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Mike Hamilton
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Feb 5, 2012
Yakushima free-stay takes some fearful turns
"Oh, if you want to pee you can just do it out the front door," my host Yuki says as he gives me an introductory tour of the house and points out the powder room — merely a pit with a long drop and an unconnected toilet pedestal covering the hole.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Nov 6, 2011
You don't need to be bbarking to wwoof
Through the glass doors of the spartan arrivals hall in the airport on Miyako Island, I caught a glimpse of a slightly frail looking man who I figured was the guy I had exchanged a few basic emails with to arrange my trip.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Sep 23, 2011
"Splendor of Kyo Maki-e: Zohiko Urushi Art and Mitsui Family"
During the Meiji Era (1868-1912), as Japan opened up to the rest of the world the nation's artists began to lose the support of Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines and the daimyo (landed) class.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Sep 23, 2011
"Guerrino Tramonti, the Magician of Color Raised in Faenza, Italy: A Retrospective"
Guerrino Tramonti, one of Italy's most noted 20th-century artists, was born in the northern Italian town of Faenza, which is famed for its glazed majolica earthenware. It was only natural, therefore, that he chose to work with ceramics, including terracotta and earthenware and stoneware. His sculptures...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Sep 16, 2011
"A Portrait of Venice: A Story of a Thousand Years"
The many meandering canals of Venice and the city's history as the capital of the Venetian Republic, which existed for more than 1,000 years, are the subject of this exploration of the famous Italian city's past.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Sep 16, 2011
"Masterpieces of the Kabuki-za Theater Collection"
This year celebrates the 60th anniversary since Tokyo's Kabuki-za, Japan's principal kabuki theater, was rebuilt after being severely damaged during World War II. The theater is now going through a 21st-century architectural makeover and set to reopen in 2013.
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Sep 16, 2011
Dance piece examines future without morals
Arguably Japan's foremost boundary-pushing dance group — Dance Hardcore — led by dancer and choreographer Kakuya Ohashi, will be putting on their latest performance, "Outflows," in Tokyo this weekend.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Sep 8, 2011
"Nobuyoshi Araki 'Higan' "
Rat Hole GalleryCloses Sept. 25
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Sep 2, 2011
Wine-tasting event will have your conscience feeling a buzz
For those who don't know their Merlot from their Chardonnay, the Three Country Premium Wine Tasting double event may provide the perfect opportunity to discover the difference. Pay a mere ¥2,000 on entry and you will have access to more than 100 wines. While your liver may not forgive you the morning...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Sep 2, 2011
Kyoko Kagawa retrospective looks back at Japan's golden age of cinema
Actress Kyoko Kagawa has starred in some of Japan's most successful films, over an impressive acting career that has spanned more than 60 years. She was the First Lady during the so-called golden age of the Japanese film industry in the 1950s and '60s, appearing in such classics as 1953's "Tokyo Monogatari...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Sep 2, 2011
"Naoki Ishikawa '8848'"
Naoki Ishikawa, an incessant traveler, took up professional photography just four years ago and has since documented many of his expeditions. He has won various international awards and was the second-youngest photographer to win Japan's Ken Domon Award.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Aug 18, 2011
Passing through Kohei Nawa's tactile rooms of the senses
The lecture theatre is brimful of bright-eyed people listening to a lecture by Kohei Nawa — an artist considered by many to be at the forefront of contemporary art in Japan. The public lecture offers insight into the design and production process of the often complex and intricate work on display...
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Aug 12, 2011
Half-time drum show is full-time fun
Some of America's finest drummers and brass-players marched into Japan this week for Drumline 2011. The tour will hit several prefectures and give locals a taste of the energized spectacle that comes during the half-time show at American football games.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Aug 12, 2011
"Cafe in Mito 2011 — Relationships In Color"
Mito's Contemporary Art Center was forced to close its doors after suffering some damage due to the March 11 earthquake, but it has reopened for its annual "Cafe in Mito" — now in its ninth year. The event's name stands for "Communicable Action for Everyday," and its aim is to present art for the...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Aug 5, 2011
"Kukai's World: The Arts Of Esoteric Buddhism"
The Japanese Buddhist monk Kukai, commonly known as Kobo Daishi, traveled across China in the early 800s as an envoy to study esoteric Buddhism. After bringing the fruits of his learnings back to Japan, he later helped found Shingon as one of the main forms of Buddhism in the country.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Aug 5, 2011
"Nobuyoshi Araki: Higan"
Nobuyoshi Araki is most noted for his provocative depictions of scantily-clad women, often posed in submissive positions. His work has garnered him attention and admirers, including stars such as Lady Gaga and Bjork.
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Aug 5, 2011
Chikugo festival features firework waterfall
While nearly every city in Japan boasts an annual summer fireworks display, Fukuoka gives its citizens a little bit extra pizazz.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Aug 5, 2011
"Glass Admired By The Russian Tsars"
Some of the most ornate and refined pieces of glassware from St. Petersburg's State Hermitage Museum — home to the former Russian royal residence, the Winter Palace — are currently on display in Tokyo.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jul 28, 2011
"RongRong & Inri: Three Begets Ten Thousand Things"
Shiseido Gallery Closes Aug. 14
Japan Times
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Jul 22, 2011
Gospel event to sing prayer for Tohoku
The bombastic and expressive vocals of gospel music are far removed from traditional Japanese culture, which may be why the genre is so popular here.

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