Military canteens played the role of first adopters. Once Japanese soldiers became accustomed to a food, they would eventually introduce it to the wider public when they returned to civilian life. Such was the case with curry, which started appearing in Japan in the late 19th century. It was a borrowing not directly from India, but from the British Empire... It enters military menus and canteens and continues after [World War II] into school canteens. By the 1950s and 1960s it is a national dish

And while poverty is strongly associated with low scores, it is not destiny. In the OECD poor pupils are nearly three times more likely than their rich peers to have less than the basic level of proficiency in science. Those pupils with foreign-born parents tend to do even worse. Nevertheless, 29% of poor pupils score among the top quarter of children across the OECD. In Singapore, Japan and Estonia nearly half of the poorest pupils do.

Most devastating, Americans simply underestimated the Japanese. Their success at Pearl Harbor was due partly to astounding good luck, but also to American complacency, anchored in two assumptions: that our Asian adversary lacked the military deftness and technological proficiency to pull off an attack so daring and so complicated, and that Japan knew and accepted that it would be futile to make war on a nation as powerful as the United States.

Trumps... strong stance on fighting Isis and “Islamic terrorism” means he is unlikely to hand control of a country... to a scarcely less hardline group. The Baltic states are nervous about whether a Trump administration would defend them in the event of a Russian attack. Trump’s win certainly makes a president Le Pen more plausible. Trump has promised to reverse decades of US policy by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the American embassy there.

Public opinion polls show a significant shift in views on married couples using a single surname. In 1976, close to two-thirds surveyed by the Ministry of Justice said the law was fine as is; that had dropped to just over one-third in 2012. In the absence of legal reform, some couples choose not to legally register their marriages, even though women in such relationships have fewer legal protections.

There are two reasons that funding pensions is becoming ever more troublesome. First, people are living longer... Second, the low level of interest rates and bond yields means the cost of paying pensions has gone up ... Funding decent pensions is all the more difficult given that the proportion of retired workers is also growing. Around 600m people aged over 65 now make up around 8% of the world’s population; by 2050 there will be 1.6 billion, more than 15% of the total

The two East Asian nations have a centuries-old relationship, punctuated by major conflict and strife... The Chinese and Japanese have held fairly strong and often negative stereotypes of each other for some time. And in some instances these views have worsened over the past decade... Today, only 11% of the Japanese express a favorable opinion of China, while 14% of the Chinese say they have a positive view of Japan. In both countries positive views of the other nation have decreased since 2006.

If there are enough cars on a highway, any minor disruptions to the flow of traffic can cause a self-reinforcing chain reaction: one car brakes slightly, and the ones behind it brake just a bit more to avoid hitting it, with the braking eventually amplifying until it produces a wave of stopped or slowed traffic ... Even when cars leave this traffic wave, though, the wave itself doesn't disappear: it gradually drifts backward, against the direction of traffic.

America has more overseas military bases than any other nation: nearly 800 spread through more than 70 countries ... 150,000 troops stationed abroad, 49,000 are in Japan, 28,000 in South Korea and 38,000 in Germany; the total cost...with war zones excluded, is up to $100 billion a year ... wars in the Middle East have meant that...Bahrain and Turkey have gained strategic importance. More recently, China’s growing naval power has prompted America to reinforce its presence in the Pacific

Although karoshi has been a problem for several decades, it was only 18 months ago that the government passed legislation to try to tackle the problem. The act sets specific targets, such as reducing the percentage of employees working for more than 60 hours a week to 5 percent by 2020 ... the government is also trying to get employees to actually take their paid vacation leave. Most Japanese workers get 20 days leave a year, but few take even half of that