All's fare in Japan's cheap travel industry

| Jul 22, 2003

All's fare in Japan's cheap travel industry

An airline ad recently caught the eye of this seasoned traveler: “Daily, no-nonsense, non-stop 747 flights to your favorite destinations worldwide.” The magazine advertisement describes the airline’s two flights a day to the U.S. West Coast and the same number headed for Hong Kong, ...

Lost in translation

| Jun 17, 2003

Lost in translation

A few summers ago, while on an obligatory trip back to my homeland, I found myself at the center of the attention of a small crowd of curious Canadians. I was at birthday party for a friend, and someone had asked me what I ...

Foreign actors play it niche and simple

May 20, 2003

Foreign actors play it niche and simple

Robert Scott may be one of the hardest-working Westerners in Japanese show business. The native Southern Californian appears in a host of Japanese TV dramas and variety shows as well as radio programs. He’s even acted in a Godzilla flick. “The Japanese like a ...

Media hounds muzzle selves

| Apr 22, 2003

Media hounds muzzle selves

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be sent on a media junket to Sri Lanka. During dinner, one of our guides mentioned that the news in the local newspapers about the civil war in the north of the country was completely ...

Mar 9, 2003

You too can brew a business

So you’ve spent one year too many teaching English conversation and it’s time for a serious career change. You want a job that’s stimulating and creative. You want to be your own boss and perhaps even the boss of others. Maybe, just maybe, you ...

Japan's TV news in a world of its own

| Feb 18, 2003

Japan's TV news in a world of its own

Watch a newscast produced in United States or Europe, and you’ll see a fast-paced program consisting of lots of short segments augmented by a slew of computer-generated graphics. Presidents, criminals, athletes and showbiz celebrities will be featured, as will bits of analysis and a ...

Jan 19, 2003

The danchi and postwar society

At the time, they were homes most Japanese could only dream about. Within their thick concrete walls, they were equipped with such mod cons as flush toilets and stainless-steel kitchen sinks, and they even had separate bedrooms — for parents and children. These dream ...

| Dec 24, 2002

Not much cheer for new year

Not long after arriving in Japan, I managed to make it to Nara for New Year’s Eve. “Man,” I thought, “this’ll be the mother of all parties.” Before setting off, a couple of (foreign) friends and I jammed cans of beer and Nihonshu in ...

| Dec 10, 2002

Chilling in the houses of the rising damp

Waking up on winter mornings always reminds me of how primitive life in Japan can be. The first thing I do is dash across the frigid floor of my apartment to crank up the kerosene heater. Then it’s back to bed to wait for ...

| Oct 18, 2002

Grassless Japan gets set to go greener

A well-tended lawn or a green sports field are rare and exotic luxuries in Japan. I was reminded of that while watching the World Cup on TV this past spring. The beautiful green pitches on which the matches were played were in stark contrast ...