Fishermen take matters into own hands

Jun 10, 2011

Fishermen take matters into own hands

The fine drizzle falling on the picturesque fishing village of Kyubun, Miyagi Prefecture, is dampening Toshikazu Takahashi’s normally sunny disposition. The unfavorable weather has scuppered plans by Takahashi and 35 fellow fishermen to start cleaning up the battered quay just 50 meters from where ...

Japan's renegade hero gives Saipan new hope

| May 15, 2011

Japan's renegade hero gives Saipan new hope

Graciano Lisua doesn’t look like someone who would get too worked up about ghosts. Yet superstition, says the broad-shouldered, barrel-chested Chomorron as he leans on his machete, is of great import for the inhabitants of the Mariana Islands. Traditionally, it seems, the aboriginal Chomorro ...

In the zone

Apr 10, 2011

In the zone

MINAMISOMA, Fukushima Prefecture — There’s a repellent stench coming from the cowshed. It’s a mixture of manure, hay and something more difficult to pinpoint — something dank, musty, unworldly. At the back, penned behind large wooden troughs, two cows stumble back and forth, searching ...

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 ...