Justin Randall
For Justin Randall's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
In 2023, Bryan Eastlake (left) began a three-year contract with the local Takahama tourism association to write, post photos and otherwise promote the small town in northern Kyoto Prefecture to a wider audience.
COMMUNITY / Issues / The Foreign Element
May 20, 2024
The new vanguard of rural revitalization efforts in Japan
Currently, the Regional Revitalization Corps has around 200 foreign residents working in different industries around the country.
Photographer Toko Jinno is passionate about documenting the lives of Japan’s fishermen.
May 11, 2024
Toko Jinno: 'Eating fish is common in Japan, but the lives of fishers are not so well-known'
Photographer goes behind-the-scenes of the fishing industry in hopes to inspire and educate people to support its workers.
Summer averages in eastern Hokkaido float in the high teens and low 20s, not necessitating widespread air conditioning usage in homes and businesses.
LIFE / Travel
Apr 12, 2024
Fear the impending heat? Escape to Kushiro, the land of no summer.
A once mighty fishing port, Kushiro now aims to capture the hearts of tourists seeking escape from sweltering urban jungles for a misty paradise.
Director of the Akan International Crane Center, Miyuki Kawase, says tourism is incredibly helpful for the birds, but the people who come to take pictures of the birds have to remember they are still wild animals.
Feb 24, 2024
Miyuki Kawase: ‘Experience, whether happy, sad or painful, makes you grow’
The director of the Akan International Crane Center in Hokkaido tells us how she found herself in a career centered around the symbolic white birds.
The sport was created in the town of Kushiro in 1978 by former Olympic ice hockey goalkeeper Katsuji Morishima, who married two things every East Hokkaido resident has — a pair of rubber rain boots and a love of ice hockey.
MORE SPORTS / Ice Hockey
Feb 22, 2024
A pastime in frozen Hokkaido: Rubber boots ice hockey
No skates are needed for Hokkaido's unique brand of ice hockey, which is a popular way to stay active during the north's long winters.
At the Akan International Crane Center, just north of the city of Kushiro proper, visitors can see the majestic red-crowned crane — a symbol of Hokkaido.
JAPAN / Society / Longform
Feb 17, 2024
Faces of the north: A Hokkaido town grapples with depopulation
Residents of Kushiro face an issue that more and more communities in Japan are having to deal with. The city may be young, but it's rich with tradition.
Naoko Motooka began hunting 10 years ago. Her hobby is one way Hokkaido hopes to curb a current boom in the deer population.
PODCAST / deep dive
Feb 15, 2024
Hunting in Hokkaido; Taylor Swift comes to Tokyo
You probably don’t think of guns when you think of Japan, but Hokkaido’s hunters do.
Japanese regulations determine which hunters can handle certain firearms based on the individual's experience and the level of rifling in a long gun's barrel.
LIFE / Lifestyle
Feb 3, 2024
Hokkaido hunters say more firepower means more humane kills
A revision to Japan’s firearms laws would mean new hunters would be temporarily limited to less potent shotguns.
Hiromi Uetake has future plans to turn some of the currently unused rooms of the former elementary school into taprooms for visiting customers.
LIFE / Food & Drink
Jan 14, 2024
Craft beer’s hoppy road to the deep north
Beer drinkers in these occasionally frozen lands now enjoy flavors infused with deep stories and their home prefectures’ splendid natural beauty.
Japan Times
Dec 29, 2023
20 Questions: The best answers of 2023
Our interviewees this year gave a lot of advice for living a good life and paying attention to the things that matter most.
Yujiro Nakajimaya's advice for players new to hockey is that you have to know what you want to achieve. Is it a professional career? Then you need to challenge yourself.
Dec 9, 2023
Yujiro Nakajimaya: ‘Overcoming adversity is an art’
At a young age, this hockey-playing Hokkaido native left for Canada and ended his journey playing in the NHL.
Due to the small number of priests in the Orthodox Church in Japan, some have to care for as many as five different churches.
Oct 14, 2023
Rev. Stephen Keiichi Uchida: 'Your life has value’
Rev. Stephen Keiichi Uchida serves as a priest in the Orthodox Church in Japan and leads three churches in rural Kushiro, Hokkaido.


Things may look perfect to the outside world, but today's mom is fine with some imperfection at home.
How 'Reiwa moms' are reshaping motherhood in Japan