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Tim Hornyak
For Tim Hornyak's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Sep 9, 2008
Tackling the 'Zainichi' experience
Sitting across from best-selling New York author Min Jin Lee in a Tokyo expat cafe, I can't help thinking that the heroine of her debut novel "Free Food For Millionaires" is the one sipping ice tea and talking sex. Like Lee, protagonist Casey Han is unusually tall, refined in speech, and deeply interested in hat-making.
Japan Times
LIFE / Digital
Aug 20, 2008
The face that launched a thousand robots
KYOTO — Eighty years ago, an exhibition was held in Kyoto to celebrate Emperor Hirohito's ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Jul 13, 2008
Tips from Japan that really work
URAWAZA: Secret Everyday Tips and Tricks From Japan, by Lisa Katayama, with illustrations by Joel Holland. Chronicle Books, 2008, $14.95 (paper) Ever want to cure a stuffy nose, but nothing works? Try stuffing scallions up your nostrils. Your bedmate won't stop snoring? Tape a tennis ball to her back. Bathroom mirror always fogging up? Rub it with a potato.
Japan Times
LIFE / Digital
Dec 5, 2007
Matsui's graceful robots evoke human emotion
It's a truism that the Japanese are experts at dressing up unpleasantness in cute garb. The ubiquitous cartoon workmen characters bowing in apology at construction zones are meant to make months of jackhammering slightly more bearable. Ditto for robots and the future.
Japan Times
LIFE / Digital
Oct 24, 2007
Asimo steps closer to Honda's Astro Boy goal
Honda's humanoid robot Asimo is so amazingly graceful for a machine that it's hard to believe there isn't a man inside that walking spacesuit.
Japan Times
LIFE / Digital
Oct 24, 2007
Japan traces robots' past, future
"Robots will become the Ford Model T of the 21st century," says Japanese scientist Hirohisa Hirukawa.
CULTURE / Books
Sep 30, 2007
The Murakami addiction
Murakami Haruki: The Simulacrum in Contemporary Japanese Culture, by Michael R. Seats, 2006, 384 pp., $70 (cloth) Haruki Murakami's novels have much in common with potato chips. Both are often addictive and both are often ultimately unsatisfying. Yet one can't help but buy another bag of chips at the supermarket and another Murakami novel at the bookstore. Such is his appeal.
CULTURE / Books
Aug 19, 2007
Osamu Tezuka: Fighting for peace with the Mighty Atom
The Astro Boy Essays: Osamu Tezuka, Mighty Atom, and the Manga/Anime Revolution, by Frederik L. Schodt. Stone Bridge Press, 2007, 248 pp., $16.95 (paper) When legendary manga and anime artist Osamu Tezuka visited the 1964 New York World's Fair, he met a man he had long idolized, Walt Disney. Tezuka later enjoyed describing the encounter, and how Disney had praised his Astro Boy animated hit TV series. He would sometimes embellish the tale, too, adding that Disney said he wished he himself had created Astro Boy.
CULTURE / Books
Jan 14, 2007
Bullet train straight to the heart of Japan
Shinkansen: From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan, by Christopher P. Hood. Oxford: Routledge, 2006, 266 pp., $125 (cloth). The needle-nosed bullet train racing past the base of Mount Fuji is one of the most enduring images of Japan, a postcard mix of high-tech and traditional beauty. This retains an appeal even though the Shinkansen has become utterly mundane for most residents of the archipelago. Hurtling down the Tokaido Line toward Osaka at 270 kilometers per hour in its sleek white fuselage is about as remarkable as riding a taxi. Yet tribute is due to these railway rockets.
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Oct 2, 2005
Timeless complement of form and function
INSPIRED SHAPES: Contemporary Designs for Japan's Ancient Crafts, by Ori Koyama, translated by Charles Whipple, photographs by Mizuho Kuwata. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 2005, 112 pp., 3,900 yen (cloth). Life in urban Japan is so suffused with artificial, factory-produced materials that the soul can cry out for the natural. We drift in a sea of plastic and concrete, drinking from polyethylene terephthalate bottles and living in egg cartons sided with ersatz brick.
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Jun 12, 2005
In Japan's tabloid world, truth trumps pulp fiction
TABLOID TOKYO: 101 Tales of Sex, Crime and the Bizarre from Japan's Wild Weeklies, by Geoff Botting, Ryann Connell, Michael Hoffman and Mark Schreiber. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 2005, 255 pp., 1,400 yen (paper). Aside from the sight of middle-age Japanese businessmen happily reading comic books, the Tokyo train commute also features the contrast of prim, sober-looking commuters sitting under advertising posters of busty babes falling out of their bikini tops. These are the lurid ads for Japan's tabloid magazines, and their black and red kanji headlines scream of celebrity news, scandal, sex and crime. Sanitized mainstream newspapers often play catch-up with tabloids that readers turn to for the scoop on political corruption scandals or the reigning sumo champ's philandering.
JAPAN
Dec 23, 2003
Mountain hermitage offers challenge to dole
By far the most common sign along this road twisting up the Iya River in Shikoku's remote Oboke Gorge, a spectacular chasm that is the deepest in Japan, is "under construction." Cartoon animals smile from the many warnings about roadwork and slope reinforcement as cement trucks thunder by. Down the valley, cranes swivel over a massive unfinished concrete public square close to a traditional vine bridge that draws busloads of visitors.
JAPAN
Jan 22, 2002
Elvis wannabe crooners soothe to 'Rabu Me Tenda'
Dressed in a black tuxedo, a middle-aged former company executive took the stage, cued the six-piece band and launched into Elvis Presley's version of the syrupy '60s ballad "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me."
JAPAN
Jan 12, 2002
Filmmaker records life and death in Manila's garbage dumps
"Someone get a saw!" yells a rescue worker frantically digging in a heap of garbage for a buried body. A blackened corpse slowly emerges, but rescuers are unsure if it is a man or woman. "I know her," someone finally says. "It's Mrs. Garret."
JAPAN
Apr 14, 2001
Gadget guy puts ideology over profit
On a cluttered desk in a dimly lit office in central Tokyo lies a golden, cylindrical object you can't find in any store. It's a combination lock that would take 3.2 trillion years to crack, about 160 times the age of the universe.

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