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 Hillel Wright

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Hillel Wright
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Jun 21, 2014
Kokusai Dori: Getting bitten by Okinawan Culture
Kokusai Dori is the name of a 2 km stretch of shops, hotels, bars and restaurants which cuts through the heart of downtown Naha, the largest city in Okinawa. The street's name in English is International Road, supposedly named after the Ernie Pyle's now-closed International Theater, which was a popular...
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Apr 26, 2014
Aloha gozaimasu: Japan's influence on Hawaiian culture
In 1868, the first year of the Meiji Era, 148 Japanese men, mainly from the Kanto area, set sail from Yokohama on the British ship Scrito, bound for Honolulu in the Kingdom of Hawaii.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Mar 8, 2014
Island hop to friendly Okinoerabu
At the end of March, having reached the age of 70 three months ago, I'll retire from my post as a lecturer at Okinawa Christian University — mandatory retirement.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Aug 24, 2013
Two's company on laid-back Zamami
Being naturally averse to traffic jams, long lines at airports, overcrowded trains and cranked-up hotel rates, I've never been one for traveling far on a national holiday in Japan, especially during Golden Week in May when a few of them cluster together.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Jul 13, 2013
Hot weather's cold comfort for eels
In March this year, I spent a week in Taiwan as a guest of the Taiwan Fisheries Agency. My hosts had laid on a relentless daily schedule that took in a complete circuit of the island nation, visiting nearly all the major commercial fishing ports, including Taitung on the Pacific Ocean, Tainan and Kaosiung...
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Jun 16, 2013
Sand, sea and stars on idyllic Akajima
Back in 1972 when I first lived on Denman Island in the Georgia Strait of British Columbia between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, I was one of about 300 residents. By the time I left 25 years later for Japan, its population had just topped 1,000, and each year sees a few more drawn to live in that beautiful...
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Apr 21, 2013
Get set for boating in Naha and Itoman
May and June are the months in which to visit Okinawa if your aim is to witness the spectacle of fiercely contested races between crews paddling dragon boats or the Ryukyu Islands' small traditional fishing boats called sabani.
LIFE / Travel
Jan 6, 2013
Remembering that 'life's a beach' keeps winter at bay
Summer to me has always meant the beach, and now in the depths of winter it's to sun-kissed strands and sparkling blue seas that my thoughts are prone to wander.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Dec 2, 2012
Motobu: A stopover in paradise on the way back home
An enjoyable experience is worth repeating. So when I finished teaching a two-week Summer Intensive at a university in Tokyo and was ready to return home to Okinawa, I decided to again take the ferry from Kagoshima as I had done the year before.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Oct 7, 2012
Summer in the city's Todoroki Valley wilderness
Where does an expatriate living in Okinawa go for a two-week summer holiday? Why, to Tokyo, of course — if it's a working holiday — as there's no better place in Japan to make good money than the Big Mikan.
Japan Times
LIFE
Sep 9, 2012
Tohoku fisheries fight back from 3/11
"The facts about much of Japan's social, political, and financial life are hidden so well that the truth is nearly impossible to know," writes Alex Kerr in his acclaimed 2001 study "Dogs and Demons: Tales from the Dark Side of Japan." He continues, "A lack of reliable data is the single most significant...
Japan Times
LIFE
Sep 9, 2012
Sea changes set in motion
Between 20 and 30 percent of Japan's marine fisheries production was lost in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck the Tohoku region of northeastern Honshu on March 11, 2011, followed by huge tsunamis and explosions and reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. In...
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Jul 29, 2012
Vancouver fest offers a warm (but not humid!) welcome
Summers in Tokyo, indeed in most of Japan except for Hokkaido or Okinawa, are often unbearably hot and humid, with temperatures in the mid to high 30s and humidity reaching as high as 90 percent. This summer, in the wake of last year's Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown, use of air conditioning will...
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
May 13, 2012
Getting away from it all on Aguni Island
I set out for the hospital lecture hall in high spirits, looking forward to a relaxing, refreshing stay on this tiny and seemingly uncrowded island.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Feb 19, 2012
A voyage of discovery from Tokyo to Naha
On the Autumnal Equinox of 2011 I finished teaching a monthlong summer intensive course at a university in Tokyo, and had six days before I had to be back in my new hometown of Naha, Okinawa, for a meeting at my new university in the nearby town of Nishihara. Since I was in no particular hurry to return,...
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Jan 22, 2012
Turning to Okinawa and its rituals in search of a happier new year
Without a shred of a doubt, 2011 stands out to me — in a way that hopefully will never be surpassed — as the most catastrophic I have ever known.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Dec 11, 2011
Chilling out in a warm Kume Island way
The first thing a good beach does is immediately make you want to take your watch off. But what makes a really great beach is when you do that — and then kick off your shoes as well. That's exactly what I did when I arrived at Eef Beach on Kume Island, Okinawa.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Nov 13, 2011
Taking it easy on Tokashiki
In the days of the Ryukyu Kingdom, from the 14th to 19th centuries, Chinese envoys would come to Shuri Castle on the island of Okinawa to officiate at the coronation of the Ryukyu kings. When their ships were spotted from the 227-meter peak of Mount Akama on the northeast coast of outlying Tokashiki...
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Aug 14, 2011
Shimi time is party time for Okinawans alive and not
How would you like to spend a fun Sunday partying on a grave surrounded by hundreds of other tombs in a huge cemetery? Well, if you happen to be in Okinawa in April, shortly after the vernal equinox, you'll find thousands of families doing just that in high-spirited family outings at the festival time...
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT
Jan 9, 2011
Serendipity set a course to fish the high seas
In 1969, I was living at Hapuna Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii. I was 25 years old and had recently taken a leave-of-absence from Southern Illinois University, where I'd been a PhD candidate and an instructor in the English department. As I'd spent 20 of my 25 years in schooling by then, it seemed...

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