Stricken land of soldiers and slaves

Feb 10, 2008

Stricken land of soldiers and slaves

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The Saffron Revolution is Burma’s 9/11; much will never be the same again after the killing, arrest and torture of monks by the government. During August-September 2007, the government jailed dissidents who led the initial rallies and quashed subsequent mass demonstrations that swept through ...

Film focuses on 'the other Burma'

Feb 10, 2008

Film focuses on 'the other Burma'

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Here, in Irene Marty’s film titled “In the Shadow of the Pagodas — The Other Burma,” we encounter the wretched of the Earth. This haunting documentary gives a voice to Burma’s traumatized ethnic nationalities, taking us to the war-ravaged border regions where internally displaced ...

Jan 27, 2008

Citizens routinely denied legal rights

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The contrasts between constitutional provisions for crime suspects in Japan and their actual treatment are stark, say critics of the system. “The Constitution provides strong protections, including the right to remain silent,” says Omiya Law School Professor Lawrence Repeta. “But in fact, some of ...

Jan 13, 2008

Fighting the flab and shaping up can also be a lot of fun

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New Year’s resolution? “Doing more exercise,” you may say. Keeping in good shape or going on a diet are invariably popular new-year ambitions for thousands faced with rather too many inches to pinch after all those Christmas binges and huge o-shogatsu feasts in the ...

A drama of our own making

| Dec 16, 2007

A drama of our own making

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One recent sunny afternoon, I set off for a performance of “Tokyo/Olympic” by the city’s Port B theater company. Normally, I rush to a theater, deal with the ticket stuff and finally relax when I sink into an overstuffed red velour seat. But that ...

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 ...

Dalai Lama: Ocean of wit and wisdoms

| Dec 2, 2007

Dalai Lama: Ocean of wit and wisdoms

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Lhamo Thondup was born on July 6, 1935 in Taktster, a small village in the Amdo region of northeast Tibet. But neither his parents — farmers who grew barley, buckwheat and potatoes — nor his three elder brothers and one elder sister (a younger ...