Slices of Japanese business, politics and life
Inclement weather has plagued the snowboard venue at the Olympics, but the storm clouds over Japan’s Kazuhiro Kokubo nearly prevented him from competing in Vancouver.
Ending eighth in the snowboard half-pipe finals with an apparent bloodied chin and lip, Kokubo is also unlikely to have felt the last of a public bruising in Japan that began when some people thought he was scruffily dressed for his departure from Narita Airport and continued when he later seemed unrepentant.
Kokubo, whose unusual surname translates as “mother country”, was banned from the opening ceremonies in Canada and nearly disqualified by the team for his fashion mis-statement.
But in a scene reminiscent of a student-principal meeting, he and team captain Seiko Hashimoto agreed after an apology to let the nail stick out — at least through the half-pipe event — rather than facing the hammer.