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Recommended:

0527p12

The game of Go through Yasunari Kawabata’s “Meijin” ⠶ The Japan Times

At 104, Toko Shinoda talks about life in pursuit of art ⠶ The Japan Times

Profile: Ken Moritsugu, AP’s Tokyo bureau chief ⠶ FCCJ’s No. 1 Shimbun

A kendo primer ⠶ The Japan Times

Chronology:

2017

Nov. 4 ⠶ Hokkaido chef Shinichi Maeda champions local produce – After 12 years of study and practice in Australia, Maeda returned to his native Hokkaido, bringing a new take on traditional techniques to Niseko’s An Dining. From the Food pages of The Japan Times.

Oct. 28 ⠶ Book review: Opening the Hand of Thought – A short review of a classic on Zen Buddhist meditation by Kosho Uchiyama. From the Books page of The Japan Times.

Sept. 30 ⠶ Why did you leave Japan: Tomoko Sauvage – An interview with a Paris-based sound sculptor about leaving Japan to find her sound and inventing a musical instrument. From the Life page of The Japan Times.

June 24 ⠶ Waking up to China’s dream of holding court – A feature review of former New York Times bureau chief and current Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism professor Howard W. French’s “Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power.” From the Books page of The Japan Times.

May 26 ⠶ Searching for omotenashi in Cuba’s southeast – A press junket to the provinces of Holguín, Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo provides a welcome breath of fresh air to this expat Tokyoite. From the Escape page of The Japan Times.

May 20 ⠶ Looking back on the final days of the Dojunkai Apartments – Accounts, photographs and interviews from the final days of the last of the Dojunkai Apartments, which were built as a response to the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and marked a turning point in the design of collective housing in Japan. A Timeout Feature from The Japan Times on Sunday.

April 13 ⠶ Toko Shinoda: Life in pursuit of form – An interview with a 104-year-old artist who once claimed to be married to her work, is a favorite of Japan’s Imperial Couple and remains the only Japanese to have been immortalized on a postage stamp. From the Art page of The Japan Times.

March 11 ⠶ Excavating Edo’s ancient memes with the power of yokai – An interview with translators Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt and a review of their new book, Japandemonium Illustrated: The Yokai Encyclopedias of Toriyama Sekien, about the ghouls, goblins and specters of Japanese folklore and how this book is a window onto the intellectual life of Edo. From the Books page of The Japan Times on Sunday.

Feb. 28 ⠶ FCCJ Profile: Yoichi Yabe – One of Japan’s best yachting photographers discusses his career, what it’s like to shoot a race, and what he misses about the days of film photography. Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan’s No. 1 Shimbun magazine, March issue.

Jan. 17 ⠶ Japan Times Davos special: Kamakura – Ancient seat of Japan’s warrior culture – A look at the various temples, shrines and archeological sites that point back to the time when Kamakura was the epicenter of a budding martial culture. From the Davos Special produced by The Japan Times. 

2016

Dec. 3 ⠶ Japan Times feature: Exploring the game at the heart of Yasunari Kawabata’s “The Master of Go” – A longread on the world’s oldest board game on the anniversary of an epic battle between Honinbo Shusai, last of his line, and Minoru Kitani of the new school, which was immortalized in Kawabata’s classic novel. From the Books page of The Japan Times on Sunday.

Nov. 29 ⠶ FCCJ Profile: Ken Moritsugu – The chief of the Associated Press’ Tokyo bureau talks about his life in stories and why he’s thankful he followed the path of journalism. Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan’s No. 1 Shimbun magazine, Dec. issue.

Oct. 27 ⠶ Japan Times feature: “Hiking Japan’s trails as an antidote to the big-city blues” – For those for whom the grind is getting a bit much, this is a longread about what’s involved in getting out there and feeling better for it.  The Japan Times.

Oct. 22 ⠶ Japan Times book review: “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” – A short look at a Hayao Miyazaki book from the 80s. This manga is packed with thought and action, and Miyazaki’s use of pace, angle and character is potentially instructive to storytellers of all kinds. From the Books page of The Japan Times on Sunday.

Oct. 8 ⠶ Japan Times book review: “Lone Wolf & Cub”  – A short look at this classic manga, which has garnered tips of the hat from Wu-Tang Clan and Quentin Tarantino and remains a well-researched window onto Edo Period Japan. From the Books page of The Japan Times on Sunday.

Oct. 6 ⠶ Japan Times News and Notes: Tolman Collection plans exhibit in Conrad Tokyo – An interview with Norman H. Tolman about the upcoming “Color – Color – Color” exhibition, for which he gathered and specially mounted 100 unique pieces from his collection based entirely on their shades. From News and Notes in the Culture pages of The Japan Times.

Oct. 1 ⠶ Japan Times book review: “Japanese Tattoos: History, Culture, Design” – A short look at Brian Ashcraft and Hori Benny’s new book, which catalogues popular images and motifs, aiming to steer newcomers clear of embarrassing mistakes. From the Books page of The Japan Times on Sunday.

June 30 ⠶ FCCJ Profile: Lucy Alexander – This Scottish-born freelancer talks about studying at Oxford, working for The Times and the intricacies of covering Japan for readers in the West. Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan’s No. 1 Shimbun magazine, July issue.

May 30 ⠶ FCCJ Profile: Said Karlsson – Equal parts photographer, writer, gamer and game-maker, this Swedish journalist speaks about how he learned to hustle and why independence is important to him. Did I mention he also DJs? Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan’s No. 1 Shimbun magazine, June issue.

