War and reconciliation: a tale of two countries

Aug 10, 2008

War and reconciliation: a tale of two countries

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On July 7, 2008, officers of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force visited Nanjing, the ancient capital of China, for an artillery demonstration — a visit barely mentioned in the Chinese media, even though it was the first time Japanese soldiers returned to the scene ...

Cipangu's landlocked isles

Jul 27, 2008

Cipangu's landlocked isles

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Thirteenth-century Japan has this in common with early 19th-century Japan: a land culture paying scant heed to the sea until the sea, as though in outrage, rises up and compels attention. The dominant features of 13th-century Japan are Zen Buddhism and the newly empowered ...

Was the 'Japanese Renaissance' lost at sea?

Jul 27, 2008

Was the 'Japanese Renaissance' lost at sea?

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Last week, Japan celebrated Umi no Hi (Marine Day). First observed as a national holiday in 1996, Marine Day marks the anniversary of the return of Emperor Meiji from a boat trip to Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido on July 20, 1876. It is ...

Temporary arrangements

| Jul 20, 2008

Temporary arrangements

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Akio Watanabe knows what a dead end feels like. The 34-year-old native of Yamagata Prefecture in northern Japan found himself one of a growing legion of “netto cafe nanmin (Net-cafe refugees)” at the end of March, when the major temp agency he had worked ...

What's that smell?

| Jul 20, 2008

What's that smell?

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No one in Japan can avoid the sweat and smells of hot humid summer, regardless of sex, age or ethnicity. But a recent survey on body odor reeked of bad news for men. Chuo Bussan International Co., a deodorant maker in Tokyo, polled some ...

Peace follows turbulent times

| Jul 6, 2008

Peace follows turbulent times

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“It was a nightmare,” laughs Tokyo-based author David Peace of a recent trip to Paris to promote the French version of his most successful novel, “The Damned Utd.” A fictionalized account of Brian Clough’s tumultuous 44-day reign in 1974 as manager of Leeds United ...

Grounded rulers of the sky

Jun 22, 2008

Grounded rulers of the sky

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His sharp, calm gaze follows yet another aircraft swooping down from the cloudless sky, its tires screeching in clouds of blue smoke as it returns to Earth on Haneda’s concrete runway. One more flight successfully completed, he thinks — and now the next. Despite ...

Get into golf's virtual swing

| Jun 15, 2008

Get into golf's virtual swing

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Considering that people can be prosecuted for driving a car under the influence of alcohol, what about those who go hitting golf balls while imbibing? Perhaps it’s just a matter of time before “drink-driving” by golfers becomes the latest buzzword on the greens and ...

Dutch women bid for techno parity

Jun 8, 2008

Dutch women bid for techno parity

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AMSTERDAM — Seen from Japan, a country known for dragging its feet in terms of gender equality, the Netherlands is often regarded as a model of social enlightenment. In fact, the Western European nation ranked 6th out of 93 countries in the United Nations ...