Tag Archives: Tokyo

Camelot in Tokyo

Japan celebrates JFK’s legacy with former President Bill Clinton

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, speaking at a symposium in Tokyo, describes the lasting impact of John F. Kennedy's leadership.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, speaking at a symposium in Tokyo, describes the lasting impact of John F. Kennedy’s leadership.

Published by Nikkei Asian Review, March 19, 2015

TOKYO – Camelot is alive and well in Tokyo. Political leaders including former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe joined academics, government officials, media pundits and even an astronaut to praise the legacy of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and his lasting impact on modern life.

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation on Wednesday hosted its first international symposium on the late president, titled “The Torch Has Been Passed: JFK’s Legacy Today.”

The event took place at a fully packed Okuma Auditorium at Waseda University in Tokyo, where President Kennedy’s brother, then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, delivered a lecture to students in 1962. Kennedy had dispatched his brother to Japan at a time of anti-American student protests in Japan; Robert calmed an angry crowd of students at Waseda (and Japanese television viewers at home), and his trip marked a turning point in U.S.-Japan relations, wrote Dartmouth College scholar Jennifer Lind, who attended Wednesday’s event.

Kennedy had hoped to be the first sitting U.S. president to make a state visit to Japan in 1964, but was tragically assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, in his third year in office while on visit to Dallas, Texas. Continue reading …

After two Olympic shutouts, Japan wants baseball back for the Tokyo 2020 summer games

Published by the Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 29, 2014

Tokyo — Japanese baseball fans are some of the world’s most diehard. Cities across Japan, including Tokyo, now regularly slow down during the World Series in October to watch homegrown players hit and pitch in the United States. Last year Japanese watched Boston closer Koji Uehara, and this year Nori Aoki, who plays for Kansas City is hammering out hits. In all, 12 Japanese players have appeared in the MLB fall classic.

So with Tokyo hosting the Summer Olympics in 2020, Japan is already lobbying – hard – to have baseball restored to the Games. The sport was shut out of the 2012 London Olympics and won’t make an appearance in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games in Brazil. Continue reading …

Undercounting Tokyo’s down and out

Published by Japan Today, Oct. 28, 2014

The other day in Hongo, Tokyo, I spotted a street vendor selling copies of The Big Issue Japan. A glossy photo of a very glamorous looking Nicole Kidman in evening dress graced the cover.

I bought a copy for the going price, 350 yen.

Not for Nicole Kidman. For the vendor.

There are some 125 street papers across the globe, part of the International Network of Street Papers, based in Glasgow, Scotland, and with a combined circulation of more than 6 million. Continue reading …

Sumo size me: How to eat like a sumo wrestler

imageA sumo wrestler with Hironobu Itabashi, an assistant and translator with the Dateline Tokyo journalism program.

Oct. 26, 2014

I live with sumo wrestlers. They are out and about in the neighborhood where I am staying, Ryōgoku, the section of Tokyo that is the center of the sumo world. There is a sumo stadium, sumo stables where the big guys live and train, and chanko restaurants, where the big guys eat in vast quantities as part of a weight-gain diet.

What they eat – every day – is chanko-nabe. Nabe means “pot” (or the big hearty soup that is made in that pot). Chanko means, more or less, the enormous meal that is prepared in multiple stages in that same pot.

Luckily, a friend who is Japanese joined me for a chanko-nabe night out, and helped me to understand what was happening. We sat on the floor at a low table, a large ceramic nabe bowl at the center, and a gas burner underneath the bowl to cook and simmer the various ingredients.

A smiling woman in a kimono knelt down to our level on the floor to talk about what we might like to have. Continue reading

Down and out in Tokyo

Published by Al Jazeera English, Oct. 26, 2014

Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts – and the homeless – beg to differ.

Tokyo, Japan – Minoru Ebata’s living quarters stand out in the upscale Tokyo neighbourhood of Shinjuku. The 64-year-old sleeps on a makeshift bed on the sidewalk off busy Koen Dori (Park Street), a pedestrian overpass somewhat protecting him and a few piles of his possessions from a cool autumn drizzle.

“It’s hardest when it’s raining,” he explained about his two years of living outdoors.

