| Feb 3, 2004

'Real' last samurai fights for attention

Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe may be raking in big box-office bucks as The Last Samurai, but a rival claimant to the title has emerged in the unlikely form of a sword-wielding British TV producer. Karl Beattie, 36, from Stockport in England, has sensationally ...

| Dec 30, 2003

Truth gets trampled by good stories

And why did the cops take 1,772 calls before deciding that someone was pulling their chain? We don’t know. And we don’t know why, or even if, the following people did these strange things, but heaven forbid we’d let the truth stand in the ...

Could fear derail bold tourism bid?

| Dec 2, 2003

Could fear derail bold tourism bid?

There’s a great irony in the Japanese government’s “action plan” to double the the number of tourists who come to these shores by 2010. While the goal of the campaign is to attract more foreigners to Japan, an ongoing tendency to blame a deterioration ...

| Jul 15, 2003

The last word

It is better to have the parents decapitated for punishment after dragging them around town. State Minister Yoshitada Konoike explains what he’d like to do to the parents of the boy who murdered four-year-old Shun Tanemoto. He later explained that the suggestion was prompted ...

Mar 4, 2003

Japan gets keen on green for Paddy's Day party

The great, the good and the goths of trendy Harajuku are in for a shock on March 16, when the chic shopping district will be taken over by Tokyo’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. And the raucous street party, held to honor the man ...

Kawaii sea lion back in spotlight

| Feb 11, 2003

Kawaii sea lion back in spotlight

Celebrity sea lion Tama-chan is causing a flap yet again. But this time it’s not the hordes gathered on the concrete banks of his resting places in various Kanagawa rivers, but Japan’s foreign population who are keenly following the big city adventures of the ...

The fight for equal protection of the law

| Nov 8, 2002

The fight for equal protection of the law

Next Monday will be a red letter day for the issue of racial discrimination in Japan. On that day, the Sapporo District Court will decide if a Hokkaido bathhouse acted illegally in denying entry to two foreign residents and one naturalized Japanese citizen on ...

| Oct 25, 2002

Building juggernaut hijacks tourist plan

Japan’s new tourism drive, designed to double the number of foreign visitors to the country by 2007, should send a shiver down the spine of conservationists and environmentalists. Why a badly-needed tourism campaign should be a cause for concern reflects both Japan’s prior neglect ...

| Sep 19, 2002

When evil guitars desecrated the Budokan

Long before the ‘hoorigans’ descended on Japan last summer, the arrival of another group of Englishmen was giving Japanese officials sleepless nights. Within hours of putting the final touches to their groundbreaking album “Revolver,” the Beatles had boarded a plane for Germany, from where ...