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 ...

Setsuden

| Apr 21, 2011

Setsuden

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice, Everywhere I go now I see signs for setsuden (conserving electricity). There’s a notice at my local convenience store explaining that the lights are down for setsuden. My post office has shortened its hours for setsuden. And the subway is running with ...

Yokobue

| Mar 17, 2011

Yokobue

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice, Last November, I went to Kyushu to see the Karatsu Kunchi festival. It was a wonderful spectacle, with huge, flamboyant floats pulled through crowded streets to the rhythmic accompaniment of drums, music and shouts of “Enya! Enya!” I loved it all, but ...

Bloomers

| Feb 17, 2011

Bloomers

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice, I’ve never been to Japan but I do watch the Japanese channel that comes in my cable television package. The programming is in English, so I understand what everyone is saying, but I have to ask one thing: What the heck do ...