| Dec 14, 2010

Color politics reign on campuses

Dear Minister of Education Yoshiaki Takaki: Over the past decade, some school boards have been reprimanded for only hiring “blond-haired, blue-eyed teachers.” A top-ranking executive of a now-defunct English conversation school chain also admitted in an interview that the company would routinely turn away ...

Plans for public space need the public's input

| Oct 26, 2010

Plans for public space need the public's input

Dear Prime Minister Naoto Kan, The heated debates over the construction of a massive aquarium in Kyoto’s Umekoji Park, the plans to level parts of Shimokitazawa in Tokyo for a questionable road project, and the infamous quasi-privatization of Shibuya’s Miyashita Park suggest that public ...

| Aug 31, 2010

Discipline in schools is not a bad thing

Dear minister of education Tatsuo Kawabata, I have been working as an assistant language teacher (ALT) in your public school system for five months now. Although it might be considered a bit premature to pen a word to you after such a short time, ...

| Jul 20, 2010

A decade of harassment by Tokyo police

Dear Minister of Justice Keiko Chiba, I’m a 45-year-old African-American expat living and working in Tokyo. I’ve been the victim of police harassment for over 10 years. I’m continuously being stopped while riding my bike for ID checks. I’m living in Tokyo in the ...

| Jun 8, 2010

Farewell haiku for Hatoyama

Dear Yukio Hatoyama, Leaving your office, your staff gave you a taxpayer-funded bouquet of flowers. Your pregnant term did not even last nine months. I’d like to give you something more personal from my heart, to show my love for my country of choice, ...

| May 11, 2010

University EFL hiring: garbage in, garbage out

Dear minister of education Tatsuo Kawabata, I wish to draw your attention to practices in university English departments in Japan that are by their very nature counterproductive and often harmful to the acquisition of English as a foreign language. I have been a university ...