'Specialness' shrouds stories of minorities

| Nov 9, 2013

'Specialness' shrouds stories of minorities

As predicted four months ago in this column, in September the Supreme Court ruled discriminatory and unconstitutional the Civil Code stipulation that says children born out of wedlock are entitled to only half the inheritance of legitimate offspring. The government is expected to revise ...

Warming up for the winter chill

| Nov 4, 2013

Warming up for the winter chill

In 2000 we moved into an apartment in Tokyo run by the semi-public housing corporation UR. It was new and had a natural-gas heating system. Unlike other gas systems we’d used in the past, however, this one heated water that was then circulated to ...

Busan is still Asia's film-fest gem, but its sparkle is fading

Oct 12, 2013

Busan is still Asia's film-fest gem, but its sparkle is fading

During the Q&A session after the screening of his new film “Stray Dogs” at the 18th Busan International Film Festival, which ran Oct. 3-12, Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang mentioned that not only was his previous film not distributed in South Korea, it wasn’t even ...

| Oct 12, 2013

Apologies for the apologies: the 'dogeza boom' on steroids

Japanese people like to apologize; or maybe “like” isn’t the right word. As in English, many Japanese terms that have the meaning of an apology are used for the sake of perfunctory politeness, so a sincere apology requires effort, and there’s no more powerful ...

Trouble is brewing on tracks up north

| Oct 5, 2013

Trouble is brewing on tracks up north

Last week the Fuji TV variety show “Real Scope” covered Japanese railroads. Most of the celebrities in the studio were densha otaku (train geeks), so it was one big love-in for railways and the people who operate them. However, the entire two-hour program focused ...

The build-up to get that housing loan

| Sep 30, 2013

The build-up to get that housing loan

Several years ago, we went to a bank in Tokyo that was advertising housing loans with easy terms. Though we weren’t shopping for a loan at the time we wanted to see what was needed in order to apply for one. The bank’s approval ...

Casinos bet on success in Tokyo

| Sep 28, 2013

Casinos bet on success in Tokyo

Most of the Olympics-related news reported since Tokyo won the right to host the 2020 Games is about projected economic benefits and drawbacks. A lot of construction will take place over the next seven years, but not all of it will be directly related ...