Stories about japan

Will Pakistan be able to handle possible failure at nuclear plants?

On March 11, 2011, something stirred within the earth’s surface, deep under the waters of the North Pacific Ocean. The people who were preparing for their weekend on Hokkaido, Japan’s second-largest island, had no idea that they were about to be hit by one of the biggest earthquakes ever to be recorded in human history. The calamity, now known as the Tohoku undersea megathrust earthquake, struck at 2:15 p.m. Japan Standard Time. Its hypocenter was 70 kilometres off-shore and it registered a magnitude of 9.0 on the Richter scale. A few moments later, a tsunami followed the earthquake. With wave heights ...

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Chicken teriyaki: A burst of authentic Japanese flavours

Contrary to the much prevailing opinion that Japanese food looks so exquisite to eat and too difficult to cook, numerous dishes can be prepared easily without following any hard and fast rule. I have learned during my Japanese cooking classes that some flavours, tapestry of textures, colour, and methods distinguish Japanese cooking from other exotic cuisines. Strong-tasting seasoning and highly-flavoured sauces are not mostly used; still dishes look extravagant and taste sensational. Apart from sushi and tempura, ‘teriyaki chicken’ is another very popular dish among non-Japanese cultures. However, the fact is most people still don’t fully understand the term ‘teriyaki style’. Teriyaki is ...

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The truth about Agha Waqar’s water car kit

Our social media and our mainstream media are known for publishing news irresponsibly and without verification. I was compelled to write this blog which is aimed at highlighting another instance of unverified reporting by the media. Some days ago, my friends told me about a certain episode of Hamid Mir’s programme “Capital Talk” on Geo TV. This episode was about a man called Agha Waqar – a proud Pakistani who claimed to have invented something called a ‘water car kit’. Obviously, the first thing that I said upon seeing this was “Bravo!”, as ...

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How golden was Ayub Khan’s era?

The numbers do not lie: in terms of economic growth, former President Ayub Khan was not the best ruler Pakistan ever had. Admittedly, he is in second place and beaten only very narrowly by former President Ziaul Haq: Ayub averaged 5.82% growth during his eleven years in office compared to Zia’s 5.88%. Still, the myth of Ayub’s “Decade of Development” persists and so it is worth examining (on what would have been his 105th birthday), what his record was and how he compared to the rest of Pakistan’s rulers. Perhaps the single biggest reason people remember Ayub’s era fondly is because ...

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Lessons from the Japanese tsunami

At exactly 2:46 pm on March 11, one year to the Japanese tsunami, sirens wailed through the skies to mark the first anniversary of the events of the horrible day. Trains stopped, work stopped briefly as mourners bowed their heads in prayer for the victims. Measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale, it was the strongest ever recorded earthquake in Japanese history, claiming approximately 19,000 lives, with thousands still missing. A year later, as reconstruction work continues and debris is removed from the cities — giving the Japanese landscape some semblance of normalcy — things are still not near or close to ...

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Iran and the oil embargo

When it comes to the face off between the United States and Iran over Iran’s nuclear program, there are signs that things could escalate into something that neither country will be able to handle. Is it wise to challenge one another at a time like this and threaten each other’s security and resources? Global powers are not what they once used to be. Is this stand-off supposed to result in something, or is it an indication that we cannot stop playing games with one another? Recently, the European Union finally approved an oil embargo on Iran, which prohibits any EU member ...

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Eid Mubarak from Japan

Nothing is better than Eid falling on a Sunday when you are in a country where the day is not an official holiday. For me this was my first Bakra Eid away from home. I was dreading it. I knew I would feel homesick and the six other Muslims in my dorm shared the sentiment. We decided to stick together and keep busy. First things first, we had to decide where to go to offer Eid prayers. Our three options were: the Islamic Centre, Tokyo Camii and Otsuka Mosque. Over the past two months, we (the Muslims in my dormitory) visited Otsuka ...

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Colonized minds: Are we English Pakistanis?

In front of me was the land I was dreaming of – my new home for five months. The aerial view of Tokyo gave me butterflies in my stomach. I was there to study at the very prestigious Waseda University, but studies were the last thing on my mind. I thought there was much more to the trip than academics and I was proven correct as soon as I landed and was received by a group of university students. We tried to communicate. I didn’t know Japanese and they didn’t know English (Urdu, was conveniently out of question). They told me I was the ...

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Salaam from Tokyo

While we’re still arguing about whether there’s life after death, can we add another question to the cart? Is there life after democracy? Arundhati Roy On March 13, 2011, outspoken Indian writer, critic and essayist Arundhati Roy was supposed to dilate on this subject at the prestigious International House of Japan, Tokyo. The destructive tsunami two days earlier, however, swept this programme as well. The massive destruction threatened to knock off the Asia Leaders’ Fellowship Programme (ALFP) as well. But the will and sheer hard work of the meticulously organized Japanese prevented this year’s Programme from falling apart. And when seven ...

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Japan: Where are our manners?

While Pakistan’s business and political leaders have been lining up at the Japanese embassy in Islamabad to sign the condolence book in the wake of the massive earthquake and tsunami that has affected that country, nobody seems to be willing to back up their words with a cheque or two. This seems rather impolite, especially when one considers the fact that Japan is one of the largest donors to Pakistan. Direct financial assistance from Japan to Pakistan is relatively minimal, but considering how much Japan donates to Pakistan through multilateral agencies, total financial flows from Tokyo to Islamabad are estimated ...

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