Ongaeshi Project aims to give back to nature

Jun 27, 2010

Ongaeshi Project aims to give back to nature

Asahiyama Zoo’s Jack, Lianne and 3-year-old Morito have whispy red fur, long graceful hands and eyes that are as searchingly intelligent as many a pair on the other side of their cage. These Borneo orangutans are likely the most frequently viewed members of their ...

Jun 27, 2010

Predator-prey relationships play large part in zoo's setup

For animals in the wild, life is defined by the relationship between predator and prey — but incorporating that dynamic into zoos can be extremely difficult. Asahiyama Zoo tackled the problem this April in its brand new, ¥70-million raptor display. Built to accommodate endangered ...

Grad-school boom for all

May 30, 2010

Grad-school boom for all

When Wakayama University set up a new masters program in economics last year at its Kishiwada satellite campus, 34-year-old financial planner Kenji Yoshida said he felt like “they created the program just for me.” Yoshida has been working at the Yonemoto Accounting Company in ...

May 30, 2010

By definition, who are 'adult learners' anyway?

Defining “adult learners” isn’t easy. After all, youths in Japan can vote and drink at the age of 20, yet when attending university they are not considered adults. In international studies in the past, students (gakusei) were often classed by age, with those over ...

Pearl farmers look to satoumi to save their way of life

May 30, 2010

Pearl farmers look to satoumi to save their way of life

One bright blue February afternoon, Akira Harajo stood on a concrete pier and surveyed Mie Prefecture’s Ago Bay. With dyed black hair, a zippered sports shirt and immaculate V-neck sweater, Harajo, 75, hardly looked the part of the farmer that he is. Then again, ...

How can it get too late to learn?

May 30, 2010

How can it get too late to learn?

Professor Ryusuke Yoneyama was in the middle of explaining to the members of his music-production class why Baroque-era violin bows, which resembled loosely strung archery bows, produced a weaker sound than their contemporary counterparts when he paused to ask a question. “Has anyone here ...

Entrance exam hell at 28

May 30, 2010

Entrance exam hell at 28

Six years ago, a 28-year-old former child-care assistant named Michiru Hanai decided she wanted to go to university to get a teacher’s license. There were just two problems. First, although many undergraduate programs have special admission systems that allow older applicants to sidestep the ...

Learning old ways to build for today

| Jan 17, 2010

Learning old ways to build for today

For lovers of traditional Japanese architecture, a visit to Akihisa Kitamori’s laboratory at the Kyoto University Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere (RISH) would likely evoke similar emotions to those felt by an animal-rights activist in a cosmetics test lab full of tormented rabbits. In ...

Waking up to a shipwreck

| Dec 20, 2009

Waking up to a shipwreck

It’s not every morning that a 169-meter-long ship gets knocked over by a giant wave and lands like a beached whale virtually outside the front door of your quiet seaside home. But that’s just what happened on, of all days, Friday the 13th of ...

Mystery lure of woodland lords

Nov 29, 2009

Mystery lure of woodland lords

When Hideyuki Yoshizawa goes into the woods, he doesn’t wear the usual silver bells meant to scare off bears. He’s given up smoking, too, to eliminate that tell-tale human smell. That’s because he wants more than anything else to meet a bear in the ...