'Omotenashi' comes up short on humility

| Oct 10, 2015

'Omotenashi' comes up short on humility

A Japanese friend who used to travel a lot for work told me of a funny thing that once happened to her in a Tokyo hotel. She was checking in when a bellhop came up and, without saying anything, picked up her bag. She ...

Stop the presses, Yahoo News is on a roll

| Oct 3, 2015

Stop the presses, Yahoo News is on a roll

The Yomiuri Shimbun boasts that it is the most-read newspaper in the world owing to a “certified” daily circulation that tops 9.2 million. The Wall Street Journal, a truly international newspaper, reports daily circulation of about 1.5 million. These figures represent physical copies, but ...

Don't be green about the charm of tatami

| Oct 3, 2015

Don't be green about the charm of tatami

When we were thinking of buying a condominium, we visited several old danchi — apartments built by Japan’s former public housing corporation — because they were cheap and, we thought, easy to renovate. One of the units we inspected had bedroom floors made of ...

Working the politics of an idol marriage

| Sep 26, 2015

Working the politics of an idol marriage

Last week the media obsessed over that story about the 17-year-old girl who was sued by a talent agency for violating the terms of her contract, which stipulated that while she worked for them as a member of an idol singing group she could ...

Money matters when it comes to security

| Sep 19, 2015

Money matters when it comes to security

Media coverage of the Liberal Democratic Party’s plans to bolster Japan’s military position in the world has largely focused on the constitutionality of the two bills that allow the Self-Defense Forces to come to the aid of allies overseas. Those who oppose these bills ...