What's that smell?

| Jul 20, 2008

What's that smell?

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No one in Japan can avoid the sweat and smells of hot humid summer, regardless of sex, age or ethnicity. But a recent survey on body odor reeked of bad news for men. Chuo Bussan International Co., a deodorant maker in Tokyo, polled some 700 ...

Grounded rulers of the sky

Jun 22, 2008

Grounded rulers of the sky

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His sharp, calm gaze follows yet another aircraft swooping down from the cloudless sky, its tires screeching in clouds of blue smoke as it returns to Earth on Haneda's concrete runway. One more flight successfully completed, he thinks — and now the next. Despite being ...

Dutch women bid for techno parity

Jun 8, 2008

Dutch women bid for techno parity

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AMSTERDAM — Seen from Japan, a country known for dragging its feet in terms of gender equality, the Netherlands is often regarded as a model of social enlightenment. In fact, the Western European nation ranked 6th out of 93 countries in the United Nations ...

Viva matsuri!

Jun 8, 2008

Viva matsuri!

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To commemorate 100 years of Japanese emigration to Brazil, and the countries' continuing close links, taiko drummers from both cultures will be powering a huge festival set for Sao Paulo on June 21 The beats and multilayered vibrations of hundreds of drums played by 1,200 ...

May 25, 2008

Sonoko

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"You're a strange girl!" muttered my mother, shaking her head. "Yes, I know, mother. Well, I can't help it." I've given up arguing with her. She's too old, and frankly, so am I. Once, not long ago, I asked her if she knew "The Lady Who ...

The beauty of the afterworld

| May 18, 2008

The beauty of the afterworld

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At a funeral, if your loved one in the coffin appears as if they are simply sleeping peacefully, it may alleviate your grief. This is what Kotoko Sato, a funeral makeup artist, aims for when she cleans up the deceased with cosmetics specially made for ...

Bestowing beauty on a fearful blade

Apr 27, 2008

Bestowing beauty on a fearful blade

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If you were to call 51-year-old Yoshihiko Usuki a makeover maestro, he'd probably just chuckle, go back to his hunched position and continue sliding the sword clasped in his hands over a polishing stone. Yet togishi (sword-polishers) like Usuki are essential players in the process ...

Musashi: A do-or-die warrior not to be crossed

Apr 27, 2008

Musashi: A do-or-die warrior not to be crossed

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When he killed his first man, Miyamoto Musashi was a mere boy of 13 — in present-day terms, a first-year junior-high-school student. Musashi's exploits are immortalized in countless manga and movies, including Eiji Yoshikawa's 1935 novel "Musashi," which has been translated into 14 languages, with ...

Dining out with a box of fine fare

| Apr 20, 2008

Dining out with a box of fine fare

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Tasty, healthy and wasting nothing; traditional Japanese cuisine served on a hakozen table distills many of the country's dying cultures. A hakozen is a wooden box used as a portable table for an individual and also as a case to hold tableware; it's name derives ...

Belly-laughs boffin puts mirth to the test

| Apr 20, 2008

Belly-laughs boffin puts mirth to the test

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When people laugh, it is often their cheery sounds or the wrinkles around their eyes that mark out their mirth. Yoji Kimura believes, however, that the key to determining the nature of laughter lies in the diaphragm. Kimura, 60, professor of sociology at Kansai University ...