Film promotes Japan energy revolution

| Dec 18, 2011

Film promotes Japan energy revolution

by Eriko Arita

The known world has already been through three pivotal epochs: the agricultural, industrial and information-technology revolutions. Now, a fourth is taking place: the renewable-energy revolution. At least that is how the German director Carl Fechner presents it in his documentary film, “The 4th Revolution ...

Hip-hop star gives designer a leg-up to fame

| Dec 18, 2011

Hip-hop star gives designer a leg-up to fame

by David Hoenigman

As a child growing up in mountainous Yamanashi Prefecture in the 1970s, artist Shojono Tomo had an irrational fear of using the brakes on her bicycle — though none whatsoever about riding just as fast as she could. “I would either purposely crash into ...

Fumio Yamashita: May his epitaph be <em>tendenko</em>

| Dec 18, 2011

Fumio Yamashita: May his epitaph be tendenko

by Edan Corkill

When a tsunami is coming, don’t try to look for your relatives. Don’t try to help the elderly, your grandparents or your parents. Don’t try to call your wife or your husband. Don’t think about your children or your grandchildren. Run. Save yourself. Such ...

Unseen fight to save Tokyo from floods

| Oct 16, 2011

Unseen fight to save Tokyo from floods

by Tomoko Otake

At 2 a.m. on Sept. 21, Typhoon Roke, the 15th and biggest tropical storm yet to assault Japan this year, was over the Pacific 200 km south of Shikoku making its way slowly and ominously westward toward the main island of Honshu. In Tokyo, ...

In search of the Holy Grail of mushrooms

| Oct 16, 2011

In search of the Holy Grail of mushrooms

by John Ashburne

The ancients were none too complimentary about their fungi. “Few of them are good, and most produce a choking sensation,” wrote Marcus Athenaeus of Naucratis 1,800 years ago in “Deipnosophistae” (“Philosophers at Dinner”). The proto-vegetarian and Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger had been equally ...

Web-slinging professor seeks spider silk secret

| Sep 18, 2011

Web-slinging professor seeks spider silk secret

by Tomoko Otake

Shigeyoshi Osaki can read the minds of spiders. Or so you would think, if you see the way he handles the eight-legged arthropods. Osaki, professor at the department of biomacromolecules at Nara Medical University in the city of Kashihara, Nara Prefecture, is also one ...

Get your kicks in Japan

| Sep 18, 2011

Get your kicks in Japan

by Eriko Arita

Walk the streets of Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku and Shibuya shopping districts and the sheer variety of fashion worn by people passing by can be, to the uninitiated, simply mind boggling. But, look at their feet and more often than not they are wearing shoes ...