For Tim Hornyak's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
May 11, 2019
There are days when Makiko Ishikawa can barely breathe. Indeed, the 62-year-old Tokyoite has been short of breath for decades. In the early 1970s, she began feeling the effects of the miasma of vehicle exhaust along Shin-Ome Road, which ran by her home in the city of Musashimurayama in western Tokyo. In 1976, she developed bronchial asthma at age 20. Although she was repeatedly hospitalized with coughing fits, doctors prescribed medication for allergies. Her symptoms only grew worse.
Oct 13, 2018
Sep 15, 2018
Mar 31, 2018
A year ago, J-pop star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu released a song with lyrics and a promotional video that were as saccharine as a chocolate bunny. The song was titled "Easta" — a play on Easter and "a good start" in Japanese — and the video had dancing eggs, capybaras and fried-egg UFOs shooting laser beams.
Dec 16, 2017
Born of disasters, war and massive infrastructure projects, 21st-century Tokyo has plenty of ghosts buried underground. If you ride the subway these days, you can catch a fleeting glimpse of two of them but, if you blink, you'll miss them. The Ginza Line is marking 90 years since its opening with the illumination of two "ghost stations" abandoned long ago. Manseibashi and Jingumae stations have been brought back from the dead as part of a tribute to the Ginza Line, which was the first subway line built in Japan and East Asia.
Aug 19, 2017
Where else but Japan could you buy a miniature version of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" figure crouching over a squat toilet, horror-struck? It's one of thousands of ingeniously designed trinkets you can buy for a pittance from toy machines across the nation. They're subversive, beautifully crafted and often hilarious. They are gachapon.
Jun 10, 2017
The next time you trek out to the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau, situated on the fringes of Shinagawa along Tokyo Bay, look around and you'll see a giant smokestack by the Konan Ohashi Bridge. The visa-dispensing center, essential for foreign nationals who want to live in Tokyo, stands right by a garbage factory. However, the Minato Incineration Plant plays a key role in efforts to promote sustainable living in the capital: It houses a state-of-the-art recycling plant.
Apr 2, 2017
The work of manga artist Leiji Matsumoto mixes historical periods, themes and technologies, often in a science-fiction setting: His signature comics involve steam locomotives and reborn World War II battleships sailing among the stars. These grand flights of fancy, which have found fans around the world, become even more magical when transposed into a traditional Japanese art form, such as ukiyo-e, the "pictures of the floating world" from Japan's Edo Period (1603-1868).
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