Japanese Food Artist Uses Toast as Her Canvas for Edible Masterpieces

By Emma Taggart  Since it’s the most important meal of the day, many of us are pretty particular about how we like our breakfast. Toast is a staple for most, but for Japanese designer Manami Sasaki, slices of bread aren’t just tasty snacks—they’re her artistic canvas. She meticulously tops toast with colorful ingredients to create edible designs based on Japanese art and geometric patterns. These breakfasts aren’t the type of meal you can quickly prepare and eat as you run out the door. Sasaki spends hours cutting and positioning each ingredient on the toasted bread with perfect precision. For one eye-catching spring-inspired … Continue reading Japanese Food Artist Uses Toast as Her Canvas for Edible Masterpieces

Millions of tons of nuclear wastewater from Fukushima will be dumped into the sea

By Brandon Specktor The water contains more radioactive material than the plant’s managers previously stated. Japan’s government announced on Tuesday (April 13) that it will dump more than a million tons of contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean, beginning in two years. Roughly 1.25 million tons (1.13 million metric tons) of water have accumulated around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan since 2011, after a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami devastated the region. The twin disasters killed nearly 20,000 people, according to NPR, and caused meltdowns in three of the plant’s six reactors, triggering the worst nuclear disaster … Continue reading Millions of tons of nuclear wastewater from Fukushima will be dumped into the sea

Chloe Jafe Takes Big Risks as She Photographs the Japanese Mafia

“Idon’t really consider the people I photograph as ‘subjects’ because a lot of them become part of my life,” says Chloe Jafe. She adds, “it’s a moment of connection, an exchange, where vulnerability is on both sides. Photography is just what is left from the moment.” Jafe, who’s based in Japan, has fully immersed herself in the culture. For a photographer, living in Japan offers a range of interesting topics. In Jafe’s case, she found herself focusing her creative energy on the Yakuza, otherwise known as the Japanese mafia. It’s a series of photographs and encounters that have spanned over … Continue reading Chloe Jafe Takes Big Risks as She Photographs the Japanese Mafia

The myth of Westernisation

Americans liked to believe that Japan was Westernising through the 20th century but Japan was vigorously doing the opposite by Jon Davidann is professor of history at Hawai‘i Pacific University. He is the author of Cultural Diplomacy in US-Japanese Relations, 1919-1941 (2007), Cross-Cultural Encounters in Modern World History (2nd ed, 2019) and The Limits of Westernization (2019). He lives in Kailua.Listen here Edited by Sam Haselby In 1860, Fukuzawa Yukichi, a young Japanese student still learning English himself, accompanied the first ever Japanese diplomatic mission to the United States as its English interpreter. This American encounter, along with a second trip with a Japanese Embassy to Europe … Continue reading The myth of Westernisation

Abandoning the Grandmother

Ubasute, the mythical Japanese practice of leaving an older relative to die on a mountain, speaks to society’s troubling attitudes toward aging.   Interview with Edward Drott by Karen Jensen Several months ago, as people across the United States were rallying against the first wave of COVID-19 lockdowns, one protestor held up a sign that read: “Sacrifice the Weak.” Some of the demonstrators were prepared, at least rhetorically, to put the economy above the lives of the elderly, who have been the most vulnerable to the novel coronavirus.  While the protestors’ graceless ire may appall us, we are not entirely immune to the unspoken rationale built into their … Continue reading Abandoning the Grandmother

Hirohito, the war criminal who got away

Seventy-five years on, Japan still can’t come to terms with its past by Francis Pike This month the global media marked the 75th anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The cities’ destructions were momentous indeed, but the coverage has squeezed out other memories of the Pacific War. Who remembers Japan’s genocidal campaign in China that killed more than 20 million people — thousands of them by poison gas and canisters containing plague and typhus? Or the murder of 35 percent of the 200,000 soldiers and civilians held in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps that meted out unspeakable … Continue reading Hirohito, the war criminal who got away

How Former Samurai and Farmers Cultivated the First Japanese Apples

The former samurai who bred Japan’s first apple, the “Indo” variety pictured here, named it after the state of Indiana. USDA/PUBLIC DOMAIN Famous fruits, including the Fuji apple, were the result of decades of effort. BY EMILY WARREN IN THE 1860S, UNDER THE threat of colonization by Western powers, the Japanese government undertook an urgent modernization project. Their efforts affected countless facets of Japanese daily life, from the development of a European-style military to smaller changes such as the installation of street lamps. With a large readership curious about foreign cultures and the new technologies that their nation was rapidly adopting, Japanese publishers … Continue reading How Former Samurai and Farmers Cultivated the First Japanese Apples

Want to live longer? Borrow these 6 healthy habits from the Japanese

By Samantha Cassetty, RD Japan has more centenarians than almost any other nation on earth. Steal these 6 secrets to a longer, healthier life. Want to live to 100? Take a page from the Japanese. Japan has the highest number of people per capita over the age of 100 than anywhere else in the world. There may be some genetic differences at play, but there are also diet and lifestyle practices that lead to longer lifespans with fewer of the chronic illnesses — like heart disease and type 2 diabetes — that are common in the United States. You can improve your health by … Continue reading Want to live longer? Borrow these 6 healthy habits from the Japanese

Ghost of Tsushima, Kurosawa, and the political myth of the samurai

Unpacking the baggage of well-intentioned homage By Kazuma Hashimoto   GhostGhost of Tsushima opens with a grand wide shot of samurai, adorned with impressively detailed suits of armor, sitting atop their horses. There we find Jin, the protagonist, ruminating on how he will die for his country. As he traverses Tsushima, our hero fights back the invading Mongolian army to protect his people, and wrestles with the tenets of the Bushido code. Standoffs take advantage of perspective and a wide field of view to frame both the samurai and his opponent in something that, more often than not, feels truly cinematic. The artists behind … Continue reading Ghost of Tsushima, Kurosawa, and the political myth of the samurai

5 Things That Shocked This British Woman About Dating Men in Japan

Written by: Ran Tanaka When living abroad, one of the best ways to experience the culture and language is to create friendships and relationships with people who have lived there their entire lives. Of course, having a romantic relationship takes the closeness and time spent together to another level, so you are likely to come across a whole load of differences and similarities along the way. Kate, a Brit who was studying in Japan, experienced just this. She found that there were some surprises when she was dating her Japanese boyfriend, so we asked her to share her experiences, and … Continue reading 5 Things That Shocked This British Woman About Dating Men in Japan