September 03, 2014
In a scene of the popular classic Kabuki play "Sukeroku Yukari no Edozakura," Sukeroku, the protagonist, introduces himself as a man everyone should be glad to be acquainted with. Above all, he promises, anyone with "okori" (intermittent fever) will be cured.
September 02, 2014
A dictionary I consulted defines the word "tolerance" as the willingness to accept others and acknowledge that their opinions differ from one's own. Even though most people wish to be tolerant, bigotry and prejudice sometimes rear their ugly heads.
September 01, 2014
Each year when Sept. 1 rolls around, Japanese are reminded of the Great Kanto Earthquake. On that day in 1923, a powerful tremor devastated wide areas in the Kanto region around Tokyo.
August 30, 2014
A personnel shake-up can be a double-edged sword. Employees who are elevated to coveted positions may perform their duties faithfully, but discontent could build up among those who were passed over. What was intended as a move to refresh and revitalize the organization may only lower the staff's morale.
August 29, 2014
Choosing a destination and riding a train purely for the fun of it was the sort of leisurely, aimless train travel that author Hyakken Uchida (1889-1971) loved. He got great enjoyment out of looking at the scenery outside the train window and going to the dining car for a drink.
August 28, 2014
The Ice Bucket Challenge is a campaign to promote awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Participants dump a bucket of ice water on their heads and nominate others for the dare. Videos of celebrities around the world, dripping wet, have gone viral and helped raise substantial donations for ALS research.
August 27, 2014
There is a lesson I have learned the hard way from my years of working experience. That is, when a dispute arises in an organization and it needs to be resolved to everyone's satisfaction, it is vital that the parties concerned discuss it face-to-face.
August 26, 2014
Folk singer Tomoya Takaishi's "Jukensei Blues," a mock-plaintive comical song about a high school senior preparing for university entrance exams, was a mega-hit in 1968.
August 25, 2014
Japanese often describe extravagant spending as going through money “like water.” This expression, however, can be understood only by people lucky enough to live in a place blessed with rich water resources.
August 23, 2014
On Jan. 8, 1989, the day after the Showa Era ended with the death of Emperor Hirohito (posthumously called Emperor Showa), the then-writer of this column recalled an episode from the emperor's annual spring garden party in 1982.
August 22, 2014
When Seiji Rokkaku was a struggling, out-of-work actor, he was addicted to pachinko for two years, according to his published collection of essays titled "Sukoshi Kane wo Kashite Kurenaika" (Can you loan me some money?).
August 21, 2014
Images of a leafy mountainside, scarred by multiple swaths of debris and rocks, reminded me of Yamata no Orochi, the mythical monster snake with eight heads and as many tails. Its gigantic body spanned many peaks and valleys. The creature terrorized and killed hapless villagers every year.
August 20, 2014
Before the law to promote Ainu culture was enacted in 1997, Shigeru Kayano (1926-2006), the first ethnic Ainu member of the Diet, made this unforgettable comment, "Democracy is alive in Japan."
August 19, 2014
Gen Kida, a prominent philosopher and professor emeritus at Chuo University who died Aug. 16 at age 85, wrote prose that was gentle in tone and sometimes humorous.
August 18, 2014
I didn’t know the word “hami niku” until I recently heard it while watching a TV program. It is one of the dazzling array of newly coined words that have gained currency in this nation for various reasons.
August 16, 2014
Chuya Nakahara (1907-1937), who died young, wrote a poem titled "Imoto yo" (Oh my little sister). It goes, "The beautiful soul wept at night/ And said it was all right now to die ..."
August 15, 2014
“Unconventional” could well be the middle name of novelist Futaro Yamada (1922-2001), whose works include “Ningen Rinju Zukan” (Picture scroll of human deathbed scenes). Downing a third of a bottle of whisky every night, Yamada described himself as “Aruchu-heimer,” an expression he coined by combining the Japanese slang for “alcoholic” and Alzheimer’s.
August 14, 2014
I once heard that there were "white rivers" running down Mount Fuji. Actually, they were festoons of used toilet paper, mixed with human excrement and discharged from mountain hut toilets, clinging to the sides of the mountain. Utterly gross and unsanitary, they definitely did not belong on Japan's sacred, iconic peak.
August 13, 2014
For some people, the items on display at the Safety Promotion Center of Japan Airlines Co. may be too painful to look at. They include wreckage of JAL Flight 123 that crashed on Mount Osutakayama in Gunma Prefecture on Aug. 12, 1985, and a stopped wristwatch frozen in time that belonged to one of the 520 victims who died in the crash.
August 12, 2014
The list of memorable games at the National High School Baseball Championship at Koshien Stadium is a long one.