Michael Hassett

As a Mensan who has an interest in everything numerical, Michael Hassett enjoys examining how numbers are produced and interpreted to indicate societal norms and influence public perception. He arrived in Japan in 1990 and has been an occasional contributor to The Japan Times since 2007.

For Michael Hassett's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Green-fingered <em>gaijin</em> reaps alien harvest in Tokyo

| Jul 31, 2012

Green-fingered gaijin reaps alien harvest in Tokyo

Dazed and drenched within Tokyo’s oppressive summer furnace, I peered up from my squat through the prism of perspiration in my eyelids to see a figure I had gradually come to know as the grumpy ol’ garden drunk. “When ‘ja plant ‘dem cucumbers?” he ...

Taking stock of a generation of changes

| Jan 11, 2011

Taking stock of a generation of changes

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changesTurn and face the strangeCh-ch-changesPretty soon now, you’re gonna get older Rolling Stone suggested that the lyrics to “Changes” by David Bowie could be “construed as a young man’s attempt to reckon how he’ll react when it’s his time to be on the maligned ...

Children say the darndest things

Dec 23, 2008

Children say the darndest things

Another holiday season is upon us. There is a nip in the air, lights of all colors twinkle throughout neighborhoods and cityscapes across the country, and holiday cheer radiates throughout our schools, workplaces and communities. During this festive time, friends and families often come ...

| Nov 25, 2008

An Obama for Japan: Yes, we can?

On the long, unwinding railroad, on the sixth day — the day that, according to Christian texts, God created Man — a great dissatisfaction seeped into me as I continued to bask in the pride of seeing the majority of my fellow Americans transcend ...

Coming out of the shadows

| Aug 26, 2008

Coming out of the shadows

“We judge that it will be best for the child that the (parent) pray from the shadows for his healthy upbringing. If worried about the child, ask about him through others, secretly watch him from behind a wall, and be satisfied with what is ...

Custody battles: an unfair fight

| Aug 12, 2008

Custody battles: an unfair fight

“Sport at its best obliterates divisions between peoples, such as ostentatious flag-waving and exaggerated national sentiment.” New York Times senior writer Howard W. French — who has covered China for the past five years, was Tokyo bureau chief from 1999 to 2003, and has ...

| Jun 10, 2008

Where did all the babies go?

Last Wednesday, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced that Japan’s total fertility rate (TFR) — the average number of babies born to women during their reproductive years — rose slightly to 1.34 for 2007, even though about 3,000 fewer children were born ...

U.S. military crime: SOFA so good?

| Feb 26, 2008

U.S. military crime: SOFA so good?

On Friday night, Aug. 18, 2006, at a third-story apartment within a gated community outside Atlanta, Ga., 31-year-old Kendrick Ledet sat contemplating life. And death. Ledet was familiar with various forms of high-tech weaponry — particularly the semi-automatic M-16 rifle — but on this ...