Who can afford a day on the beach?

| Aug 11, 2012

Who can afford a day on the beach?

“We went to the beach on the mainland,” said a foreign friend, “and it wasn’t very nice.” Why not? I wondered. The Seto Inland Sea has some great beaches. “Well,” she said, “first of all we had to pay ¥1,000 just to park the ...

Cataclysmic circumstances lead to <em>neko</em> strike

| Aug 4, 2012

Cataclysmic circumstances lead to neko strike

Fed up with long working hours, minimal job security and paltry remuneration in Japan’s depressed economy, maneki neko cats all over Japan are going on strike. “I don’t know where the hard-working, beckoning cat image comes from,” said one battery-enhanced cat who agreed to ...

| Jul 14, 2012

Why we came to Japan — a different realm

“Why did you come to Japan?” We’ve all been asked this question. I still can’t give a good answer. I certainly know why I came here, but such a point-blank question, usually from someone you hardy know, calls for an equal and reticent answer. ...

| Jun 30, 2012

The toad tax and other ways to raise money

Read my lips: no new taxes! Just old ones raised. Civil service workers are taking a pay cut to help pay off Tohoku earthquake and tsunami debt, the government is discussing raising pension payments while cutting benefits, Tokyo Electric Power Co. is raising electricity ...

| Jun 23, 2012

The most exciting season

Welcome to the rainy season. Welcome to the invasion of insects! Contrary to what most people will tell you, I think the rainy season is the most exciting part of the year in Japan. Believe me, you’re gonna see plenty of strange things. Every ...