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Florentyna Leow
For Florentyna Leow's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Clara Kumagai’s young adult debut, “Catfish Rolling,” follows a teenager who lost her mother during a major earthquake caused by the movements of a powerful catfish, which fractured Japan into different “time zones.”
CULTURE / Books
Jan 13, 2024
Genre-defying novel 'Catfish Rolling' navigates grief in a fractured land
Mixing folklore, science and philosophy with magical realism, Clara Kumagai’s impressive young adult debut explores the emotional aftermath of a powerful earthquake.
Japan Times
LIFE / Style & Design
Apr 15, 2023
Artisans update timeless craft of intricate ‘puzzle cabinets’
Although the craft of making karakuri-dansu is slowly disappearing, a craftsman and his son are keep the tradition torch lit with story-filled pieces for collectors and enthusiasts.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Mar 26, 2023
Jim Rion casts a keen eye on the spirit of Yamaguchi
Author, translator and certified sake professional Jim Rion puts people at the heart of sake production in his nonfiction debut, "Discovering Yamaguchi Sake."
Japan Times
LIFE
Feb 12, 2023
Fukui’s dwindling washi makers hold on to paper-thin margins
As a product, washi"s beauty is unassailable. As an industry, it"s future is in doubt.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Sep 11, 2022
Sweden's 'slightly rotten' fish tests Japan foodies
Japan is known for its affinity for seafood, but Sweden's infamously pungent surstromming challenges even the strongest of stomachs.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Aug 14, 2022
'Just Enough' offers ideas for a modern crisis
Azby Brown's comprehensive survey of Japan during the Edo Period serves up lessons that could aid in efforts to promote sustainability as the climate crisis grows more dire.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Jul 31, 2022
'Trinity, Trinity, Trinity': A commendable exploration of nuclear power
Erika Kobayashi delves into the history of nuclear warfare and its consequences in a speculative thriller that appears to be a literary riff of her "My Body, Your Voice" exhibition.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Jul 17, 2022
Banana Yoshimoto’s ‘Dead-End Memories’ is the literary equivalent of a lo-fi playlist
The award-winning author's collection of short stories is a comfort read that will transport readers to a melancholy world for an hour or two.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Jul 10, 2022
‘Life Ceremony’: Sayaka Murata dishes out the grotesque with humor
Sayaka Muratau2019s collection of hilarious and macabre short stories ask readers to take a hard look at humanity and reassess what is "normal."
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Jul 10, 2022
Toast in translation: Aomori's ‘British’ sandwich mania
Aomori's favorite bakery treat comes straight from Old Blighty u2014 or does it?
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Jun 19, 2022
Will Japan’s nonvegans bite on plant-based yogurt?
After perfecting a homemade recipe, this coconut yogurt devotee is trying to convert the rest of Japan.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
May 21, 2022
Approaching tea like you would wine, Zach Mangan gives Japan's main drink its due
In his book, "Stories of Japanese Tea: The Regions, The Growers and The Craft," Zach Mangan hopes to pay respect to a dwindling number of true artists.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
May 15, 2022
'This Monk Wears Heels' is a thing of beauty
Makeup artist, Buddhist monk and LGBTQ advocate Kodo Nishimurau2019s memoir is a heartfelt and fun read that asks us to look inward with clear compassion and love ourselves.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Apr 24, 2022
‘Cold Enough for Snow’: A meditation on the intricacies of mother-daughter relationships
Jessica Auu2019s finely observed novel about understanding the inner lives of those close to us draws readers into a dreamlike vision of Japan.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Apr 24, 2022
Mushi Charo: From hellish waters, heavenly flavors
With thousands of hot-spring sources in Beppu, it's no wonder the town's chefs have started putting geothermals to good use in the kitchen.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Apr 4, 2022
'Moonlight Shadow' director Edmund Yeo praises the Japanese work ethic and the dedication of producers
Though filmmaking is not a particularly popular career path in Malaysia, Edmund Yeo still managed to follow his dream of being a director.
Japan Times
LIFE / Style & Design
Dec 19, 2021
How Amanda Tong finds balance in life and ceramics
Being marooned in Japan due to COVID-19 has helped the Hong Kong artist begin a new journey of discovery.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Nov 14, 2021
Resurrecting the tachibana, Japan’s oldest native citrus
Once revered as u201cthe fruit of immortality,u201d the tachibana has long fallen out of culinary favor. The Nara Tachibana Project hopes to save it from endangerment.
Japan Times
LIFE / Style & Design
Oct 31, 2021
Lifting the lid on Shibuya’s designer toilets
The Tokyo Toilet Project has received considerable media coverage for its upscale public facilities. But how do these stylish porcelain thrones actually stack up?
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Aug 28, 2021
Top 5: Where to find Tokyo’s best kakigōri
Japanu2019s shaved ice may be a classic festival snack, but not all kakigu014dri is created equal. Contemporary kakigu014dri is an art form, and here are five of Tokyou2019s most delicious specialists.

Longform

Hideo Shimoju points to a possible site that his fellow neighbors may relocate to. Such relocations have happened before, but not preemptively.
In disaster-prone Japan, some communities consider major moves