| Oct 2, 2011

Bikes keep the wheels of progress rolling

by Mark Schreiber

With the onslaught of super typhoon No. 15 on Sept. 21-22, for the second time in a little over six months Tokyo’s public transport network was snarled by a natural disaster. Several hundreds of thousands of hapless commuters found themselves stranded for hours as ...

| Sep 25, 2011

Japan's noisy neighbors keep-a knocking

by Mark Schreiber

Sanshoku, the word for “encroachment” in Japanese, is written with characters meaning “silkworm” and “to eat.” Imagine a mulberry leaf, being slowly consumed from the outer edges, nibble by nibble, by writhing white worms. Then overlay this leaf on a map of the Japanese ...

Print ad featuring MacArthur sends  muddled message

| Sep 11, 2011

Print ad featuring MacArthur sends muddled message

by Mark Schreiber

On Sept. 2, a controversial newspaper advertisement placed by Takarajima-sha, a mid-tier publisher, went viral on Japanese blogs and Web news sites. The two-page ad — widely described as nazo no kōkoku (a mystifying advertisement) — appeared in six nationally circulated newspapers: Asahi, Mainichi, ...

| Aug 28, 2011

Rising yen, falling prices, cheap beer

by Mark Schreiber

Beginning last Wednesday, Aug. 24, the Ito Yokado supermarket chain announced a five-day sale at 120 of its branches in the greater Tokyo area. Among the reduced-price items were U.S. beef, Australian oranges and South African pineapples. Recently, signs reading endaka kangen sēru (yen ...

| Jul 31, 2011

Rail rivalry outcome hinges on speed vs. safety

by Mark Schreiber

Following the July 23 collision of two high-speed trains in Wenzhou City, Zhejiang Province — blamed on faulty signaling equipment — that killed at least 39 passengers and injured over 200, Japan’s media, to their credit, suppressed any obvious overtones of shadenfreude. But in ...

| Jul 24, 2011

Setsuden and the magic number 28

by Geoff Botting

Japan’s summer has started off with a bang, weather-wise. In what seems like a repeat of last year’s record-breaking heat, the first couple of weeks of July were marked by a heatwave throughout many parts of Japan — daily high temperatures in the mid-30s ...