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Jay Alabaster

For Jay Alabaster's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Sake brewer vows to rebuild after tsunami

Mar 23, 2011

Sake brewer vows to rebuild after tsunami

RIKUZENTAKATA, Iwate Pref. — Yasuhiko Konno stands next to a pile of debris that reaches over two stories high. He bows his head for a moment and takes a deep breath. This was his sake brewery, one of the best in Japan, with a ...

Hardships, suffering in earthquake zone

Mar 15, 2011

Hardships, suffering in earthquake zone

TAKAJO, Miyagi Pref. — Rescue workers used chain saws and hand picks Monday to dig out bodies in devastated coastal towns, as the nation faced a mounting humanitarian, nuclear and economic crisis in the aftermath of a massive earthquake and tsunami that likely killed ...

Activists may shift tactics in Taiji

Mar 3, 2011

Activists may shift tactics in Taiji

TAIJI, Wakayama Pref. — In the fervor of the Academy Awards in Hollywood on Sunday, last year’s winners were a distant memory. Half a world away in the fishing village of Taiji, few will ever forget the film that won in 2010 for Best ...

More 'Schindlers' emerge

Oct 21, 2010

More 'Schindlers' emerge

The young man’s monochrome portrait is at least 70 years old, the whites all faded to yellow, but it is still clear he had style. His hair is slicked down, eye arched, suit perfect with matching tie and handkerchief. He also had the good ...

Aug 24, 2010

Taiji mayor defends dolphin hunt

TAIJI, Wakayama Pref. — As kids in inner tubes bob on the calm waters of this small ocean cove, a 250-kg dolphin zips through the crowd in pursuit of squid tossed out by a trainer. Niru, a Risso’s dolphin caught locally, appears unbothered by ...

Railways' pitches to U.S. differ

May 15, 2010

Railways' pitches to U.S. differ

The nation’s main railways are taking different approaches as they pursue billions in high-speed train contracts in the U.S., reflected in their sales pitches to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood during his recent visit. Washington has awarded $8.5 billion to create 13 regional high-speed ...

Mar 10, 2010

'Cove' Oscar won't end Taiji dolphin kill

TAIJI, Wakayama Pref. — The gala crowd in Los Angeles cheered as “The Cove” won the best documentary Oscar with its grisly portrayal of dolphin slaughter. But residents of this small port shown in the film abhorred the attention and said it will not ...

Feb 10, 2010

Toyota the city rides out the storm

TOYOTA, Aichi Pref. — Even in its hometown, the great automaker has lost some of its mystique. Rising out of the barren winter rice fields of Aichi Prefecture, this city of 400,000 is probably the most Toyota-friendly place on the planet. Renamed after the ...

Japan ups pace in race for U.S. bullet train deal

Dec 19, 2009

Japan ups pace in race for U.S. bullet train deal

NAGOYA — On a desolate stretch of track just before midnight, when all passenger lines have been put to bed, a juiced-up bullet train goes online and accelerates to over 320 kph. The 700-ton train, about 400 meters long, whooshes by rice paddies in ...

Jun 8, 2009

Pandemic test eyed for cell phones

A few months from now, a highly contagious disease will spread through a Japanese elementary school. The epidemic will start with several unwitting children, who will infect others as they attend classes and wander the halls. If nothing is done, it will quickly gain ...