Apr 3, 2011

Crews driven by sense of mission

There is nothing remarkable about the Nissan minibus that pulls up in the tsunami-wrecked port of Onahama, Fukushima Prefecture. Nothing, that is, except its 21 passengers, who have come to be seen as heroes around the world. Three groups of seven men alight from ...

Tsunami-hit towns face dire future

Apr 1, 2011

Tsunami-hit towns face dire future

OSHIKA, Miyagi Pref. — Survivors of the March 11 magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami are expressing reservations about returning to their homes, raising the prospect of already depopulated communities turning into ghost towns. “I have no desire to live here anymore,” said Masashi Abe, ...

Survivors strive to start picking up the pieces

Mar 27, 2011

Survivors strive to start picking up the pieces

A teenage boy is walking along the muddy road holding a rusty shovel, on which is perched what appears to be a notebook. School tie slightly askew, the fringe of his thick shock of hair partly covering his eyes, he tells me it is, ...

'Nothing can prepare you to witness this'

Mar 20, 2011

'Nothing can prepare you to witness this'

It’s a relatively minor incident that gets me. I’m at a gymnasium in central Ishinomaki photographing members of Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) as they unload dozens of corpses from a truck. Each is wrapped in blankets, some with flowery designs far too cheerful ...

German braumeister puts Otaru brewery on map

Jan 22, 2011

German braumeister puts Otaru brewery on map

While Japan’s major breweries continue to report flat beer sales amid an ailing economy, there is one Hokkaido-based beer maker that’s brewing up a storm. Otaru Beer in the port city of Otaru has continued to flourish since its inception 15 years ago, with ...

Bigger picture in sight for local development

Jun 5, 2010

Bigger picture in sight for local development

For some it was a flash in the pan, at best an experiment destined to fail, at worst a mini-bubble hyper-inflated by greedy “outsiders” with little interest other than the type accumulating in the bank. For others, however, the Niseko ski resort in southwest ...

Artists push their own snow festival

Feb 20, 2010

Artists push their own snow festival

Among the intricately carved sculptures at the Sapporo Snow Festival this year, three Dutch artists and a polar bear could be seen luring passersby with ribbon-wrapped blocks of compacted snow in an attempt to promote an alternative festival that makes better use of the ...

Home and away

| May 14, 2006

Home and away

AUSTRALIA Respect brings harmony without being workaholic Sumi Kuramoto is a housewife in her 30s. She moved from Osaka to Australia in January 2005 when her husband took a place at a vocational cookery college in Adelaide. She is the mother of two boys, ...

70, and still a catch

Jul 29, 2005

70, and still a catch

A man in a cap and Wellington boots is holding a glistening metal pick in one hand, a small lump of flesh in the other. And he’s beckoning me over. “Hey, foreigner! Feast your eyes on this,” he shouts. Under normal circumstances, I would ...

What price is heritage?

Jun 26, 2005

What price is heritage?

Landmark one day, parking lot the next — that is the fate that seems about to befall an early 20th-century stone building in the heart of historic Shimoda, Shizuoka Prefecture. Nanzu Seihyojo — thought to be the last ice-making plant of its kind in ...