Flea market apps transforming Japan's thrift culture

National Jul 24, 2018

Flea market apps transforming Japan's thrift culture

When strapped for cash before his next paycheck, Ryo Takezawa would trudge over to the nearest Bookoff, the nation's largest chain of secondhand bookstores, to sell his novels and CDs. But the buyback rates were meager: The 37-year-old temporary worker was lucky if he was ...

‘Deep’ tourism explores the darker side of Tokyo

National Jul 4, 2018

‘Deep’ tourism explores the darker side of Tokyo

Hidden behind the capital's glassy high-rises and bustling shopping streets are dusty remnants of red-light districts and smoky bar alleys preserving traces of an older Tokyo — pockets of history Hisaki Kurosawa explores to catch glimpses of the other, more textured face of the ...

The two-sister circus of Charan-Po-Rantan

Music Jun 5, 2018

The two-sister circus of Charan-Po-Rantan

Koharu Matsunaga used to be a fixture on Tokyo's busking circuit, belting out tunes on her button accordion with her gypsy brass band at popular tourist stops like Ueno Park. The main songwriter and the older half of the sister duo Charan-Po-Rantan rarely performs on ...

All aboard: Exploring Japan's abandoned train lines

National May 18, 2018

All aboard: Exploring Japan's abandoned train lines

Admiring the decaying beauty of abandoned railroads is just one of myriad hobbies Japan's railway enthusiasts indulge in. But fueled by a broadening appreciation for the subculture and growth in train travelers, these rusty remnants of industrialization are gathering new steam as tourist attractions while ...

In the countryside, success starts with coffee: Niseko pioneer

National May 10, 2018

In the countryside, success starts with coffee: Niseko pioneer

The thriving Hokkaido ski resort of Niseko is considered an anomaly among the many rural communities in Japan facing a slow demise from the shrinking and graying population. But that was not always the case, says Australian Ross Findlay, a pioneer of the area's outdoor ...

Canned <I>chūhai</I> drinks thrive on salaryman buzz

Business Apr 29, 2018

Canned chūhai drinks thrive on salaryman buzz

"When life gives us lemons, we make -196˚ C Strong Zero Double Lemon!" Perhaps beverage giant Suntory Holdings Ltd.'s commercial variation of the well known proverbial phrase best captures the appeal of its top-selling canned cocktail. Once regarded as a simple, working-class drink, chūhai has made ...