| Jul 28, 2009

Pocket knife lands tourist, 74, in lockup

To the Japanese government and law enforcement authorities, I’m writing this letter to all of you because I feel it’s in your best interest to understand how dangerous it is for tourists to visit Japan. On July 2 in Shinjuku, a 74-year-old American tourist ...

| Jul 7, 2009

Calderon case shows need for new mind-set

Dear Japanese lawmakers, In mid-March, I opened up my newspaper to find an article about the government granting one-year temporary resident status to Noriko Calderon, an ethnic Filipino girl. I was shocked by the news because Noriko was born and raised in Japan. And ...

| Jun 30, 2009

'Reefer madness' hits Japan's shores

To the Japanese government and law enforcement authorities, There has been a lot of discussion about marijuana in Japan recently. Some people have gone as far as to call it the start of a panic. Research what happened in America a few decades ago ...

| Jun 9, 2009

Silent spring in Tokyo

Dear Environment Minister Tetsuo Saito, In her groundbreaking work “Silent Spring,” American writer Rachel Carson lamented a lack of birds and wildlife in her neighborhood one year. That spring, she thought it strange that no birds were singing or animals chattering. Later, Carson discovered ...

| May 26, 2009

Pre-empting an EMP

Dear Prime Minister Taro Aso, I’m writing to urge you to initiate measures that would protect Japan in the event of an EMP attack. EMP is an acronym for electromagnetic pulse. This phenomenon was first discovered in 1962 when the U.S. detonated a nuclear ...

| May 19, 2009

Tackle gender gap in mathematics, reading

Dear ministry of education, On international assessments of educational achievement, Japan is one of the top performing countries in science and math. The two primary international assessments that examine the performance of students in science and math are the Trends in International Mathematics and ...

| May 12, 2009

Kusanagi romp makes waves as real crimes go unpunished

Dear Tokyo Metropolitan Police, Shoichi Nakagawa was Japan’s finance minister, possibly drunk on taxpayer money at a Group of Eight ministers’ meeting called to address the global financial crisis in Rome. Was that criminal negligence? Democratic Party of Japan leader Ichiro Ozawa was neither ...

| Apr 21, 2009

What U.S. schools can learn from Japan

Dear education ministry, In March, I had the opportunity to visit a Japanese school. Kadena Elementary School is located on Okinawa Island in the town of Kadena, and is not to be confused with the school of the same name operated by the U.S. ...

| Apr 14, 2009

English lessons on the cheap

Dear education minister Ryu Shionoya, I came to Japan six months ago a qualified and experienced primary school teacher full of excitement, and a little concern. Would I be able to connect with the junior high school students I would be teaching in only ...