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Christopher Johnson
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Sep 14, 2013
A swim with turtles (maybe)
For snorkelers, there's perhaps nothing better than hanging out underwater with a hawksbill sea turtle. Safer than sharks, they are graceful and beautiful, ancient and wise. But sightings are rare. Of my hundreds of snorkeling adventures, I've only seen turtles, from a distance, in Palau and Koh Tao...
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE FOREIGN ELEMENT
Jun 18, 2013
Chatting about Japan with Snowden, the NSA whistle-blower
Edward Snowden, the fugitive former CIA employee and NSA contractor who leaked secrets about America's spying operations, often hung out online with foreigners in Japan who shared his interests in anime, video games, martial arts, the stock market and the expat lifestyle.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Apr 28, 2013
Cook Islands paradise isn't plain sailing for all
They span an area the size of western Europe, but the Cook Islands may seem like the ends of the Earth when viewed from Japan — an 11-hour flight away south to New Zealand, followed by a four-hour "local hop" to the capital, Avarua, on the main island of Rarotonga.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Apr 28, 2013
A Pacific idyll where some go to escape, others to connect
A woman from western Japan, who calls herself "Amy," couldn't find paradise in Thailand, Cuba, Brazil or French Polynesia, so with the last of her $300 savings she bought a one-way ticket from Tahiti to Rarotonga. Then, claiming to be penniless, she walked from the airport to the police station...
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Apr 7, 2013
Appi's snowy joys await seekers of late-season thrills
With degrees in fine arts, Akiyoshi Osumi used his creative talents to coin a perfect slogan for the Appi Kogen Snow Resort: "Be Happy in Appi."
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Jan 19, 2013
Fukushima's powder paradise
I seem to have the whole mountain to myself. The vast majesty of Fukushima Prefecture spreads out below me, all around. Up here, skiing on powdery snow, zigzagging through challenging moguls, it's easy to forget about the nuclear reactors 120 km away.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Dec 9, 2012
There are 'snow monsters' who can help save Tohoku
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Japan Times
JAPAN / History
Jun 10, 2012
The Marshall Islands: Tropical idylls scarred like Tohoku
With all its American, European and Asian cultural influences, it's easy to forget that Japan is also an island nation in the Pacific.
Japan Times
JAPAN / History
Jun 10, 2012
Paradise found in Renaissance man's footsteps
Continental Micronesia airlines operates an island-hopper run to Majuro in the Republic of the Marshall Islands via Guam, Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae and Kwajalein — a great way to see fantastic scenery and sample the flavors of each airport.
Japan Times
LIFE / WEEK 3
Dec 18, 2011
Lone holdout's first nuclear winter looms in Tohoku
As bitter winds blow around cesium and other radioactive particles spewed from the nearby Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant's reactors, Naoto Matsumura lights a cigarette, which he considers relatively good for his health.
COMMENTARY / World
Oct 31, 2011
All too familiar signs of state paralysis in Thai crisis
Like the Japan tsunami, flooding in Thailand will have a global impact on the supply and price of rice, cameras, computers and cars.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Sep 11, 2011
A heartrending drive on the rebuilt roads of Tohoku
Before the March 11 tsunami, the Miyako area of Iwate Prefecture was a beloved tourist destination, famous for the beaches of Jodogahama and a national park with majestic views of coves and shimmering Pacific waters.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Feb 13, 2011
Furano: A winter wonderland
Here I am, taking a holiday in minus-20 Hokkaido instead of plus-20 Okinawa. I'm either losing my marbles or just a normal Canadian pining for a winter wonderland.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Dec 5, 2010
Catching autumn's glory on camera
At this dazzling time of year, it seems that half of Japan's population turn into photographers journeying to their favorite spots or seeking out new ones around the city as they try to capture the myriad colors of autumn leaves.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Jul 18, 2010
Kujukuri: the long, long beach on Tokyo's doorstep
If it was thousands of miles from home, I would wistfully think of this as an exotic and special place. It has almost everything I want in a seaside hangout: Empty beaches backed by pine forests, not condos; surfing waves; fishing piers; hilltop viewpoints; and family farms growing corn and watermelons....
COMMENTARY / World
May 30, 2010
Healing Thailand's broken spirit
BANGKOK — To pacify a divided nation, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva — blamed for a military crackdown on protesters that left more than 80 dead and 1,500 injured over two months — says Thailand needs to "heal the mind."
COMMENTARY / World
May 13, 2010
A turning point in Thailand
BANGKOK — Massive occupations of two areas of central Bangkok the past two months show that the rise of Thailand's "red shirt" protesters is one of the most significant developments in Asia in 25 years, as it signals a new type of conflict involving entrenched elites and millions of workers who...
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
May 2, 2010
The Zen nothingness of Zamami
Thinking that Japan is too expensive for them, many budget travelers eschew this archipelago for Southeast Asia. But with a mountain bike and a tent, it's quite possible to travel in Okinawa on ¥1,000 a day — and enjoy it — especially on Zamami Island.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Dec 6, 2009
Painting Tokyo red and gold
In times past, some Native Americans believed the autumn colors were made when the Great Hunter finally shot the Bear, whose blood spilled across the landscape in the form of red leaves.
LIFE / Travel
Dec 6, 2009
Painting Tokyo red and gold
In times past, some Native Americans believed the autumn colors were made when the Great Hunter finally shot the Bear, whose blood spilled across the landscape in the form of red leaves.

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