April 29, 2013
There is a growing move among Diet lawmakers to rethink the Constitution from scratch. They say it is time to go back to the basics of constitutional debate by redefining the meaning and purpose of our Constitution. This is a welcome change from recent discussions which tend to neglect this point.
April 27, 2013
April 29 is the birthday of poet Chuya Nakahara (1907-1937), who penned many beautiful poems in his short life. One of his works I find oddly unforgettable is "Tsuki" (The moon), from an anthology titled "Arishi Hi no Uta" (Poems of Days Past).
April 26, 2013
Some days, important news is eclipsed by more sensational news.
April 25, 2013
People are good at various things. For instance, some people are good talkers while others are good listeners. An unusual example is people who are good at being scolded. They skillfully take in reproaches and lectures. An old senryu satirical poem goes: "A wife/ Dropping her eyes/ Skillfully takes a scolding." It is wiser not to show a defiant attitude that could only add fuel to the fire.
April 24, 2013
Every time a Cabinet minister's visit to Yasukuni Shrine causes an uproar, I am reminded of a great "ruling" that goes back centuries. It is not an actual ruling, but the one that appears in "The Merchant of Venice," a tragicomedy by William Shakespeare (1564-1616).
April 23, 2013
Mirages and firefly squid are two messengers that herald the arrival of spring in Toyama Bay in the Hokuriku region. Mirages are optical illusions that appear above the water during the day, while firefly squid emit a light that turns the water a glowing blue at night.
April 22, 2013
I will never forget the constant tension I felt while walking the streets of Jerusalem many years ago. At that time, Israel was being rocked by a spate of terrorist bombings, and I prepared myself for the worst when I went out to visit the Wailing Wall and other sites. My stay in Israel was short, but I was thoroughly worn out.
April 20, 2013
It was so unseasonably warm on April 18 that it felt more like summer than spring. But the temperature dipped the next day, and it was chilly even at noon. I visited Nezu Shrine in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward to view its famed azaleas, hearing it was just the right day to do so.
April 19, 2013
I recently learned the word "mancession." Coined from "man" and "recession," it denotes a situation where the unemployment rate for men is substantially higher than that for women. Japan today is in a state of mancession.
April 18, 2013
"A guy who has bulging ideas rather than muscles" is a phrase from "Gangnam Style," the megahit by South Korean rapper Psy. The association might be somewhat outlandish, but it makes me think of Shintaro Ishihara, co-leader of the Japan Restoration Party.
April 17, 2013
I thought the service was convenient, but apparently it sometimes causes trouble. I'm talking about the Autocomplete search function run by Internet giant Google Inc.
April 16, 2013
Visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Forbes Kerry shares the same initials as former U.S. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963). Kerry aspired to become a politician because he admired Kennedy. In fact, as a high school student, he even worked as a volunteer for Kennedy's election campaign.
April 15, 2013
When Awajishima island in Hyogo Prefecture was jolted on April 13 by a strong quake, some people thought it had to be the dreaded Nankai Trough earthquake that seismologists have been warning about for years.
April 13, 2013
"Animal Farm" by George Orwell (1903-1950) is an allegorical novel criticizing the Stalinist era of the former Soviet Union. Pigs and other animals rebel against humans to liberate themselves, but the pigs eventually become the privileged class and establish a dictatorship, forcing other animals into submission.
April 12, 2013
A Japanese politician receives a visitor from an Asian nation and serves him "omu hayashi raisu" (rice with sweet-spicy demi-glace sauce containing sliced beef and onion and topped with an omelet). The politician declares solemnly, "This is Japan."
April 11, 2013
On April 9, Toru Hashimoto, co-leader of the Japan Restoration Party, spoke to lawmakers of his party about his personal views on the Constitution. I find them quite sensible.
April 10, 2013
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died on April 8 at age 87, enjoyed Scotch as a nightcap. She wrote in her memoirs that when she was active, she considered herself a missionary of Scotch whisky.
April 09, 2013
Since I started working, I got out of the habit of eating breakfast. This is partly because I have no time. But at the same time, I don’t particularly feel like eating in the morning. A story that attracted the attention of lazy people like me ran in the April 8 morning edition of The Asahi Shimbun.
April 08, 2013
Upper House legislator Hiroyuki Konishi's blog was recently accessed more than 200,000 times in just one week and inundated with critical posts, an example of what is known on the Internet as "flaming."
April 06, 2013
The Bank of Japan has taken an enormous gamble that makes me imagine a majestic mountain range with a bottomless valley. While the central bank's new monetary easing policy is being touted as historic and entirely different from anything in the past, I keep recalling this haiku poem penned by actor and radio host Shoichi Ozawa who died last year: "Gambling the future/ Under the cold moon."