Actually we get the Sunday JT on Monday because we don't live in Tokyo and the JT is too cheap and old-fashioned an outfit to have the paper printed outside Tokyo. In my home town in Georgia I can get the New York Times early edition first thing in the morning, the same morning the later editions come out in New York City. Japan is about the size of California yet can't imagine something as ambitious and consumer oriented as that, or at least the JT can't.
The best writing in today's paper is by Jack Gallagher, in his feature "Sports Scope". His first paragraph sums up the article: There is nothing sadder in sports than seeing a once-great athlete who has hung around too long. Gallagher's subject is Naoko Takahashi, the marathon runner. Gallagher takes a close look at the poor, money-driven choices that Takahashi made in her career. A good article.
Wayne Graczyk's "Baseball Bulletin" is, as always, informative and informative and informative some more.
Those are the highlights.
And now on to the bad and just plain weird.
The "Time Out" section should give itself one. Here we have a half-page article on Ultraman, written by Edan Corkill. Well, Edan. Next time leave this fluff on the JT web site and maybe, maybe give us a one-paraphrah synopsis in the hard copy JT and a link to the bigger non-story.
Felicity Hughes takes up the remaining half of the same page with a story about Cat Cafe Calico, a cat cafe (what else?) in Tokyo (where else?). Cat cafe. Nuff said. But Felicity, how about telling us where the cafe is. You know, like an address? Or web site?
The JT jump on the Metabolic Syndrome bandwagon with a story by Tomoko Otake. The most interesting fact? That the whole concept of MS is so lame, so lazy, and the definition so narrow that have of the 56 million Japanese over 40 would be considered "abnormal"!!!! So of course the old men who run Japan are requiring all Japanese to line up and be "tested" and measured for MS. Projection: In a year no one will remember what Metabolic Syndrome is unless a Eurotrash band comes out with that as a name.
March is St. Patrick's month so Roger Pulvers lathers on the Things Irish in his "Counterpoint" column. His final paragraph illustrates the yawn factor of this story: What will come to symbolize Irishness in the 21st century? That is the question I will address here next week.
You go right ahead, Rog. I'm sure Japan just can't wait to find out what will symbolize Irishness over the next 92 years.
The "Media" section is stronger than usual but as usual can't stay away from tales of free sex and shinanigans in Mark Shreiber's piece about (again, what else?) costume play in Tokyo. Geek culture. Somehow I think there might be a little bit more JT could say about Japanese culture, but that would require some real reporting, so............
Beoff Botting's story on Kazumi Nishio is sad. His main point seems to be that the dominatrix comedian is not dumb. She's a graduate of Aoyama Gakuin. And George H. Bush went to Harvard. Nishio is sure to go the way of Laser Raymond, or however he spelled his name.
The "Book Review" page consists of four stories: two by JT contributors and one each from Newsday and The Observer. We'll ignore those last two. Jeff Kingston reviews Justin Wintle's Perfect Hostage, about Aung San Suu Kyi, but Kingston tells us a lot about the subject and absolutely nothing, not a sentence, about the book. Good job, Jeff! Nothing like staying on subject. Donald Ritchie selects a book about Japanese poetry to write about and as usual he cannot resist name dropping and the little tidbits that show him to be the "insider" he so desperately needs to be. But he does manage to control himself right up until the last paragraph, when he writes "I am told that.....Princess Aiko is memorizing the 100 poems."
Notice that Donny didn't hear this. No, someone told him! Oooh!
The On The Road contribution by Peter Lyons is excellent. Many of Japan's auto innovations in engineering and styling are never seen on the roads here and Lyons tells us why. Nice job.