Heavy metal: love of craft runs deep

Jan 7, 2017

Heavy metal: love of craft runs deep

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Although 2017 is the Year of the Fire Rooster, fire is not the only element destined to influence the next 12 months. Each of the 12 Chinese zodiac years is governed by one of five elements: wood, fire, earth, water and metal, resulting in ...

First sunrise of the year brings luck

Dec 29, 2016

First sunrise of the year brings luck

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The sight of a sunrise is familiar to early risers. On New Year's Day the experience takes on a more special meaning — legend has it the sun goddess Amaterasu created this country after all. So Jan. 1 is the one day that people who ...

Japan's first Christmas

Dec 24, 2016

Japan's first Christmas

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In a letter home to Portuguese brethren, Jesuit missionary Pedro de Alcacova writes of singing a Mass to Japanese believers in 1552: "Our voices weren't good," he recalls, "still the Christian believers rejoiced." It was Christmas Eve in Yamaguchi, and the patience, if not faith, ...

Are we literally getting into bed with robots?

Dec 24, 2016

Are we literally getting into bed with robots?

'Sexbots" are a staple of science fiction — the idea of robots as sex partners is explored, for instance, in recent films and television series such as "Ex-Machina" and "Westworld." However, some specialists believe the first animated lovers made of metal, rubber and plastic, programmed ...

DIY — a power tool for distracting kids

| Dec 10, 2016

DIY — a power tool for distracting kids

My 4-year-old daughter's eyes light up when she spies something sitting on the work table. Unlike her normal playtime preferences, it is not a rainbow-haired unicorn, felt tip pens or a plastic doll that has caught her attention — it's an industrial looking electric ...

Hakodate artisan finds niche in revival of iron potbelly stove

Dec 2, 2016

Hakodate artisan finds niche in revival of iron potbelly stove

A woodwork artisan in the Hokkaido city of Hakodate has carved out a niche in the stove market, reviving interest in old-fashioned cast-iron potbelly heaters. Ryuichi Uenoyama, 51, admits to being taken aback by the flurry of orders he has received for the stoves, which ...