Dec 11, 2012
Emotions during pregnancy and childbirth run the gamut, from excitement and trepidation to joy and even fear. Foreign women who find themselves pregnant in Japan may experience additional stress as they cope with cultural differences, language issues and being away from their own families. Add in talk of no pain relief typically being offered during labor and it is enough to make an expectant mother want to jump on the next plane home.
Dec 4, 2012
Newly discovered documents reveal that 50 years ago this week, the Pentagon dispatched a chemical weapons platoon to Okinawa under the auspices of its infamous Project 112. Described by the U.S. Department of Defense as "biological and chemical warfare vulnerability tests," the highly classified program subjected thousands of unwitting American service members around the globe to substances including sarin and VX nerve gases between 1962 and 1974.
Nov 20, 2012
For foreigners who arrive in Japan with little knowledge or preparation, the first encounter with the local lingo can be brutal. In the past, for instance, newcomers would have taken the train from Narita airport to Tokyo or Shinjuku station and promptly run up against a solid wall of indecipherable ideograms. Asking for directions was often a futile exercise, as most people only spoke a little English at best.
Oct 23, 2012
According to the Mormon version of postbiblical events, Joseph Smith, guided by an angel in 1823, found sacred golden plates buried in Manchester, New York, outside Rochester. The plates are claimed to have been buried around the year 400, having been brought from Central America by a man named Mormon. Smith wouldn't show anyone the plates until he had translated the "reformed Egyptian" — a language unknown to linguists — using a "seer stone." Only after this miraculous translation did he reveal the plates to just 11 Mormon "witnesses."
Oct 9, 2012
A common mistake made by foreigners trying to accomplish things in Japan is to go to a lawyer (bengoshi) with their problems. It is not a mistake because of a bunch of hooey about Japanese people not looking to the law for solutions, but because a lawyer may not be the best man or woman for the job.
Sep 18, 2012
Despite much promise and a flurry of activity, it didn't happen: Japan failed to ratify the Hague Convention on international child abduction and pass the extensive piece of accompanying domestic legislation the government felt was necessary in order for it to do so. Both items on the Diet agenda were left up in the air when it closed for business on Sept. 8, with an election for the House of Representatives expected to be held before the end of the year.
Sep 11, 2012
Aug 21, 2012
Aug 7, 2012
Aug 7, 2012
During the Vietnam War, 25,000 barrels of Agent Orange were stored on Okinawa, according to a recently uncovered U.S. Army report. The barrels, thought to contain over 5.2 million liters of the toxic defoliant, had been brought to Okinawa from Vietnam before apparently being taken to Johnston Island in the Pacific Ocean, where the U.S. military is known to have incinerated its stocks of Agent Orange in 1977.