Kafu's Tokyo musings

“Bats were already out, and children were already chasing them. Near at hand there was a clanging of streetcars, while in the distance the horns of boats would give forth ...

| Mar 15, 2009

Slow Life ambassador tickets hasty hordes

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At a busy crossing in front of Tokyo Station, Bruno Contigiani, president of L’Arte del Vivere con Lentezza (The Art of Slow Living), an organization he founded in his native Italy, approached office workers one after another urging “Yuru yuru, shiawase” (“Go slowly, be ...

Feb 22, 2009

Its director's cut on new Festival/Tokyo

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Japan may be floundering politically and economically, but amid all the uncertainties it is a joy to report the sparkling rebirth of a major international theater event in Tokyo. Tokyo International Festival (TIF) may be dead — but watch out Avignon, Edinburgh and Adelaide ...

| Feb 15, 2009

Keio's man ahead of his time

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Next time you come by a ¥10,000 bill, take a look at the face of Yukichi Fukuzawa (1835-1901) that appears on the front, for he was a most remarkable man. In October 1858, Fukuzawa, then a 23-year-old samurai, opened a small school of Western ...

Feb 8, 2009

Burmese junta fuels influx

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In 2008 there was a sharp spike in the number of people seeking asylum in Japan, and although only 6 percent of those processed were recognized by the government as refugees, they totalled 57 compared with 41 the year before. Eri Ishikawa of the ...

Jan 25, 2009

Can farmers keep tuna on the menu?

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In December 2007, the Fisheries Laboratory fish farm of Kinki University in Wakayama Prefecture became the first facility in the world to “close the cycle” by breeding Pacific bluefin tuna (hon-maguro) from completely cultured sources. That is, a third generation of fish was bred ...

ONE for ALL

Dec 28, 2008

ONE for ALL

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Ekiden is Japan’s homegrown long-distance road-relay event. Its popularity peak comes at the start of every year with the grueling two-day Hakone Ekiden — but some long to see it one day gracing the Olympics, too. In a few days, a new year will ...

Facts about the Hakone Ekiden

Dec 28, 2008

Facts about the Hakone Ekiden

Starting times: Jan. 2 at 8 a.m. (Tokyo to Hakone); Jan. 3 at 8 a.m. (Hakone to Tokyo) The runners: 20 all-male college track and field teams from the Kanto region (around Tokyo), each with 10 runners. How to participate: Teams that finish in ...

Ekiden pulls them in from around the world

Dec 28, 2008

Ekiden pulls them in from around the world

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Foreign athletes have been conspicuous in numerous ekiden long-distance relays since the 1980s. In the 65th Hakone Ekiden in 1989, Joseph Otwori, a Kenyan student at Yamanashi Gakuin University, and the first foreign runner in the race, overtook seven runners in the second leg, ...

Tongue-twisting over Beaujolais

| Dec 21, 2008

Tongue-twisting over Beaujolais

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On Friday, Nov. 21, the day after the worldwide release of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau in France, I joined a gathering of some 100 wine-lovers in Tokyo’s Odaiba waterfront district to welcome the new, jet-lagged plonk to these shores. However, our meeting point was ...

30 Days in the Wilderness

| Dec 21, 2008

30 Days in the Wilderness

What miracles will the incoming 44th President of the United States perform? With 30 Days in the Wilderness (some call it the Bush) to go before the inauguration on Jan. 20, Timeout asked some of the JT’s finest to share what they hope for, ...