Kiyomi Hasegawa, second from left, urges students to sample boiled black beans at her "school of beans" in her condominium in Yokohama on March 14. (Mitsuko Nagasawa)
JOY OF HOKKAIDO FOOD: Bean expert on a mission to spread appetite for indigenous varieties
Editor's note: Hokkaido is attracting attention for its world-class food items. This series introduces readers to delicious foods from the northern Japanese island and the people there who are producing these wonderful products. This concludes the Joy of Hokkaido Food series.
A set of neatly packaged watermarked toilet paper rolls. (Choi Chae-soo)
OMIYAGE FROM JAPAN: 'Washi' toilet paper rolls feature traditional watermarks
Editor’s note: This series showcases “omiyage” (souvenirs) from around Japan. We introduce “must-buy” items available at prefecture-operated shops in Tokyo that promote local tourism products. The series appears on Saturdays.
Petko Slavov demonstrates Ohayashi Sensei, an app the Bulgarian developed that lets users experience music of Noh theater. (Daisuke Mukai)
Bulgarian develops app to let users experience music of Noh theater
OSAKA--A new free app enables users to simulate the playing of four kinds of traditional Japanese musical instruments used to accompany a Noh performance.
Uneno offers a variety of powdered "dashi" (broth) made from dried bonito, kelp and other natural ingredients. (Mihoko Takizawa)
KYOTO GOES KAWAII: Uneno's powdered 'dashi' a must for Japanese cooking
Editor's note: This series showcases what we are calling "kawaii" (cute) items made locally in the iconic Japanese city.
Japan's first large-scale Let's Play video game event, "Tokaigi" Game Party Japan 2015 drew throngs of game enthusiasts thanks to a special stage featuring famous commentators. (Tomoyuki Izawa)
'Let's Play' gaming event draws 35,000 fans at Makuhari Messe
CHIBA--Japan's first full-scale "Let's Play" video gaming event attracted more than 35,000 enthusiastic fans recently at the Makuhari Messe convention center here.
Part of an illustration featuring monster Pigmon designed by Toru Narita (1991, Private Collection)
Subculture 'invades' rural Japan galleries in bid to share hallowed ground
Exhibitions featuring anime girls, robots and Ultraman monsters have been cutting a path across rural Japan, making stops in art galleries and museums that once shunned outsider culture.
Kazuto Seike trains himself for swordfighting scenes in samurai movies and dramas at Toei Kyoto Studios in Kyoto’s Ukyo Ward. (Noboru Tomura)
Samurai bit actor plays the part in quest to be swordfighting master
KYOTO--They are usually on screen for just minutes. And then, they are killed. But the unique role of "kirareyaku" in samurai dramas--typically the principal villain's sidekicks--takes years to perfect.
Farmers Tetsuro Yoshida, left, and Yuichiro Omote present the Tokachi Wakaushi beef brand at a tasting event at an Italian restaurant in Tokyo on Feb. 24. (Mitsuko Nagasawa)
JOY OF HOKKAIDO FOOD: Tokachi dairy farmers produce value-added Holstein steer beef
Editor's note: Hokkaido is attracting attention for its world-class food items. This series introduces readers to delicious foods from the northern Japanese island and the people there who are producing these wonderful products. The series appears every other Saturday.
Students examine a chalk painting of a large red sea bream drawn on a school blackboard at Asaka-Daiyon Junior High School in Asaka, Saitama Prefecture, on March 4. (Shimpei Wakamatsu)
Chalkboard artworks leave lasting impression on graduating students
Instead of the usual mathematical formulas and other lessons, chalk artworks are filling classroom blackboards, leaving a lasting effect on students now graduating in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
A pair of "naruko" bird clappers (Choi Chae-soo)
OMIYAGE FROM JAPAN: 'Naruko' clappers no longer for the birds
Editor’s note: This series showcases “omiyage” (souvenirs) from around Japan. We introduce “must-buy” items available at prefecture-operated shops in Tokyo that promote local tourism products. The series appears on Saturdays.
(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)
ASAHI HAIKUIST NETWORK/ David McMurray
Spring equinox dad still undefeated at monopoly
Brooms made in Gunma Prefecture and dustpans from Osaka Prefecture (Mariko Nakamura)
CRAFTED IN TOKYO: Yanaka Matsunoya thinks natural for its sundry goods
Editor's note: This series showcases cool and special souvenirs made in Japan's capital of Tokyo, formerly known as Edo.
Members of the idol group Osoji Unit Kawagoe Clear's collect garbage in Fujimi, Saitama Prefecture, in October 2014. (Takemichi Nishibori)
Trash-collecting idol group becoming fan favorite in Saitama
KAWAGOE, Saitama Prefecture--If the wildly popular AKB48 are the "idols you can meet," then the Osoji (cleanup) Unit Kawagoe Clear's pop group here are "idols you can pick up trash with."
A prototype humanoid robot puffs out its chest to express joy to a traditional bunraku puppet during its demonstration in Osaka on March 16. (Ryo Kato)
PHOTO: Engineers develop robot that mimics actions of bunraku puppet
OSAKA--A group of researchers here have developed a robot that expresses joy, anger, sadness and pleasure with body movements that are based on the moves of traditional bunraku puppets.
A set of prints by ukiyo-e artist Keisai Eisen (1791-1848) depicting variations in hairstyles and ornaments is among the works on display at the Ota Memorial Museum of Art exhibition “Kawaii~Cute Girls in Ukiyo-e.” (Provided by Ota Memorial Museum of Art)
Ota museum exhibition shows looking 'kawaii' in old days was a lot more work than now
Veronique van Wessen was wowed by the cute Japanese fashionistas she saw parading around Tokyo’s hip Harajuku district.
From photos for the theme: Matsuyama city Kutsuna-shoto north seashore of Aijima
ASAHI HAIKUIST SPECIAL/ 4th Setouchi Matsuyama Photo Haiku Contest Results
Driftwood beach wondering if it’s too late to put down roots
A "katsuobushi" dried bonito block, and a hand plane (Choi Chae-soo)
OMIYAGE FROM JAPAN: 'Katsuobushi' dried bonito--Kochi's gift from the ocean
Editor’s note: This series showcases “omiyage” (souvenirs) from around Japan. We introduce “must-buy” items available at prefecture-operated shops in Tokyo that promote local tourism products. The series appears on Saturdays.
Yukihiro Nishimoto, a manager at the Ozu Washi paper shop in Tokyo's Nihonbashi district, shows off some of the shop's paper selection. (Louis Templado)
Japan's traditional paper makers yet to reap benefits of UNESCO listing
When honmino-shi paper from Mino, Gifu Prefecture, was among three types of Japanese "washi" that were officially added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list last year, it was cause for celebration in the town.
Author Tochi Ueyama at Kodansha Ltd.'s office in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward (Motooki Hayasaka)
Homemaker dad manga 'Cooking Papa' set to celebrate 30th year in print
Popular manga series "Cooking Papa" has hit upon the right recipe for success in its long run, as it is set to mark its 30th anniversary of serialization in May.
An "onigawara" roof tile has a fierce look of an "oni" ogre. (Choi Chae-soo)
OMIYAGE FROM JAPAN: From above, ogre-faced 'onigawara' tiles scare off evil spirits
Editor’s note: This series showcases “omiyage” (souvenirs) from around Japan. We introduce “must-buy” items available at prefecture-operated shops in Tokyo that promote local tourism products. The series appears on Saturdays.

More AJW