No one ever said life was meant to be easy, but some people lead lives straight out of a bad Hallmark movie (or a particularly good episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race.) Whether…

Let your mind conjure the image of the stoic sullen craftsman. Furrowed brow, few words, sunk in his world. Kimiaki Kono, a Tokyo shamisen craftsman, takes that image, considers it for a…

Kochi's local-turned-global performing arts is all about freedom of expression — and now, it finally goes online in a one-off glorious performance

We all know there is no such thing as a miracle cure for our ailments, but sometimes small changes bring about big changes. Use the expression kouka-tekimen to describe something that is…

In our TW Local Style Profile series, we get to know Tokyo-based designers and trendsetters – find out what inspires their style and where they love to shop in the city. In…

One of Japan’s most renowned living artists, Hiroshi Senju is based in New York but often spends time in Japan. He’s known globally for his famous waterfall paintings using the traditional Nihonga painting…

With past Japanese songs such as “Plastic Love” by Mariya Takeuchi and Miki Matsubara’s “Mayonaka no Door: Stay with Me” suddenly becoming international hits in the last few years, we thought we’d…

As has been pointed out here before: People are different and they learn languages differently. Some feel motivated by a colorful gamey approach. Others like to mingle with locals to see how…

A while back we learned about jigajisan, which was all about tooting one’s own horn. This week’s idiom is on the other end of the humility scale. Fugenjikko is about getting the…

Spotlight is a news series profiling influential Japanese people in the 20th century. We begin with Chiune Sugihara, the man known as the “Schindler of Japan.” In 2016, he was voted number one…

Sometimes life throws you a curveball and it can knock you down to the ground. But the idiom shichiten-hakki reminds us to keep pressing on. Or, as philosopher, motivational expert and bread…

There’s nothing wrong with being proud of yourself, or something you’ve accomplished. Unless you take it into overdrive — then you might be accused of unwarranted jigajisan. Jigajisan (自画自賛) Meaning: Singing one’s own…