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Peter Backhaus

For Peter Backhaus's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

'Better Must Come' compares homelessness in Tokyo and Los Angeles

Jul 4, 2015

'Better Must Come' compares homelessness in Tokyo and Los Angeles

This longitudinal ethnographic study by Matthew D. Marr examines the problem of homelessness in Tokyo and Los Angeles. Special focus is given to the structural conditions that facilitate or impede getting off the streets. Better Must Come, by Matthew D. Marr240 pagesCornell University press, ...

Turning things into people using suffixes

| Mar 2, 2015

Turning things into people using suffixes

The physical impossibility of turning things into people is something language does with great ease. If you’re from Rome you are a Roman, if you do political science you are a political scientist, and if you’re into Star Trek, you are a Trekie. All ...

Paradox of politeness: humbling and exalting at same time

| Nov 3, 2014

Paradox of politeness: humbling and exalting at same time

Each year in fall, the Bunkachō (文化庁, Agency of Cultural Affairs) publishes the results of its annual opinion poll on the linguistic state of the nation, officially called Kokugo ni Kansuru Yoron Chōsa (国語に関する世論調査, Survey of the National Language). This time, the survey asked ...