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6.26.2009
Tokyo Culinary Adventures

Tokyo Culinary Adventures

Even without a foray into fugu or aburi toro-basashi, Tokyo still offers a cornucopia of culinary adventure.

Blowfish and seared horsemeat sushi, respectively, are not worth attempting to sell to a 17-year-old daughter who, to her credit, did acquire a taste for fried octopus during her 10-day stay with a family in Fukuoka before our rendezvous in the capital city.    Read more »

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6.12.2009
Akihabara and Anime

Akihabara and Anime

Akihabara is ground zero for anime. There are umpteen places selling electronics too in this northeastern part of Tokyo, about five minutes from the Tokyo subway station, but 17-year-old Katie is here for the anime and she is not disappointed.

Anime is Japanese animation. It’s something more than simple cartoons.

There are numerous genres.    Read more »

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6.11.2009
Of Asakusa, Grandmothers and Plastic Food

Of Asakusa, Grandmothers and Plastic Food

Asakusa is a quiet, traditional Tokyo neighborhood — once the tourist-fueled pandemonium of Nakamise Dori and the Senjoi Temple are escaped.

Stepping out of the subway onto Kaminarimon Dori, the main drag, persistent salesman hawk rickshaw rides.

“Empty,” one entrepreneur gestures quite accurately to the traditional human-powered transport. The whole scene screams tourist trap.    Read more »

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6.10.2009
Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market

Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market

The action is starting to wind down at Tsukiji fish market. It’s around 7:30 a.m.

Not winding down, really,  just morphing into a new style of frenzied mojo.

Catches of anything imaginable aquatic – from cuttlefish to sea cucumber – have arrived three hours earlier, been auctioned off and now merchants in the cavernous girder-latticed warehouse are packing up product for existing buyers or talking up their wares to potential ones.    Read more »

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6.09.2009
Sending This Out To Mrs. Lucas:

Sending This Out To Mrs. Lucas:

“I want to be with you forever though the grasses of the whale-hunting sea come to shore but from time to time.”

                    – Nihon Shoki song, translated by Janine Beichman 

(Editor’s Note: Apparently this poem was left by hotel staff on our chief correspondent’s bed in Tokyo. His unprintable response is best translated as: “Damn those lousy whale hunting sea grasses!”)

-30-    Read more »

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6.09.2009
Editor’s Note:

Editor’s Note:

(Not surprisingly, our chief correspondent refuses to adhere to management’s directives. While in Tokyo this week, he was instructed to present impressions — with luck, insightful — of one the world’s great cities. Instead, his latest missive relates to toilets and, therefore, in the interest of family values, is being filed as an “Angry Man” screed.    Read more »

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6.09.2009
Tokyo Offers Some Opportunities for California

Tokyo Offers Some Opportunities for California

One of the aspects of Japan that feels particularly alien is the toilets, which appear to have recently seen duty on the U.S.S. Enterprise.

On the first model closely encountered, along the right edge is a six-button control console.

Beginning nearest to the wall, a button allows the seat to be heated.    Read more »

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6.07.2009
After a Day or So in Tokyo…

After a Day or So in Tokyo…

It’s hard getting used to the medical facemasks.

Particularly when they’re worn by a team of guys in goggles, gloves and scrubs — one cousin removed from HAZMAT — who board the plane when it arrives at Narita Airport.

They check for viruses, epidemics and inquire if anyone might have influenza.     Read more »

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