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What Japan needs to do

Jan 13, 2013

What Japan needs to do

by Edan Corkill and Tomoko Otake

With its economy spluttering, large parts of its northeastern region still devastated by the effects of the mammoth Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 — and releases of radioactive materials that followed — its population shrinking and aging at unprecedented rates and its citizens ...

Survivor pens 'too painful' 3/11 tale

| Dec 16, 2012

Survivor pens 'too painful' 3/11 tale

by Tomoko Otake

‘March 11, 2011 — We will never forget the day. The disaster … After the massive earthquake occurred, the huge tsunami destroyed this area. Many citizens were lost and the survived people also received the deep crack in their hearts. I had a narrow ...

Dec 9, 2012

Apocalypse made in Japan

by Michael Hoffman

A world-ending cataclysm is common to many mythologies. The Biblical flood narrative is the best known and follows a fairly typical pattern: wrathful deity, mass destruction, surviving remnant — in this case the righteous man Noah and his family. We gather from these tales ...

The Fish Tree

Nov 25, 2012

The Fish Tree

by Michael Hoffman

Once upon a time there was a child who, being a child, simply didn’t know what to make of himself. “Look,” said his mother. “I brought the sun out for you. Go out and play.” “With the sun?” “Why not with the sun?” “Mom?” ...

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 ...