Peace follows turbulent times

| Jul 6, 2008

Peace follows turbulent times

by

“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

by

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

by

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

by

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 ...

Viva matsuri!

Jun 8, 2008

Viva matsuri!

by

To commemorate 100 years of Japanese emigration to Brazil, and the countries’ continuing close links, taiko drummers from both cultures will be powering a huge festival set for Sao Paulo on June 21 The beats and multilayered vibrations of hundreds of drums played by ...

May 25, 2008

Sonoko

by

“You’re a strange girl!” muttered my mother, shaking her head. “Yes, I know, mother. Well, I can’t help it.” I’ve given up arguing with her. She’s too old, and frankly, so am I. Once, not long ago, I asked her if she knew “The ...

The beauty of the afterworld

| May 18, 2008

The beauty of the afterworld

by

At a funeral, if your loved one in the coffin appears as if they are simply sleeping peacefully, it may alleviate your grief. This is what Kotoko Sato, a funeral makeup artist, aims for when she cleans up the deceased with cosmetics specially made ...

Bestowing beauty on a fearful blade

Apr 27, 2008

Bestowing beauty on a fearful blade

by

If you were to call 51-year-old Yoshihiko Usuki a makeover maestro, he’d probably just chuckle, go back to his hunched position and continue sliding the sword clasped in his hands over a polishing stone. Yet togishi (sword-polishers) like Usuki are essential players in the ...

Musashi: A do-or-die warrior not to be crossed

Apr 27, 2008

Musashi: A do-or-die warrior not to be crossed

by

When he killed his first man, Miyamoto Musashi was a mere boy of 13 — in present-day terms, a first-year junior-high-school student. Musashi’s exploits are immortalized in countless manga and movies, including Eiji Yoshikawa’s 1935 novel “Musashi,” which has been translated into 14 languages, ...

Dining out with a box of fine fare

| Apr 20, 2008

Dining out with a box of fine fare

by

Tasty, healthy and wasting nothing; traditional Japanese cuisine served on a hakozen table distills many of the country’s dying cultures. A hakozen is a wooden box used as a portable table for an individual and also as a case to hold tableware; it’s name ...