Mar 4

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — Dai Fujikura, ‘Tokyo Godfathers,’ Japan Nite

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobeshi, 2001-02). Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

Stay warm this winter with some hot local events, from live showcases that will transport you to another time and place, some new anime screenings, and a rock showcase you won’t want to miss.

This month’s highlights include:

Courtesy of Millertheatre.com

Thursday, March 5, 8:00 p.m.

Dai Fujikura: Composer Portrait

Miller Theatre, 2960 Broadway

$7-$30

The works of Osaka-born Dai Fujikura are performed with regularity by conductors such as Gustavo Dudamel and by some of the most acclaimed orchestras and ensembles in the world. As one of the leading voices of his generation, his signature “high octane instrumental writing” (The Guardian) will be exhibited in this Portrait featuring International Contemporary Ensemble, longtime champions of Fujikura. A selection of recent chamber works provide a glimpse into his unique soundworld, including Minina—inspired by the birth of his daughter—and abandoned time, written for electric guitar and ensemble.

©-bozzo
©-bozzo

March 6-7, 7:30 p.m.

Fruits borne out of rust

Japan Society, 333 Easy 47th Street

$32, $25 members

Isolation, contagion and instability: Fruits borne out of rust, conceived of and directed by internationally known Japanese visual artist Tabaimo, uses drawings, video installations and live music to probe these unsettling themes that lurk beneath daily existence. Her intricate animations transform the stage into a wood floor apartment, a large birdcage that traps the dancer with a dove, and a line of tatami mats that swallows the dancer whole. Tabaimo’s collaborator, award-winning choreographer Maki Morishita, mischievously blends the subtle movements of the dancer’s fingers and toes with the dynamic drive of her limbs and torso, enhancing Tabaimo’s peculiar and introspective world. The March 6 performance is followed by a MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception. The March 7 performance is followed by an Artist Q&A.

GKIDS

March 9 & 11, 7:00 p.m.

Tokyo Godfathers

Regal E-Walk 42nd Street 13, 247 West 43nd Street

AMC Empire 25, 234 West 42nd Street

AMC Kips Bay 15, 570 Second Avenue

$14-$20

Tokyo Godfathers, the acclaimed holiday classic from master director Satoshi Kon (Paprika, Perfect Blue), returns to theaters in a brand-new restoration. In modern-day Tokyo, three homeless people’s lives are changed forever when they discover a baby girl at a garbage dump on Christmas Eve. As the New Year fast approaches, these three forgotten members of society band together to solve the mystery of the abandoned child and the fate of her parents. Along the way, encounters with seemingly unrelated events and people force them to confront their own haunted pasts, as they learn to face their future, together. Co-written by Keiko Nobumoto (Cowboy Bebop) and featuring a whimsical score by Keiichi Suzuki, Tokyo Godfathers is a masterpiece by turns heartfelt, hilarious and highly original, a tale of hope and redemption in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. The March 9 screening is presented in Japanese with English subtitles, with the March 11 screening presented in English.

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Feb 27

Written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03), WIT Life is a periodic series about aspects of Japanese culture such as film, food and language. Stacy starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

Recently I had the chance to check out the newest exhibition at the Sato Sakura Gallery, Curious Beasts. As the name indicates, this collection of paintings is of animal portraits ranging from cats and tigers to dogs and birds. The works are from the artists Fumika Koda and Yuji Musashihara, and being a cat lover I was partial to Koda’s paintings as they mostly feature felines. In particular, I liked her painting Beautiful Spring Day (春うらら, haru urara), which shows a cat caught under falling cherry blossoms (花吹雪, hanafubuki).

Beautiful Spring Day (春うらら)
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Feb 19

JET Alum Filmmaker Unveils ‘Nourishing Japan’ Feb. 20 in NYC

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From the February 8 edition of Shukan NY Seikatsu. Join Alexis Thursday, February 20, 7:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. at the Museum of Food & Drink (MOFAD), 62 Bayard Street in Brooklyn. General admission $25; purchase tickets here. For more information, visit https://nourishingjapan.com.

Embark on a delicious journey from farmer’s field to school classroom that celebrates how one country has re-imagined school lunch and food education. At the heart of Japan’s 2005 Food Education Law are the incredible people whose daily work nourishes the next generation’s relationship to food, the earth and one another. Join documentary filmmaker Alexis Agliano Sanborn for the public premiere of Nourishing Japan in conversation with Yoriko Okamoto and Susan Miyagi McCormac of JapanCulture•NYC.

