Frederik Schodt: pop culture ambassador to the world

| Jan 6, 2013

Frederik Schodt: pop culture ambassador to the world

Quick quiz: Who was the first Japanese civilian to be issued a passport? If your mind is drifting in the direction of a businessman who might have availed himself of an early opportunity to travel abroad in the mid-1860s, when the government first permitted ...

Japan's public museums enjoy a makeover

Dec 27, 2012

Japan's public museums enjoy a makeover

The collapse of the Sasago Tunnel in Yamanashi Prefecture three weeks ago put a spotlight on the state of Japan’s infrastructure, and how many of the bridges and tunnels that were built during the period of rapid economic development in the 1970s and ’80s ...

Pyongyang offers a rare 'real' photo opportunity

Dec 16, 2012

Pyongyang offers a rare 'real' photo opportunity

Most images of North Korea appearing in the media express just a few aspects of that country — namely, repression, militarism, poverty, backwardness, gloom. Often, the form of photographs of that communist dictatorship conveys those ideas, too — whether by being blurry, taken from ...

Classical music concert raises cash for charity

Dec 7, 2012

Classical music concert raises cash for charity

Got a spare ¥4,000? With that small sum you could not only enjoy a live rendition of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio” or George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” but at the same time you could provide four Sudanese refugee families each with a set of ...

Nov 23, 2012

Student jazz event shows importance of culture

Tokyo’s Aoyama district will ratchet up its hip quotient this weekend when it hosts the Aoyama Jazz Initiative, a student-run celebration of jazz. Hosted by Aoyama Gakuin University (AGU), the event is now in its third year. As always, it will feature student bands ...

Moss art: growing a masterpiece

| Nov 18, 2012

Moss art: growing a masterpiece

What’s green, fuzzy and has a starring role in Japan’s national anthem? And no, it’s not Kermit the Frog, who wasn’t around when the lyrics for “Kimigayo” are thought to have been penned, sometime in the 9th century. The answer is moss — the ...