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The war legacy that binds Okinawa and Vietnam

Nov 11, 2012

The war legacy that binds Okinawa and Vietnam

by Jon Mitchell

As the motorbike taxi I’m aboard zigzags through the traffic in Da Nang, Vietnam’s fourth-largest city, a bus pulls out of nowhere, causing my driver to brake, swerve and slam us into a sidewalk stack of bamboo cages packed with soft plump ducklings. It’s ...

Sexy's back for womenswear

Oct 28, 2012

Sexy's back for womenswear

by Misha Janette

For what seems like an eternity, kawaii (cute) fashion has ruled the Japanese womenswear roost, and at times it’s looked as if we would never see a return to edgy, chic styles. But the designers are playing their cool cards now, and they brought ...

In search of the fearsome Onibaba

Oct 21, 2012

In search of the fearsome Onibaba

by Mark Schreiber

“Here’s as close as I can take you,” said my taxi driver, a charming fellow named Ishii whose pronounced zuzu-ben (Tohoku accent), was strong enough to cut with the proverbial knife. “Just follow the path down the hill there — you can’t miss it.” ...

Farmer plows own antiradiation furrow

Oct 14, 2012

Farmer plows own antiradiation furrow

by Tomoko Otake

At the end of March 2011, a few weeks after the Great East Japan Earthquake, 20 rice farmers affiliated to J-Rap, an agricultural distribution company in Sukagawa, central Fukushima Prefecture, got together to assess the situation. With no one seeming to have much idea ...

Food co-op sues Tepco over soiled reputation

Oct 14, 2012

Food co-op sues Tepco over soiled reputation

by Tomoko Otake

Nanohana Seikyo — a Chiba Prefecture food distribution cooperative with about 11,500 members — made headlines last month when it took on the role of David by suing the corporate Goliath that is Tokyo Electric Power Co. for losses in sales incurred as a ...

Telework answers rural and disabled needs

Sep 30, 2012

Telework answers rural and disabled needs

by Edan Corkill

Disaster mitigation and a better “work-life balance” for staff are not the only benefits of having employees working outside the office, an increasing range of companies are now coming to realize. Among these are two that are each pioneering a unique application for telework ...

Teleworking: Home sweet ... office

Sep 30, 2012

Teleworking: Home sweet ... office

by Edan Corkill

On March 13, 2011, just two days after the Great East Japan Earthquake, as massive aftershocks rocked the capital and fears of a radioactive cloud spreading over the country seemed all-too real, Yasuyuki Higuchi, president of a Tokyo-based software company, sat down and typed ...

Antidancing law out of step with Japan's youth culture

Sep 23, 2012

Antidancing law out of step with Japan's youth culture

by Eriko Arita

Many in Japan’s large and lively dance community centered on hip-hop, house and other styles are becoming increasingly upset at what appears to be a police crackdown on an essential part of their lives. Since 2010, with more and more clubs being shut down ...

Street dance sweeps young Japan

Sep 23, 2012

Street dance sweeps young Japan

by Eriko Arita

The cool, wild and powerful movements of rhythm-heavy hip-hop dance are gripping the body and soul of ever more Japanese children and young people. For several years there have been commercial lessons offered and hip-hop competitions held around the country. Since April, though, this ...

Hip-hop zooms into schools

Sep 23, 2012

Hip-hop zooms into schools

by Tomoko Otake

The CD player is switched on and a mellow male voice singing a pop tune fills the hot and humid school gymnasium, seeming to soften its ambience like a breath of fresh air. On stage, a woman in an oversize T-shirt and baggy pants ...

'Cheating' robot poses tech and ethical issues

| Sep 16, 2012

'Cheating' robot poses tech and ethical issues

by Rob Gilhooly

Like a child eagerly trying to win some trading cards during a playground huddle, I scrunch up my fingers behind my back before unleashing my hand in time-honored fashion with the Japanese phrase: “Saisho wa gu, janken … pon!” Me: paper. Opponent: scissors. Result: ...