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 ...

Dec 16, 2001

From 'shashin' to snapshots

Shashin, the Japanese word that came to mean “photograph,” was used quite differently when it first entered everyday language here. Derived from the two characters for “reflect” and “true,” it arrived in the early Edo Period from China, where it was used to refer ...

Dec 16, 2001

From pinholes to pixels, photgraphy keeps evolving

The camera on a tripod outside Edward Levinson’s countryside home in Chiba Prefecture is deceptive in its simplicity. It has no lens or viewfinder, no focusing dial, and no shutter-release button. “It’s just an empty box,” explains Levinson, sliding out the back and turning ...

Hell on four wheels

Nov 18, 2001

Hell on four wheels

It is a bad, humiliating start to the day. Usually, I can get from my office to the platform of JR Tamachi Station in about 10 minutes. Today it has taken just under 50 minutes. There have been no detours or serious mishaps. Today ...