Media whips up fuss over S&M bar claim

| Nov 1, 2014

Media whips up fuss over S&M bar claim

First came what the tabloids referred to as “W-jinin,” the resignations of two female Cabinet members — Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yuko Obuchi and Justice Minister Midori Matsushima — on the same day. The “W” in this case conveys two nuances: the first ...

Perfidia

Oct 25, 2014

Perfidia

This sprawling period piece from the prolific author of such works as “L.A. Confidential” and “The Black Dalia” takes place in Los Angeles and environs between Dec. 5 and 29, 1941. Central to the plot are the enigmatic slayings of a Japanese family of ...

Subtle humor of haiku's cousin senryū is on a roll

| Oct 20, 2014

Subtle humor of haiku's cousin senryū is on a roll

“Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,” philosophizes the long-winded Polonius in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” That’s also a fitting description of senryū — a form of short poetry defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a three-line unrhymed Japanese poem structurally similar to haiku, but ...

The sinking yen is a threat to the cost of living

| Oct 18, 2014

The sinking yen is a threat to the cost of living

If the items you purchase these days seem more expensive, you’re not imagining things. Electric bills are higher. The price for a liter of gasoline or diesel fuel has gone up, with costs being passed on throughout the distribution chain. The raising of the ...

Unburdening oneself of life's possessions

| Oct 4, 2014

Unburdening oneself of life's possessions

Japanese often cite an old aphorism that goes, “Tatsu tori ato wo nigosazu” (“It is a foolish bird that defiles its own nest”). This can be taken to mean that a departing person should not leave behind a mess. What kind of mess? Well, ...

Confessions

Oct 4, 2014

Confessions

The award-winning 1950 Akira Kurosawa film classic “Rashomon,” based on two short stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, used different and contradictory accounts of a samurai’s death to explore humanity’s self-serving behavior. Kanae Minato’s first novel, “Confessions,” adopts a somewhat similar approach, with its six chapters ...

| Sep 22, 2014

A peculiar perspective on the capricious word hen

One major event in Japan’s 16th-century civil war — which is the focus of “Gunshi Kanbei (Strategist Kanbei),” NHK’s current Sunday-night drama series — involves the duplicitous warlord Akechi Mitsuhide. Probably moved by personal jealousy, Mitsuhide betrayed his lord and ally, Oda Nobunaga, by ...

Tabloids voice alarm over dengue surge

| Sep 20, 2014

Tabloids voice alarm over dengue surge

The first case of dengue fever was reported on Aug. 27. As of Friday, the number had increased to 141 people in 17 prefectures — not one of whom had traveled abroad. If the asymptotic or unreported cases are included, it’s quite possible that ...

Line fends off fury ahead of lucrative IPO

| Sep 6, 2014

Line fends off fury ahead of lucrative IPO

“What’s so exasperating for the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry … is the current situation in that platforms, terminals and apps have become dominated by foreign entities,” remarked an unnamed writer for a trade publication. ...