| Oct 23, 2015

Prefecture battle; the witches of Japan; CM of the week: SoftBank

The government’s plan for regional revitalization gets a boost from the world of television with the three-hour variety special “47 Todofuken Taiko! Kakuzeke Nippon!” (“47-prefecture Rivalry! Ranking Japan!”; Fuji TV, Sun., 7 p.m.). Each of Japan’s 47 prefectures is represented by one celebrity who ...

No sex talk please, we're Japanese

| Oct 17, 2015

No sex talk please, we're Japanese

The education ministry recently came under fire for supplementary materials it had distributed to high schools this summer. The materials were given out to help girls lead “healthier lives,” but a chart about pregnancy included in the literature was found to be misleading. According ...

'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 ...