Environment: Scarecrow Crusader

As a minor Tokyo bureaucrat, Senji Kataoka, 53, spends the week doing public relations chores for the Ministry of Agriculture. But every Sunday during the harvest season, he becomes an Oriental Quixote—a tireless crusader against the urban sprawl that is fast destroying Japan's rural beauty. Armed with three cameras, he mounts his Honda and chugs off to perform his duties as president (and sole member) of the Japan Scarecrow Institute. His mission: to save and celebrate scarecrows, "the silent critics of this country's devastating environmental disruptions."

Designed to scare off rice-eating sparrows. Japan's scarecrows are being replaced by smelly chemical repellents and...

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