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 Michael Hassett

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Michael Hassett
As a Mensan who has an interest in everything numerical, Michael Hassett enjoys examining how numbers are produced and interpreted to indicate societal norms and influence public perception. He arrived in Japan in 1990 and has been an occasional contributor to The Japan Times since 2007.
For Michael Hassett's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Jul 22, 2021
Three spots in Japan will make your transition back to travel an educational one
With COVID-19 vaccinations ramping up, some people may be ready to leave their neighborhoods and go traveling again. Three spots in particular are good if you're into history.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE FOREIGN ELEMENT
Dec 5, 2018
Falling for furusato: The epicurean incentives behind a tax strategy that masks economic lunacy
A decade ago, the Japanese government launched a program that allows taxpayers to make "donations" to smaller cities and towns across the country, and then have those contributions deducted from national and municipal taxes.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LEARNING CURVE
May 30, 2018
How about a study-abroad adventure in Europe?
For Japanese students, continental EU universities offer high-quality courses often at lower prices than U.S. colleges.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LEARNING CURVE
Mar 28, 2018
Why not try Canada, eh?: For Japanese students, a university up north is worth considering
Japanese students just hoping for a cheaper college option than the U.S. by heading north may be disappointed u2014 but there are plenty of other benefits.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LEARNING CURVE
Feb 11, 2018
With his U.S. scholarships for Japanese students, tycoon Tadashi Yanai could do better
Tycoon's fund is accused of giving help to those who don't need it when it could instead be altering more destinies.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LEARNING CURVE
Jan 24, 2018
Why don't more Japanese study abroad? The cost and the hassle, survey shows
One student canvasses others and finds expense is crucial u2014 even for well-off families u2014 while support is thin on the ground.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE FOREIGN ELEMENT
Apr 5, 2017
How many Japanese are a bit of something else?
Even taking 1965 as a false racially pure "year zero," mathematics muddies the homogeneity myth.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LEARNING CURVE
Jul 27, 2016
What to expect when applying for college overseas
In a few weeks, my daughter, an American-Japanese dual national born, raised and mostly educated in Japanese in Japan, will begin her first year of higher learning at her dream school — Middlebury College, one of America's oldest liberal arts institutes.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE FOREIGN ELEMENT
Feb 4, 2013
Navigating the Tokyo high school minefield: a foreign parent's tale
Not too long ago, I heard from a foreign resident of Tokyo looking for a high school for her daughter, a 14-year-old who will begin her final year of junior high in April. Both parent and child were extremely excited about recently discovering a nearby public school featuring a cosmopolitan atmosphere and encouraging the development of well-balanced students with international perspectives.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LIGHT GIST
Jul 31, 2012
Green-fingered gaijin reaps alien harvest in Tokyo
Dazed and drenched within Tokyo's oppressive summer furnace, I peered up from my squat through the prism of perspiration in my eyelids to see a figure I had gradually come to know as the grumpy ol' garden drunk.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Jul 10, 2012
Japan's battered men suffer abuse in silence
As in many surveys, numbers and percentages are abundant. But for me, it was that little 3.4 at the bottom of page 21 that stood out more than any other: 3.4 percent of married men in Japan say that their spouses have forced them to engage in sexual relations against their will. And that is down from 4.3 percent reported three years ago. Improvement is apparently being made: Married men in Japan are essentially being raped less by their wives.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Jan 11, 2011
Taking stock of a generation of changes
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changesTurn and face the strangeCh-ch-changesPretty soon now, you're gonna get older
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Dec 23, 2008
Children say the darndest things
Another holiday season is upon us. There is a nip in the air, lights of all colors twinkle throughout neighborhoods and cityscapes across the country, and holiday cheer radiates throughout our schools, workplaces and communities. During this festive time, friends and families often come together in true fellowship over good food and drink, and companionship leisurely forged through years of interaction.
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Nov 25, 2008
An Obama for Japan: Yes, we can?
On the long, unwinding railroad, on the sixth day — the day that, according to Christian texts, God created Man — a great dissatisfaction seeped into me as I continued to bask in the pride of seeing the majority of my fellow Americans transcend race in the selection of the next president of the United States.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Aug 26, 2008
Coming out of the shadows
"We judge that it will be best for the child that the (parent) pray from the shadows for his healthy upbringing. If worried about the child, ask about him through others, secretly watch him from behind a wall, and be satisfied with what is heard about the way he is growing up. Acting in accordance with emotion, even if based on love, will cause the child misfortune. Suppressing emotions for the sake of one's child — that is the true love of a (parent) toward a child.'
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Aug 12, 2008
Custody battles: an unfair fight
"Sport at its best obliterates divisions between peoples, such as ostentatious flag-waving and exaggerated national sentiment." New York Times senior writer Howard W. French — who has covered China for the past five years, was Tokyo bureau chief from 1999 to 2003, and has lived overseas for all but 3 1/2 years since 1979 — made this astute observation last month after staying up most of the night in Shanghai to watch the remarkable five-set Wimbledon final between Spain's Rafael Nadal and Switzerland's Roger Federer.
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Jun 10, 2008
Where did all the babies go?
Last Wednesday, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced that Japan's total fertility rate (TFR) — the average number of babies born to women during their reproductive years — rose slightly to 1.34 for 2007, even though about 3,000 fewer children were born last year than in 2006. Two years ago the TFR was at 1.26, a postwar low, and last year this country experienced a natural population decline for the first time since 1899, when data-gathering in this area began. If fertility remains constant at these levels — and projections for the next 50 years have it doing just that — the population of each successive generation will fall at a rate of approximately 40 percent.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Feb 26, 2008
U.S. military crime: SOFA so good?
On Friday night, Aug. 18, 2006, at a third-story apartment within a gated community outside Atlanta, Ga., 31-year-old Kendrick Ledet sat contemplating life. And death.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Jan 22, 2008
Weak yen will trump prints row for tourists
Online letters of protest were filled out. A group of nearly 70 civic organizations from around the world delivered a formal letter of disapproval to Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama. Protesters gathered outside the Justice Ministry and thrust an inflated 3-meter-high yellow hand with an extended forefinger toward the building. Hands were clenched in fists of rage.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Jan 1, 2008
Seeking a life in balance
A task force set out earlier this year to bring more balance to the the grueling lifestyles that have become engrained in Japanese society over the past century. In November, a set of employment guidelines were formally adopted by the government.

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