Creative crooks stay one step ahead

| Nov 15, 2014

Creative crooks stay one step ahead

by Mark Schreiber

The “Ore, ore” (“It’s me”) fraudsters and their ilk, who telephone elderly people and pretend to be a relative in need of money to help them out of a jam, keep coming up with new scams. One might say Japan is a target-rich environment. ...

Determining good and evil, with the kids

| Nov 8, 2014

Determining good and evil, with the kids

by Michael Hoffman

What is “moral education”? Assuming we more or less know what education is, try defining “moral.” The education ministry’s website takes a stab at it: “A heart-and-mind (kokoro) that values life, a heart-and-mind that is considerate toward others…” That’s unimpeachable as far as it ...

Media whips up fuss over S&M bar claim

| Nov 1, 2014

Media whips up fuss over S&M bar claim

by Mark Schreiber

First came what the tabloids referred to as “W-jinin,” the resignations of two female Cabinet members — Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yuko Obuchi and Justice Minister Midori Matsushima — on the same day. The “W” in this case conveys two nuances: the first ...

The romantic notion of rural relocation

| Oct 25, 2014

The romantic notion of rural relocation

by Michael Hoffman

Yu Iwamoto began adult life working in the slums, refugee camps and precarious schools of Afghanistan. Had he even heard, back then, of the Oki Islands off the coast of Shimane Prefecture? He may have. The little archipelago is remote but famous. Political rebels ...

Women express pride in remaining a virgin

| Sep 13, 2014

Women express pride in remaining a virgin

by Michael Hoffman

“The pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable.” So much for sex — or so much for the fourth Earl of Chesterfield, the 18th-century British statesman who in that little epigram immortalized his trenchant wit — though not his philosophy, for ...

Line fends off fury ahead of lucrative IPO

| Sep 6, 2014

Line fends off fury ahead of lucrative IPO

by Mark Schreiber

“What’s so exasperating for the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry … is the current situation in that platforms, terminals and apps have become dominated by foreign entities,” remarked an unnamed writer for a trade publication. ...