Japan's picture ID before World War II

Feb 2, 2016

Japan's picture ID before World War II

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Last year, the number of tourists coming into Japan outnumbered those going out for the first time in 45 years. In absolute terms, it may be the first time that tourism has properly taken off for this country, despite numerous attempts by various ministries ...

The uplifting tones of Okinawan blues

Jan 30, 2016

The uplifting tones of Okinawan blues

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The winter vocabulary of the majority of Japan residents doesn’t include the color turquoise. Or aquamarine, azure or the somewhat intellectually pompous “cerulean.” This, however, is the palette I attempt to describe with my husband as we turn our tiny rental car onto the ...

Exploring Niigata's snow country

Jan 23, 2016

Exploring Niigata's snow country

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Marred though the view is with power lines and other trappings of modernity, the rainbow that appears at the far end of Tsubame-Sanjo Station seems a rather auspicious beginning. The initial impression that greeted us in front of this largely unpopular station just south ...

The heights and falls of Miyajima Island

Jan 9, 2016

The heights and falls of Miyajima Island

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My alarm sounded at 6:45 a.m., but I quickly silenced it and rolled over in my futon. I enjoyed a fleeting moment of quietude before the thrumming of rubber soles on pavement and accompanying excited voices crescendoed, a brief multilingual hubbub that then faded ...

Bask in the warmth of Iheya Island

Dec 19, 2015

Bask in the warmth of Iheya Island

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I thought I recognized the owner of the Iheya Kanko Hotel, her face fleetingly recalled as it passed over the screen at a Shinjuku showing of the 2012 film “Karakara.” Written and directed by Canadian, Claude Gagnon, and starring the seasoned actor Gabriel Arcand, ...