November 14

Commuter Oasis

Shinagawa is one of the busiest train stations in Tokyo, but right in the middle of it is this odd little alcove. At first I thought it was some sort of art installation, but in fact it’s a place where commuters who have time to kill can sit down without having to buy a cup of coffee at a café. Petite “tree stump” seats are arranged amid bubbling water pipes, realistic-looking greenery, and full-spectrum “daylight.”

Read a novel set in Tokyo

In the wake of a deadly earthquake, fans erupt in a frenzy of mourning when it’s discovered that their favorite pop star is among the dead. But when Detective Kenji Nakamura is sent to investigate a death at a local shrine, he finds evidence that suggests the impossible: How could the head priest have been murdered by…read more