Apr 21, 2002

Abode of the gods

An indentation on the peak of Sri Pada, a mountain in central Sri Lanka, is reputed by some to have been made when Buddha first set foot on Earth. The mountain is also said to be the place where butterflies go to die. Another ...

The tower and the story

Mar 17, 2002

The tower and the story

On Christmas Eve, 1958, thousands of people poured through Hamamatsucho Station in Tokyo’s Minato Ward to take in Japan’s first postwar shot at a “public attraction.” There was nothing particularly cute about it; no fearsome rides, or cuddly characters to have your photo taken ...

Mar 10, 2002

Shall we sizzle?

At first glance, Koji Kanazawa looks like any other desk-beagle: neatly pressed gray pants, white shirt and bland tie topped off with a bashful, almost apologetic bow. But as the 24-year-old advertising salesman steps off the streets of Roppongi thronged with pamphlet touts and ...

Feb 24, 2002

So you think stress is all in the mind?

It’s as inevitable and, in most cases, as unwelcome as that overcrowded rush-hour train. Stress: We’re all its victims to some degree. But do we know what causes it, and what its long-term effects on the body can be? At its most basic level, ...

Feb 10, 2002

The street beat goes on -- but for how long?

Come 8 p.m., the nationalist black vans blaring polemics around Hachiko square outside JR Shibuya Station give way to an equally noisy, but far more friendly soundtrack. Six djembe players, two of whom sport dreadlocks and Bob Marley goatees, thump out African beats. In ...

Feb 3, 2002

Of nationhood and identity

Writer Ian Buruma was born in the Netherlands in 1951. He attended university in Japan and has spent a large part of his adult life in Asia. His nonfiction works include “The Wages of Guilt: Memories of War in Germany and Japan,” “Behind the ...

Feb 3, 2002

Sake brewed with a feminine touch

SHIBATA, Niigata Pref. — Orderly chaos might be a good way to describe the Ichishima Sake Brewery on this bone-chilling January morning. There’s only a dozen or so staff members, but bodies seem to be everywhere, scuttling down stairs or through the rabbit warren ...

Jan 22, 2002

Sapporo soccer hooligans face police-fired dragnet

Just as previews of the movie “Spiderman” have started to appear in Japan, police in Hokkaido have come up with their own web-spouting device to combat hooliganism during this year’s soccer World Cup, to be cohosted by Japan and South Korea. With England, Germany, ...

Jan 13, 2002

Fishy facts and figures

* The global fish harvest topped 120 million tons in 1998, a threefold increase over 1960. * Average per capita consumption of fisheries products worldwide has stood at around 16 kg per year since the 1970s. * Average per capita consumption in Japan in ...

Still F.A.B. after all these years

Dec 26, 2001

Still F.A.B. after all these years

Almost four decades after taking off on the TV screen, “Thunderbirds are go” once more. When the British Broadcasting Corp. relaunched the hit ’60s series just over a year ago, some 5 million viewers tuned in. Within a matter of weeks, a new generation ...