Benshi Midori Sawato

| Dec 25, 2012

Benshi Midori Sawato

by Judit Kawaguchi

Midori Sawato is a benshi, a unique kind of performer who provides live narration to silent films at the movie theater. The benshi brings the characters in films alive using different voices and vocal expressions. They sit to the side of the screen, watching ...

Bar Aoyagi owner Reiko Yoshimura

| Nov 27, 2012

Bar Aoyagi owner Reiko Yoshimura

by Judit Kawaguchi

Reiko Yoshimura is the owner of Aoyagi, a tiny bar in the basement of Tokyo’s Shimbashi station. Built in 1966, the retro Shimbashi Ekimae Biru Ichigokan (Shimbashi Station Building No.1) is home to dozens of inexpensive drinking establishments that cater to salarymen and the ...

Hunter Shoji Kuramochi

| Aug 28, 2012

Hunter Shoji Kuramochi

by Judit Kawaguchi

Shoji Kuramochi, 73, is one of Japan’s few surviving hunters, and he may be the only one with 100 trained hunting dogs. Besides being a hunter of wild boars and deer, he’s also an expert at the traditional Japanese art forms of bonsai cultivation ...

Social-media manager Lin Qing Xiang

| Jun 26, 2012

Social-media manager Lin Qing Xiang

by Judit Kawaguchi

Lin Qing Xiang, 33, is the social-media manager of the “The Ruby Alan Show” (also known as “The RA Show”), a video blog that explores both Singaporean and Japanese culture. Lin creates travelogues of his journeys around Japan and also films Japanese-culture events in ...

Polish journalist-designer-photographers Pawel Musialowski and Malgorzata Gajderowicz

| Apr 24, 2012

Polish journalist-designer-photographers Pawel Musialowski and Malgorzata Gajderowicz

by Judit Kawaguchi

Pawel “Mr. Jedi” Musialowski, 39, and Malgorzata Gajderowicz, 29, are a Polish journalist-designer-photographer, husband-and-wife team who video-blog exclusively about their favorite place on earth: Japan. Pawel created Kawaii, Poland’s first magazine dedicated to Japanese manga and anime in 1997, and his website kawaii-mrjedi.blogspot.jp (written ...

Yasuo Sasano, manager of Kurumi Mansion

| Mar 27, 2012

Yasuo Sasano, manager of Kurumi Mansion

by Judit Kawaguchi

Yasuo Sasano, 62, is the manager of Kurumi Mansion, an extended-stay hotel in Tokyo’s Koto Ward. Located on the Sumida riverside, across from Tokyo City Air Terminal, Kurumi Mansion’s convenient position and reasonable prices have made it a magnet for savvy travelers. An added ...

Educator, writer, farmer Gregory Clark

| Feb 28, 2012

Educator, writer, farmer Gregory Clark

by Judit Kawaguchi

Gregory Clark, 75, is the Honorary President of Tama University and Trustee of Akita International University in Japan. A prolific writer, with a background in economics and international politics, his opinionated investigative pieces often spark intensive debates. His 1978 book “The Japanese Tribe: Origins ...

Eyewear designer Alain Mikli

| Dec 13, 2011

Eyewear designer Alain Mikli

by Judit Kawaguchi

Alain Mikli, 56, is not just the most famous eyewear designer in the world — he invented the job description. Mikli was the first person to achieve worldwide success as a designer of nothing else but eyeglasses. He established his own brand in Paris ...