Sport Laura Robson was victorious in Beijing on Sunday

The Brit lost to Kimiko Date-Krumm

Volleyball: Cuba race to world whitewash

CUBA CONFIRMED their status as the undisputed top women's team by retaining the World Championship with a 3-0 win over China in the final in Osaka yesterday.

So long, high-spending Japanese tourist

FROM the second-hand record shops of London's Camden Town to the wilds of the Scottish Highlands, and from the Champs-Elysees to the luxury hotels of Madrid, the Japanese tourist is looking like an endangered species.

A-Z of Employers: FITCH plc

Age: 26.

Mad in Japan

'Violent running groups', teenage knifings and murders and consumerist nihilism are Western cliches. But in Japan, a new generation of disaffected youth is horrifying the nation.

Science: It's not getting there

After years of attempting to make the floating `maglev' train a reality, the dream has proved too expensive. So why are Japan and Germany still trying?

Japan Briefing: Time to indulge the yen to travel

A strong pound means Japan has never been better value, says Simon Calder

Eating Out: Mel, Sue and lunch too

LUNCH; 60 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QE. Tel: 0171 278 2420. Open Monday to Friday from 8.30am until 6pm. Average price per person, pounds 5. Payment by cash or cheque only

A wry smile from the rising sun

Who says Japanese can't laugh? James Rampton watches Issey Ogata overturn the stereotype

ISSEY FOR REAL?

At first sight, Issey Ogata (right) commands attention because the very idea of a Japanese stand-up is so unusual. But there is more to him than mere novelty-value; he is actually a highly accomplished performer. With his vignettes sending up Japanese life, he is able to capture social types that transcend the language barrier. In 15 years, Ogata has developed from a building-site worker into the hottest property in Japanese live comedy - and, from Tuesday at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, we have the chance to see why.

The coolest catwalk

London Fashion Week is about to begin. For years international fashion saw it as a backwater, but now everyone wants to be in on the act

Film: Darkness on the razor's edge

The National Film Theatre is mounting a rare retrospective of the work of the Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi, whose extreme life experiences shaped his ruthless working methods as well as his supreme artistry. Chris Darke assesses the master's work.

OPERA Mascagni's Iris Holland Park, London

The Italian operas flying the banner of verismo (realism) might be better identified as sentimentalismo, so assiduously do they skirt reality. Take Mascagni's Iris, typical japonaiserie, premiered in 1898, five years before Puccini's Madama Butterfly (Luigi Illica worked on both librettos). Iris, a washerwoman who cares for her blind father, is abducted by the libertine Osaka and his associate, Kyoto. Installed in the latter's brothel, bedecked in flimsy finery, she's paraded to potential customers, at which point her father reappears and flings mud at her. At this Iris throws herself into the sewers, where scavengers strip her body of valuables. With her dying breath, she bids farewell to light and warmth while her soul journeys heavenward.

700 escape mid-air crash over California

Two airliners each carrying approximately 350 people flew within 300ft of one another over Los Angeles, California, yesterday after a pilot apparently failed to follow instructions from the control tower at the city's LAX airport.

Obituary: Tomoyuki Tanaka

A shrewd eye for the quick yen is the distinguishing characteristic of the typical Osaka businessman. The highly successful film producer Tomoyuki Tanaka was no exception to this rule. Yet there was much more to the man than financial acumen. In his long life he made over 200 films for the Toho Movie Company, which he entered in 1944, rising to be chairman of the board of directors and chief executive producer.

Bullet train claims new speed record

As well as being the fastest, the Japanese bullet train is the oldest, the most efficient, and surely the best-equipped high-speed train in the world.
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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
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The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas