrotting ways that he’s just another rich person tossing money at problems willy-nilly. However, his altruism is uniquely genuine and stems from his own tragic past.

Yoshiki had to cope with the suicide of his own father while only in elementary school. After overcoming that pain and finding success he has vowed to help give power to children who might be facing the similar despair and suffering that he had to. He has said that as long as he is an artist, he will continue to give back.

It’s not like people needed another reason to like the guy, but in addition to the respect given the rock star, many felt inspired to help out as well.

“Much respect, Yoshiki.”
“Thank you! I am proud of your quick action and will help too.”
“Thank you for helping to rebuild. I will do my best too!”
“Let’s all try to help together!”

While the donations themselves are great, the true power of Yoshiki’s kindness is reminding all of us that we can help too. If you’d like to donate to the Japanese Red Cross Society’s efforts in Western Japan, give what you can via the information provided below. If we all pitch in, even a little bit goes a very long way.

Donation information
The Japan Red Cross Society is only taking donations by bank transfers which can be made to the following account
Account name: The Japanese Red Cross Society
Bank name: Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
Branch name: Ginza Branch
Location: 6-10-1, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0061, Japan
Account number: 026-7176649
Reference: Japan Floods and Landslides 2018(Please specify it when making transfer)

For further information, such as the issuing of receipts, please check their English website.

Source: Oricon News, Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@YoshikiOfficial

Samurai sword hunt begins as storm washes away blacksmith’s warehouse in Gifu Prefecture

Police assemble task force after 40 blades are lost in flooding.

Once upon a time, there was a man who lived in the town of Seki, in Japan’s Gifu Prefecture. For centuries, Gifu had been known for producing samurai blades of the highest quality, and the man, in carrying on that tradition, had become a swordsmith.

However, in early summer torrential rains came to Seki. The Tsubogawa River, which runs through the town, swelled in the downpour, eventually overcoming its banks and washing away the swordsmith’s warehouse. When the storm stopped, the swordsmith searched the area, but could find only a portion of the weapons that had been stored in the building. So he contacted the rulers of Japan, who assembled a team of 10 men to seek out the remaining unaccounted-for swords, in a quest that continues to this day.

The sword-scattering storm took place early in the seventh month of the 30th year of the Heisei era…or, in more modern terms, last weekend.

▼ Last week’s flooding in Seki

Yes, despite sounding like the framework of an epic folktale or exciting anime series, this sword hunt is a completely contemporary undertaking. While swordsmithing is a rapidly shrinking industry in Japan, katana makers still exist, and Seki’s reputation for quality pieces persists, even as many of the town’s craftsmen have switched to making scissors, shaving razors, and other less combat-oriented bladed instruments.

On July 8, a police officer on patrol noticed that the warehouse of a 33-year-old Seki swordsmith, who’d been away from home the previous night, had washed away in the flood. After returning to the area, the swordsmith was able to recover roughly half of the 40 or so swords that had been in the warehouse, but on July 10 officially reported the rest as missing.

The Gifu Prefectural Police have since organized a 10-officer task force to look for the missing swords. The swordsmith says he used the warehouse for storing rusty or defective pieces, which he would later melt down for metal to use in new projects. As such, their monetary value is limited, but he and the authorities are worried about the potential for injuries they pose.

▼ Tsubogawa

Needless to say, anyone who comes across one of the blades is asked to contact the authorities, no matter how tempting it is to think of it as a sword of destiny bestowed upon you by samurai warrior spirits. Meanwhile, no flooding has occurred in Aomori Prefecture, meaning that its recently discovered book of ninja secrets is still safe and sound.

Source: Livedoor News/Asahi Shimbun Digital via Hachima Kiko
Top image ©SoraNews24

Japanese vending machines loan out free, recycled umbrellas during the country’s stormy summer

No purchase required, consideration for other strongly encouraged.

Weather-wise, summer can be a bit strange in Japan. On the one hand, the temperatures are high and the sunshine is strong, so you’ll want to make sure you have sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, or maybe all three when venturing out for the day.

But on the other hand, the Japanese summer is so humid that there’s an ever-present chance of thunderstorms, so quite often you’ll want to remember to carry an umbrella. Or not, if you’ll be passing by one of these specially equipped vending machines from Japanese beverage company Dydo.

In 2015, Dydo started an experiment in its home town of Osaka, offering “rental umbrellas” from select vending machines in the city. That was actually a bit of a misnomer, though, sine the umbrellas are actually free to use, and are actually given out merely with the request that users return them to a Dydo vending machine once they’re done using them.

