5 Years After Tsunami, Seafood, Sake, and Candy Come Back

For years, northeastern Japan has been known for its quality candy, sake, and seafood, but many businesses in these industries came close to collapse after the massive earthquake and tsunami that followed five years ago.

Back in 2011, a magnitude 9 earthquake struck the Tohoku coast, triggering a devastating tsunami that claimed the lives of 17,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands more. It also triggered the core meltdown of the nuclear reactors at Dai Ichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima.

I am currently exploring Japan and documenting the social impact of nuclear technology. However, on the fifth anniversary of the tsunami, I wanted to explore a place far ...

Why Whaling Persists in Japan, Despite International Pressure

On the island of Ikitsuki at the southern tip of Japan, a certain cut of meat is served up raw or cooked into a variety of dishes, just as it has been for centuries.

Rich in iron, fat, and protein, the local delicacy can be found in many restaurants on the island, and has been served in school lunches nationwide.

It's not beef or fish—but whale. And its continued presence in the Japanese diet has global activists and conservationists fuming. Living in Japan, and seeing it sold and eaten nationwide, I decided to research why the Japanese cling to this practice.

On a recent trip to Nagasaki Prefecture, I visited the ...

As Diets Change, Traditional Japanese Rice Harvest Declines

The air is crisp, the leaves are falling, and the terraces are peaking with full crops of rice plants in picture-perfect patterns waiting to be picked, just as they have been for centuries. It’s harvest season in Japan, but a lot has changed over the years.

The number of rice-producing households in Japan has decreased, and the price of the grain has increased. Industrialized production has become the norm. At the same time, according to "The Rice Demand System in Japan," by Masahiko Gemma, of Waseda University, "changes in Japanese dietary life have been observed for the past three decades as the economic growth has made the improvement in standard ...

The Way of Coffee: Japan Brews Up Its Own Unique Culture

After a particularly long day of listening to atomic bomb survivor testimony for my Fulbright research, I turned to my translator Kanade who already knew what I was going to ask. We needed to go for coffee.

Having spent the previous year in Rwanda living in a Youth Village for vulnerable teens, I not only grew a taste for well-sourced coffee, I developed an affinity for places where the local farmer would get as much of my money as possible. Starbucks wasn't going to cut it for us. Luckily, Hiroshima is overloaded with fair trade, independent coffee roasters. She knew the perfect place to take me, and it wasn't even ...

Beyond the Bomb: Hiroshima’s Beloved Okonomiyaki Pancake

The hot summer air is thick, even after the sun has set. Every night, the streets of Hiroshima crawl with men and women released from a long day’s work, craving their favorite dish. The enticing scent of a grill fills the air, and  the flavor adventure is about to begin, if you can find a seat at one of the popular eateries here.

When you hear the word Hiroshima, chances are that food isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. In a town shadowed by its atomic legacy for the last 70 years, most foreigners do not know that Hiroshima has another claim to fame: okonomiyaki.

Okonomiyaki is best described by its ...

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