As prices continue to rise, Japan’s frugal households get even thriftier

Japanese households are being forced to squeeze budgets ever tighter as prices of food and other essentials continue to rise. | REUTERS

These days, Yuki Wada is inundated with media requests seeking advice on how to save money — from tips on hunting for cheaper groceries and reducing food waste to effective ways of cutting down on electricity fees during Japan’s notoriously hot and humid summer. “I’m no expert on the economy, but people have already been

China’s cities face tough choice: More green energy or food

Submerged buildings after heavy rain caused flooding in Panjin, China's northeastern Liaoning province, on Aug. 4 | AFP-JIJI

China’s plans to accelerate its world-leading expansion of solar and wind power are facing a major hurdle as floods, droughts and food-supply issues present authorities with a reality check on how much precious farmland the nation can afford to lose. Solar and wind farms have been supercharged in the past two years since Chinese President

Japan to help Africa double rice output amid food crisis, draft shows

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi addresses an online meeting with African counterparts of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development at his ministry in Tokyo in March. | KYODO

Japan will pledge to assist Africa to double rice production on the continent in response to the global food crisis propelled by Russia’s war in Ukraine, according to a draft aid package to be unveiled at an African development conference in late August. Japan will also urge African countries to ensure transparency when they raise

If you can’t beat the heat, savor it at Kakan

The lunchtime set meal at māpō dōfu specialist Kakan is great value. | ROBBIE SWINNERTON

The sign that runs across the dining room window at Kakan does not mince words: “The best mapo tofu in town.” For a casual, backstreet restaurant that has only been open a couple of months, that’s quite a substantial boast. Māpō dōfu, that magical Sichuan alchemy of minced meat, heady spices and cooling tofu, is

Russian missiles hit Ukraine’s Odesa port, key to grain deal

A combine harvests barley in a field as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues in the country's Odesa region last month. | REUTERS

Kyiv – Russian missiles struck Ukraine’s key Black Sea port of Odesa on Saturday, officials said, in an attack Kyiv described as a “spit in the face” of a deal signed by the warring neighbors a day earlier to resume grain exports blocked by the conflict. Two cruise missiles hit terminal infrastructure, regional authorities said

Soaring prices take toll on Japan’s food banks

Maiko Marumo, who heads Food Bank Net Nishisaitama in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, says that shelves at the food bank are increasingly bare. | KYODO

Shelves at the warehouse of Food Bank Net Nishisaitama, a nonprofit group delivering food to households in financial distress in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, have become noticeably empty in recent months. The group is just one of a rising number of food banks — organizations that deliver food collected through donations to financially struggling families and

As opportunities dry up, North Koreans turn to mudfish farming — Radio Free Asia

A farmer digs a ditch during the rainy season to prepare a loach farm.

North Korea is seeing an uptick in loach farming as residents hope to survive poor economic conditions and food shortages by raising the small mudfish to consume or to sell in the marketplace, sources in the country told RFA. The species of loach native to China, Taiwan and the Korean peninsula lives in the muddy

Japan to launch survey on weight and dietary habits of young women

The percentage of underweight women in their 20s in Japan is higher than in other age groups and in other developed nations. | KYODO

The government has set up a research group to investigate attitudes toward body image, diet and lifestyle habits as part of attempts to lower the high proportion of underweight young adult women in Japan, the health ministry said Monday. Being underweight puts individual health at greater risk, and underweight mothers can present a danger to

Recipe: Panfried ginger pork | The Japan Times

If you can avoid a few pitfalls common with pork, this light dish might help you beat the heat. | MAKIKO ITOH

Buta no shōga yaki (panfried ginger pork) is one of the most popular and ubiquitous offerings at restaurants that serve teishoku (set meals). It’s a particularly great meal during the hot, muggy and exhausting days of summer. The vitamins in pork, especially thiamine, or vitamin B1, are essential for various bodily functions, and ginger has

From war to wild weather, global crop problems point to years of high food prices

John Lepp seeds wet spots in a field with canola by airplane, while his daughter, Cassandra Lepp, plants the crops with a tractor near Rivers, Manitoba, on May 27. | STEFANIE LEPP / VIA REUTERS

Eric Broten had planned to sow about 5,000 acres of corn this year on his farm in North Dakota, but persistent springtime rains limited him to just 3,500 in a state where a quarter or more of the planned corn could remain unsown this year. The difficulty planting corn, the single largest grain crop in

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