Cynics might think that sounds like a great way for Dydo to lose a bunch of umbrellas, but this is Japan we’re talking about, and users have been so conscientious about returning them that Dydo has expanded the program across most of the nation, with Tokyo now included in the generous initiative. The company has announced that its free-to-use umbrellas will now be available at roughly 500 vending machines, 190 of them in the eastern Kanto region, of which Tokyo is a part.

▼ Even if you can’t read Japanese, the distinctive notice pasted onto the machine lets you know the umbrellas are OK to borrow.

Aside from being incredibly hospitable, Dydo’s loaner umbrella system is environmentally friendly as well. A portion of the umbrellas are supplied by rail operators, such as Japan Railways, Tokyu, and Tobu, who often end up with supplies of unclaimed plastic umbrellas that passengers accidentally leave behind when exiting their trains. Rather than throw them in the garbage, salvageable umbrellas are cleaned and refurbished with new handles for use in Dydo’s program.

▼ The Dydo mark and Japanese-text notice of “rental umbrella” should help to discourage unscrupulous types from hanging on to them permanently.

And the most generous part of all is that Dydo doesn’t require you to purchase anything from the machine in order to borrow an umbrella. All the same, like we said, it does get hot and steamy in the summer here, so purchasing something to stay hydrated with isn’t a bad idea, especially since Dydo is the same company that sells such cool things as drinkable shortcake and Pikachu fruit juice.

Source: Dydo via IT Media
Top image: Dydo
Insert images: Dydo

Rain transforms Tokyo Disneyland into a kaleidoscope of breathtaking lights【Photos】

Don’t let the dreary weather dampen your day–your dreams will definitely still come true.

Everyone’s experienced the gut-wrenching disappointment of rain ruining their long-awaited vacation plans. While it might be easy to write off such a day as a failure, some recent photos snapped at Tokyo Disneyland prove that life always has a silver lining.

Twitter user @kah05disney, who happens to have an annual passport to the Tokyo Disney Resorts, visited Disneyland last week at night and happened to capture some of the most breathtaking scenery we’ve ever seen, all on her trusty Nikon D750.

▼ “Disneyland’s 35th anniversary celebration on a rainy day. The reflections in the puddles at my feet were exceedingly beautiful.”

The reflections of the buildings and lights on the wet ground make for a truly magical combination at the Magic Kingdom. In fact, dare we say that we hope it rains the next time we venture over?

It’s clear that @kah05disney has a penchant for both photography and Disney, as plenty of her photos illustrate:

▼ Both in the day…

▼ …and at night

▼ What a fun effect!

Incidentally, Tokyo Disneyland celebrated its 35th anniversary this year on April 15, which means visitors can enjoy a special anniversary celebration called “Happiest Celebration!” until March 25, 2019. Mark your calendars and don’t worry if the forecast predicts rain–you just might be in for a rare treat instead.

Source: Twitter/@kah05disney via ITmedia Inc.
Featured image: Twitter/@kah05disney

Crazy-huge hail chunks pound Tokyo as “guerrilla rain” hits the capital【Videos, photos】

Summer may be the rainy season, but hail like this is freaky even for Japan.

A phrase you’re not likely to run into in Japanese textbooks, but which you’ll definitely hear people say in Japan, is gerira gou. Literally translating as “guerrilla downpour,” the term describes powerful but brief rainstorms that occur with little warning, as though Mother Nature herself is employing guerrilla warfare tactics.

After an unusually dry June and first half of July this year, the guerrilla rains came to Tokyo in particularly violent fashion on July 18, when the capital was suddenly pounded by gigantic pieces of hail, some measuring more than five centimeters (two inches) in length.

And if you think those gargantuan chunks of ice look scary in still photos, wait until you see them actually falling from the sky.

In the downtown area, the Ikebukuro neighborhood was hit especially hard. Making things worse were incredibly strong gusts of wind, powerful enough to blow wheeled signboards down the street and partially flood the platform of the JR Yamanote Line.

▼ The wind was also strong enough to turn whoever shot this video into a cackling supervillain/lord of a vampire manor.

And while Tokyoites could keep dry by staying indoors, many no doubt found themselves wondering if their windows were strong enough to withstand a direct hit from one of the giant hailstones.

▼ This have been a good time for this Family Mart branch to disable it’s automatic door.

Even once the rain stopped, there was plenty of slush left on the sidewalks.

▼ This Twitter user even noticed a number of busted street lamps, which appear to have shattered from the impact of falling hail or other debris.

Thankfully, no injuries were reported in association with the downpour, and by the time evening rolled around…

…the guerrilla rain clouds were giving way to the onset of a beautiful, peaceful sunset.

Sources: Jin, IT Media
Featured image: Twitter/@0326_misato