Tag: japan

29 articles
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The Lonely End

Looking after the kodokushi – the elderly who die alone – of Japan.

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When a Stranger Threatens Suicide

An American writer living in Japan, unread and underpublished, sends an email to a group of writers he doesn’t know informing them that he is committing suicide.

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The Foreign Spell

To be a foreigner is to be perpetually detached, but it is also to be continually surprised.

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Let’s Die Together

The rise of anonymous group suicide in Japan.

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The Sea of Crises

A sumo wrestling tournament. A failed coup ending in seppuku. A search for a forgotten man. How one writer’s trip to Japan became a journey through oblivion.

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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.