Japanese New Year’s Hangover

A lot of good things happen during New Year’s Day, Japan’s biggest holiday. The bad things make the news.

The Peak of the Return Rush: Shinkansen Trains Full
Yomiuri Shimbun: Uターンラッシュ、ピーク…新幹線は満席

New Years Return Traffic

The wave of people returning from New Year’s celebrations in hometowns or resorts approached its peak today [the 3rd].

According to the Japan Road Traffic Information Center, at noon the Yamato Tunnel in Kanagawa was backed up for 21 kilometers and the Yokkaichi Interchange in Mie for 20 kilometers. In the evening and night, traffic will likely be even more intense.

On JR East’s Tokai Line, reserved seats on Shinkansen trains approaching Tokyo are practically sold out for the entire day.

Free seating is crowded: the ratio of passengers to seats on the 6:30 AM Nozomi 4 train departing Fukuoka was over 1.2:1. Cars should be even more congested in the afternoon.

The International Terminal of Tokyo Haneda Airport, opened in October, reached its peak return volume with an estimated 18,000 people entering the country.


New Year’s Cuisine Ordered on the Internet “Different from the Sample” and Delivered Late
Yomiuri Shimbun: ネット注文おせち「見本と違う」…納品遅れも

500 “Bird Cafe New Year’s Cuisine” meals ordered online from the catering company “Dining Culture Research Institute” (Yokohama) were delivered late, and their contents were very different from what was advertised, angering customers, it was learned on January 2nd.

“The preparation and packing of the meals took longer than expected. We will reimburse our customers for the entire cost of the meal and pay for damages,” the company said in a formal apology posted on its website. Its president will resign.

The company advertised “33 items on 3 circular shelves with a 7-inch radius, serving four people, all consisting of select ingredients from Yokohama’s most popular restaurants” for a price of 21,000 yen. The meals were offered at a discounted price of 15,000 yen on Groupon Japan’s website with sample photos included in the listing. Most of the meals were scheduled to be delivered to customers’ homes.

One customer fumed, “The meal I received was totally different from the sample photo, and the food was dried out on the inside.”


Ten Elderly People in Five Prefectures Die from Choking on Mochi
Yomiuri Shimbun: 餅を詰まらせ、5都県でお年寄りら10人死亡

Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, and Wakayama prefectures reported that on the 1st and 2nd, a total of ten elderly people died from choking on mochi [rice cakes].

The Tokyo Fire Department announced, “We would like people to cut mochi into small pieces and chew on them thoroughly. Children and elderly should eat them in the presence of other family members.”

According to the department, as of 8:00 PM January 2nd, 24 people had been transported to the hospital in Tokyo, and 6 of them perished. Five were males, aged 70 to 82, and one was a 95-year old female. Five of them had prepared the mochi in their own homes.

On the morning of the first, there was one fatality in each of the other four prefectures. The victims were men and women aged 61-89.

Uターンラッシュがピーク 新幹線は満席












(2011年1月3日03時02分 読売新聞)

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