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John Spiri

John Spiri is a writer based in Gifu who has self-published the “Asians at Work” series of books and the “Global Stories” series of EFL textbooks. In addition, he is editor and self-publisher of “Travel Instincts” by James Jensen. His hobbies are bicycling and go.

For John Spiri's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Against all odds, Mormons in Japan soldier on

| Oct 23, 2012

Against all odds, Mormons in Japan soldier on

According to the Mormon version of postbiblical events, Joseph Smith, guided by an angel in 1823, found sacred golden plates buried in Manchester, New York, outside Rochester. The plates are claimed to have been buried around the year 400, having been brought from Central ...

| May 1, 2012

It's just because . . . foreigners know best

You seldom see the sight these days of pairs of crew-cut white males in pressed white shirts and ties pedaling around cities in Japan. The sight is from a bygone age, largely relegated to history: The white man with a burden to educate and ...

| Sep 15, 2009

Did technology kill the KTO star?

In 1977, nine years after Tony Elliott started the then-alternative media London Time Out magazine, Kansai Time Out printed its first issue, an eight-pager with local listings and a smattering of Japan-related articles. Dominic Al-Badri, chief editor from 1997 to 2004, recalls that the ...

Lawmaker takes 9/11 doubts global

| Jun 17, 2008

Lawmaker takes 9/11 doubts global

In a September 2003 article for The Guardian newspaper, Michael Meacher, who served as Tony Blair’s environment minister from May 1997 to June 2003, shocked the establishment by calling the global war on terrorism “bogus.” Even more controversially, he implied that the U.S. government ...

'Half-alien' group foresees disaster, Japan UFO landing

| Apr 1, 2008

'Half-alien' group foresees disaster, Japan UFO landing

In December, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura caused quite a stir with his bold statement that “UFOs definitely exist.” In subsequent clarifications, the government claimed that there have been no confirmed sightings, but if a UFO was to appear, “fighter jets would be scrambled ...

Sitting out but standing tall

| Feb 19, 2008

Sitting out but standing tall

In “Japan at War: An Oral History,” Hideo Sato recalls being forced to hoist the Hinomaru flag in tandem with the playing of the “Kimigayo” — “His Majesty’s Reign,” the Japanese national anthem — as a schoolchild in the 1940s. If the flag reached ...

Whatever happened to Yamagishi?

| Jan 15, 2008

Whatever happened to Yamagishi?

Hideyuki Ikuhara’s main responsibility at Yamagishi is feeding the pigs. It’s a full-time job, but he expects no salary for his efforts. In fact, he quit his work developing high-tech televisions and gave up all his possessions for this lifestyle — and he couldn’t ...

Japan faces hunger pains as poor slip through net

| Oct 2, 2007

Japan faces hunger pains as poor slip through net

First in a two-part series World Food Day, celebrated every Oct. 16, was established by the U.N. to highlight issues such as food scarcity, agricultural pollution, and food distribution problems that still plague much of the world. So what does that have to do ...