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Yoko Hani
Japan Times
LIFE / WEEK 3
Sep 16, 2007
Three cheers for the boys!
Take a moment to try to think seriously about cheerleaders. Nowadays, they don't just wear skimpy outfits, wave pompoms and do high kicks. Oh no, the cheerleaders jump, tumble and perform acrobatic stunts. And, of course, they dance, chant and smile as well. But colorful pompoms and short skirts apart,...
Japan Times
LIFE
Aug 26, 2007
Homegrown art: rice-paddy ukiyo-e
Mysterious "corn circles" of incredible complexity that appear overnight, or a baseball park as in the 1989 film "Field of Dreams" — who knows what you might come across in your local rural idyll these days.
LIFE / Lifestyle
Aug 21, 2007
Ten seconds to duck 'n' cover
With the annual Sept. 1 Disaster Prevention Day approaching, residents in Japan will be reminded of a simple fact: They are living in a country where earthquakes are a fact of life.
Japan Times
LIFE / Style & Design / WEEK 3
Aug 19, 2007
Putting the fun back into feeling fit
Although you may be a typically busy worker, in Japan there's no shortage of easy exercise options to help keep you in shape — whether "10-minute fitness" clubs where you can have a quick workout without even changing your clothes, varieties of home exercise videos or machines and, of course, any...
Japan Times
LIFE / WEEK 3
Jul 15, 2007
Art's a beach!
The studio of potter Shigeaki Higuchi faces the Pacific on the coast at Shirahama in Minami Boso City. Between the shore and his modest atelier there's only a local road and a line of bushes where deep-blue morning glories were already in full bloom when I visited last month. The sky was clear and the...
Japan Times
LIFE / WEEK 3
Jun 17, 2007
No stopping this whistler as she strikes a chord on world stage
The calm of an afternoon music class in a four-story building in Tokyo's central Yutenji district is ever so slightly disturbed by the noise of cars on the street outside. But the five students there appear entirely unconcerned as they keenly strain their ears to the sparkling melodies of "Edelweiss"...
Japan Times
LIFE
Jun 10, 2007
In praise of morning's glory
Hima Furuta sits across the table from me in a cafe in the Marunouchi business district of central Tokyo. It's only 10 a.m., and although he looks fresh and full of life, he's almost finished his main work for the day.
Japan Times
LIFE / QUEUING
May 27, 2007
All together now: Let's form a line
It is 11:15 on a sunny Sunday morning across the road from Shinjuku Station in central Tokyo. The Southern Terrace there is already thronged with shoppers like all the city's other retail districts. And then, as you walk past fashion stores and coffee shops, a long line of men and women of all ages materializes...
Japan Times
LIFE / WEEK 3
May 20, 2007
Citizen journalists aim to serve all
For Kenichiro Masuyama, who lives in Matsumoto City in central Japan's scenic Nagano Prefecture, news that more foreign visitors than ever before are now coming to savor the region's delights is hardly a surprise.
Japan Times
LIFE
Apr 22, 2007
Indian schools make a mark
Every day at the Global Indian International School (GIIS) in Tokyo's Edogawa Ward starts with yoga. All the students -- from kindergarteners to 14-year-old ninth-graders -- have a 20-minute session in their classrooms. The focus is on breathing, which it's thought helps them to relax and concentrate...
Japan Times
LIFE / WEEK 3
Apr 15, 2007
Women flock to join 'college of change'
Saturday, March 31, was the final day of school for 47 graduates of the interestingly named I'M Personal College in Tokyo.
Japan Times
LIFE / WEEK 3
Mar 18, 2007
Thousands in grip of new exam fever
Whether because they are bored, driven to absorb as much of life's wonder as they can, or because they regard certificates as legups on the career pole, many Japanese of all ages are flocking to fonts of knowledge on everything from kanji (Chinese written characters), to shochu (low-class distilled spirits)...
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Our Lives / CLOSE-UP
Mar 4, 2007
Nanae Aoyama: Office worker takes exalted literary status in her stride
Nanae Aoyama only turned 24 in January, but already she has won literary prizes for each of the two books she has published.
Japan Times
LIFE / WEEK 3
Feb 18, 2007
TIRED OR EMOTIONAL: A space robot knows
Office meetings occasionally flit between two extremes. Either they're so tedious that you want to sleep, or they take an interesting turn when someone gets hot under the collar and starts ranting without listening to anyone else.
Japan Times
LIFE / WEEK 3
Jan 21, 2007
A most convenient way to play table tennis
Despite the popularity of the player Ai Fukuhara, and a series of world champions in both men's and women's singles in the 1950s and '60s, table tennis has long been considered a minor sport in Japan. Often, it is simply associated with hot-spring goers playing in the lounge while clad in yukata and...
Japan Times
LIFE
Dec 31, 2006
Eyeing Japan's new year and far, far beyond
The future may be fundamentally uncertain, but people's appetite for predictions of what will be happening in days, weeks, months, years or even decades to come is one thing, at least, that is certain to be part of it.
Japan Times
LIFE
Dec 24, 2006
Penmanship: A lost art is rediscovered
At this time of the year, you may have received and sent any number of Christmas cards. Or, in the Japanese tradition, you might still be panicking about writing all the New Year's postcards that the nation's army of mailmen and women endeavor to deliver on New Year's Day.
Japan Times
LIFE
Dec 24, 2006
Find out why a fountain pen 'personalizes' your prose
Kumiko Kumazawa of Pilot Corporation placed four fountain pens in front of me.
Japan Times
LIFE / WEEK 3
Nov 19, 2006
Athletes extol sensation of 'iron calm' at the limit
People have been enjoying a wide variety of sports since at least the time of Ancient Greece. In the Athens 2004 Olympic Games alone, athletes competed in about 300 categories of 28 sports -- and the list seems to get longer every time.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Oct 31, 2006
Slow food, an attitude as much as a meal
In the 1960s, Japan's first instant ramen changed people's eating habits significantly by making it possible to get dinner in as little as three minutes. Even putting fast food and microwave dinners aside, eating has become easier and more functional since those days, due either to higher living standards...

Longform

The Japanese government updated its English education guidelines in 2017 to emphasize communication over grammar and memorization. Public school teachers are incredibly busy, however, which means schools haven’t been able to implement changes uniformly. Private and alternative schools are attempting to remedy this.
The language of opportunity: Bilingual education is on the rise in Japan