These were the 15 most-read stories in 2015 on our AFP Correspondent blog. We wish all our readers a happy New Year.
Dec 2 2015
Dec 2 2015.
Why has the phrase "ladies first" not yet passed into the local lexicon in Japan, a country known for its perfect manners and unfaltering politeness? AFP's Japan sport and lifestyle correspondent Alastair Himmer ventured to Kyoto's fabled teahouse district to find out why. From a geisha.
Oct 29 2015
Oct 29 2015.
Hidekichi Miyazaki may be 105, but keeping up with him is no easy task, as AFP's Alastair Himmer has learned. As well it should be -- he just set a world record for running 100 meters for someone in the over 105 age category.
May 11 2015
May 11 2015.
(AFP / Yoshikazu Tsuno)
"When Japanese porn king 'Shimiken' tweeted that there were more Bengali tigers than male porn actors in Japan, AFP Tokyo felt obliged, nay duty-bound, to launch a forensic investigation into this cause célèbre," writes Alastair Himmer. "But this would be no ordinary assignment. Not by a long chalk."
Feb 11 2015
Feb 11 2015.
(AFP Photo / Toshifumi Kitamura)
"Tama zoo is on red alert. More than 50 zookeepers, backed up by police and emergency services, are mobilised to contain a terrible threat. A snow leopard has escaped from the Tokyo wildlife park, and must be stopped before it devours a child. Except the children on site are clearly having a great time," writes AFP's Antoine Bouthier. "Unlike the grown-ups who are taking this all very seriously, it’s obvious to them the runaway feline is a zoo employee in a cute costume. Think Pokemon meets Hello Kitty."
Jan 23 2015
Jan 23 2015.
(Photo: AFP /Georges Gobet)
"Writing a profile of Jacques Lhuillery is like walking down a winding road, with many forks. Starting from the man I knew and discovering, with each new friend I speak to, with each hilarious or moving anecdote, a new Jacques, another faraway land, another of his lives of which I knew nothing."
The head of AFP’s Japan bureau, who died of cancer aged 61, learned to speak Dutch while living in Saudi Arabia. He was the star of the annual Mardi Gras carnival in a small town in the south Netherlands, and he played petanque with an African head of state over drinks of ‘pastis’. Jacques was devastated by the murder in Ivory Coast of his friend and colleague Jean Helene, and was himself gravely injured in a fire at his home in Nigeria. But he never lost the rambunctious sense of humour, the actor’s talent and brazen nerve that seemed to open doors wherever he went.
Jan 19 2015
Jan 19 2015.
(AFP Photo / Toshifumi Kitamura)
Long-time Agence France-Presse correspondent Jacques Lhuillery, who has died aged 61, was one of the most entertaining, and prolific, contributors to the AFP blogs. After a string of tough postings that took him Iran to Nigeria via Ivory Coast and Lebanon, he found reason to marvel in everything he saw in his final AFP posting as Tokyo bureau chief. From the strange choreography of Tokyo metro workers, to the sounds and silences of the Japanese capital, or its bewildering complex recycling system. Whether sitting out an earthquake in a pseudo-Bavarian tavern, or pondering the likenesses between sumo wrestling and and corrida, here are his collected posts for the blog.