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He is 'ashamed for a foreigner to see such a place,' he says.
Poverty in Japan

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In the News

Metro Tokyo ordinance on sexually explicit manga walks fine line on freedom of speech
The Mainichi Daily News, 12/13/2010
SDP head criticizes Kan's possible dispatch of SDF to Korean Peninsula
The Japan Times, 12/13/2010
2 Japanese local assembly members visit one of Senkaku Islands
Associated Press, 12/13/2010
Why Japan is ready for anything Pyongyang might want to throw at it
Guardian, 03/01/2010
Japan disputes racism allegations at U.N. panel
Kyodo, 02/26/2010

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Society

Selling a Bit of Japan

Domo-kun

Japanese pop culture is slowly but surely eating away the cultural stronghold that the US has kept for more than half a century. From manga to animated movies to food, Japanese influence is increasing worldwide. Japanese pop culture is hot. One of the net’s top shopping sites for Japanese pop culture products is J-List, run by Peter Payne, who also writes peterpayne.net, a very popular blog on Japan which every day attracts some 1,000 visitors. I talked with Peter about how he ended up selling a bit of Japan to the world.

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• Sunday December 14, 2008 • Add Comment

Back to the baths: Otaru revisited

Foreigners banned

The story is familiar to regular readers of Zeit Gist. Debito Arudou, a naturalized Japanese citizen, originally from America, was living in Sapporo, Hokkaido, and had heard of the Yunohana public bath’s policy of denying entry to foreigners. In 1999, media in tow, he decided to put that onsen’s policy to the test. Sure enough, entry was denied, with the accompanying explanation that foreigners often “cause trouble” and, as such, the regulars “dislike sharing the facilities with them.”

The origin of this controversy is the behavior of Russian sailors. The Yunohana “onsen” is located in Otaru, the main port between Japan and the Russian Far East. Otaru attracts over a thousand Russian vessels and more than 25,000 sailors a year on stays of varying lengths. In the mid-1990s, Russian sailors were frequently showing up drunk at the city’s various onsen and jumping into the tubs with soap on their bodies, thus rendering the facilities unusable.

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The Japan Times • Wednesday December 3, 2008 • Add Comment

The Life of a Humble CEO

JAL CEO Haruka Nishimatsu cut his perks and pay, earning less than his pilots. He takes the bus to work. CNN reports.

CNN • Sunday November 23, 2008 • Add Comment

Taking Note of Taking Notes

NHK reports on the Japanese boom in note-taking skills. Some books on such skills have sold as many as 200,000 copies.

NHK • Wednesday October 29, 2008 • Add Comment

Japan's Food Crisis

Japan is highly depended on food imports. Even 80% of a traditional dish like tempura soba comes from abroad. Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries presents the problem in this really cool infographic video produced by Groovisions.

MAFF • Friday October 3, 2008 • Add Comment

Busy Japanese Kids

If you think that you are busy, watch this NHK program about the super busy schedules of Japanese kids. What are their parents thinking, I wonder?

NHK • Friday March 28, 2008 • Add Comment

Japanese Farmer-Philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka: Natural Farming Greening the Deserts

Rice Paddy

(by Yuriko Yoneda) – A farming method called ‘natural farming’ needs no tilling, no fertilizers, no pesticides, and no weeding. For about 60 years, Masanobu Fukuoka, Japan’s renowned authority on natural farming, worked on methods based on his own unique theories, insights and philosophy. His seminal book, “One-Straw Revolution,” first published in 1975, was later translated into English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian and other languages, and has been read around the world. The book addresses not only the practical aspects of natural farming but also the root causes of environmental deterioration. Fukuoka’s thoughts and philosophies have inspired many people worldwide by pointing out a way of life. Here we introduce his thought and practices.

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Japan for Sustainability • Wednesday June 21, 2006 • Add Comment [1]