Japan and the Czech Republic
Owen Bennett Jones introduces insight, wit and analysis from BBC correspondents around the world. In this edition: Justin Webb ponders the trade-off between social cohesion and insularity in Japan, while Rob Cameron manages to spot the bison reintroduced to a Czech forest.
Growing old gracefully - but alone?
When Japan was hit by an earthquake and tsunami earlier this year, many people had to flee so fast they left cash behind - in wallets and purses, in safes and under mattresses. Well it’s been announced that 78 million dollars’ worth has been found, and promptly handed in to the authorities.
Justin Webb - recently in Tokyo - wondered whether that kind of honesty and public-spiritedness is a consequence of Japan’s insularity. And he also pondered what sort of a future the nation might have when it's ageing so quickly, and the countryside seems to be emptying out.
The silence of the bison
The European bison, bison bonasus, makes an imposing - not to say intimidating - sight: big, shaggy and harp-horned. But these huge beasts are also easily outwitted – which is one reason why their American cousins were slaughtered in such large numbers in the days of the Wild West.
The European bison, too, was hunted to near-extinction over the centuries. But as Rob Cameron has been discovering, thanks to zoos, governments - and even military grants - it's makeing a comeback in the Czech Republic.