How we wonder what we are

Jul 7, 2002

How we wonder what we are

Stargazing is like traveling through time and space; imagining as best we can such unimaginable distances, such wondrous, unknown possibilities out there in the vast, star-spangled sky. For modern city-dwellers, though, stargazing long ago ceased to be a nocturnal option, since air and light ...

The pick of the crop

May 26, 2002

The pick of the crop

IRUMA, Saitama Pref. — Despite global warming and technological developments in agriculture worldwide, still some things have never changed. Just ask tea farmer Toshiharu Kato. Every year, Kato begins picking the tea leaves on his farm in Iruma City, Saitama Prefecture, around hachiju-hachi ya ...

Live and learn and learn

May 5, 2002

Live and learn and learn

Swimming. Piano. English conversation. According to a recent survey conducted by the Tokyo-based Living Lifestyle Institute, these are the three most popular narai-goto, after-school extracurricular lessons for children. Swimming and piano, the longtime favorites, placed first and second, but this is the first time ...

Peak attraction

Apr 21, 2002

Peak attraction

When the cherry trees in the highlands of Nagano Prefecture start blooming, Hajimu Miyamoto of the Azumi Village tourist association begins to feel excited — and a little nervous. Excited, because after five months’ hibernation under a heavy blanket of snow, the narrow 8-km ...

Veteran lensman sets his sights high

Apr 21, 2002

Veteran lensman sets his sights high

After 30 years, Takashi Iwahashi hasn’t lost any enthusiasm for his work. Even at age 57, he spends an average of 120 days a year on the world’s mountain peaks and ridges, capturing their beauty on film. Such devotion has made him one of ...

How to teach the teachers to teach?

Mar 31, 2002

How to teach the teachers to teach?

To Doreen Simmons, who for more than 20 of her 28 years in Japan has been an editor in the International Affairs Department of the Diet, the idea of Japan adopting English as its second official language sounds “totally unrealistic.” The idea would make ...

Hotel turns over a new leaf

Mar 24, 2002

Hotel turns over a new leaf

Big hotels are features of most big cities, and Tokyo is no exception. Rearing into the sky, often straddling whole blocks, they’re the temporary homes and permanent workplaces for small armies of people — which brings serious environmental consequences. As huge garbage producers and ...

Feb 24, 2002

No end to stress in modern Japan

Thirty-year-old Hiroko Sato was having her hair done, just as she had every month for the past several years, when suddenly she began to feel ill. First, she felt dizzy, then nauseous, then her hands started to go numb. She tried to shrug it ...

Jan 27, 2002

We've lost that food-loving feeling

Feeling hungry? Luckily, those of us living in the here-and-now can eat almost anything we want, anytime we want — and as much as we like. Eating is the easiest it’s ever been. Should we ever for an instant forget that, there’s always those ...

Dec 30, 2001

O-Shogatsu: a custom-made holiday

Yoshio Mamiya doesn’t need reminding that o-shogatsu is almost here. For several weeks, the 78-year-old craftsman has been working 12-hour days, seven days a week at his studio in the Sanno district of Tokyo’s Ota Ward, where he busily stitches away to meet his ...