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Akira Okubo

For Akira Okubo's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Visit Japan's prehistoric past

/ Jul 9, 2014

Visit Japan's prehistoric past

It’s hard to imagine, but millions of years ago elephants roamed Japan. Although they died out long before civilization, Tokyo’s National Museum of Nature and Science can help us imagine these majestic creatures and other prehistoric mammals through a display of Japan-specific fossils. The ...

Battle it out in Shinshiro

/ Jul 2, 2014

Battle it out in Shinshiro

During the Sengoku period (1482-1573), the Takeda family was one of the strongest clans in Japan, known in particular for its successful cavalry charges. Yet in 1575, it found itself up against something that rendered it powerless — the new western technology of firearms. ...

/ Jun 26, 2014

Everyone's having a laugh in Kinokuniya

Rakugo, a traditional form of comic storytelling in Japan, deals with anecdotes about human nature. Described as a “performance of imagination,” it is usually done on an empty stage with the artist kneeling on a large cushion and acting out the roles of all ...

Osaka's Aizen Festival begins

/ Jun 26, 2014

Osaka's Aizen Festival begins

Even though it is mid-rainy season, the Aizen Festival anticipates the hot summer ahead with a parade of women wearing cool and attractive yukata (light kimono). As Osaka’s first summer festival of the year, this is held from June 30 to July 2 at ...

Royal purple surrounds majestic Mount Fuji

/ Jun 19, 2014

Royal purple surrounds majestic Mount Fuji

Among the photo opportunities featuring Mount Fuji, there’s one that shouldn’t be missed: The majestic icon towering behind Lake Kawaguchiko in Yamanashi Prefecture, with a bed of vibrant purple lavender in the foreground. From spring to fall, Lake Kawaguchiko, one of the Fuji Five ...

Dec 16, 2010

The empty chair in Oslo

Ever since Mr. Liu Xiaobo was named recipient of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for promoting democratic change in China, the government in Beijing has ensured that he receives maximum publicity — not deliberately, of course. The Chinese government did everything it could to ...