Jan 31

NPR’s Studio 360 has a Japan fetish this morning with three separate and excellent stories on different aspects of Japan collectively titled “High Finance & Old Japan.”  Definitely worth visiting their site to listen to the stories and watch accompanying video slide shows as well.

Below are the summaries taken from the Studio 360 website:

Pico Iyer: Outside Man

Travel writer Pico Iyer has lived in Japan for 20 years. And while he knows the locals still see him as an outsider, he told Kurt that this status helps him pay attention to his surroundings. Iyer says Japan is like a “2000-year-old person wearing a micro-skirt, with an artificial tan and carrying a surfboard.” Special thanks to Matthew Cavnar.

No Time for Tea

The tea ceremony is a 400-year-old ritual for making and presenting green tea. But in Japan’s fast-paced techno-centric society – one increasingly fueled by coffee – we wondered how the tea ceremony can survive. Studio 360’s Jenny Lawton talked with tea masters, old and young, to find out.

Suicide Forest

Aokigahara is the name of the forest at the foot of Mount Fuji. It’s been mythologized in Japanese literature as a sacred place for people to end their lives – and every year close to a hundred suicides are committed there. Studio 360’s Pejk Malinovski went to the forest to uncover its haunting allure and how the place lingers in the Japanese psyche.

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