Living in a house of longevity

| Jan 16, 2011

Living in a house of longevity

by

When New York-based artist Shusaku Arakawa died in May 2010 at the age of 73, it caused a sensation — not only because of his influence on many creators, scientists and philosophers, but also because of the gaping contradiction his passing left behind. For ...

Back to the future of a 'hotel for 2001'

| Jan 16, 2011

Back to the future of a 'hotel for 2001'

by

The year was 1979. His Imperial Majesty Emperor Hirohito was in the 54th year of his reign. Japan’s prime minister was Masayoshi Ohira. In 1979, people still paid for goods with ¥500 bills. There was no consumption tax or Internet, there were no cell ...

'Candy man' conjures up art to eat

| Dec 19, 2010

'Candy man' conjures up art to eat

by

Children and adults swarm the sanzun (small street cart) of Takahiro Mizuki as he creates traditional ame zaiku (candy sculptures). Plucking out a chunk of scalding mizuame (boiled starch sugar) from a specially heated box at his stand, he bobbles it from hand to ...

At the pinnacle of pole

| Dec 19, 2010

At the pinnacle of pole

by

There was a palpable buzz in the air at Tokyo Dome City on Dec. 9 as some 2,000 people — many dressed in their finery as if for the opera — awaited the first competitor’s appearance at the 2010 International Pole Championship. Where once ...

| Dec 19, 2010

'Nitten' is no mere Braille library

by

Regular bookstores or libraries might not be much use to blind people, but there’s one place in Tokyo where they can not only read and borrow books and meet others in similar situations, but also get advice on improving their quality of life — ...

| Nov 21, 2010

Heading for the hills — in style

by

One sunny Saturday a couple of weeks ago, this writer joined five women and three men who met up at Ikusabata Station on the JR Ome Line in the mountains of western Tokyo. Sporting colorful but functional outdoor clothes, the young trendily dressed female ...

| Nov 21, 2010

'Evacuate' to whole new worlds

by

In the foyers of theaters in Tokyo’s new “happening” hub of Ikebukuro — where the provocative Festival/Tokyo (F/T) drama event is running through November — odd exchanges can often be overheard. “Have you ever been to Shinagawa?” seemed a strange question, for instance, as ...

Homegrown swordplay hits the mark

| Oct 17, 2010

Homegrown swordplay hits the mark

by

With the sizzling summer heat replaced by cool breezes and mild temperatures recently, it’s a great time to contemplate adding a new exercise to your weekly routine. If you are interested in a homegrown sport that is recreational and relieves stress, sports chanbara lets ...

Making the cut at sushi academy

| Oct 17, 2010

Making the cut at sushi academy

by

Ahmed Bishara clasps a vinegared rice ball in his hand and quickly pastes wasabi on a slice of raw salmon on the cutting board before him. He puts the rice ball on the salmon, turns it upside-down and presses it tightly into shape with ...

Thinking aloud

| Sep 19, 2010

Thinking aloud

by

Few philosophers are compared to rock stars or TV celebrities, but that’s the kind of popularity Michael Sandel enjoys in Japan. The “Justice” course that Sandel teaches at Harvard University, where he is a professor of political philosophy, delves deep into some hard moral ...