Celebrate football's field of dreams

Jun 5, 2002

Celebrate football's field of dreams

It’s twenty minutes before England’s opening World Cup game at Saitama Stadium and I’m sitting almost directly behind the goal, sacred posts that I’m hoping Michael Owen will tune his gold-plated radar into the moment he walks onto the pitch. Nervousness sets me off ...

Are local tracks up against the odds?

May 12, 2002

Are local tracks up against the odds?

There is little glamor at Kawasaki Racetrack. Under grubby baseball caps, cigarettes and pencil stubs are jammed behind the ears of tense punters. The odor of ramen wafts along the betting slip-littered corridors and stairways under the stands. The racetrack terraces host a variety ...

Stars & strikes: a revolution from above

Apr 28, 2002

Stars & strikes: a revolution from above

Just 18 months after surrendering in the Pacific War, more than 3 million people throughout Japan were preparing to bring the shattered, hungry nation to a standstill. On the morning of Feb. 1, 1947, telecommunications would be cut and rail routes disrupted. Public offices ...

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 ...