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Ask not what natto can do for you


Hone-shaburi, literally sucking on bones, is a Japanese expression roughly equivalent to have been "bled dry" in English. This name has been humorously applied to the book review column in Weekly Playboy magazine. Which in its May 27 issue reviews a book titled Natto no Shokubunka-shi (The Food Culture History… Read


Yesterday’s health food fad may no longer be healthy


Here’s a meal that positively glows with health: fish, natto, lettuce-tomato-and-carrot salad, milk, and for dessert a big round shiny red apple. So bright with nutritional promise! So empty in fact, says Josei Seven (May 9-16). The nutritional equivalent of dust and ashes. Yesterday’s health food is health food no… Read


Sinking yen may spur inflation, but alternatives may be even worse


Earlier this month, the Bank of Japan's low-key intervention in foreign exchange markets to prevent further decline of the value of the Japanese yen, reportedly to the tune of approximate ¥8 trillion, had little effect.  "The rate had briefly dropped to ¥160 to one U.S. dollar, a level not seen since… Read


AI helping people recreate deceased loved ones


Is it the same, one wonders. “Well, I’m off now – I’ll see you tonight?” “Okay, have a good day! You haven’t forgotten anything?” Home for dinner. “What a day, what a day! This happened, that happened, it’s more than I can bear, honestly!” “Oh, come! Don’t be discouraged! We… Read


Japan's service industry reeling from part-time worker crunch


It's no longer news that the worker shortage, particularly among small- and medium-size businesses, has become severe. But now the crunch has spread to part-time workers, which has clearly become a seller's market. And lately, there's been a surge in specialized apps to fill the gaps. Weekly Playboy (May 6)… Read


There’s an intensity in the life of the dying that maybe the living can learn from


Death. It’s the end of everything. Or maybe not – maybe the beginning of everything. Beginning or end, all or nothing, it’s unknown, nothing more so, and terrifying on that account if on no other, and it’s waiting, there’s no escape, except in thought (or thoughtlessness) – and that exit narrows… Read


Food delivery services facing hard times in post-pandemic environment


The spread of Uber Eats and similar food delivery services, even before the coronavirus pandemic, had a pronounced impact on food and beverage services. For instance, experimental restaurants with no tables or chairs began springing up, relying entirely on customer pickups and home delivery.  Then COVID hit in the spring of… Read


Men with high academic credentials: Very little seems to go right for them


“Naturally I was bullied – I look just like King Bomby!” If that’s true, he’s in a bad way. No, he must be exaggerating. The game character he names is so comically grotesque it can only have been designed to resemble, at best, the most toxic self-image conceivable – more… Read


No 'East Side Story' musicals for Gen Z foreign delinquents


With the declining number of births, it goes without saying that crimes by juveniles in Japan must inevitably decline, right? Well...not necessarily. According to Spa (April 9-16), the number of foreigners in their teens and early 20s has increased, and some of them have banded together to break the law.… Read


How the weak yen is affecting ordinary households


We like to think, in the teeth of much evidence to the contrary, that we’re masters of our fate, that as we sow so we reap, that life gives us back what we put into it, and so on. Consider, however, the sinking yen. What the COVID-19 pandemic left standing… Read

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