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japan

25 articles
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Yesterday

Young people consider changes to their personalities, and to their relationships.

"When I moved from Kansai to Tokyo to start college, I spent the whole bullet-train ride mentally reviewing my eighteen years and realized that almost everything that had happened to me was pretty embarrassing. I’m not exaggerating. I didn’t want to remember any of it—it was so pathetic. The more I thought about my life up to then, the more I hated myself. It wasn’t that I didn’t have a few good memories—I did. A handful of happy experiences. But, if you added them up, the shameful, painful memories far outnumbered the others. When I thought of how I’d been living, how I’d been approaching life, it was all so trite, so miserably pointless. Unimaginative middle-class rubbish, and I wanted to gather it all up and stuff it away in some drawer. Or else light it on fire and watch it go up in smoke (though what kind of smoke it would emit I had no idea). Anyway, I wanted to get rid of it all and start a new life in Tokyo as a brand-new person. Jettisoning Kansai dialect was a practical (as well as symbolic) method of accomplishing this. Because, in the final analysis, the language we speak constitutes who we are as people. At least that’s the way it seemed to me at eighteen."

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A Walk to Kobe

The author walks to his hometown after the Great Hanshin earthquake of 1995.

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Ghosts of the Tsunami

The haunted aftermath of disaster in Japan.

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Sleeping Together

A visit to Tokyo’s first co-sleeping cafe, where one can pay a set fee to sleep next to a woman in 20 minute increments, though spooning, being patted on the head, and a change of pajamas are extra.

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When 772 Pitches Isn't Enough

The fate of a star 16-year-old pitcher in Japan.

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The Last Itako

After a tragic accident, a husband and wife take a trip to Japan.

"Neither of us knows what Nori looks like, nor do we know how he will recognize us. In my first reply email months ago, I had explained that my wife and daughter would like to try exotic foods, perhaps see a bit of Japanese history. I had forgotten, like so many other things that have since slipped through the cracks, to mention that Gracie would no longer be joining us."

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The Octogenarian Who Took on the Shoguns

On Japan’s Hokkaido, an island the size of Ireland, and its rebel leader of lore, Shakushain.

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The Erotic Antagonism of Gengoroh Tagame

On Japanese writer Gengoroh Tagame, who creates gay manga work “in the artistic tradition of Pasolini, de Sade, Yukio Mishima and Lolita.”

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That’s Not A Droid, That’s My Girlfriend

On the development of companion robots in Japan.

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Dr. Nakamats, the Man With 3300 Patents to His Name

A profile of Sir Dr. NakaMats, who claims to have invented over 3,000 things, including the floppy disk and karaoke machine.

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Interview: Yayoi Kusama

An interview with the Japanese artist, who has resided in a mental institution since committing herself in 1975.

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The Duke in His Domain

A profile of Marlon Brando, 33, holed up in a hotel suite in Kyoto where he was filming Sayonara.

My guide tapped at Brando's door, shrieked "Marron!," and fled away along the corridor, her kimono sleeves fluttering like the wings of a parakeet.

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Death of a Hostess

Twenty-one-year-old Briton Lucie Blackman came to Tokyo and found work in the Roppongi district hostess bars, where businessmen come to flirt with paid companions, and Western women draw a premium fee. Two months later, she disappeared. She would be found underneath a bathtub in a beachside cave.

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Unmasking Horror

He is a cheerful old farmer who jokes as he serves rice cakes made by his wife, and then he switches easily to explaining what it is like to cut open a 30-year-old man who is tied naked to a bed and dissect him alive, without anesthetic.
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Graduation Day

The 2011 Tohoku Japan earthquake and tsunami, as experienced by eight schoolchildren.

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The Man Who Sailed His House

Two days after the Japanese tsunami, after the waves had left their destruction, as rescue workers searched the ruins, news came of an almost surreal survival: Miles out at sea, a man was found, alone, riding on nothing but the roof of his house.
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After the Tsunami: Nothing to Do but Start Again

On the unlikely survival (for the second time) of Kamaishi, Japan.

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How a Tokyo Earthquake Could Devastate Wall Street and the World Economy

In the late ’80s, Lewis went to Japan to research a hypothetical: what would the economic fallout be if a major quake hit?

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Aftershocks

On the ground in post-disaster Japan.

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Death in the Snow

In 2001, a young Japanese woman walked into the North Dakota woods and froze to death. Had she come in search of the $1 million dollars buried nearby in the film Fargo?

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Amakusa: Islands of Dread

The history of a Japanese archipelago and its inhabitants, through rebellions and famine, a 20th century exodus for prostitution work across Asia, and finally depopulation and isolation.

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If You Knew Sushi

A stroll through Tokyo’s Tsukiji, the world’s largest seafood market, and the mecca of the global sushi trade.

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Shutting Themselves In

When Japanese men in their teens and twenties shut themselves in their rooms, sometimes for a period of years, one way to lure them out is a hired “big sister.”

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Let’s Die Together

The rise of anonymous group suicide in Japan.

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Uniqlones

Tadashi Yanai (“he is like Warren Buffett in Japan”) takes his Uniqlo brand stateside.