Masami is a staff writer for the Life and Culture Division at The Japan Times. She is in charge of the weekly Sunday Timeout, covering various issues related to Japan, from alcohol/drug addiction and juvenile crime to female sushi chefs and kendama. Over her 15-year career, she has written extensively on Japanese politics, foreign policy and social issues.
For Masami Ito's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Feb 7, 2015
Life can be rough for those who look a little "different" from others in society. You would expect no one to know this better than Hirotada Ototake, who was born without arms or legs due to a genetic disorder called tetra-amelia syndrome. Surprisingly, however, the 38-year-old says he was fortunate to have never felt like he was severely disabled.
Feb 7, 2015
Jan 24, 2015
Japan has long held a reputation of being something of a paradise for smokers. Tobacco is, at least by Western standards, relatively cheap and people can still light up in many of the country's restaurants and bars. In fact, before the turn of the century smokers could pretty much puff away on a cigarette anywhere.
Jan 17, 2015
On a cold winter's day in December, an African man sits in a meeting room at the Japan Association for Refugees, a nonprofit organization in Tokyo. The man, whose name and country of origin have been withheld to protect his identity from those who wish him and his family harm, has been seeking refugee status in Japan since 2008.
Dec 5, 2014
Chika Yoshida, aka Bilingirl, wears many hats. She teaches English, sings, dances and makes costumes. She could be dressed up as Malificent with horns sticking out of her head, have her face painted white and talk in a squeaky voice like comedian duo Nippon Elekitel Rengo or be singing songs from the animation "Frozen" — all the while teaching English phrases and conversation on YouTube.
Nov 21, 2014
Nov 18, 2014
Nov 8, 2014
Nov 6, 2014
Nov 1, 2014
The lights dimmed inside the theater at the Tokyo International Film Festival and the audience quieted down. As Masayuki Suo's film "Maiko wa Lady (Lady Maiko)" began, the viewers were ready — with glasses-shaped head-mounted displays and earpieces designed to make cinema accessible to the deaf and blind.
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