Ise-Shima's traditional seafood foragers come up for air

Food & Drink May 25, 2016

Ise-Shima's traditional seafood foragers come up for air

When I arrive at the entrance of Hachiman-kamado, a women divers' hut in the village of Osatsu along the jagged coastline of the Ise-Shima region in Mie Prefecture, matriarch Reiko Nomura and three of her junior female free divers welcome me with beaming smiles. The ...

Classic hotel takes center stage at Ise-Shima Summit

Travel Apr 2, 2016

Classic hotel takes center stage at Ise-Shima Summit

The opening to the novel "Karei naru Ichizoku" (The Glorious Family) by the late Japanese author Toyoko Yamasaki describes the splendid twilight descending upon Ago Bay in the Shima Peninsula, when the sun begins to tilt and the tide is full. And in a brief ...

Mie government touts 'omotenashi' spirit for Ise-Shima summit

Travel Mar 26, 2016

Mie government touts 'omotenashi' spirit for Ise-Shima summit

Centuries ago millions of pilgrims trekked to Japan's spiritual home in Mie Prefecture, especially to celebrate the cyclical dismantling and rebuilding of Ise Grand Shrine — the embodiment of Japanese shrines. Along with being ranked among Japanese as the number one "power spot" travel destination, ...

Exploring Sapporo Snow Festival's winter wonderland

Travel Feb 10, 2016

Exploring Sapporo Snow Festival's winter wonderland

Soaking in an event as elaborate as the annual Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido's largest city over a single weekend means getting off on steady footing in more ways than one. For festival-goers, there is the danger of slipping on the icy roads as they ...

A date with Tsukiji fish market's bluefin tuna auction

Food & Drink Jan 2, 2016

A date with Tsukiji fish market's bluefin tuna auction

To sleep or not to sleep? This was the question I was considering the night before a 3 a.m. rendezvous for a guided tour of Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market, the highlight of which was viewing the famous bluefin tuna auction. Considering the late hours I keep, ...

Will lower voting age bring youths to polls?

National / Politics Jul 2, 2015

Will lower voting age bring youths to polls?

In the United States it took political activism triggered by protests over the Vietnam War to start serious debate about lowering the voting age from 21 to 18. But for Japan, a nation where the burgeoning elderly population calls the shots and political apathy and ...

Defying death and all that jazz: Shunzo Ohno's story

Music Jun 17, 2015

Defying death and all that jazz: Shunzo Ohno's story

Shunzo Ohno, trumpet at his side, buzzes his lips as he loosens up for the next song — his vibrating mouth a thing of marvel, given all he has been through. To look at him on stage, a laid-back musician in an orange blazer and ...

Furuya, Tamura help Marines cage Lions

Baseball / Japanese Baseball May 9, 2015

Furuya, Tamura help Marines cage Lions

Takuya Furuya just got the job done with five innings of two-run ball and catcher Tatsuhiro Tamura hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly before providing an encore with a two-run single as the Chiba Lotte Marines defeated the Seibu Lions 10-2 on Saturday afternoon. Backed by ...

Francisco lifts Giants to victory in NPB debut

Baseball / Japanese Baseball May 2, 2015

Francisco lifts Giants to victory in NPB debut

Former major league slugger Juan Francisco came up with the much-needed big hit in his first game in Japanese baseball as the Yomiuri Giants held off the rival Hanshin Tigers 1-0 on Saturday afternoon. Shintaro Fujinami and lefty Aaron Poreda had waged a fierce pitching ...