| May 19, 2012

Reasons I don't buy a nuclear restart

I’ve heard many excuses for the nuclear accident that happened as a result of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, followed by reasons why we should return to nuclear power. I don’t buy any of them. 1. “We were unprepared for March 11.” ...

| May 5, 2012

English fluency and alligator pits

When I used to teach English at university, I was sure to leave an impression on my students on their first day of class. I’d tell them that as Japanese speakers, they could only speak with a mere 130 million people. But if they ...

| Apr 21, 2012

Kansai's new budget airline offers juicy savings

On March 1, the first flight of All Nippon Airways’ new low-cost carrier, Peach Aviation Ltd., was launched. Yes, now we know that fruit can fly. This may bring on a whole slew of flying fruit — flying bananas, pineapples, and even low-budget strawberries. ...

| Apr 7, 2012

Washoku on World Heritage menu?

Let’s talk about food cultures of the world. And I don’t mean yogurt. Japan, home to 16 World Heritage sites, is now hoping to add another World Heritage accolade with washoku (Japanese food). The only other cuisines deemed worthy of the UNESCO list of ...

A guide to Jizo, guardian of travelers and the weak

| Mar 31, 2012

A guide to Jizo, guardian of travelers and the weak

“Jizo Bosatsu has confirmed you as a friend on Facebook,” said the email. I clicked on “view profile,” which took me to Jizo’s Facebook page. Not much information was revealed, except that his religious views are Buddhist, and he has 409 friends. His profile ...

| Mar 24, 2012

Some breaking mews on cat cafes

With animal employment rates on the rise, Japanese officials are now stepping in to regulate animal cafes. Citing new Animal Protection Laws, authorities are especially cracking down on 24-hour cat cafes. Makes you wonder: Where’s a nocturnal cat to go for a cuppa? While ...

'Super priority' seats — what will they do ?

| Mar 17, 2012

'Super priority' seats — what will they do ?

We are about to enter a new era: that of the super priority seat. The Yokohama municipal subway has just announced their ¥4 million mission to add these seats. What are “super priority seats?” No one has said. Perhaps they’re for VIP elderly? The ...