Scanning headlines for business clues

| Aug 4, 2014

Scanning headlines for business clues

Before we had the Internet, much of the work that has now been taken over by Google and other search engines was done, the old-fashioned way, by poring over secondary sources such as newspapers and magazines. In the 1980s, while working as an analyst ...

Fast-food follies have media in a frenzy

| Aug 2, 2014

Fast-food follies have media in a frenzy

Almost exactly a year ago (on July 27, 2013), this column reported on how the print media was inundated with concerns over the safety of foods from abroad. Among the sources cited was Takarajima magazine, which quoted a foodstuffs importer as saying, “The decline ...

| Jul 21, 2014

Stuck in the middle with chū — one kanji's central role

In the 1981 novel “Red Dragon” — the first Thomas Harris thriller featuring archvillain Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter — the Sino-Japanese ideograph 中 (read naka or chū, and meaning center or middle) makes an appearance. It is composed of a rectangle with a line ...

Politician Nonomura weeps and the world laughs

| Jul 19, 2014

Politician Nonomura weeps and the world laughs

“Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone. For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth, but has trouble enough of its own.” So wrote American Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) in an oft-quoted poem titled “The Way of the ...

Ongoing Obokata story seeks out scandal

| Jul 5, 2014

Ongoing Obokata story seeks out scandal

The paper, titled “Stimulus-triggered fate conversion of somatic cells into pluripotency,” was accepted by the British science journal Nature on Dec. 20, 2013, and published online on Jan. 29, 2014. The authors were listed as Haruko Obokata, Teruhiko Wakayama, Yoshiki Sasai, Koji Kojima, Martin ...

Murder on Bamboo Lane

Jun 28, 2014

Murder on Bamboo Lane

Since the appearance of “Summer of the Big Bachi” in 2004, Naomi Hirahara has produced five mystery novels in the ethnic detective genre, featuring Masao Arai, an elderly Japanese-American gardener (and Hiroshima A-bomb survivor) who drives around greater Los Angeles in a beat-up pickup ...

Jun 22, 2014

Today's weird words are tomorrow's standard speech

Last month, a most peculiar word, dotakyan, popped up repeatedly in the media in reference to former Beatle Paul McCartney, who was forced to cancel his entire schedule of concerts due to health concerns. Mainstream news organizations reported this as 全公演中止が決まった (zen kōen chūshi ...

Vietnam seen as a potential role model for Japan

| Jun 14, 2014

Vietnam seen as a potential role model for Japan

Although tourism and trade between Japan and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam have expanded rapidly in recent years, when compared with other ASEAN countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, Vietnam has maintained a fairly low profile in the Japanese media. But suddenly the ...

Media eyes trend-setting Sony's loss of momentum

| May 31, 2014

Media eyes trend-setting Sony's loss of momentum

Let’s travel back 62 years. On the evening of Dec. 4, 1952, after NHK radio signed off its regular AM programming, an announcer proclaimed: “Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo and NHK now commence a joint experimental stereo broadcast.” In principle, stereophonic sound reproduction requires separation of ...