Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

High town, low town


The modernity as well as the occasional indifference to change in Japan bookmarked my week, with both moments anchored in the countryside about one hour from Tokyo.

On Monday in a rice field converted into a school parking lot, a 6-year-old, Boston Red Sox cap-wearing Japanese youngster stormed my way. We had chatted in the past, although our last conversation consisted of “Chase me!”

BASEBALL/Today it was all business: “The Red Sox came in second, but Daisuke Matuszaka didn’t pitch for them in the play-offs,” he said, adding that Dice-K had hurt his arm during the regular season.

“Yes, they lost before he had his chance,” I said. “The Red Sox actually have four Japanese pitchers.”

Rice, frogs and trade dilemmas


The blue sky and white clouds bounce off the surface of the water in the paddy as I trundle up and down on the rice-planting tractor, sending frogs leaping and splashing away in all directions.


I’ve been coming to my wife’s family farm north of Tokyo to help with the rice planting and harvesting for seven or eight years now.