Sport Laura Robson was victorious in Beijing on Sunday

The Brit lost to Kimiko Date-Krumm

ARCHITECTURE / Going with the flow: Only two buildings on Earth are visible from space. One is the Great Wall of China. The other opens today on an artificial island off the coast of Japan. Kansai International Airport, in the Bay of Osaka, is where the future of building design is about to take off

KANSAI International Airport, on a specially built artificial island offshore of Japan in the Bay of Osaka, opens today. Its single terminal, for domestic and international flights, is the largest in the world. Designed to handle up to 31 million passengers a year, it is also the longest building ever constructed, its boarding lounges accommodated in a single space 1.7km (just over a mile) long. With flowing curves clad in thousands of stainless-steel panels, it is said to be the only building apart from the Great Wall of China which is visible from space.

Departures: Japan ease

THE new Kansai international airport opens near Osaka in Japan on 4 September. On that date, Japan Air Lines begins a new service from Heathrow to Kansai. A ticket bought through JAL (071-408 1000) would cost at least pounds 1,142 return. For only pounds 645, however, you can get a seat on the inaugural flight - as long as you transfer at Kansai to Sydney. The return ticket from Australia is valid a year, and JAL will put you up for the night in Japan before the flight home. This deal is only available through agents, such as Quest Worldwide (081-547 3322).

Women in high-rise flats risk miscarriage

WOMEN who live high up in tower blocks appear twice as likely to miscarry during pregnancy than those who live on lower floors, according to a Japanese survey of more than 400 young women, writes Liz Hunt.

The Broader Picture: All singing, all dancing, all girls

THE Takarazuka company's newly opened show at the London Coliseum begins with a long and indigestible sequence of pseudo-traditional Japanese scenes - a Mikado without the story or the jokes. But the revue really takes off in Part Two, with 'This Side of the Door', an adaptation of an O Henry story set in America before the war. The girls of Takarazuka only come into their own when they put on dinner jackets and bow-ties and patent leather shoes, when they sport quiffs and sharp little sideburns and strut and pose with their melting, hyper-feminine partners.

THEATRE / Love on a branch line: Two women kiss and a nation's housewives swoon. Marianne Brace welcomes Japan's all-female Takarazuka Revue Company to London

In her jeans and silk waistcoat, Takarazuka star Mira Anju doesn't look like a heart-throb. She is tall, thin and softly spoken. Without the tuxedo and stage swagger, though, it's hard to imagine her inspiring besotted housewives to write 'I want to bear your baby.'

PHOTOGRAPHY / Street wise: Edinburgh's 'Liquid Crystal Futures' explores the spiritual side of life in modern Japan. Jane Richards reports

In 1985 Takashi Takagi, a Japanese art director, commissioned Manabu Yamanaka to photograph the street people of Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka who seemed to him to fit the guise of Buddhist arhats (traditional spiritual beings who have attained enlightenment and are detached from all earthly desires, transcending even life and death).

Tennis: Five up as Sampras routs Roux

PETE SAMPRAS, the world No 1, easily overcame the qualifier, Lionel Roux, of France, to win the Salem Open in Osaka, Japan, yesterday. The 22-year-old crushed Roux, 6-2, 6-2, to take his fifth title this year, the 25th of his career.

Clinton opens fire in trade war with Japan: US to raise tariffs on Japanese cellphones

PRESIDENT Clinton gave his clearest warning yet that America will provoke a trade showdown with Japan, insisting that Tokyo's present course was 'unsustainable' and 'unacceptable', both for the rest of the world and its own domestic consumers.

Table Tennis: Matsushita's Open

ENGLAND'S top two players, the former World Cup winner Chen Xinhua and the former European Top 12 champion Desmond Douglas, were unexpectedly beaten by Japan's Yuji Matsushita who went on to win the Cleveland Five Star Open at the Thornaby Pavilion, Middlesbrough, yesterday, writes James Leigh.

Out of Japan: A train named Desire

TOKYO - The breakdown on the new generation high-speed ultra- sleek Nozomi bullet train could not have come at a worse time. At 11.30am on Thursday the Nozomi No 9 from Tokyo to Hakata lost power and stopped in the countryside. On board was China's Railways Minister, Han Zhubin, who was in Japan to inspect the country's hi-tech trains with a view to building similar systems in China.

Motor Racing: Footwork to reduce F1 funding

FOOTWORK, the Japanese truck company, is to drop most of the sponsorship of the Formula One team bearing its name, from next year.

Out of Japan: Filling a nation's spiritual vacuum with an outside loo

TOKYO - There was an architect, there was Zen philosophy and there was the matter of the outside lavatory. Fourteen years later there was the temple with a pond on the roof. First the lavatory.

Out of Japan: Lonely hearts pour out their life stories

KANAZAWA - It was nearly midnight in the coffee-shop, and the guests were not ready to go home. Sitting around the low wooden bar they were drinking coffee, beer or wine and sharing conversation in a manner which would be rare in Tokyo but more common in Japan's smaller towns and villages. Gradually, as the night wore on, a series of life stories began to emerge - and a series of reasons why no one was ready to leave the cosy security of the coffee-shop and go home just yet.

Special Report on Long-Haul Air Travel: Putting a cut-price girdle round about the earth: Operators have bargains for travellers if they eschew routes to the Antipodes via South-east Asia. Simon Calder reports

FARES to Australia and New Zealand being offered by American and antipodean airlines that operate across the Pacific can be as cheap and often less expensive than for routes via the Far East.

Obituary: Shizuo Tsuji

Shizuo Tsuji, chef and teacher, born 1933, married, died Saitama Japan 2 March 1993.
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Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
India & Nepal
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Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
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