Traditional arts live through kids

Lifestyle Mar 4, 2018

Traditional arts live through kids

Nurturing respect for cultural traditions is a daunting challenge these days, when kids are glued to cellphones and game apps. So what does a country with centuries of carefully polished artistry do to preserve its heritage? Drop a curtain on the whole show? Not ...

Warming to Sugamo's venerable shopping street

Travel | BACKSTREET STORIES Dec 8, 2017

Warming to Sugamo's venerable shopping street

Gifting, and therefore shopping for gifts, seems part of the gestalt of winter. In Tokyo, though, retail wonderlands tend to be packed and pricey, full of ersatz Christmas music, harried customers and long lines. I opt instead for a low-key commercial street near Sugamo ...

Changing times in Setagaya's Shoin Jinjamae

Travel | BACKSTREET STORIES Nov 3, 2017

Changing times in Setagaya's Shoin Jinjamae

There's something alluring about the suburban stops between Sangenjaya and Shimotakaido stations, which has been serviced by the Tokyu Setagaya tramway for the past 110 years. Low-rise buildings and modest platforms tick by as the tram trundles at a leisurely pace westward from where I ...

Drinking to health and history in Kagoshima

Travel Aug 25, 2017

Drinking to health and history in Kagoshima

Passengers flying into Kagoshima Airport in Kyushu pass over verdant mountains and lush agricultural fields just before landing. This rich terrain, fertilized by ash from a nearby active volcano, partially explains one facet of the prefecture's reputation: Kagoshima is famous for healthy cuisine. Centuries-old seaports ...