Mystery shrouds the ancient Oshoro circle

Dec 14, 2008

Mystery shrouds the ancient Oshoro circle

by Michael Hoffman

In 1861 at Oshoro, southwestern Hokkaido, a party of herring fishermen, migrants from Honshu, were laying the foundation for a fishing port when they saw taking shape beneath their shovels a mysterious spectacle — a broad circular arrangement of large rocks, strikingly symmetrical, evidently ...

Dec 14, 2008

Progress, and war, arrive

by Michael Hoffman

Terrified of death, having inflicted it on many, the Chinese ruler Qin Shi Huang (259-210 B.C.) sent his court sage, Xu Fu, across the eastern seas in quest of the elixir of eternal life. Xu Fu’s 60 ships, carrying (says one version) 3,000 virgin ...

Dec 14, 2008

Stone Age Japan

by Michael Hoffman

This story spans 10,000 years, yet presents few recognizable individuals. Here’s one: “The earliest known Jomon man,” writes J. Edward Kidder Jr. in “The Cambridge History of Japan,” “was uncovered in 1949 below a shell layer in the Hirasaka shell mound in Yokohama City. ...

Icon and iconoclast

Dec 7, 2008

Icon and iconoclast

by Edan Corkill

One of the first houses built by Japan’s most famous architect, Tadao Ando, is centered around an open atrium. That sounds nice until you realize that the atrium forms the only “corridor” between each of the rooms. Fancy a hot cup of tea before ...

Splendors for all: the best of Asia

Nov 30, 2008

Splendors for all: the best of Asia

by Jeff Kingston

It’s all subjective of course, but read on for this traveler’s picks of the places to go for (almost) anything you might choose to do in this splendiferous and ever-fascinating part of the world. Best beach Well, who would want to give it away ...

Gems of Asia: hotels worth the splurge

Nov 30, 2008

Gems of Asia: hotels worth the splurge

by Jeff Kingston

I admit to an incurable travel addiction, which I have been lucky enough to feed by journeying around Asia since 1980, driven by an abiding interest in the wonders and troubles of the region. Mostly my travels in the last 25 years — 22 ...

Where are world's 'targeted' tourists visiting in Japan?

Nov 23, 2008

Where are world's 'targeted' tourists visiting in Japan?

As part of the Visit Japan Campaign, the central government identified 12 “target” countries and regions on which to concentrate marketing activities. Have their efforts paid off? We asked industry insiders from each of the selected countries how Japan was perceived as a tourist ...

What do you know about Nippon?

| Nov 16, 2008

What do you know about Nippon?

by Tomoko Otake

These days, you have to accomplish a lot before calling yourself a Japan expert. Knowing the language, geography, history and customs of Japan is simply not enough. In fact, to show your deep understanding of contemporary Japan, you must be able to recite, off ...

Trends in Japanese

| Nov 16, 2008

Trends in Japanese

by Edan Corkill

The Japanese are more interested in iTunes than in ring-tones, ramen rather than sushi, the economy more than sex, and dogs win out over cats (but only just). That’s what Google Trends, the keyword-tracking tool launched in Japan last month, would have us believe. ...

Scrolling past

| Nov 16, 2008

Scrolling past

by Eriko Arita

In early November, Kazuo Yoshihara, an antiques expert with a 30-year career in the field, carefully opened a scroll painting in a room at the 14th Yokohama Kotto World fair. Located at the Pacifico Yokohama event venue, Yoshihara was at the fair giving free ...