| May 14, 2011

Life as an ambassador

“An American yacht has come into the port. They don’t speak any Japanese. Come help.” Ah, the first call of spring! As the resident foreigner on our island, I was appointed ambassador 14 years ago to represent the citizens of Yachtland, a kingdom ruled ...

| May 7, 2011

Pillow for the fairy tale princess discovered

Breaking news: Pillow belonging to the princess of the tale “The Princess and the Pea” by Hans Christian Andersen has been found. I was hoping that this discovery would be reported by the Duchess of Cambridge upon her recent marriage to Prince William. But ...

| Apr 30, 2011

The case of the ¥300,000 blanket

My husband is taking me to court. I guess I should have seen it coming. There had been problems all along, but I ignored them. And recently, with the late arrival of spring, we have all been forced to deal with the cold weather ...

| Apr 23, 2011

Rolling blackouts: The virtue of silence

The rolling blackouts in Tokyo meant interruptions in watching TV, running computers, stereos and electric heaters, not to mention recharging cell phones and electronics. While some have suggested the rolling blackouts will merely reconfirm the need for nuclear power in this country with so ...

Earthquake relief: Little people doing big things

| Apr 16, 2011

Earthquake relief: Little people doing big things

Prime Minister Naoto Kan took out nearly a full-page ad in the International Herald Tribune last week to thank the international community for their kizuna (bond of friendship), regarding Japan’s earthquake and tsunami disaster on March 11. It was a stirring tribute to those ...

| Apr 9, 2011

You can have your steak and eat it too

It’s almost time for the annual festival we have all been waiting for: the Hanaguri “cow nose ring” festival! Held on the third Sunday in April at the Hanaguri Zuka inside a temple in Okayama Prefecture, this is one of the more unusual religious ...

| Apr 2, 2011

This earthquake still felt all over Japan

When my friends back home contacted me to see if I was OK after the March 11 disaster, I told everyone the same thing. “We’re OK. We live 500 miles (800 km) from the disaster zone. We haven’t been affected at all.” We didn’t ...

| Mar 26, 2011

Hey, look! No loot!

People around the world have marveled at the lack of mass-looting in Japan among the survivors of the recent earthquake and tsunami. Many people are still asking: Why was there no mass-looting? People are undoubtedly comparing the incident in Japan with other natural disasters ...

| Mar 19, 2011

What it means to be 'prepared'

Japan has repeatedly been referred to as the “most prepared nation in the world” for an earthquake or tsunami disaster. The government has been praised for its readiness via earthquake/tsunami drills, for the prompt organization of the Self-Defense Forces, and for its preparedness to ...

| Mar 12, 2011

A possible cure for memory loss

Gumonji is a Shingon Buddhist practice that is easy to explain, difficult to imagine, and nearly impossible to carry out. You still want to try it? Well, OK. In simple terms, gumonji requires one to recite the Mantra of the Buddhist deity Kokuzo Bosatsu ...