Bar Aoyagi owner Reiko Yoshimura

| Nov 27, 2012

Bar Aoyagi owner Reiko Yoshimura

by Judit Kawaguchi

Reiko Yoshimura is the owner of Aoyagi, a tiny bar in the basement of Tokyo’s Shimbashi station. Built in 1966, the retro Shimbashi Ekimae Biru Ichigokan (Shimbashi Station Building No.1) is home to dozens of inexpensive drinking establishments that cater to salarymen and the ...

Hunter Shoji Kuramochi

| Aug 28, 2012

Hunter Shoji Kuramochi

by Judit Kawaguchi

Shoji Kuramochi, 73, is one of Japan’s few surviving hunters, and he may be the only one with 100 trained hunting dogs. Besides being a hunter of wild boars and deer, he’s also an expert at the traditional Japanese art forms of bonsai cultivation ...

Jul 1, 2012

Lesley Downer: Love, war and geisha

by Victoria James

Lesley Downer’s seven books range widely in genre and subject. Here she reflects on their inspiration and her experiences writing them. “On the Narrow Road to the Deep North: Journey into a Lost Japan” (1989): Downer’s first book, a travelogue, recounts a journey she ...

Social-media manager Lin Qing Xiang

| Jun 26, 2012

Social-media manager Lin Qing Xiang

by Judit Kawaguchi

Lin Qing Xiang, 33, is the social-media manager of the “The Ruby Alan Show” (also known as “The RA Show”), a video blog that explores both Singaporean and Japanese culture. Lin creates travelogues of his journeys around Japan and also films Japanese-culture events in ...

Koki Mitani: Japan's Mr. Comedy

| Jun 3, 2012

Koki Mitani: Japan's Mr. Comedy

by Nobuko Tanaka

Koki Mitani is far and away the nation’s best-known dramatist. Although theater is quite a niche medium here, most people in Japan — whether male or female, young or not so young, Japanese or not — recognize his face, even if they couldn’t name ...