April 04, 2013
A verse by Yu Wuling, a poet of China’s Tang Dynasty era (618-907), goes, “Once flowers come to bloom, winds blow and rain falls frequently/ Life is full of partings.”
April 03, 2013
Looking into the history of Japanese professional baseball, I found that female announcers who call the names of players on the public address systems at ballparks appeared for the first time on April 3, 1947. Soon, with the start of television broadcasts, viewers at home were also able to hear their voices. "Fourth batter, third baseman, Nagashima." To this day, no voice echoes through the minds of older baseball fans better than the one announcing the name of baseball legend Shigeo Nagashima, a former Yomiuri Giants slugger.
April 02, 2013
April 2, which marks the death of sculptor and poet Kotaro Takamura (1883-1956), is called "Rengyo-ki" after the "rengyo" (forsythia) plant, whose bright yellow flowers bloom in the spring. Takamura was an ardent fan of Kabuki actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX. Dubbed "the grand master of the theater of the Meiji Era (1868-1912)," Danjuro played a prominent role in helping Tokyo's Kabukiza theater firmly establish its place.
April 01, 2013
I am saying many farewells this spring. For one, I am saying farewell to this column as I am being transferred to a different post.
March 30, 2013
Chilly weather returned while the cherry blossoms were still in full bloom, and fallen petals could be seen floating in small pink clusters on the surface of ponds. In Japan, the end of the fiscal and scholastic years come at the end of March. Below are some comments made during this busy month of farewells and anticipation of new beginnings.
March 29, 2013
Coming into new knowledge or information that completely disproves something you have always accepted without question is a rather exhilarating experience.
March 28, 2013
"Yawara" is a song about judo sung passionately by popular singer Hibari Misora (1937-1989) in the 1960s. The third verse, which shows no regard for violent people, is particularly inspiring. It goes: "This is not the time to play against fools who are quicker to use force than to talk …"
March 27, 2013
Some people sure have a lot of nerve. With high courts recently ruling one after another that the disparity in the value of votes between some constituencies is unconstitutional, I thought that Diet members would fall quiet. But I was wrong. One of them even got on his high horse to express outrage.
March 26, 2013
When British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965) visited the United States and stayed at the White House, as he was bathing, his host, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt (1882-1945), knocked on the bathroom door.
March 25, 2013
In 2000, this column cited a 1997 story from The Economist about a fictional Mrs. Watanabe, an archetypal Japanese homemaker who holds the family purse strings and makes investments boldly.
March 23, 2013
In the Arctic, where snow and ice figure prominently in native cultures, some indigenous people are said to be able to distinguish various shades of white. In Japan, I imagine our eyes are best able to pick out the subtle differences in the colors of spring flowers that fall somewhere between white and red in the color spectrum.
March 22, 2013
Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) started radio broadcasting on March 22, 1925. Listeners outnumbered newspaper readers before the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), and radio became a propaganda tool of the government. Together with major newspapers, including The Asahi Shimbun, radio whipped the public into a frenzy that eventually led the nation astray.
March 21, 2013
We should take the utmost care when choosing our leaders. On the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Iraq War on March 20, 2003, I once again think about the importance of determination and responsibility in national leaders.
March 20, 2013
Formula One car racing is a sport in which machines and humans push their limits. When they get out of sync, no matter how slightly, the result can be tragic for the driver, who can count himself lucky if all he has to do is to retire from the race．
March 19, 2013
When put side by side, the colors orange and blue accentuate each other. In chromatics, hues of such a relation are called complementary colors.
March 18, 2013
The annual "Omizutori" (water-drawing) ritual at the Nigatsudo hall of the Todaiji temple in Nara heralds the arrival of spring in the Kansai region.
March 16, 2013
The Olympic Gold continues to elude the Japanese men's judo team, while its female counterpart shocked the world in January by accusing their coach of physical abuse. But the worth of a black belt seems to remain constant even in this beleaguered sport, and novices attend judo schools faithfully in hopes of turning their white belts into black.
March 15, 2013
The Americas were first "discovered" by Europeans in 1492. It was also the year in which Muslim forces were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula.
March 14, 2013
Enticed by the newly arrived spring weather, I visited the Shibamata district in Tokyo’s Katsushika Ward, known as the hometown of Tora-san, the main character of the popular movie series “Otoko wa Tsuraiyo” (It’s tough being a man).
March 13, 2013
Nachi Nozawa (1938-2010), who was known for dubbing foreign films, was particular about how he faced the microphone. When he voiced parts played by French actor Alain Delon, for which he was best known, he always stood at the far left facing the screen. He turned his back to other voice actors at an angle with his head down.