Olympus fiasco was 'lost opportunity'

| May 15, 2012

Olympus fiasco was 'lost opportunity'

by Mami Maruko

Waku Miller, a resident of Tokyo for over 30 years and a veteran translator who recently served as a spokesman for Michael C. Woodford — former president and CEO of Olympus Corp. — said he found it odd how indifferent major Japanese shareholders were ...

Texan's magic transforms verandas

| Apr 17, 2012

Texan's magic transforms verandas

by Mami Maruko

When you step out onto the veranda of Theodore Jennings’ penthouse apartment in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, it almost feels like you’re on vacation in some other location — be it New York or some European resort. “A lot of people tell me that. They ...

Polish envoy comes to terms with 3/11 via noh

| Apr 3, 2012

Polish envoy comes to terms with 3/11 via noh

by Mami Maruko

Jadwiga Rodowicz-Czechowska, Poland’s ambassador to Japan, says she was utterly heartbroken when she witnessed the catastrophe caused by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Tohoku last March. “I couldn’t stand being witness to this tragedy. I felt at the time (I was) not only ...

Culture ensnares Czech Japanophile

| Jan 31, 2012

Culture ensnares Czech Japanophile

by Mami Maruko

Petr Holy, who over the past two decades has spent a considerable amount of his time learning the Japanese language and culture, is now in return trying to spread the culture of his home country, the Czech Republic, throughout Japan. As director of the ...

Indian doctor finds success in Japan

| Jan 17, 2012

Indian doctor finds success in Japan

by Tomoko Otake

Ruby Pawankar stumbled across Japan in 1988, when as a young physician in Pune, western India, she accompanied her Indian husband here to curate an exhibition held as part of the Festival of India in Japan. Twenty-two years later as a professor in allergy ...

Paper artist Gannon cut his own niche

| Jan 10, 2012

Paper artist Gannon cut his own niche

by Kris Kosaka

Patrick Gannon admits he loves puzzles. As a literature major and aspiring writer in university, he delighted in deconstructing ideas and consciously pulling together disparate pieces to make a whole. Twenty years later, as a “cut paper” artist in Japan, Gannon, 40, employs the ...

Jose Alvares finds Portugal-Japan links

| Nov 29, 2011

Jose Alvares finds Portugal-Japan links

by Mami Maruko

Jose Alvares has tried to “reconnect” the Portuguese and Japanese cultures over the last 43 years he has spent in Japan. The veteran researcher of Portuguese culture and history says it’s difficult to explain why he chose to live in Japan, but he was ...

Greenthumb plants 'kolonihave' seed

| Oct 18, 2011

Greenthumb plants 'kolonihave' seed

by Mami Maruko

Jens Jensen makes almost anything he needs for his weekend life from scratch, from a doorknob to a window frame to a small wooden hut. Such a do-it-yourself lifestyle is fairly common in his home country, Denmark, where people try to make things that ...

Swede on mission to help Japan seniors

| Sep 13, 2011

Swede on mission to help Japan seniors

by Mami Maruko

Gustav Strandell believes that if there is something good about his home country, Sweden, that he can bring to Japan, it’s the concept and some of the technical skills of its social welfare system developed over its 100-year-plus history as an aging society. Born ...

Helping Brazilian kids master local life

| Aug 23, 2011

Helping Brazilian kids master local life

by Mami Maruko

Tetsuyoshi Kodama, a second-generation Japanese-Brazilian, became the first foreign national to pass the taxi driver test in Shizuoka Prefecture in 1991. After driving around the city of Hamamatsu for about four years, he took on other jobs, including at a temporary employment agency and ...

Youth said to need voice, opinions

| Jul 12, 2011

Youth said to need voice, opinions

by Mami Maruko

Lena Lindahl has for the past two decades produced environment-related events in Japan in an effort to apply her home country Sweden’s notion of sustainable society here. And she believes the key is education to encourage children to develop and express opinions about issues ...