Archived drawing of newly styled Bentley in 1952.

The History of a Hobby, The End of an Era

I have a well-known passion for ​classic cars of a certain vintage and, generally, for working on older cars. My first “proper” vehicle ​(after cutting my teeth and knuckles on ​rebuilding a ’65 Corvair from scraps) is a lacquered black 1953 Bentley R-Type. I inherited this head-turner of a car from a friend at the US Embassy after tooling around Tokyo in it with him ​over ​30 years ago​. ​I’ve kept it ever since.
Read more

nobuteru_ishihara 3

A Star is Sworn (In) | Kokkai Insider

Kokkai Insider


Nobuteru Ishihara has just been appointed the new Minister of State for Economic Revitalization following the voluntary stepping down of Akira Amari amidst accusations that Amari and his secretaries accepted bribes totaling at least 12 million Yen. As Amari was the point man for TPP negotiations as well as the Prime Minister’s spotlight Abenomics program, it is not difficult to view this as a significant turning point. However, it is expected that this roster shuffle will not affect the progress of either initiative despite Amari’s central role from their inception. There is good reason to believe this, though it has little to do with policymaking. To see the inner workings behind the appointment of Ishihara, it is first necessary to understand something about his background and where he fits into the complex world of Japanese politics.

Read more

Tokyo Skyline

Introducing our new video podcast series: Tokyo on Fire!

In early January of this year, someone told us that we should start a podcast. We followed their advice.

With the coming 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, and other major internal and external events abound; the world is becoming increasingly interested in Japan. As Japan specialists, we at Langley Esquire are constantly sensitive to the gap of perception in the actions of Japan’s legislature between those on the inside and those commenting from overseas. Tokyo on Fire aims to bridge that gap in an informative and entertaining way. Whether we actually achieve such a lofty goal, however, is left to be seen.

Read more

2014 Sydney hostage crisis

Save the Humans: From Sydney to Tokyo

On Monday, December 15th, 2015, I gave a guest lecture on media and politics at Sophia University. The three-hour lecture didn’t require any notes, since media and politics were playing out in real time. CNN International was airing live coverage of an ongoing hostage situation in Sydney, Australia. In an unprecedented move, Prime Minister Tony Abbott took to the airwaves to urge calm, given the overtones of political violence given off at the Lindt Chocolate café by hostages pressing Islamic flags up against the windows.

Read more

Japan National Diet Building

A Brief History of the Japan National Diet Building

One facet of working in the world of Japan Public Affairs is being a frequent visitor to Japan’s National Diet Building. The hustle-and-bustle of politics never feels closer than when you’re dining with a Councilor in the sushi restaurant in the basement of the Main Building or passing through phalanxes of megaphone-blaring protestors as you meander between the three office buildings behind the Main Building that house 722 offices, one for every Diet Member.

Read more