In focus: 150 years of Japanese photography

Jun 14, 2007

In focus: 150 years of Japanese photography

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the oldest-known photograph taken by a Japanese person. Yet it is only in recent years that Japanese have started to take a serious interest in the history of early photography in this country, according to Terry Bennett, ...

Indented circles on roads

| May 15, 2007

Indented circles on roads

Dear Alice, This is probably too much of a nerdy engineering question for you, but what the heck are those indented circles in the road on many hills in Japan? I hope you know what I mean because I’m not sure how to describe ...

Gold poop

| Mar 20, 2007

Gold poop

Dear Alice, While browsing through the souvenir shops on a recent layover at Narita Airport, I came across a very curious Japanese good-luck charm. It featured – I kid you not — a gold poop which, by the way, looked disturbingly like soft ice ...

Tree bondage

| Feb 20, 2007

Tree bondage

Dear Alice, I know Japanese are into some pretty interesting things when it comes to rope, but does “tree bondage” happen to be one of them? The other day I visited the Kyu-Shibarikyu garden near Hamama- tsucho Station in Tokyo, where I was surprised ...

Cycling on sidewalks

| Jan 23, 2007

Cycling on sidewalks

Dear Alice, I was more than a little shocked, upon moving to Japan last year, to see people riding bicycles on sidewalks. Back in Arizona, in the United States, sidewalks are for pedestrians, and it’s illegal to ride a bike on one. Each time ...

Men's restrooms

| Dec 19, 2006

Men's restrooms

Dear Alice, Perhaps you have not paid much attention to men’s restrooms in Japan, but in the vast majority of public toilets the urinals and the men using them are completely visible to anyone passing by. Do you think this is done on purpose? ...

Samurai Scarecrows

| Nov 21, 2006

Samurai Scarecrows

Dear Alice, While out for an autumn stroll with my wife’s relatives, I came across what, at first glance, seemed to be a pair of samurai scarecrows! They were nearly as tall as me, made all of straw, and were packing two swords each! ...

Small face

| Oct 17, 2006

Small face

Dear Alice, I just don’t get it. I go to the drugstore and there are all kinds of crazy products that claim to give you a “small face.” I’ve seen facials and massages for the same purpose. Then today I saw a magazine cover ...

O-kyaku

| Sep 19, 2006

O-kyaku

Dear Alice, While living in Tokyo a few years back, there was one thing that I never stopped wondering about: the incredible number of Japanese with crooked legs! It seems like more women are afflicted than men, but maybe that’s just because they show ...