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Yoko Hani
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / WORDS TO LIVE BY
Oct 24, 2006
Kumiko Taguchi
Kumiko Taguchi, 59, is deputy manager of Junkudo book shop in Ikebukuro in Tokyo, which boasts the largest floor space (nine-stories) of any bookstore in Japan. Before moving to Junkudo in 1997, she worked at another bookselling giant, Libro, located opposite Junkudo. After a long career in the industry...
Japan Times
LIFE / WEEK 3
Oct 15, 2006
Top trimmer styles two leaders in a row
Japan's new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has declared he will continue his predecessor's reform policies. That's hardly a surprise, as Abe was Chief Cabinet Secretary under former leader Junichiro Koizumi, and before that was secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party when Koizumi was its president....
Japan Times
LIFE / WEEK 3
Sep 17, 2006
Heartbreak heaven for staff
It's 9 o'clock on a Monday morning. A phone rings in an office and the boss picks it up. At the other end she hears the fragile voice of one of her staff telling her she broke up with her boyfriend the day before. "I would like to take a shitsuren kyuka," the staffer says. Unperturbed, the boss replies:...
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Our Lives / CLOSE-UP
Oct 2, 2005
Harumi Kurihara: Homing in on success
As a cook and lifestyle guru, Harumi Kurihara has often been dubbed Japan's answer to America's Martha Stewart or Britain's Delia Smith. But in February this year, she scaled new heights when the English-language edition of her book "Harumi no Japanese Cooking" -- titled "Harumi's Japanese Cooking" --...
Features / WEEK 3
Aug 21, 2005
Hot ice tops massif menu
In Nagoya City, so I heard, there's a mountain that is really tough to conquer. But as Nagoya is on the lowland Nobi Plain straddling Aichi and Gifu prefectures, how could that be, this trained observer wondered?
Japan Times
Features
Aug 14, 2005
Author's 'sense of mission' shines on through the flames
At age 13, in total despair after losing her parents and two sisters, Toshiko Takagi tried to kill herself. But now, 60 years later, she stresses she never consciously tried to commit suicide.
Japan Times
Features
Jul 31, 2005
Fare to love -- or loathe
If you plan on visiting Expo 2005 Aichi, you may find you have to join long, long lines and brave the summer heat to get into the most popular pavillions. And should you go through Nagoya on your way back home, don't be surprised to see more long lines in the city center. But these long waits are nothing...
Japan Times
Features
Jul 31, 2005
Speaking up for a 'right-size' city
In their search for the soul of Nagoya -- a city some dub "Japan's best kept secret" -- staff writers Setsuko Kamiya and Yoko Hani met up with five long-term foreign residents. All five happened to be American, and all have been in business there for between five and 10 years. Settling down for a chilled-out...
Japan Times
Features
Jul 31, 2005
'Secret' city basks in its low-profile limelight
It's at the geographic center of Japan and has in the past been at the hub of its history. It's also the nation's fourth-largest city, with a population of 2.2 million. But despite these, and many more, claims to fame and prominence, Nagoya City in Aichi Prefecture has always been outstanding for its...
Japan Times
Features / WEEK 3
Jul 17, 2005
Dining where no solo woman dared
Reiko Yuyama believes that adventures are there to be had in daily life without having to go out into the wilderness. In that sense, she says she might be "more of an adventurer than Christopher Columbus or Naomi Uemura," the late, great Japanese explorer and climber who disappeared on Mount McKinley...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Jun 22, 2005
Teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony
When Kazufumi Miyazawa, vocalist of the Japanese rock band The Boom wrote the song titled "Shima-uta" about 15 years ago, no one imagined the path it would take, starting as a huge domestic hit and then gaining a life of its own abroad.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Jun 22, 2005
Shima-uta singer takes listeners on sonic journey
Yasukatsu Oshima, a native of the Yaeyama Islands, southwest of Okinawa's main island, is a stubborn man. Since emerging as a solo artist in the early 1990s, he has recorded and performed only songs known as shima-uta (island folk songs). However, Oshima is not a tradition-bound purist. His latest album,...
Japan Times
Features
Jun 12, 2005
Shotengai
When sumo elder Futagoyama, the father of former grand champions Takanohana and Wakanohana, died of cancer two weeks ago, many sumo fans were deeply saddened at the loss of the charismatic, 55-year-old former ozeki. Many people prominent in varied walks of life expressed their sadness, as did members...
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
May 22, 2005
Seeds of employment
There, in the heart of the concrete jungle that is Tokyo's Otemachi financial district, in the second-floor basement abyss of a 27-story building, is nothing less than . . . a farm.
Japan Times
Features
May 22, 2005
Retirees lead the way back to nature
Yoshishige Nagayama started farming when he retired nine years ago at age 60.
Japan Times
Features
May 1, 2005
Heading for the stars on high
KONA, Hawaii -- The big white 4WD driven by Yasuhiro Nishida left the hotel in Kohala Coast at 2:50 p.m. with 13 people on board. It was another windy afternoon on the west coast of the island of Hawaii -- "the Big Island," as this, the largest and youngest in the Hawaiian chain, is known.
Japan Times
Features / WEEK 3
Mar 20, 2005
Can machines can care
Whether selling Scarab beetles for kids or punctuating the path up Mount Fuji, vending machines are one of Japan's most idiosyncratic features. Although some question the "waste" of energy involved in the ubiquitous mechanized retail outlets -- about 2.6 million alone are hawking beverages -- their onward...
Japan Times
Features
Mar 6, 2005
Issey Ogata: Comic chameleon
Issey Ogata is nothing if not versatile. Alone on an empty stage, he has audiences in fits as he performs his seriously funny one-man shows portraying characters as diverse as a classic sarariman (office worker) and a folk-song diva -- one after another.
Features / WEEK 3
Feb 20, 2005
Operation Evacuation
Not only are they a biodiversity disaster, but the millions of sugi (cedars) planted as official policy in the postwar years to yield cheap timber -- but which are now more expensive to harvest than the cost of imports -- have become a serious health hazard across Japan.
Japan Times
Features
Jan 30, 2005
Counselor counters the blues through chanson and jazz
Junko Umihara turned up a bit late for our interview at a cafe in Tokyo's Hiroo district one afternoon recently. She had been with a patient at her Umihara Mental Clinic in nearby Minato Ward, she said, "and counseling took a bit longer than scheduled."

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