Seaweed Salt

| Jun 19, 2012

Seaweed Salt

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice, I recently received a gift of some special kind of Japanese salt. If I understood correctly, this particular salt is made from seaweed and by some ancient Japanese production method. It’s beige in color and has a nice, rich taste. But I ...

Kura

| May 15, 2012

Kura

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice, I love to wander around Tokyo, particularly the older neighborhoods where small shops and little factories are mixed in among homes and schools. Every now and then I spot a strange sort of structure, obviously quite old, that is completely different from ...

Pampered pets

| Apr 17, 2012

Pampered pets

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice,Don’t you think it’s time you did a column on the crazy pet products and services available in Japan? I can’t believe the lengths some dog owners go to — dressing their pets in frilly clothes, pushing them around in baby carriages and ...

Randoseru

| Mar 20, 2012

Randoseru

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice,As a parent of two children who negotiated the Japanese educational system from day care to university, I’ve always been curious about “randoseru” — those box-like leather schoolbags used by every primary school student in Japan. First-graders nearly topple over from the weight ...

Platform doors

| Jan 17, 2012

Platform doors

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice,As a longtime resident of Japan, I have watched with interest the recent installation of barriers on the platforms of many of our subway and train lines. These barriers run the full length of the platform and have sliding gates at just the ...

<em>Yomawari</em>

| Dec 20, 2011

Yomawari

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice, I’ve been living in Japan on and off for a few years now, and in the various places I’ve lived I’ve seen groups of senior citizens dutifully patrolling the streets. Just the other day, in my latest location, I encountered a similar ...

Anzan kigan

| Sep 20, 2011

Anzan kigan

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice, My friend and I stumbled upon something mysterious on the Izu Peninsula. We were walking along the picturesque Matsukawa River, where it runs through the town of Ito, when we came upon a shrine with no one about. It looked like any ...

<em>Kinpū</em>

| Jun 21, 2011

Kinpū

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice,I am fascinated by the elaborately decorated envelopes offered for sale in Japan. I know they are used for giving money, because the first time I came to Japan to study martial arts a friend taught me to put my lesson fees into ...