Love Hotels Are Not Meeting Rooms. #MeToo doesn’t take off in Japan’s Hollywood

I’m a female actor in Tokyo. I thought I was safe from the filth of Hollywood, safe here in “innocent” Japan. But the truth is that Japan’s entertainment business is full of Harvey Weinstein-like individuals. Here is my first-hand experience. In December 2016 I responded to a casting via a Foreign Actors facebook page. After […]

Japan’s Pakuchi (Coriander) Craze is Just Crazy! But Also Crazy Delicious!

Pakuchi or ‘パクチー’ is derived from a Thai sounding word ‘Pakchee’ meaning coriander. It is an herb seen in many Thai dishes, either sprinkled on top or put in the soup. When I first moved to the Tokyo vicinity in 2011, it was actually the first time I saw pakuchi sold in supermarkets and even spelled with a Thai sound. I was very surprised to see the Japanese knew of the existence of this little herb we find so cheaply anywhere in Thailand.It is hard to pick a favorite but mine would probably be pakuchi roots tempura, pakuchi chichimi, and pakuchi cheesecake. What makes it good is how pakuchi has a faintly sweet taste with a lovely smell. Who would have imagined it to be this tasty.

6 murderers are paroled in a small Japanese town. Will they bring the place back to life or bring more death? See “The Scythian Lamb”

Rumor has it that since the early nineties, rural towns have been recruiting parolees to become part of the local populace. This information cannot be verified. The people involved will never admit to such a program even existing. But it’s there, and “The Scythian Lamb” is a brilliant fable about what happens when this program kicks in (pun fully intended) on a sleepy little coastal town. A town where, “the people are kind and the seafood is delicious.” The slowly building impending violence sneaks up on you like Nororo.

Japan’s Season Of Culinary Death Is Almost Over; Goodbye And Thanks For All The Mochi

Mochi are a glutinous Japanese specialty, often turned into a dessert, made from pounded steamed rice that Japanese usually eat to celebrate the coming New Year and other festive occassions. The rice cakes are very chewy and sticky, like hot taffy; people can choke to death on them…and they do.

The Anger You Feel Towards A You Tuber Won’t Stop Another Suicide in Japan. What could?

" Logan Paul is an idiot, but imagine if all the internet's anger towards him was re-directed to the Japanese government to hold them accountable for a culture of suicide they have enabled. That's the good that can come from this." via @booksaretight ↘https://t.co/ehyJr99UO8 — Jake Adelstein/中本哲史 (@jakeadelstein) January 3, 2018

Banzai To Japanese Print Media! Kaori Shoji’s Picks For Excellence In Japan’s Written Word World 2017

As far as bad years go, 2017 pretty much did us in and it’s not even over yet. Still, the news isn’t all bad, at least in the Japanese publication world. Paper and ink is still around. The Japanese language is not dead (though it may be mired in poop – more on that later). Here are some of the best publications that restored my faith in print, life and native country, and shone through like beacons of light on a dark and murky sea.

Another tragic case of death from overwork (過労死) highlights a culture of labor abuse. Reform is needed.

The father of two children, the karoshi victim, was hired as an engineer working at the company’s plant in his hometown of Oshu in 1989. After being assigned to sales manager’s position, his daily tasks included sending out invoices and promoting the company’s supplies to potential customers, making several business trips a month. In addition to those tasks, he had to assess the work of his team members to determine their bonuses. He was also asked to organize company sponsored softball games and annual end-of-the-year parties. His workload began to gradually increase and the records his family members were able to collect show he continuously worked 60 to 80 hours of overtime a month since 2002. His son recalls that since he always left home at 7:00am and came home very late at night, sometimes later than 11:00pm. They were able to dine with him just once a week, on Sunday nights.

Even the worker himself became aware of being dangerously overworked. He once told his wife, “I’m working way too much so that if something happens to me, don’t hesitate to sue the company.”

Write Hard To Live Free: Happy Year Of The (Watch)Dog! 番犬報道の年ですよ!謹賀新年

That doesn’t mean the society doesn’t have problems, such as child poverty, gender inequality and discrimination against: the handicapped, women, foreigners, especially Korean Japanese. Japan has a pestilent well-entrenched mob. There are nuclear dangers, staggering injustice in the legal system, repression of the free press, sexual assault on women with impunity for many assailants, rampant labor exploitation, death by overwork, and political corruption. Ignoring the problems doesn’t make them better. If you are offended by that, rethink your love of Japan.

Hey, Baby? You’re fired, don’t come back. Maternity Harassment (MATAHARA) and The Working Woman in Japan

According to Japanese Trade Union Confederation, matahara is an abbreviation of “maternity harassment.” The word refers to mental or physical harassment that some workingwomen go through when they announce to their colleagues that they’re pregnant or after they come back to the office from maternity leave. Some women come back to find themselves demoted or receiving a pay cut. In the worst-case scenario, some are even pressured to quit or fired. Harassment comes not only from men in the office but other women as well—sometimes out of irritation that their workload will increase, sometimes out of a kind of jealousy.

Paternity Harassment Press Conference At (Labor Ministry/厚労省記者クラブ) today at 3PM

Paternity Harassment Press Conference At (Labor Ministry/厚労省記者クラブ) today at 3PM