| Nov 18, 2008

Escalator etiquette, TV tours

A couple of replies to the query about why people stand on escalators on the right in Osaka and on the left in Tokyo: Wayne says we should tell the reader who asked that it wasn’t so long ago that a person would have ...

Translating in the spirit of samurai

Nov 8, 2008

Translating in the spirit of samurai

Iehiro Tokugawa arrives at the publishing house Kobunsha, for which he works on occasion as a translator, accompanied by his Vietnamese wife. He is all in black; she is in blue jeans with a waterfall of shining hair down her back, and very lovely ...

Inside the Japanese pub

Nov 1, 2008

Inside the Japanese pub

Mark Robinson, author of “Izakaya: The Japanese Pub Cookbook” (Kodansha International, May 2008) is recently back in Tokyo from New York, where he spent three weeks “signing books at stores like Barnes & Noble, meeting people and seeking inspiration.” Though the word from the ...

Music firm goes to seed for a rockin' good future

Oct 4, 2008

Music firm goes to seed for a rockin' good future

Last year, all too aware that sales of CDs were dropping, Douglas Allsopp of Buffalo Records went along to the annual fair of promotional goods at Tokyo’s Big Sight to look for a possible additional venture. “I already knew about Greensticks, made by an ...

Ties that bond though cultures apart

Sep 27, 2008

Ties that bond though cultures apart

With a wry but happy smile, Jennifer Rose DiLaura recalls the day she and her husband first met their daughter, adopted from China. “Together with seven other American couples, we were ushered into a room with chairs arranged around the edge, in the center ...

| Sep 23, 2008

Hat headaches, work woes

Alan wants to know where he can get a Panama hat cleaned and blocked. “Now that they are back in fashion — albeit with a different age group than formerly — perhaps someone out there knows?” This is not as easy as it might ...

A Welshman's 10,000-km tale of Japan

Aug 30, 2008

A Welshman's 10,000-km tale of Japan

What on earth would induce anyone to cycle around a country for six months? “Good question,” replies Leigh Norrie, who did just that in 2005, and now has a book that tells the tale. “Japan: 6,000 Miles On a Bicycle” was published earlier this ...

Communicating through the unsaid

Aug 23, 2008

Communicating through the unsaid

Sculptor Gakushi Yamamoto arrives looking as if he tumbled out of bed — or rather rolled off his futon and into the nearest shirt and pair of jeans that came to hand. And that may be so, considering he has had to travel two ...

| Aug 19, 2008

Be prepared for the 'Big One'

‘How can we be prepared?’ BJ writes in the wake of the recent spate of earthquakes. “Our family is increasingly concerned about what we can do if an earthquake or some other calamity strikes. We live in an apartment. Will we be OK? What ...