Community Jul 14, 2000

Get up, get busy: It's summertime

Much as I hate to admit it, summertime in Tokyo is less than joyous. The season just doesn't have that celebratory, liberating mood, it doesn't slow down, grow languid or lean back with an iced tea. Summertime in Tokyo means sweating businessmen carrying suit ...

Community May 12, 2000

Keeping your money alive and kicking

Because I come from a family whose men are confirmed gamblers, I grew up thinking that a chronic shortage of o-kane (money) was the normal state in any household. The grownups didn't even call it o-kane but o-ashi (honorable legs), which accounted for the ...

Community Feb 11, 2000

Words and eras to build character

Kanji is also prone to fashion. During the Meiji Era, the mods were chu (loyalty), kun (lord), ai (love) and koku (nation). Politics were condensed into four characters: fukokukyohei (rich nation, strong army). Kind of taps right into the psyche of the period, doesn't ...

Sumo Jan 14, 2000

Wrestling with a national tradition

The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that sumo is not really a sport. No one calls it spootsu anyway -- sumo is and always has been the kokugi (national skill). OK, one can argue that technique is a big part of ...

Music Jan 8, 2000

Oh, the glamour of poetic injustice

Violence aspires to poetry and vice versa in "Death in Granada," an American/Spanish production that sheds a fleeting but eerie light on one of Spain's greatest poets: Federico Garcia Lorca. If you're not familiar with the name and his work, this is a chance to ...

Film / Reviews Aug 28, 1999

Rooting for a new life on the open road

After a bad day, I pamper myself by mapping out, hour by hour, scene by scene, a fantasy date with Jean Reno. Most women laugh when I tell them this: In their eyes Jean Reno is a comic relief, a blundering buffoon, the kind of ...

Travel May 13, 1999

Nishi-Ogikubo -- waist-high in green

Tokyoites complain about Tokyo: its chaotic haphazardness, its sprawling largeness, its adamant refusal to be beautiful. Like the room of a teenage boy, it keeps accumulating things, things, things. Then everything is kicked under the bed and the boy goes out for a cheeseburger. ...

Film / Reviews Apr 10, 1999

Making the grade from the couch

When I think of the wealth of America, I think of its national concern for psychological well-being. People will actually set aside a number of hours each week to talk to therapists or attend group. They will go to court to demand justice for ...

Travel | ON THE ARCHIPELA-GO Mar 10, 1999

The seductive stench of Yurakucho

"Shall We Meet in Yurakucho (Yurakucho de Aimasho)" was the title of a 1958 megahit number, sung by the king of Japanese blues, Frank Nagai. As Frank described it, Yurakucho was always misty with fog and the collective sighs of hundreds of lovers, the ...