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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.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY
Oct 19, 2003
Diamond exhibit is a real sparkler
The diamond is a symbol of love, wealth and power. Down the centuries, this precious stone has been adored by the rich and powerful -- among them empresses such as Catherine the Great of Russia and Elisabeth of Austria. Now the general public has the opportunity to get a little closer to the treasures...
Japan Times
COMMUNITY
Sep 14, 2003
Standing up to the loan sharks
On the morning of Aug. 13, a 70-year-old Yokohama man hanged himself in his home -- driven over the edge by debt. In total, he owed 17 million yen to banks, consumer-loan companies and even his children and relatives. In addition, 1,120,000 yen of his debt was to eight yamikinyu (loan sharks).
Japan Times
COMMUNITY
Sep 14, 2003
The money hole
Kumiko Morita looked down at her cell phone as it began to ring. With reluctance she picked it up and answered it. After listening to the caller, she began to speak -- not in her usual soft-spoken way, but in a loud, forceful voice.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY
Jul 20, 2003
Making sure your fragrance fits
There is always something sensual about the scent of the opposite sex -- or more particularly, the aroma he's wearing. On the streets, I pass by a man and often find myself glancing back, not because I've been struck by his looks but because I've caught a faint whiff of his cologne. The intoxicating...
Japan Times
COMMUNITY
Jul 20, 2003
Scents of slimness
For most people, losing weight is about as easy as climbing a mountain on all fours. It's tough work. But for those who still want to try shedding calories (however daunting that might seem), there are any number of dieting methods and theories -- from simply exercising to becoming vegetarian; from eating...
Japan Times
COMMUNITY
Jun 15, 2003
Sunshine: It's enough to make you blanch
An extinction of sorts has taken place in Tokyo's Shibuya district over the last couple of years. The area was once a happy hunting ground for herds of skimpily clad young girls with tans so deep they were known as the ganguro (black-faced) girls. But go to Shibuya today and you'll hardly find any trace...
COMMUNITY
Jun 15, 2003
Insidious scourges from the sun
You could call it payback time: All of those ultraviolet rays that we soaked up when we were younger finally taking their toll.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Stage
Jun 4, 2003
'Chicago': After the movie, we had it coming
Bathed in bright lights, but almost shrouded by the haze of jazz, booze and dancing, lies a story of adultery, murder and greed. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to "Chicago."
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
May 25, 2003
Still stomping up a storm
Who needs drums when you've got a bucket and a broom? Who needs maracas when you've got a box of matches? Who needs cymbals when you've got garbage-can lids?
Japan Times
COMMUNITY
May 25, 2003
Getting into hot water for health
In the hot-spring heaven that is Japan, there are a countless number of onsen from Hokkaido to Okinawa, from those of luxurious spas in nondescript concrete buildings to rotenburo set in pristine natural surroundings.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY
Apr 27, 2003
Canine care groups life spirits of sick and needy
There was a buzz of excitement in the pediatrics ward at St. Luke's International Hospital in Tokyo. Children were milling around in their pajamas with impish gleams in their eyes. Soon, they were all jostling near the door to the playroom, the little ones standing on tiptoes to peek inside.
COMMUNITY
Apr 27, 2003
Japan slow to get in the swim
In Japan, DAT is still a newcomer.
COMMUNITY
Apr 27, 2003
Dolphin 'treatment' defies science
Michael Williams was born severely autistic. Even when he was in his teens, he was unable to communicate, other than through screeching, and his parents had to be constantly on the alert for violent behavior. Without warning, he would bang his head against objects, bite into his own fingers or lash out...
Japan Times
COMMUNITY
Apr 27, 2003
Animal 'doctors' deliver health and well-being
At the Helsinki Olympics in 1952, Danish rider Liz Hartel became the first woman to ever win a medal in dressage. What was also historic about her achievement, though, was that her legs had been paralyzed since she was stricken with polio as a teenager.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY
Apr 6, 2003
Whole-istic medicine: being treated the traditional Chinese way
Thanks to modern medicine, many diseases that were fatal a few decades ago can now be cured. And with the decoding of the human genome, Western medicine is on the verge of taking another mighty leap forward.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Mar 9, 2003
Get down with 'da beat
For the black slaves brought from Africa to America and Europe, the beat was a necessity -- it was in their blood. But the heart of their tribal rhythm, the drums, were forbidden in the aftermath of the Stono Rebellion in 1739. This revolt that occurred in South Carolina ended with more than 20 white...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Stage
Mar 5, 2003
All ye that pass by, behold
A little girl, neglected by her busy parents, one day meets a headless man in a suit, holding an umbrella in one hand and a hat in the other. This ghostlike stranger gives her the hat and when she puts it on, her familiar world disappears and she finds herself in "Quidam" -- a wonderland where nothing...
Japan Times
COMMUNITY
Feb 16, 2003
An omiai conjurer of couples out of singles
Mitsuko Kai stifles a sigh as she watches her visitor, Yuko Saito, cross out one candidate after another.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY
Feb 16, 2003
When you need a hand ...
Married with two children, 46-year-old Kumiko Mashima thinks her life is just about perfect. She met her loving husband through an omiai -- a formal introduction arranged by a go-between with a view to marriage -- and they both adore their daughters. But before she found her way into her husband's arms,...
Japan Times
COMMUNITY
Jan 12, 2003
Drinking in the delights of men
It was after 2 a.m. and I was on a mission in Kabukicho. The assignment involved two things: alcohol and men. As dangerous a combination as that is, what woman could resist such temptation? Certainly not this one.

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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