A short walk down the street, beneath the next overpass, finds Kazuo Oka, who makes about 3,000 yen (US$28) a day collecting recyclable cans, and is proud of the sidewalk dinners he makes on a portable stove. Continue reading …

Demystifying Tokyo’s Train and Subway System

Published by Shingetsu News Agency, Oct. 18, 2014

So you’re coming to Tokyo, and you’ll need be able to get around. Tokyo is amazing as it is, but there is, literally, a lot below the surface. Below the streets are hundreds of subway routes snaking across the city, connecting the world’s largest metropolis.

Take one look at the transit map, and it seems like it is beyond comprehension, a spaghetti bowl of colors and Japanese words. It is a map of one of the most complicated and extensive railway systems in the world.

You’ve seen the pictures of transit workers literally pushing people into subway cars. You may have heard of the horror of the morning rush hour in Tokyo. You’ve heard that many signs are in Japanese only.

Relax. Once you figure it out, you’ll find that Tokyo is not only possible but surprisingly easy to navigate. Continue reading …

Don’t Use the ‘D’ Word

Sneha Bhavaraju photo

From left, Yasushi Yamawaki and Sir Philip Craven of the International Paralympic Committee, and Lucy Birmingham of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan
(Sneha Bhavaraju photo)

Oct. 16, 2014

Wherever the Paralympic Games go, life can get easier for people living with a physical impairment. Accessibility improves, and attitudes change.

The Paralympics, which are held almost immediately after each summer and winter Olympic Games, are about ability, and not disability. They are about human triumph over obstacles and limitations, and the competition among athletes as they strive to achieve is an inspiration with the lesson that all of us can be better.

“Paralympians are fighters,” said Sir Philip Craven of Britain, President of International Paralympic Committee (IPC). “If we believe we’ve got to do something, we do it, and we do it against the odds if we have to.”

A five-time Paralympian in wheelchair basketball, Craven spoke today at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo of the transformative effect of the Paralympics on the places where the games are held, on the people who are inspired to compete, and on social acceptance for people living with impairments. Continue reading

Japan must work to ward off ‘Olympic Curse’

Published by Japan Today Oct. 13, 2014

TOKYO — Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe recently convened the first meeting of the Council to Think of Tokyo’s International PR, an impressive collection of some 15 people from various fields (industry leaders, media strategists, think tanks, journalists) charged with discussing in a frank manner what it will take to successfully host the 2020 summer Olympics.

Topics included the need for better signage in international languages; better wireless availability; places to eat and sleep in Tokyo for those of us who can’t afford luxe; and a successful branding strategy to communicate with the outside world.

It is heartening to see Tokyo planning now for an event that may seem far off in the future. Hosting a monster event like the Olympics is a major undertaking, one that involves a massive infusion of public money and a realignment of public priorities, all on the bet that the payback will be worth it. Continue reading …

Young and old unite to celebrate 50th anniversary of the Tokyo 1964 Olympics, and look to 2020

(Taku Yuasa photo)

(Taku Yuasa photo)

Oct. 10, 2014

For today’s 50th anniversary of the start of the 1964 summer Olympics in Tokyo, Olympians from Japan’s past and possible contenders for future games came together today to share stories of glory days and hopes for Tokyo’s 2020 summer games.

Scores of Japanese journalists, photographers and videographers turned out to document past and future Japanese athletes discussing the importance of the games before a packed auditorium at the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry building.

Kiyoko Ono, 78, a gymnast who won a bronze medal in the ’64 Olympics, said she balanced the demands of motherhood and those of being an Olympic athlete by focusing on her goals and never giving up.

Yoshiyuki Miyake, 69, a weightlifter who won a bronze medal in the 1968 Summer Olympics, said a combination of hope, dreams, and practice is the key to success. Continue reading

Tokyo Unplugged

Oct. 8, 2014

My first night in Tokyo offers a lesson for tourism planners as Japan seeks to vastly increase the number of its visitors leading up to the 2020 summer Olympics.

Wireless access and mobile connectivity are pretty much a given in the world’s leading cities. Plugging into that global connectivity shouldn’t feel like reinventing the wheel.

So why did I spend my first night in a Tokyo hotel room unplugged and out of reach of all of the things we take for granted today? The ability to check my email, read the news, Google stuff I want to know, and talk in real time with loved ones about my arrival in a new city – I couldn’t do any of that with my smartphone. Continue reading