Women flock to join 'college of change'

| Apr 15, 2007

Women flock to join 'college of change'

Saturday, March 31, was the final day of school for 47 graduates of the interestingly named I’M Personal College in Tokyo. After the graduation ceremony in the morning, they had a party with around 60 invited guests in a Roppongi club, where they danced, ...

Thousands in grip of new exam fever

| Mar 18, 2007

Thousands in grip of new exam fever

Whether because they are bored, driven to absorb as much of life’s wonder as they can, or because they regard certificates as legups on the career pole, many Japanese of all ages are flocking to fonts of knowledge on everything from kanji (Chinese written ...

TIRED OR EMOTIONAL: A space robot knows

| Feb 18, 2007

TIRED OR EMOTIONAL: A space robot knows

Office meetings occasionally flit between two extremes. Either they’re so tedious that you want to sleep, or they take an interesting turn when someone gets hot under the collar and starts ranting without listening to anyone else. What’s needed in these situations, obviously, is ...

A most convenient way to play table tennis

| Jan 21, 2007

A most convenient way to play table tennis

Despite the popularity of the player Ai Fukuhara, and a series of world champions in both men’s and women’s singles in the 1950s and ’60s, table tennis has long been considered a minor sport in Japan. Often, it is simply associated with hot-spring goers ...

Eyeing Japan's new year and far, far beyond

Dec 31, 2006

Eyeing Japan's new year and far, far beyond

The future may be fundamentally uncertain, but people’s appetite for predictions of what will be happening in days, weeks, months, years or even decades to come is one thing, at least, that is certain to be part of it. To satisfy that curiosity, while ...

Penmanship: A lost art is rediscovered

Dec 24, 2006

Penmanship: A lost art is rediscovered

At this time of the year, you may have received and sent any number of Christmas cards. Or, in the Japanese tradition, you might still be panicking about writing all the New Year’s postcards that the nation’s army of mailmen and women endeavor to ...

Find out why a fountain pen 'personalizes' your prose

Dec 24, 2006

Find out why a fountain pen 'personalizes' your prose

Kumiko Kumazawa of Pilot Corporation placed four fountain pens in front of me. “Try them and tell me the difference,” she said with a smile. I am sitting at the counter of Pen Station, a museum of writing-related items in Kyobashi, Tokyo, that’s run ...

Slow food, an attitude as much as a meal

Oct 31, 2006

Slow food, an attitude as much as a meal

In the 1960s, Japan’s first instant ramen changed people’s eating habits significantly by making it possible to get dinner in as little as three minutes. Even putting fast food and microwave dinners aside, eating has become easier and more functional since those days, due ...