| Sep 26, 2002

Neither here nor there: recipe for mayhem

Swimming against the current in Japan has never been a good idea, even if you are armed to the teeth with logic and common sense. Two types of people go to swimming pools — the serious types who swim lots of laps back and ...

Cyclists ride the wave of local crackdown

| Aug 22, 2002

Cyclists ride the wave of local crackdown

Japan’s authorities never set out to make their communities bicycle friendly. Rather, history, climate and population density have contributed to making much of Japan a cyclist’s dream. The other Saturday was a typical night out for me. First, my friend Kevin cycled over to ...

| Aug 15, 2002

1967: Summer of love -- and Bond in Japan

The summer of 1967 was not only the summer of love, but the summer of James Bond in Japan. “You Only Live Twice,” the fifth James Bond movie, debuted in cinemas throughout the world 35 summers ago. It was the most ambitious Bond production ...

Jul 18, 2002

Japan's strange brand of (non) nationalism

The subject of 9/11 came up while I had dinner with a group of friends last autumn. A Japanese woman said she had seen George W. Bush on the TV news at the site of Ground Zero with a group of rescue workers. She ...

Jul 4, 2002

The land of the early rising, and setting, sun

The issue of daylight-saving time is back in the news. This time it was in reference to the Kyoto Protocol, which obliges a number of countries, Japan included, to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases. Daylight-saving time (DST) was mentioned as one of several ...

| Jun 6, 2002

Looking at the bright side of Japan's cash woes

One of the most soul-destroying experiences of my life in Japan occurred back in 1986. I had just arrived here and needed to find an apartment. My real estate agent had a punch perm, ample gold jewelry and gravelly voice, an appearance suggesting the ...

| May 23, 2002

Buyers be wares -- shopping consumes Japan

I was once asked to translate a pamphlet published by the municipal government of one of the most beautiful and historically endowed cities in Japan. The material was aimed at foreign companies and their expat employees to entice them to the city. The great ...

Dec 29, 2001

Japanese opt for domestic travel

Akihiro is planning to spend some of his New Year’s holiday at a hot spring resort. “We haven’t decided exactly where yet, but somewhere close to Tokyo. My work schedule only gives me a few days off,” he said while browsing through a rack ...