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STAR-ADVERTISER
                                Reloadable transportation cards such as this Suica card can be used for fares, vending machines and more.
Prepaid cards make travel convenient for tourists

Visitors to Japan can go cashless while traveling across the country, now that major rail operators have released prepaid, reloadable transportation cards, called IC cards, for tourists. Read more

AI for predicting tsunami will help prevent disasters

Drawing lessons from one of the worst disasters in the nation’s history, a team of Japanese researchers is developing an artificial intelligence-based tsunami forecasting system set for release by March that could help limit loss of life and property in future calamities. Read more

ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                The shingleback (or bobtail) lizard, a trendy pet in Japan, is indigenous to Australia. It is pricey, costing as much as 1 million yen (about $9,300). Japan is the fourth-largest importer of live reptiles globally.
Popular pet lizards smuggled into Japan

The smuggling of bobtail lizards (also known as shingleback lizards), popular as pets in Asian countries, is rampant, and several Japanese citizens involved in the crime have been caught. Read more

<strong>JAPAN NEWS-YOMIURI</strong>
                                <strong>HAPPY FEET</strong>: Colorful geta sandals made with paulownia wood are created ahead of the summer fireworks season in Numata, Japan, which used to be a flourishing logging area. Katsumi Maruyama, 81, a traditional craftsman certified by the prefecture, handles the process from cutting the wood to making the geta. He produces about 400 pairs monthly during the season, when many orders come in. Fireworks abound in July and August, but special festivals continue through October.
Photo: Happy Feet

Colorful geta sandals made with paulownia wood are created ahead of the summer fireworks season in Numata, Japan, which used to be a flourishing logging area. Read more

Abacus draws devoted users

The caller read out the numbers at a speed evoking an auctioneer on fast-­forward, each multidigit figure blurring into the next. Read more

Japan’s K supercomputer shuts down

The Japan-made K supercomputer, one of the world’s top supercomputers, which has been in operation for eight years at the RIKEN Center for Computational Science in Kobe, ended its run last month. Read more

Airline serves Japanese wine

First-class Hawaii passengers on All Nippon Airways can enjoy a Japanese red wine made in Nagano through November, as part of the airline’s in-flight service for first-class passengers on North American and Honolulu routes. Read more

Beautiful tunes from the tunnel

A tunnel might seem like a most unlikely spot for a concert, but the Minatogawa Zuido tunnel in Kobe has become just that — a popular place for jazz bands, brass bands and choruses to perform. Read more

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