Tunnel visions

| Dec 16, 2007

Tunnel visions

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I don’t know about you, but when I’m walking along train tracks and I hear a train approaching, my instincts tell me to get out of the way, fast. So, last month, when I was strolling along the sleepers of one of Tokyo’s underground ...

Tokyo's real floating world

| Dec 16, 2007

Tokyo's real floating world

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One interesting phenomenon this year has been the growing popularity of tours to such unlikely places as factories and old bridges, where grimy stone walls, rusting mazes of pipes and crumbling concrete constructions have become a lure for worshippers at the altar of brutalism. ...

A country defined by fish

Dec 9, 2007

A country defined by fish

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Culture and cuisine are closely intertwined in Japan, and especially as regards seafood. Since bright colors such as red or yellow are considered to be lucky, Japanese New Year dishes include tai (sea bream or red snapper) or buri (yellowtail) to ensure an auspicious ...

Dec 9, 2007

Japan's love affair with Oma's tuna

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On Jan. 5, 2001, a 202-kg Pacific bluefin tuna sold at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market auction for $173,000 ($860 per kilogram), making it the most expensive single fish transaction ever recorded. That Pacific bluefin tuna, known as hon maguro (true tuna) or kuro maguro ...

Eating away at a lifestyle

Dec 9, 2007

Eating away at a lifestyle

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Tuna has been much in the news in 2007. The year began with Japan’s quota for Atlantic or northern bluefin tuna being reduced by 23 percent from the 2006 level for the next four years and the nation’s Pacific or southern bluefin tuna quota ...

Jobs journal reflects social change

Nov 25, 2007

Jobs journal reflects social change

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Back in 1980 when the weekly job-seekers’ magazine Travail was launched, it was a social phenomenon that gave women the information they needed to independently switch jobs and build their careers. People even adopted the magazine’s title (which means “work” in French, and is ...

Up, up and away

| Nov 18, 2007

Up, up and away

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Imagine an oblong balloon that’s longer than a Boeing 747 jumbo jet and has a small glass bowl of a passenger compartment dangling precariously from its underbelly. Despite the slogan “Fly with me” emblazoned along its length, the Zeppelin NT didn’t look like the ...

Changing lives with castoffs

| Nov 18, 2007

Changing lives with castoffs

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Michiyo Yoshida is a prime example of that green mantra, “Think globally, act locally.” But the nonprofit organization she cofounded to send used wheelchairs to developing countries has also enabled members to “think globally and act globally.” To date, in fact, the Sapporo-based volunteer ...

Japan's savior of Khmer silk

Nov 11, 2007

Japan's savior of Khmer silk

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Kikuo Morimoto, 59, is a passionate man who radiates an aura of serenity. He has almost single-handedly saved the silk-weaving industry of Cambodia, a tradition that was nearly lost during three decades of war and neglect. Morimoto started as an apprentice kimono painter in ...