Words of wonder

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Western readers were first exposed to the wonders of “The Tale of Genji” when Kencho Suematsu, a graduate of Cambridge University in England, published his translation of the first 17 ...

In harmony with all creation

Sep 21, 2008

In harmony with all creation

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If the primary theme of human life in the 21st century is living in harmony with other animals and plants — and also preserving the bounties of the Earth — then Kenji Miyazawa is the Japanese writer who can most thoroughly help us to ...

Tokyo's catwalks at last purr with pizazz

Sep 14, 2008

Tokyo's catwalks at last purr with pizazz

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“Is Tokyo really the world’s fifth fashion capital after Paris, New York, Milan and London?” That was the question asked by Li Dong, director of fashion for China TV, which was insinuating the waning sartorial significance of the Rising Sun during last season’s Japan ...

It's tough for men

Sep 14, 2008

It's tough for men

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Japan Fashion Week (JFW), now in its seventh season, has never put much emphasis on menswear. This year, it appeared merely as an afterthought. A paltry selection seems at odds with the fact that the Japanese menswear market and number of top-quality domestic labels ...

New stars are a-rising

Sep 14, 2008

New stars are a-rising

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Fashion is sometimes like soccer, in that you can’t always rely on older players and expensive foreign imports. Until recently, Japan Fashion Week tended to bank on the same names from season to season. However, to keep the progression of new talent and new ...

New company casts light on power saving

Aug 31, 2008

New company casts light on power saving

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The use of solar energy to generate power and to heat water is gradually spreading in Japan, but the most basic use of sunshine is yet to come out of the shadows — namely, for lighting. To save on the amount of electricity that ...

Is yours a sweet and eco-friendly home?

Aug 31, 2008

Is yours a sweet and eco-friendly home?

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After hearing all the talk about climate change and global warming, many of us are now aware that we need to change our lifestyle in the battle to stop our planet from being a far less agreeable place to live. We also know that ...

Why is Japan lagging in solar-energy field?

Aug 31, 2008

Why is Japan lagging in solar-energy field?

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In the renewable energy industry, how does Japan compare with the rest of the world? While Japan was long the world’s leader in both domestic solar-power output and the manufacture of solar- power equipment, it lost its top spot in 2005 just as the ...

Living a green life

Aug 31, 2008

Living a green life

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Sporting a smart, modern exterior, the home of Keiko and Yoshiyuki Shimizu and their children Ayano, 13, and Haruki, 11, in a residential area of Kawasaki, south of Tokyo in Kanagawa Prefecture, is full of fun features inside. The three- story house has a ...

'Backyard naturalist' finds it fun to be green

Aug 31, 2008

'Backyard naturalist' finds it fun to be green

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Tadashi Nemoto’s home in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, is proof that you don’t need lots of expensive equipment to enjoy an ecological lifestyle. Nemoto, a 48-year-old chemical ecologist for a national research institute by day, is a self-proclaimed “backyard naturalist” after work. His garden boasts ...

Natural by design

Aug 24, 2008

Natural by design

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I magine being able to maintain a perfect temperature and humidity in your home year round, without spending a single yen in electricity or gas bills. That’s exactly what Professor Emile Ishida of Tohoku University in northern Japan is striving to achieve — and ...

Keeper of the tales of a nuclear hell

| Aug 17, 2008

Keeper of the tales of a nuclear hell

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Has George W. Bush ever heard of Akihito Ito? Dismayed at Pentagon plans to develop a new generation of “tactical” nuclear weapons — so-called mini-nukes — Ito sent Bush a gift: a box of CDs carrying the recorded voices of 284 atomic-bomb survivors from ...

Big business in death

| Aug 17, 2008

Big business in death

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Like it or not, we will all die one day. That said, our mortality is not something we tend to dwell on — and as for funerals, well, most people probably think about them as little as humanly possible and attend them only when ...