People, young and old, enjoy the fully bloomed cherry blossoms along the Potomac in Washington, D.C., on April 12. (Hikaru Uchida)
PHOTO: Washington welcomes spring as cherry blossoms bloom
WASHINGTON--Thousands of visitors came out to view the cherry blossoms in full bloom along the Potomac River, marking the end of a long winter.
Cherry blossoms are in full bloom along the the Shukugawa river in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, on April 6. Haruki Murakami describes the river and a stone bridge over it in his essay “Rangeruhansu-to no Gogo" (Afternoon in the islets of Langerhans). (Provided by Koji Konishi)
COMMENTARY/ The Hanshinkan Kid (5): Haruki Murakami's attachment to the Shukugawa river
Editor’s note: This is part of The Asahi Shimbun AJW’s series on internationally acclaimed writer Haruki Murakami and the fifth of Koji Konishi’s “The Hanshinkan Kid” commentaries.
Visitors check out a life-sized statue of figure skater Mao Asada at the Takashimaya department store in Tokyo's Nihonbashi district. The department store is hosting an exhibition devoted to Asada that will continue until April 21. (Louis Templado)
Mao Asada exhibition draws record crowd in Tokyo
Window-shoppers strolling by a Takashimaya department store in Tokyo might be surprised if they peek inside: Frozen in place in the lobby of the venerable department store is Mao Asada.
Hideko Hakamada holds up the honorary championship belt for her brother in Tokyo's Ota Ward on April 6. (Takuya Isayama)
Former death-row inmate awarded honorary championship boxing belt
The World Boxing Council (WBC) awarded an honorary championship belt to Iwao Hakamada, a former boxer who was recently released from prison after spending decades on death row.
Former President George W. Bush tours his new exhibit, "The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy" at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas on April 1. (AP Photo)
World leaders seen through the brush of George W. Bush
WASHINGTON--Portraits painted by former U.S. President George W. Bush of world leaders he encountered during his eight-year presidency go on display April 5 in Dallas at his presidential library.
Michio Okada holds hands with Mako-no-te at Toyohashi University of Technology in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture. "The robots are adorable because they're all high maintenance."
'Weak' robots win people over with strong social skills
Talking Ally is little more than a camera lens set in the middle of an oval. But this robot has a bit of an attitude.
Haruki Murakami is surrounded by high school students in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. (Provided by Rosalia de Castro school)
Haruki Murakami's taste for Galician-style octopus
Editor's note: Shinji Inada, former Paris bureau chief of The Asahi Shimbun, originally wrote this article for The Asahi Shimbun Digital website to depict the literary and culinary links between internationally acclaimed writer Haruki Murakami and a Spanish town.
Shigeru Ban (The Asahi Shimbun)
Architect Shigeru Ban awarded 2014 Pritzker prize
Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, noted for his airy modernist designs and humanitarian work, has won the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the top award in the field, organizers said.
Nahoko Uehashi (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Uehashi wins prestigious Andersen Award for children's literature
Children's book author Nahoko Uehashi won the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Author Award, the literary equivalent of getting the Nobel Prize.
Ryotaro Harada (Photo by Toshiyuki Tsumenari)
Japanese man is on a mission to help former leprosy sufferers in China
The failure to find a job and get into graduate school has led one Japanese man to embrace a life of helping former sufferers of leprosy in China improve their lives.
Norihiro Kato (Photo by Hiroshi Matsubara)
INTERVIEW/ Norihiro Kato: 'Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki' is an imperfect work but one of Haruki Murakami's most important
Editor's note: This interview is part of The Asahi Shimbun AJW's series on internationally acclaimed writer Haruki Murakami.
Shigeaki Hinohara holds his first book for children. (Marika Terashita)
Centenarian writes children's book on dealing with death
Shigeaki Hinohara has used a sad experience from nearly a century ago to write his first book for children.
Munemasa Takahashi (Photo by Kazuo Yamamoto)
THREE YEARS AFTER: Photographer restores 750,000 pictures thought lost in 2011 disaster
Munemasa Takahashi has restored and returned 340,000 photos that were washed away by the 2011 tsunami to their rightful and grateful owners.
Jean LeBeau (Photo by Kentaro Isomura)
Canadian missionary finds his niche helping elderly men in Tokyo’s Sanya
Jean LeBeau is happiest when he is mingling with the down-and-out in Tokyo’s rundown Sanya, once a bustling district of day laborers.
Tsunekatsu Suzuki performs kamishibai in a Taipei suburb in November. (Satoshi Ukai)
'Kamishibai' storyteller makes audiences across Asia laugh
In the suburbs of Taipei, a Japanese man in a kimono speaks in Mandarin as he performs a comedic "kamishibai," a traditional storytelling art that uses large picture boards to illustrate the narrative.
Supreme Court Justice Itsuro Terada, who has been nominated to be the court's next chief justice, leaves the prime minister’s office after meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on March 6. (Shogo Koshida)
Supreme Court Justice Terada nominated as next chief justice
Supreme Court Justice Itsuro Terada has been nominated by the Abe Cabinet to be the next chief justice of the nation’s highest judicial body, an appointment seen to be keeping the court free from political interference.
Mamoru Samuragochi apologizes in Tokyo on March 7 for lying by using a ghost writer for his popular symphonies and other music. (Hikaru Uchida/ The Asahi Shimbun)
'Beethoven of Japan' apologizes for 'causing trouble with my lies'
A composer once known as the "Beethoven of Japan" said on March 7 that tests had shown he was not legally deaf and apologized to people throughout the country for lying by using a ghost writer for his popular symphonies and other music.
Misao Okawa celebrates her 116th birthday on March 5 in Osaka's Higashi-Sumiyoshi Ward. (The Asahi Shimbun)
World's oldest person ‘kind of’ happy to turn 116
OSAKA--Misao Okawa, a Japanese woman believed to be the world's oldest person, turned 116 on March 5 and celebrated by tucking into a white cake decorated with strawberries and candles.
Italo Caproni and a seaplane are seen in the Gianni Caproni Museum of Aeronautics in Trento, Italy. (Hiroshi Ishida)
Miyazaki's 'The Wind Rises' pays homage to Italian aircraft designer
TRENTO, Italy--Acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki's animated historical drama “The Wind Rises” is set to be released in Italy this spring, and Italo Caproni couldn't be happier.
Jay Rubin, the translator of some of Haruki Murakami's best known works, in Tokyo in December 2013. (Louis Templado)
INTERVIEW/ Jay Rubin: Translator offers a peek into his life--and Haruki Murakami's as well
Editor's note: This interview is part of The Asahi Shimbun AJW's series on internationally acclaimed writer Haruki Murakami.

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