Lifestyle/Entertainment Editor, Asia, Tokyo
Elaine's Feed
Dec 23, 2011

Ex-nun writes of life under Mother Teresa

TOKYO, Dec 23 (Reuters) – When she was 17 years old,
Mary Johnson saw a photograph of Mother Teresa in a magazine and
knew she had found her future. Within two years, she had become
a nun with the Missionaries of Charity, the order that Mother
Teresa founded.

But 20 years later she left, torn by a desire for greater
freedom than that offered by a life where writing poetry was
discouraged in favour of writing daily notes to help remember
her sins, physical touch was frowned on and members were not
allowed to stay in close contact with their families.

Dec 22, 2011

Soldier echoes Arabian Nights with Iraq novel

TOKYO (Reuters) – On Benjamin Buchholz’s second day in Iraq as a U.S. army officer, a young Iraqi girl was struck and killed by a military convoy while trying to catch a bottle of water thrown to children by the roadside as a gift.

The tragedy and its aftermath — wailing women, townspeople up in arms, the girl’s body on the road covered with a blanket — haunted him, eventually becoming the seed of a novel that helped him fulfill an old dream of becoming a writer.

Dec 15, 2011

Book Talk: Tales of moments when all changes

TOKYO (Reuters) – Two songwriters reunite at the request of a former associate, with unusual results. A single woman agrees to be named guardian for her widowed sister’s children. Dissatisfied with her job, a teacher seeks out the teacher she idolized as a schoolgirl.

Though the characters change, most of the stories in Alethea Black’s debut short story collection, “I Knew You’d Be Lovely” feature people at moments when they stand at crossroads, facing a change in their lives.

Dec 1, 2011

Book Talk: Speaking the language of flowers

TOKYO (Reuters) – Marigolds for grief, purple dahlias for dignity, periwinkle for tender reflections. Basil for hate.

The meanings attached to each flower underpin the life of Victoria Jones, the prickly and suspicious heroine of Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s “The Language of Flowers,” who uses blooms and bouquets to say what she cannot force herself to speak out loud.

Nov 24, 2011

Japan looks to future with earnest crown prince

TOKYO (Reuters) – Over the past few weeks, Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito has been in the public eye as rarely before, whether tipping a wine glass in toasts at a state banquet or conferring imperial decorations as he stands in for Emperor Akihito, who has been in hospital.

Naruhito’s prominence while his 77-year-old father recovers from what court officials say is a mild case of pneumonia has given Japan a fresh look at the scholarly, unassuming man who likes animals and watching sumo wrestling with his 9-year-old daughter, Aiko.

Nov 17, 2011

Book Talk: Gish Jen on identity, belonging and home

TOKYO (Reuters) – Into a traditional northern New England town under pressure from chain stores and cell phone towers, its old family farms struggling, comes Hattie Kong, half-Chinese and newly widowed.

Soon she is joined by the teenaged daughter of a Cambodian immigrant family on the run from their past, as well as a former love from her youth — all, in their own ways, seeking new lives in the novel “World and Town,” by Gish Jen.

Nov 11, 2011

Doctor turned serial killer in World War II Paris

TOKYO (Reuters) – Nazi-occupied Paris was a terrible place to be in the waning days of World War II, with Jews, Resistance fighters and ordinary citizens all hoping to escape. Disappearances became so common they often weren’t followed up.

And one man used the lawlessness for his own terrible purposes, killing perhaps as many as 150 people.

Nov 10, 2011

If Jane Austen lived today, she’d be a blogger

TOKYO, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Dear reader, if Jane Austen
lived today, she’d be an avid blogger, she’d be on Facebook, and
of course she’d also be tweeting away — but mostly about other
people, not herself.

That’s because Austen had a passionate fascination with
people and what made them who they were, an interest that keeps
the modern world fascinated by the woman who wrote novels set in
small villages nearly 200 years ago, said Laurel Ann Nattress,
editor of an anthology of Austen-inspired stories.

Nov 9, 2011

Doctor turned serial killer in WW2 Paris

TOKYO, Nov 9 (Reuters) – Nazi-occupied Paris was a terrible
place to be in the waning days of World War Two, with Jews,
Resistance fighters and ordinary citizens all hoping to escape.
Disappearances became so common they often weren’t followed up.

And one man used the lawlessness for his own terrible
purposes, killing perhaps as many as 150 people.

Oct 28, 2011

48 Hours in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) – Futuristic, frustrating and fascinating sum up Tokyo, a city of contrasts where narrow alleys packed with dark, smoky restaurants lie within view of extravagant buildings that would fit into a “Batman” film.

Though shaken by the March 11 quake, Tokyo sustained little in the way of damage and life is back to normal, with international events such as Tokyo Fashion Week and the Tokyo International Film Festival going on as scheduled.