Posts Tagged ‘family’

Take the kids back in time this summer

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Lunch at Ubusuna House, part of the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale. (Rebecca Milner photo)

Last week, NHK ran a story on a “Showa Lifestyle” exhibition at a shopping center in Mito, a city two hours northeast of Tokyo. The exhibit wasn’t aimed at baby-boomers — Showa refers to the historical period from 1926-1989 — but rather their children and grandchildren.

The Mito City Museum, which put on the event, set up a mock living room circa the 1960s. Here kids could experience sitting at a low table on floor cushions, turning the dials on a black-and-white TV, many of them likely for the first time. They could also see what it was like to use an old rotary phone, a foot-pedal sewing machine and even a few pairs of take-uma, bamboo stilts, a popular amusement from an era of few luxuries.

For kids weaned on mobile phones, there may be no greater novelty than the past. They can also get an inkling of how different their world is from that of previous generations.

While the Mito event has already ended, there are plenty of other places where the family can get a taste of Showa life. At this summer’s Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, in rural Niigata prefecture, visitors can eat and sleep inside country homes and schoolhouses dating from the early to mid-20th century.

Many such structures outside of cities around Japan have lost their original usefulness on account of the country’s aging population and lack of attractive job opportunities there for young people. Countless such sites have been lost forever; however, there is a growing trend to label them heritage buildings and turn them into museums or hands-on learning centers.

Continue reading about the Showa nostalgia kick →

The pill still hard to swallow in Japan

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

thePILL

Ten years ago this month, the pill was approved for use in Japan, yet despite its popularity overseas, very few Japanese women use it. In fact, Japan was the last UN member country to approve the pill. Of all industrialized nations, France has the highest number of pill advocates at 44%, with the U.K. at 26% and the United States at 18%.

In Japan it stands at 3%. Why?

In a country where porn is abundant, condoms are readily available and love hotels are beating the recession, it’s certainly not from a lack of interest in sex but more a lack of confidence in the pill itself. More than half of the women surveyed about the pill mentioned concern over side effects, and of the 3% of women actually taking the pill, only 30% claim it is for contraception purposes (the pill also alleviates menstrual pain in some women).

More about birth control in Japan →

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