Bestowing beauty on a fearful blade

Apr 27, 2008

Bestowing beauty on a fearful blade

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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

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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

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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 ...

Belly-laughs boffin puts mirth to the test

| Apr 20, 2008

Belly-laughs boffin puts mirth to the test

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When people laugh, it is often their cheery sounds or the wrinkles around their eyes that mark out their mirth. Yoji Kimura believes, however, that the key to determining the nature of laughter lies in the diaphragm. Kimura, 60, professor of sociology at Kansai ...

Apr 13, 2008

Art and life in a grain of rice

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Artist Mitsuaki Tanabe is stubborn. In the past 20 years, he has been creating sculptures themed on a single motif: a grain of rice. But the rice that Tanabe selects to sculpt is not the common-or-garden sort that people normally stuff themselves with. Oh ...

Japan's tragic 'Titanic of Turkey'

Apr 13, 2008

Japan's tragic 'Titanic of Turkey'

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The jagged rocks off Oshima Island break the surface of the ocean like so many knives strewn across the shallow water. Even on a calm day, they are a menacing reminder of the maze of reefs that surround this island in the Pacific just ...

Why bother to set mercury limits that are ignored?

Mar 30, 2008

Why bother to set mercury limits that are ignored?

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The following are the results of certified and documented tests of Total Mercury (T-Hg) found in random samples of dolphin meat purchased from supermarkets in Taiji and Shingu, Wakayama Prefecture, in 2006-2008. The test system used is known as Cold Vapor Atomic Absorption Spectrometry. ...

Plenty of promise here for the boys

Mar 23, 2008

Plenty of promise here for the boys

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Although Japan Fashion Week doesn’t exactly overload on men’s fashion, with only a handful of quality designers showing this season, the outlook from the ’08-’09 Autumn / Winter Collection is generally positive. As always, the most recognizable of Japanese menswear labels — Lad Musician, ...

A stunner!

Mar 23, 2008

A stunner!

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Tensions were higher than usual at GVGV’s show last Saturday night that closed this Tokyo Fashion Week, as the nine-year veteran brand presented a stunning collection on a specially made shiny vinyl runway. The first look was a long billowing purple dress with bell ...

What the world has to say . . .

Mar 23, 2008

What the world has to say . . .

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“In Japan’s short history of contact with Western fashion, we have lacked a ‘bourgeois vs. high society’ tension to portray in this showmanship world of fashion. Instead, most of the grandeur has come from the street.” — Naoko Hasegawa, VP of Chang Co., Ltd. ...

Oh what an extravaganza

Mar 23, 2008

Oh what an extravaganza

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Even the heavens were smiling on Tokyo Girls Collection. Balmy 19-degree temperatures — the year’s highest up until then — provided the perfect setting last Saturday for the Spring/Summer edition of this hugely popular fashion-show-cum-showbiz extravaganza, allowing most of the 22,000 teenage and twentysomething ...