Sake Archives 2000

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The Tone Canal
Designed by Dutch civil engineer Rouwenhorst Mulder and constructed under the toil and sweat of some 2.2 million laborers between 1888 and 1890, the Tone Canal was used for 50 years to quickly shuttle products originating from Japan's northern reaches down south.

December 14, 2000

A World Mystery Solved in Kiribati
Sunshine, trade wind breezes, coral, coconuts, and ocean views of varying shades of blue, green, and turquoise are available daily and in plentiful amounts. Along the main road, palms sway in the afternoon trades and pigs hustle in between the abandoned concrete Japanese WWII bunkers.

December 7, 2000

Vanuatu's Santo Island
Once the strategic location of the massing of U.S. forces for attacks on the Japanese at Guadalcanal over a half-century ago, Vanuatu's Santo Island is now the home to 128,000 heads of cattle for export to Japan and a sagging copra (dried coconut meat) industry.

November 27, 2000

Kava Drinking in Vanuatu
During traditional preparation, the kava root is ground in a meat grinder and the resultant powder mixed with water in a large pot. It is ladled out into half coconut-shaped plastic shells that range in size from 50 to 200 with the number representing the cost in vatu (140 vatu is approximately $1).

November 20, 2000

Museum Tour: The Tate Modern
With the Hall extending the entire height of the building from the floor to a lancet window ceiling, the four large rusted metal works by Bourgeois are displayed below in natural light. The most interesting of the four is Maman. It is a medium tree-sized arthropod-looking piece located on a small extension platform of the museum's second floor that, as described by the artist, "is supposed to snare visitors."

October 24, 2000

The Millennium Dome
...The most imposing figure upon entering the Dome is the Body attraction. Sort of resembling a giant lounging burn victim, this exhibit allows the visitor to take a limited look inside a human body....

October 14, 2000

A Giant Jesus in East Timor
As for the containers, some 400 are mounted on a barge in the lagoon. US $120 a night is what they are getting for the, as I heard one former guest describe as, "coffin-like accommodations." Earlier this year the charge was up around $180.

October 6, 2000

Postcards from East Timor
Just met a 60-year old woman here collecting garments to take back to Japan to sell in her boutique. She said "ethnic fashions" are all the rage now in Japan. Plans on making plenty, she does.

September 26, 2000

Fleeing the Wrecking Ball: Tokyo's Historic Buildings
The wooden part of the station is mainly the roof section and is more for ornamental purposes than structural necessity. The style gives the impression of a middle-European structure from the nineteenth century.

September 17, 2000

After Bankruptcy: The Faces of Sogo
"The older people are not going to be moved because of their high salaries," she said. "When I was hired, I was in the last group of young hires at Sogo. But now that I see what is happening at the top, I know that it (firing) will eventually reach me too."

September 10, 2000

Let's Take the Streetcar!
Meandering five-foot wide alleys and paths, unchanged roads from the days of the horse and carriage, ancient temples and gardens, and the backsides of individual housing are some of the changing landscape that can be viewed during one of the streetcar's smooth and slow rides.

September 3, 2000

Maneaters of Meiji Jingu Park: Tokyo Crows
In recalling the day after a battle on a Tokyo rooftop where he defended some coworkers by flailing his belt at a single attacking crow the day before, political analyst Hiroshi Takaku tells the Times, "They threatened us by yelling or crying. We think one crow sent a signal to his colleagues to come back as a group... My colleagues knew they came for revenge."

August 26, 2000

Museum Tour: Kikkoman Soy Sauce
It is a distinct smell. Upon exiting the train, passengers are greeted by the pungent, tangy aroma hovering above the platform. It is the Noda City trademark, and a byproduct of the brewing of shoyu (soy sauce), the number one condiment on any sushi counter.

July 31, 2000

Factory Tour: Snow Brand Milk
In late June, the scandal broke. Contaminated milk from Snow Brand Milk Products Co.'s Osaka plant resulted in the poisoning of more than 10,000 people in Western Japan. Improper cleaning methods, the reuse of unshipped products, and improper temperatures in tanks were found to be the reasons why harmful bacteria entered Snow's products.

July 14, 2000

Invest in Japan: The Annual Shareholders' Meeting
"They are racketeers who raise sensitive issues at annual shareholders' meetings. Typically they buy the minimum amount of shares required to attend. Then, during the proceedings, they'll bring up unsavory gossip or scandals about the company or its personnel."

July 7, 2000

The Tsukiji Fish Market
Inside, one of the chefs behind the counter takes two live shrimp into his hand and sets them on the rack above the counter to enable his patrons a clear view. A couple sitting on two of the shop's twenty stools giggle as the shrimp flap their tail fans and squirm atop the perch. He then moves both below to his cutting board where he quickly takes two chops with his knife.

June 30, 2000

A Tour of Ulaanbaatar
The wood structures are examples of traditional Mongolian architecture and were built for the Bogd Khanns of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The temples house paintings, traditional rugs, musical instruments, and other artifacts from the period.

June 23, 2000

Postcards from Cambodia
Just arrived in Phnom Penh last week. The average daily wage for a sweatshop worker is a buck a day.

May 4, 2000

Major League Baseball's Opening Series 2000 at Tokyo Dome
...Stripped of their drums and horns at the turnstiles, the capacity crowd of 55,000 was eerily quiet for most of this second game of the Opening Series 2000. But it was also a night that featured tempers, stopped streaks, and even - though at times a bit forced - some good old-fashioned Japanese baseball flavor.

April 1, 2000

Lost in Yokohama's Chinatown
Many restaurants had long lines of people anxiously awaiting plates of duck, pork, and whole grilled fish. Some restaurants coaxed visitors with enticing pictures or wax models of classic Chinese dishes. Others relied on large dragon figurines and fancy gold-fringed exteriors.

March 24, 2000

The Magic Circus of Samoa
This couple's act consisted of the male performer doing gymnastics (handstands, one and two arms) on a vertical ladder whose height was slowly increased with the assistance of the female partner. She did this by tossing him additional ladder pieces that were then added to the top.

March 17, 2000

Tuvalu: End of the World
Funafuti is one of the nine atolls that comprise Tuvalu. Like its sisters, Funafuti's most obvious feature upon arrival - at its one airstrip - is that it is small. Really small. The atoll curls around a lagoon in the shape of a boomerang with a motorbike ride from one end to the other on its single main road not requiring more than 30 minutes.

March 10, 2000

Museum Tour: TEPCO in Shibuya
The building itself looks like it could manufacture a little fission itself. From the street, one looks up at a half cylinder-shaped, glass, steel, and concrete structure under a domed roof. Above the entrance, a slice of the outer layer of concrete has been cut away to reveal recessed glass windows extending for all eight floors.

March 3, 2000

Shopping during a Recession: The 100-Yen Store
Other than that, both variations supply unlimited amounts of scented candles, toothpick holders, portable mirrors, and kitchenware for around a dollar in spaces that would be large enough for housing small aircraft.

January 26, 2000

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