March 28 ⠶ The New York Times Style Magazine: Himeji Castle and the Ogasawara Islands – Two short reports on UNESCO World Heritage sites: Himeji Castle, among the first to be recognized in Japan, and the remote and beautiful Ogasawara Islands. Chinese language only. The New York Times Style Magazine, April 2016 issue.

Jan. 1 ⠶ FCCJ Profile: Stefano Carrer – The Il Sole 24 Ore correspondent discusses writing about Andrea Bocelli when he was just a blind horseman in Tuscany, being hired by Pierluigi Collina, reporting from Tokyo during 3/11, and the FCCJ’s most important guest to date.  Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan’s No. 1 Shimbun magazine, January issue. 

2015

Nov. 2 ⠶ FCCJ Profile: Leo Lewis – The Financial Times‘ Tokyo correspondent shares thoughts on his early interest in Japan, the art of financial journalism, the thrill of watching the Chinese middle class come into their own, and Shinzo Abe’s fundamental misjudgement about what gets the Japanese people up in the morning. Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan’s No. 1 Shimbun magazine.

Sept. 1 ⠶ FCCJ Profile: Daniel Eskenazi – I spoke to the Swiss freelance journalist about his experiences studying Gabonese radio, his decision to move to Japan, and his involvement in setting up press events at the FCCJ. Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan’s No. 1 Shimbun magazine. 

May 20 ⠶ Know the way of the sword, know thyself: A kendo primer – Less than two weeks before the World Kendo Championships returned to Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan for the first time since 1970, I wrote this piece to help explain this enigmatic pastime and why its practitioners line up to be hit in the head. From the Community pages of The Japan Times, photo by the author for Kendo World magazine. 

March 14 ⠶ Shirakami Sanchi: A forest outside of time – A look at the untouched splendour of primeval beech forest in the Tohoku region that is now a World Heritage Site. From The Japan Times’ special UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction issue, and reproduced in the book「英語で伝えたい 日本の世界遺産.」

March 14 ⠶ Monuments hint at glory of Hiraizumi’s golden age – A look at what remains of a century-long dynasty in Japan’s north that rivalled Kyoto in its time, now a World Heritage Site. From The Japan Times’ special UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction issue.

Feb. 2 ⠶ FCCJ Profile: Philippe Mesmer – In the FCCJ’s monthly profile of a member, Le Monde’s Philippe Mesmer talks about covering Japan and the Koreas as a freelancer, illuminates the connection between the theater and politics, and speaks on the state of free speech in his beat. Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan’s No. 1 Shimbun magazine.

Feb. 2 ⠶ Reprising Safety: An interview with Volvo Car Japan President Takayuki Kimura – Having just stepped into the role, Mr. Kimura outlines the changing face of this iconic Swedish brand in Japan and reveals his interest in wine and tour guiding. From the website of The Swedish Chamber of Commerce and industry in Japan.

Jan. 16 ⠶ From the samba to the Ginza: Ambassador Magnus Robach – The latest ambassador of Sweden to Japan speaks about Tokyo in the 1980s, the state of business between the two nations, and the historic ripples of early Swedish democracy. From the website of The Swedish Chamber of Commerce and industry in Japan.

2014

Aug. 29 ⠶ Artist Profile: Eva Vargö – The artist Eva Vargö experiments with recycling a wide variety of materials. Her latest work involves transforming old hand-made books into works of art through a unique weaving process. I interviewed her at the Embassy of Sweden to Japan. From the website of The Swedish Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan.

July 5 ⠶ Japan Times Feature Review: Lust, Commerce, and Corruption – An Account of What I Have Seen and Heard, by An Edo Samurai – A translation of a 200-year-old social critique of Edo (present-day Tokyo), in which the ills of the day, catalogued by the ornery and anonymous author, seem somehow familiar. From the Books page of The Japan Times on Sunday.

May 11 ⠶ Japan Times Feature Review: Hagakure: The Secret Wisdom of the Samurai – Dictated in 1710 by Yamamoto Tsunetomo and translated by Alexander Bennett with footnotes and an extensive introduction, this classic treatise on bushido provides a window into Japan’s feudal past. From the Books page of The Japan Times on Sunday.

2013

Nov. 1 ⠶ Review: The Reason I Jump – Written at 13 by Naoki Higashida, who is autistic, this glimpse inside what autism can be like reveals universal truths of the human experience. Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan’s No. 1 Shimbun magazine.

Aug. ⠶Should Japan be free to hate? (direct link temporarily down, pg. 16 in PDF) – Report on a Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan press conference where a right-wing activist and a DPJ politician find common ground on the need to combat rising hate speech in Japan. FCCJ No. 1 Shimbun magazine.

Feb. ⠶ Manga gets animated (direct link temporarily down, pg. 11 in PDF) – Article on a new platform for manga and anime, featuring Ghost in the Shell director Mamoru Oshii. FCCJ No. 1 Shimbun.

2012

Nov. 1 ⠶ Review: The Book of Five Rings: A Graphic Novel – The Tokyo Reporter website, November 2012, with links to the adaptor’s response and my rebuttal.  

March ⠶ Mud, sweat & cheers  (link temporarily down while backlog of articles are updated for new FCCJ website) – Profile of volunteer group It’s Not Just Mud in March 2012 1-year quake anniversary issue of The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan’s No. 1 Shimbun magazine.

DVD Review: The Art of the Japanese Sword – from the pages of Kendo-World Magazine, hosted online by Empty Mind Films.

Intro: Mr. Wiggles and YNot (Top Rock City) in Toronto – Brief blurb to this video profile by Art Honour Respect Films

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