I make a habit of translating Japanese newspaper articles for fun and to stay in practice. I do the translations with the help of an online dictionary. Currently I use no special method to select articles, but in the future I might try to develop an interest in a particular subject. Here are some of the translations:

"Illegal dumping of televisions increases in runup to switch to digital" - In the runup to the final switchover to digital television, many people are illegally dumping their old analog TV sets. In Japan, it's quite a chore to throw stuff away, especially if it's something big like a TV. So the illegal dumping of TVs is causing consternation.

"Natural Specimens, Damaged by Tsunami, now Restored" - Describes how scientists and curators have launched a project to restore several fossils and other natural specimens from a museum in Tohoku, that was inundated in the tsunami.

"The World's Fastest Train Decelerates" - Describes delays and problems involving the Chinese high-speed rail development. One interesting point is that many regular Chinese people view the high-speed trains, which cost much more than the standard trains, as a giveaway from the government to the rich.

"Sharp's Ultimate Energy-Saving House" - Describes a new smart energy-saving house built by electronics giant Sharp. A key innovation is that the appliances in the house run on direct current (DC) electricity, because solar panels produce electricity in this form, and converting it to alternating current for use in appliances is inefficient.

"The Shelter's Cleaning Goddess" - Introduces a redoubtable Japanese woman, Kikue Murakami, who took it upon herself to clean the toilets in a shelter for victims of the Tohoku earthquake. In shared living situations like these, toilets often become disgusting, especially if there is no one whose job is to clean them.

"The Manga Phaethon, a Hard Look at Nuclear Power, released as free e-book" - In the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster, the artist Yamagishi Ryouko wrote a manga called Phaethon about the dangers of nuclear power. Many Japanese recalled the manga when reading news reports about the meltdown of the reactor in Fukushima. The author agreed to release her work as a free e-book, to spread awareness of the issue.

"In Wake of Earthquake, Sendai Applies for Public Funds" - Sendai Bank, an institution serving the area afflicted by the earthquake, has applied for public money to ensure its ability to remain solvent in the wake of the Tohoku Earthquake.

"New Role for Actress in Television Drama 'Goddess Without a Name'" - A review of the new role for actress Akiyama Yuuko, who stars in a drama about young mothers preparing their children for elementary school entrance exams. Competition is fierce for places in top elementary schools in Japan, and mothers are expected to help their children with homework and exam preparation. The actress says that her goal is to "be like water".

"Pawn to 7-5 is Sealed Move in Grand Shogi Tournament" - Timed Shogi matches that last more than one day present an interesting logistical difficulty, which is resolved by the sealed move mechanism: one player writes down his move on a piece of paper, which is then sealed in an envelope, and announced the following day. This article reports the sealed move made by Master Habu Yoshiharu, which is pawn to 7-5. According to an observer, this is a dramatic and aggressive move that will cause a furious exchange, and bring about the end of the game. What's interesting is that the paper on which the sealed move is written, which is signed by both players and the witness (also a high-level player), becomes a valuable collector's item (think of a baseball hit into the stands by Babe Ruth in the last game of the World Series), and is auctioned off after the match. The organizers and the players agreed beforehand to donate the proceeds of this auction to the victims of the Tohoku Earthquake. Furthermore, the sealed move paper becomes more valuable as a collector's item if the move it records is more dramatic. So perhaps Master Habu consciously selected an aggressive move in order to enhance the value of the souvenir and thereby help the earthquake victims.

"Don't Hold Back on Hanami Parties, Buy Sake to Help Economic Revival of Tohoku" - In the wake of the Tohoku Earthquake, many Japanese understandly felt that it would be insensitive to hold boisterous hanami picnics and other drinking parties. But a group of sake brewers says that reluctance is actually hurting economic revival. A spokesman for the group encourages people to buy a lot of sake from Tohoku, to boost the economy.

"Earthquake Lifestyle" - A female Japanese author offers advice to earthquake survivors, based on her own experience in the Great Hanshin earthquake. I did not understand this article very well.

"You are not alone - advice from former tennis star" - A tennis star gives advice to earthquake survivors, and relates the feeling of powerlessness that she experienced in the Great Hanshin earthquake. At that time she was in Australia, preparing for the Australian Open. Her family was in the afflicted area, and reduced to a ration of a single onigiri per day. She realized the best thing she could do was to do her best in the tournament, to lift the spirits of her friends and family.

"Idemitsu Industries Restores Gasoline Delivery in Afflicted Area" - Idemistu Industries brings their refinery at Shiogama, Miyagi-Ken back online, and resumes gasoline delivery to the areas afflicted by the earthquake.

"Rooftop SOS Arrives - Rescue After Nine Days" - Fascinating story about the rescue of a 16-year-old boy and his 80-year-old grandmother, from a home that had been collapsed and then washed away in the tsunami. The boy used his cell phone to tell his family that he was OK after the earthquake, but when the family came to find him, they couldn't find their house! After being trapped in the wrecked house in a pile of rubble for nine days, the boy managed to climb through a window and get onto the roof, where he was able to shout for help.

"Beware Fake Donation Scames" - Notice warning people to watch out for fake donation scams in the aftermath of the earthquake. Con men set up what look like charity operations, but the donated money goes into their own pocket, not to the victims.

"Anime Director Daichi Akitarou to Run Honolulu Marathon" - Describes a well-known anime director's newfound commitment to fitness. Anime production is characterized by long hours, smoking, drinking, and large scale consumption of ramen, factors that are not conducive to fitness.

"'For Now, Go West' - Massive Evacuations in Fukushima" - Describes efforts to evacuate elderly persons from Fukushima to areas with less radiation exposure.

"Baseball Team to Help Restore Rice Terrace" - One fascinating historical aspect of Japan is its terraced rice fields - rice fields carved into the side of a mountain. Over the years, this method of rice production has been priced out, because rice farming on a mountain is far less efficient than in flatter places, for obvious reasons. But the terraced fields, and rice agriculture in general, have a place in the Japanese heart, and so a baseball team, the Yamagata Montedio, is helping to restore one of the historical fields.

"Parents Search in Vain for Daughter Lost in Aftermath of New Zealand Quake" - A very sad story about an elderly Japanese couple who travel to New Zealand to search for their daughter, who was lost in the recent earthquake in Christchurch. The daughter was training to be a nurse, and had nearly completed her final course that would qualify her to start working.

"Matsuzawa Shigefumi Announces Candidacy in Tokyo Mayoral Race" - Article about Matsuzawa Shigefumi, a veteran Japanese politician who announced his candidacy to be mayor of Tokyo. Tokyo is home to about 30 million people, making the mayor one of Japan's most important leaders. I did not understand this article well.

"The Beer of the Times" - Kirin Beer, a Japanese company, attempts to recreate the beer that was consumed in medieval Europe.