Noodles with attitude

| Sep 17, 2006

Noodles with attitude

Chairman Mao Zedong — who back in 1935 wrote that his nation’s basic task was “to oppose the attempt of Japanese imperialism to annex China” — obviously had some, shall we say, issues with the Middle Kingdom’s diminutive neighbor to the east. So the ...

An 'outsider' speaks out

| Sep 3, 2006

An 'outsider' speaks out

Later this month, when Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi concludes what may have been Japan’s most flamboyant premiership ever, pundits aplenty are sure to lavish his five-year term with glowing praise. They’ll likely enthuse that, on Koizumi’s watch, the mountain of bad debts at banks ...

Blind doctor finds new ways of seeing

| Aug 27, 2006

Blind doctor finds new ways of seeing

This story is part of a package on “Disability in Japan”. The introduction is here. When child psychiatrist Seiji Sakai meets with his clients, he listens to their life stories with the intensity of a sage in meditation — silently absorbing words like a ...

There's gold being panned in them thar hills

| Aug 20, 2006

There's gold being panned in them thar hills

There may be many perfectly good reasons to spend a weekend sloshing around in water panning for gold. Trying to get rich isn’t one of them. Such was the prime nugget of wisdom I came away with after spending one recent sunny morning in ...

Lanterns

| Aug 15, 2006

Lanterns

Dear Japan Times, What the heck are those lanterns strung up in the streets of my neighborhood at this time of year? Some line each side of the street from one power pole to the next, so I thought they were simply summer decorations. ...

Tokyo's ring of steel

Jun 25, 2006

Tokyo's ring of steel

Who would have thought that something that chases its tail all day for a living could be so incredibly important to the workings of a major metropolis? OK, so Tokyo’s humble Yamanote Line, whose pea-green, 11-car trains link 29 stations over a looping route ...

No end is an end in itself

Jun 25, 2006

No end is an end in itself

Endurance riding on the Yamanote Line soon gives you a numb bum. Your thoughts drift, leading to bursts of philosophical insight that disappear faster than the last train out of Shinjuku. Then comes hunger, drowsiness and calls of nature that no one on these ...

Dress-fest for a warming world thaws political chill

| Jun 18, 2006

Dress-fest for a warming world thaws political chill

These days, between blasts of hot air over disputed gas fields and outbursts condemning “revisionist” history books, it’s rare to hear praise from China for its geopolitical rival to the east. So it was all the more surprising to learn that China’s Ambassador to ...