'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 ...

Tragedy and miracles on the same wave

May 29, 2005

Tragedy and miracles on the same wave

COLOMBO — In Sri Lanka, it seems everyone has a tsunami story to tell. Wherever you go, from Jaffna in the north, Tricomalee in the east, Kalutara in the west and Hambantota in the south, people recount near-miraculous escapes and tragic, life-changing episodes. What ...

Aftershocks in Sri Lanka

May 29, 2005

Aftershocks in Sri Lanka

HAMBANTOTA, Sri Lanka As the sun sets on another sultry Sri Lankan day, a small crowd gathers outside tent No. 68, home of Thuwan Rashid Kaseer and his three children. The 45-year-old carpenter is well known in the southern town of Hambantota for his ...

Japanese NGO in unique role

May 29, 2005

Japanese NGO in unique role

KILINOCHCHI, Sri Lanka — Eight-year-old Koushigan Sivapalasundaram’s day begins at 4:30 a.m. First up is homework, which is supervised by his mother, Jeyanthini, who watches over him while cradling his 6-month-old sister in one arm, and holding a meter-long stick in her free hand. ...