Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Japanese Curry

Forced to leave neighboring Fukushima after the tsunami and nuclear plant disaster, the proprietor of this 200 yen curry shop moved his business to Niigata City. On a good day he moves 500 servings of curry.  As a native of Louisiana, USA, I especially like the hot sauce and the New Orleans jazz he plays at the shop.


Yamagata Prefecture Specialities

A stall at a recent food festival in Niigata featured authentic Yamagata いも煮 (imo-ni, or boiled potato stew) and すじ肉煮込み (suji-niku nikomi, or stew with meat and vegetables). Very tasty, and just the thing on a cold winter's day.

Japanese School Lunch: The Real Deal

Read Mother Jones' piece here about the kerfuffle surrounding health- conscious restaurant chain Sweetgreen and its "School Lunches around the World" photo essay, in which "representative" lunches from Finland, Italy, and France, among other countries, shame typical fare served in US school cafeterias.

Unlike the "staged" photos in the Sweetgreen gallery, those of Japanese school lunches shown in these pages are the real deal.

Yesterday's lunch (with a touch of hinamatsuri, or Girls' Festival, which is observed on March 3):


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Hossu

This Buddhist monk is holding a hossu (払子), defined by my dictionary as a "priest's bushy flapper", one of the implements used in Buddhist ceremonies.

The Onusa

Ever wonder what this is called? 

It's the onusa (幣), the sacred staff used in Shinto ceremonies.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

I'm Bein Oppressed

Emeritus Professor Shoichi Watanabe, of Sophia U., has filed a lawsuit against the Asahi Newspaper, claiming he's suffered mental distress as a result of the paper's coverage of Japan's sex slave past.  Shoichi exhibits a classic case of softening of the brain, an affliction that sometimes affects those who have spent too many years in the ivory tower. 

Just how nutty is this professor?  See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sh%C5%8Dichi_Watanabe

Rightists in Japan: Nishiyama Nariaki

Parliamentarian Nishiyama Nariaki has a problem with historical fact.

Sex Slave Denier Extraordinaire: Nishioka Tsutomu

"Bad hair, maybe, but he looks harmless enough".

Meet Nishioka Tsutomu, one of the most virulent Asahi Shimbun/ WWII sex slave haters/ deniers.
He is currently being sued for defamation by former Asahi reporter Uemura Takashi, who covered  Japan's wartime enslavement of Korean women.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

In a country of members' cards, one that eludes expats

The Japanese love members' cards.  There's one for nearly every type of service or establishment, from love hotels to ramen shops. But as expats know, there's one card they'll never carry in their wallets: The Japan Card.

Expats have people like Ayako Sono to thank for this.  Have a nice day, Ayako.

Author Sono calls for racial segregation in op-ed piece

Japanese Apartheid

Author Sono calls for racial segregation in op-ed piece

Ayako Sono, Sankei Shinbun columnist and former education advisor to the Japanese PM, Shinzo Abe, recently advocated the adoption of apartheid-style housing segregation in the country: housing for the Japanese, separate housing for foreigners. My question, Frau Sono: what about my "half" children?  Where do they fit into your housing master plan? 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sex Slaves and the Yomiuri Shinbun

Japan's (and the world's ) largest newspaper by circulation, the Yomiuri Shinbun, is a nationalist  organ  that strives to whitewash Japan's imperialist past.  It reacted gleefully to the left-leaning Asahi Shinbun's retraction this year of decades-old articles detailing the imperial army's heavily- documented WWII sex-slave system, openly calling for advertisers to flee and readers to cancel subscriptions to the paper.

The historical record is clear and supported by numerous Japanese and foreign sources, among them former victims: the Japanese army forced hundreds of thousands of women (the majority Korean) in occupied  territories into sexual servitude during the war. To reiterate: this is established historical fact.  However, the Yomiuri and its ilk would have us believe that the Asahi's discredited Japanese source were history's sole witness.  The Yomiuri and its supporters are calling for the government to retract Japan's official apology (1993) for WWII sex slavery. No wonder that China and Korea regard Japanese apologies with skepticism.

Rightists are demanding that former Asahi reporters who in the 90s published articles on the issue be fired by their current employers.  One former reporter was pressured to resign by the university at which he taught after faculty and students were threatened.  Another ex-reporter, likewise a university professor, has been defended by his employer, Hokusei Gakuen in Hokkaido, which yesterday announced the man would remain on its faculty.

The Yomiuri reports the decision by Hokusei today in  an article whose title begins, "The So-called Comfort Women Issue...",   inserting into a news story its revisionist history through the expression いわゆる, or "so-called".  Perhaps this is ironically appropriate, though, as "comfort- women" is a pathetic euphemistic dodge.     


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Huffington Post on Japan

Just read this on "tracks-less-traveled" destinations in Japan.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

More Japanese School Lunches

Most meals are served with rice, all with milk, regardless of the menu (see http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/niigata-town-drops-milk-from-school-lunches for the decision of a nearby city to stop serving milk from Dec. 1- the last day for school lunch in March; see my comments for additional information not in the JT article).