Keiko Kato sings opera with a piano accompaniment at Nagoya College of Music in Nagoya's Nakamura Ward. (Photo by Nana Ogawa)
At 73, oldest freshman ever at Nagoya College of Music singing opera
NAGOYA--Despite her advanced years, Keiko Kato handily outshines singers decades younger than her.
Nobuyo Tada and her husband, Degenhard von Twickel, watch children play on a swing donated from Germany to an interim elementary school in Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, on April 22. (Yoshitaka Ito)
After spontaneous remark, gifts from Germany lift spirits of Fukushima children
AIZU-WAKAMATSU, Fukushima Prefecture--Nobuyo Tada beamed at the sights and sounds of disaster-affected pupils swinging on playground equipment here, the result of a spur-of-the-moment comment she had made in Germany.
Tatsumi Hayashi at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii in March (Yusuke Ogawa)
Tokyo native creates database of Japanese-Americans interned in Hawaii
HONOLULU--A retired airline employee from Japan has completed a database detailing the names, occupations and personal histories of Japanese-Americans in Hawaii who were forced into internment camps during World War II.
Mimasaka Higuchi, former chairman of the Japan Muslim Association (Photo by Akira Fujiu)
Elderly Japanese Muslim offers message of peace as Islamic extremists create misery
He's the "face" of Japanese Muslims and he's got a lot of explaining to do. That's why Mimasaka Higuchi, despite being 79, is still a very busy man.
Shinto priest Mitsutaka Inui congratulates an American couple during their silver-wedding ceremony at Kamigamojinja shrine in Kyoto on April 28. (Moeka Moriizumi)
In Kyoto, foreign couples tying the knot in Shinto rites in English
KYOTO--It was just another traditional wedding ceremony at a famous Shinto shrine in Kyoto except for one odd thing--the priest was speaking in English.
Akemi Arimura, a Shiseido makeup therapist, teaches an elderly woman how to pencil in her eyebrows at a session in Yokohama’s Kohoku Ward on April 8. (Makoto Kaku)
Shiseido makeup therapist says taking care of elderly women is her calling
Makeup therapist Akemi Arimura leaned in so she could gently talk to an elderly client, their faces almost touching.
Rie Saito communicates through writing in a waiting room of the Kita Ward assembly on May 12. (Junichi Bekku)
Kita Ward assembly scrambling to remove barriers for new hearing-impaired member
Newly elected assemblywoman Rie Saito, a popular former Ginza bar hostess with a hearing impairment, wants a barrier-free society for all, but she must first overcome obstacles in the municipal assembly chamber in Tokyo's Kita Ward.
Osamu Konishi photographs a stray cat on the banks of the Tama River in late April. (Aya Shioiri)
Photos of stray cats along Tama River a reflection of human society
On the banks of the Tama River, a freelance photographer is documenting the daily lives of a colony of stray cats on his popular weblog, believing their community is a microcosm of human society.
Shigeru Shimoyama (Photo by Naoji Shibata)
Japanese Muslim on quest to broaden knowledge of true Islami
Islamic convert Shigeru Shimoyama would be the first to admit that the opening months of 2015 were a nightmare for him.
Salome Cordier introduces tourism spots in Oita city to a visitor at the Oita City Tourist Information Center. (Chihaya Inagaki)
Multilingual French concierge caters to tourists from around world in Oita
OITA--Salome Cordier always wanted to work as a tour guide in France, so when her husband showed her a help wanted ad for a concierge at the tourist center here, she enthusiastically applied for it.
Kenichiro Toyofuku, who is said to be the closest Japanese to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, works in India to support Japanese companies. (Yoshihiro Kando)
Japanese closest to Indian prime minister serves as a liaison between both nations
NEW DELHI--In making a symbolic fashion statement, Kenichiro Toyofuku usually dons a "Nehru jacket" to show his Indian co-workers that he is their friend.
Filmmaker Kiminari Suzuki attends a preview of his film, "NEET Senkyo," in Niigata's Chuo Ward. (Yuri Yamamoto)
Filmmaker inspires young voters with movie about man's rise from NEET to city council
NIIGATA--A semi-autobiographical film about a young penniless man with few friends who gets elected to a local city council has created a buzz on the Internet and has popped up in small movie houses around Japan.
Johji Yamauchi displays some of his works on March 16. (Photo by Sayaka Yamaguchi)
Manga artist’s drawings showcase rich diversity of Japanese language
A manga artist famous for drawing pictures of animals in the shapes of kanji recently concluded an exhibition in Paris in a mission to convey the beauty and diversity of the written language used in Japan.
Seiji Nishikage appears in the opera "Nabucco" at Aichi Arts Center in Nagoya in May last year. (Provided by Seiji Nishikage)
Top medical talent not ready to give up dream of taking stage as opera singer
NAGOYA--Inheriting contrasting talents and passions from both his parents, Seiji Nishikage is starring in his own real-life melodrama, as an elite medical student and up-and-coming opera singer.
Kinichi Okubo sits in a field full of yellow narcissus flowers in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, in April. (Yukiko Seino)
Fukushima evacuee aims to repay kindness with garden full of sakura
IITATE, Fukushima Prefecture--Kinichi Okubo dreams of the day the garden around his home is filled with mature cherry blossom trees that will flower for generations to come.
Benjamin Weber eats at his favorite ramen restaurant in Osaka on March 5. (Tatsuya Sato)
‘Ramen programmer’ from New York conquering noodle shops in Osaka
OSAKA--A passion for computer games brought Benjamin Weber to Japan. But the taste of Kansai ramen is what fuels the New Yorker these days.
Andrijana Cvetkovik (Provided by the Embassy of Macedonia)
Macedonia’s first resident ambassador an expert on Japanese culture
Andrijana Cvetkovik first came to Japan from her native Macedonia in 2005 to do postgraduate research on digital technology applied in cinema.
The Dalai Lama speaks during a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun in Gifu city. (Taku Hosokawa)
INTERVIEW: Dalai Lama says inter-religious dialogue key to ending terrorism
GIFU--Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, said terrorism carried out in the name of religion is a “very sad” reality facing the post-Cold War world and urged religious leaders to promote interfaith dialogue to break the chain of violence.
Holly Helt, left, and Alex Sanson display items on the menu at Chiki Tea in Nakatsu, Oita Prefecture, on Feb. 27. (Masahiko Urabe)
Foreign couple offers delights of Japanese tea in cafe in Oita
NAKATSU, Oita Prefecture--When Holly Helt and Alex Sanson discovered the perfect tea leaves in Japan, it gave them the idea of popularizing the unique taste of Japanese tea.
Johnnie Xu (Photo by Satoshi Ukai)
Culture shock leads to Taiwanese magazine about Japanese culture
Johnnie Xu first visited Japan two years ago to see a concert by an Irish band. He left the country more impressed by the tomes in Tokyo than the tunes of the group.

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