No guarantees: the struggle of being old and alone in Japan

| Jun 11, 2016

No guarantees: the struggle of being old and alone in Japan

Foreign media have been diligently covering Japan’s rocky economic road to an uncertain future, but they seem to have missed the recent bankruptcy of Nihon Life Kyokai, a company that provides guarantor services. Though it’s only one failure, the Japanese press has paid particularly ...

Japan baffled by the intricacies of LGBT issues

| Jun 4, 2016

Japan baffled by the intricacies of LGBT issues

A middle-aged woman I know never wears makeup or skirts and keeps her hair short. Sometimes she receives concerned glances when she enters the women’s locker room at the gym she patronizes and, while no one has ever questioned her gender (for the record, ...

There's no hiding in Japan's toilets

| Jun 4, 2016

There's no hiding in Japan's toilets

When it comes to toilets, Japan presents several paradoxes. On the one hand, public toilets are ubiquitous, easy to access and, for the most part, quite clean. On the other hand, they can also be primitive, or at least to a Western sensibility. Though ...

| Jun 3, 2016

'Legal Advice Office With a Line Outside the Door';

Before he became a firebrand politician, Toru Hashimoto was a lawyer and TV personality, and one of the variety shows he often appeared on was Nippon TV’s “Gyoretsu no Dekiru Horitsu Sodanjo” (“Legal Advice Office With a Line Outside the Door”; Sun., 9 p.m.). ...

The vagina on trial: more absurd than obscene

| May 28, 2016

The vagina on trial: more absurd than obscene

Though the obscenity trial of the artist known as Rokudenashiko — real name Megumi Igarashi — ended earlier this month with a conviction on one of her charges, we haven’t heard the last of her. She plans to appeal the verdict, which is good ...

| May 27, 2016

'Historical Unknowns: Historia'; 'Morning Comes'; DHC

Kumamoto Castle, which was seriously damaged in last month’s earthquake, is one of Japan’s most beloved and iconic landmarks. Originally built in the 15th century, the structure is one of the largest fortifications in Japan and covers a big piece of land. It is ...