Feb 5, 2012

Nuclear crisis given lightweight treatment

JAPAN’S NUCLEAR CRISIS: The Routes of Responsibility, by Susan Carpenter. Palgrave MacMillan, 2012, 248 pp., $90 (hardcover) Alas, this very important subject gets short shrift in this misleadingly titled, hastily cobbled together assessment of the causes and consequences of the accident at the Fukushima ...

Cultural treasures for all to see

Jan 29, 2012

Cultural treasures for all to see

There are outstanding tourist attractions throughout Tamil Nadu, and visitors to the gorgeous coastline can boost the local economy and enjoy themselves while learning a lot from locals about their post-tsunami experiences. Mahabalipuram, right on the Bay of Bengal, is one place it’s especially ...

Fukushima casts a shadow over India's industrial boom

Jan 29, 2012

Fukushima casts a shadow over India's industrial boom

The ongoing nuclear disaster in Fukushima has quashed once ambitious plans for the construction of new reactors in Japan. The government does, however, remain committed to promoting exports of nuclear reactors and technology as it sees huge potential in overseas markets. Nuclear energy will ...

Tsunami lessons for Tohoku from Tamil Nadu

Jan 29, 2012

Tsunami lessons for Tohoku from Tamil Nadu

On Dec. 26, 2004, a massive tsunami blasted across the Indian Ocean, cutting a swath of destruction through communities in Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India that claimed a staggering 230,000 lives. As Japan approaches the first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake ...

Call of the powder: sublime snow in Japan

Jan 15, 2012

Call of the powder: sublime snow in Japan

There is nothing quite like the adrenaline rush of hurtling down a steep, untracked slope of knee-deep powder. It is an uncomplicated pleasure, pure and exhilarating; carving turns into the untouched snow and sending up white plumes in your wake. Fortunately, Japan gets masses ...

Holding court on warped ideas of sex and love

Jan 8, 2012

Holding court on warped ideas of sex and love

LOVESICK JAPAN: Sex, Marriage, Romance and Law, by Mark D. West. Cornell University Press, 2011, 272 pp., $29.95 (hardcover) Nobody else explores the law in Japan quite like Mark West, bringing it to life and close to home. “Lovesick Japan” is an entertaining and ...

Light and dark shades from Burma and Japan

Dec 25, 2011

Light and dark shades from Burma and Japan

“The Lady and the Peacock,” Peter Popham’s lucidly written biography of Aung San Suu Kyi, provides an intimate portrait of the tenacious woman who has given the people of Burma hope and inspiration during their long nightmare under military rule. Suu Kyi, the Nobel ...

Dec 11, 2011

Deng: China's tarnished visionary

DENG XIAOPING and the Transformation of China, By Ezra F. Vogel. Belknap Press, 2011, 876 pp. $39.95 (hardcover) Deng Xiaoping is one of the most influential men in modern history and here his dramatic story, one intertwined with elite intrigues in the Chinese Communist ...

Dispatches from the labor front line

Nov 27, 2011

Dispatches from the labor front line

This timely and excellent analysis of the changing employment system in Japan greatly improves our understanding of what it is like to be a dispatched worker (haken) in contemporary Japan and discourse about nonregular employment, of which haken is only one of various categories ...

Lessons of loss and healing

Nov 6, 2011

Lessons of loss and healing

This is a haunting saga, brilliantly told, about the 1985 crash of a Japan Airlines flight in the mountains of remote Gunma that claimed 521 lives. It is a gripping tale that explores what happened and why while probing the human tragedies that have ...