Is Japan sinking further into 'Aum-ification'?

| Jul 26, 2014

Is Japan sinking further into 'Aum-ification'?

The world — this insignificant little spinning rock we call home — is nearing its end. Armageddon lies ahead: violence, upheaval, horror. The normal human mind shrinks from the mere thought, but “higher consciousness” embraces it. Higher consciousness sees things in a wider perspective. ...

| Jul 19, 2014

'Leaving the world' to gain freedom

A challenge: Scan Japanese history in search of freedom fighters. You won’t find many. Not freedom but submission was the proud Japanese ideal. It was the “way of the warrior.” A 16th-century poem declares, “For the samurai to learn / there’s one thing only ...

The high cost of peace and quiet

| Jul 12, 2014

The high cost of peace and quiet

Peace and quiet! How rare it is, how precious. Why rare? Because a full-blooded modern economy is no monastery, no “ancient pond” into which a frog may jump, producing the hushed “sound of water” immortalized by the haiku poet Basho (1644-94). Engines roar, machinery ...

A life of lettuce has its benefits

| Jun 28, 2014

A life of lettuce has its benefits

Lettuce. Let us raise a glass to lettuce. There’s a village in Nagano Prefecture called Kawakami — nothing, nowhere little place, deep in the mountains, far from the main road, population 3,960. Why does Shukan Gendai magazine devote three full pages to profiling it? ...

Japan's salarymen are bored to tears

| Jun 7, 2014

Japan's salarymen are bored to tears

It seems odd to be talking about boredom in such interesting times. Are you bored? Almost certainly you are, if Spa! magazine’s insights are reliable. Polling 2,052 mid-career (age 35-45), moderately prosperous (annual income ¥4 million-¥6 million) businessmen (sic, men only), it found no ...

Will Japan be a country that welcomes all?

| May 24, 2014

Will Japan be a country that welcomes all?

“A nation of immigrants.” Japan? The leading proponent of that vision has been Hidenori Sakanaka, former head of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau, current executive director of the private think tank he founded in 2007, the Japan Immigration Policy Institute. His was long a voice ...

'Japan is back' but small business isn't

| May 17, 2014

'Japan is back' but small business isn't

The old Japan is dying. Is a new Japan being born? The yen is low, the stock market is high. Prices are up, gross domestic product rising. “Abenomics” seems to be working. Why then, asks Spa! magazine, are so few feeling it? The monetarist ...