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 Masami Ito

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Masami Ito
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:
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Feb 7, 2015
Breaking down the barriers: Can Tokyo improve access for people with disabilities?
In the summer of 2020, Tokyo will once again host the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It's the first time the Paralympics will be hosted by a city for the second time.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Feb 7, 2015
'Everyone is different, regardless of their disability': Hirotada Ototake
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.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Feb 7, 2015
Options allow Tokyo to be more accessible
Former anchorwoman Christel Takigawa referenced the country's spirit of selfless hospitality in her presentation to the International Olympic Committee in 2013, a speech that helped persuade the IOC to give Japan the rights to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Jan 24, 2015
Smoke signals: Can Tokyo ever go smoke-free?
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.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Society
Jan 17, 2015
Home away from home: the plight of refugees in Japan
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.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Society
Jan 17, 2015
'Refugees should have the same opportunities in life as everyone else'
What do Nobel laureate Albert Einstein, composer Frederic Chopin, war photographer Robert Capa and psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud have in common? They were all refugees.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Dec 27, 2014
Learning to love robots
With half the decade complete, we examine an industry that has significantly changed the way we think about ourselves.
Japan Times
JAPAN / History
Dec 13, 2014
Tokyo Station at 100: all change
u201cTokyo Station is not just a station, it is a symbol of Japan. It has always been a part of progress in rail technology but itu2019s much more important than that. It is a landmark that represents Japan."
Japan Times
JAPAN / History
Dec 13, 2014
Photographer strives to preserve the memory of capital's hub for eternity
There is only one person in the country who has "Tokyo Station photographer" printed on a business card — Naoki Sasaki.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Dec 5, 2014
Bilingirl has plenty to teach you
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.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / Tech
Dec 1, 2014
Softbank's Pepper robot debuts as coffee machine salesman at Bic Camera
Looking sharp and professional in a black vest and bow tie, a humanoid robot showed up for its first day of work at a new job Monday selling coffee machines for food giant Nestle Japan Ltd.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Nov 22, 2014
Can women really 'shine' under Abe?
The prime minister has vowed to help women break the glass ceiling in the workplace but critics have questioned his motivation.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Nov 22, 2014
Seizing the initiative for women at work
Faced with a domestic economy that is sputtering, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has in recent months attempted to promote a sector that has long been underutilized in Japan — women.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Media
Nov 21, 2014
The birth of a new kind of personal documentarian
A baby who, diagnosed with trisomy 18, is expected to live only one year; a man devastated by the recent death of his wife; and a father and son whose familial bond is as strong as any other, despite not being blood related — at first glance, these people seem like they have nothing in common.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Nov 18, 2014
Japan helps too few refugees: UNHCR chief
The ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq have produced more than 12 million refugees and internally displaced people. They are flooding across borders in the region, and some neighboring states have reached their limit. One-third of Lebanon's population now comprises refugees.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Nov 10, 2014
None for the road: Japan finally takes a sober look at alcohol abuse
With its cultural affinity toward drinking, Japan has long looked the other way when it comes to the negative aspects of alcohol, particularly addiction. But that is changing.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Nov 8, 2014
Kendama: a whole new ball game
Almost every child that has grown up in Japan has seen a kendama, a wooden traditional Japanese toy consisting of a ken (sword) and tama (ball) connected by a length of string.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Nov 8, 2014
Kendama: spin doctors
On the streets of Tokyo, Zoomadanke's "Kodaman" (Takeshi Kodama) and "Easy" (Hiroki Iijima) look like any other young men in their 20s or 30s. The second they start playing kendama, however, the pair will put on a performance that completely redefines the traditional wooden toy.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Nov 6, 2014
Antique fair offers a hunt for treasure
When you see an antique, what catches your attention? Some people imagine the history or story behind it, perhaps there's a bit of romance or mystery involved. Some people look at the object and see dollar signs, and some see a piece of art. Dedicated collectors often see all three.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health
Nov 1, 2014
New tech brings cinema to the deaf and blind
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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