| Dec 16, 2012

An aging country learning to adapt

Occasionally in this space I refer to a financial writer called “Gucci-san” who contributes a weekly column to Aera. Apparently, he works for an investment consulting firm that does a lot of work in mergers and acquisitions. In a recent piece he said that ...

Liberals left behind in turn to the right

| Dec 9, 2012

Liberals left behind in turn to the right

The Latin morpheme liber (free) has a lot to answer for. Take the word “liberal,” which represented a fairly clear political position until American “conservatives” demonized it. But liberals are not “libertarians.” The former are seen to favor government schemes that guarantee the welfare ...

| Dec 2, 2012

Koreeda's daring TV drama stands alone

Once upon a time television was considered much less prestigious than the movies, and then cable and other forms of pay TV showed up. Producers no longer had to think mainly about sponsors and family sensitivities because they could target programs at specific demographics. ...

Attitude change needed to shake up the workforce

| Nov 25, 2012

Attitude change needed to shake up the workforce

Several weeks ago the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, hung around briefly after the IMF finished up its annual meeting — which happened to be in Tokyo this year — and appeared on a special hourlong edition of NHK’s in-depth news ...

New universities are big business, needed or not

| Nov 18, 2012

New universities are big business, needed or not

People who use the Tokyu Toyoko Line, which connects Tokyo and Yokohama, may wonder why there are stations called Toritsu-Daigaku and Gakugei-Daigaku when there are no daigaku (universities) near them. There used to be a Gakugei Daigaku (Tokyo Gakugei University) but it moved to ...

Local media are too vague on Fukushima radiation risk

| Nov 11, 2012

Local media are too vague on Fukushima radiation risk

Earlier this year, NHK rebroadcast a documentary it made in the late 1980s about the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident. It showed how the Soviet Union and European countries tested people for effects of radiation throughout the region. Appended to the doc was a ...

<em>Danchi</em> housing lets you think outside the usual box

| Nov 6, 2012

Danchi housing lets you think outside the usual box

Japanese housing experts have a list of casual terms to describe the layouts of apartments and condominiums: kamaboko (fish paste), yokan-giri (sliced bean jelly), ta no ji (rice paddy ideograph) and chocolate bars. What these terms have in common is geometrical utility. All are ...