Opening remarks will be given by Jennifer L. Pomeranz, Assistant Professor of Public Health Policy and Management at NYU. Reception with light food and beverages to follow. Alexis Agliano Sanborn is an independent researcher, food advocate, nature enthusiast and an award winning artist. With over twenty years’ experience studying Japanese culture, she directed/produced Nourishing Japan, a documentary short which explores food education and the Japanese school lunch system. Alexis also maintains the website Food Education International which monitors developments of food education from around the world.

Alexis previously served as NYC Program Coordinator of the Wa-Shokuiku Project, an after-school culinary exchange program inspired and informed by the educational philosophy, flavors and foods of Japan. She received her Bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies and Japanese from UC Santa Barbara (2008), a Master’s in Regional Studies of East Asia from Harvard University (2013) and a Masters of Public Administration from New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service (2020). She lives in Washington Heights, New York City.


Jan 30

Justin’s Japan: ‘One Green Bottle’ at La MaMa

Click image to view article

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

Beginning Feb. 29, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Clubwill stage the U.S. premiere of “One Green Bottle” from writer/director/star Hideki Noda, artistic director of the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre.

“‘One Green Bottle’” is a slapstick comedy about a family of three that collapses in the span of one evening,” explains Noda. An absurdist gender-bending farce that illustrates our current selfie society’s relationship with consumerism and modern technology through one night in the life of a disordered family on the road to ruin, the play stars Noda (playing Boo, the mother of the family) with Lilo Baur (Bo, the father) and Glyn Pritchard (daughter Pickle). The English translation is adapted by Will Sharpe and features music based on Japanese noh and kabuki traditions, performed by Genichiro Tanaka.

“In today’s internet society, the information we receive is actually becoming more and more catered towards what we like, as opposed to the general perception that the world is saturated with too much information,” says Noda. “The more we receive this customized information and get into what we like, the more we are becoming like a ‘society of narcissists.’ That is why I would like to have as many diverse audiences as possible come to see my play.”

The show originally premiered in London in 2018, where it was called “enjoyably zany” by “The Telegraph.” Noda’s critically acclaimed production of “The Bee” was presented in 2012 by Japan Society as part of the Under the Radar Festival.

“One Green Bottle” runs from Feb. 29 through March 8 at the Ellen Stewart Theatre, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, 66 East Fourth Street. For tickets, visit www.lamama.org or call (212) 352-3101.


Jan 14

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — Dance at Japan Society, ‘Weathering with You,’ New York Times Travel Show

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobeshi, 2001-02). Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

Start the new year right by heading down to your local concert venue, cinema, or arts center for some fantastic new year’s fare. Whether you enjoy movies, travel, or orchestral performances classic video games, treat yourself and catch a break from the cold.

This month’s highlights include:

© Ryuichiro Suzuki

Jan. 10-12, 14

The Unknown Dancer in the Neighborhood

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street

$35, $30 members

Back by popular demand after his North American debut of Girl X in 2017 at Japan Society, Suguru Yamamoto, one of Japan’s hottest young playwright-directors and founder of theater company HANCHU-YUEI, returns with his latest one-man dance theater piece. The Unknown Dancer in the Neighborhood features Yamamoto’s signature directing style, in which characters’ thoughts are conveyed through projected words, alluding to the millennial generation’s preferred mode of communication—texting. Through movement, photography and colorful lighting, Yamamoto reveals the indifference and tenderness of a metropolis where the lives of complete strangers continuously interact and coalesce.

GKIDS

Opens Wednesday, Jan. 15

Weathering with You

Various locations and prices

Catch the highly-anticipated new film from director Makoto Shinkai and producer Genki Kawamura, the creative team behind the critically-acclaimed, global smash hit Your Name! The summer of his high school freshman year, Hodaka runs away from his remote island home to Tokyo, and quickly finds himself pushed to his financial and personal limits. The weather is unusually gloomy and rainy every day, as if to suggest his future. He lives his days in isolation, but finally finds work as a writer for a mysterious occult magazine. Then one day, Hodaka meets Hina on a busy street corner. This bright and strong-willed girl possesses a strange and wonderful ability: the power to stop the rain and clear the sky. But what happens when controlling the weather leads to unforeseen problems for the pair and Japan itself?

Courtesy of Cdn.travelpulse

Jan. 24-26

The New York Times Travel Show

Jacob K. Javits Center, 655 West 34th Street

$20-$25

Calling all travel professionals: Set your wanderlust free! Now celebrating its 17th year, this annual event features over 35,000 travel professionals, with over 740 exhibitor booths representing more than 170 destinations. Get the latest information you need for planning your next global destination with dozens of destination-specific seminars, and focused niche topics from cruises to family travel, exclusive trade-only exhibition hours, and an industry reception.

Want to stay in the loop on future events? Follow Justin on Facebook and Twitter.


Jan 14

WIT Life #338: Get to Know Kanagawa Prefecture!

Written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03), WIT Life is a periodic series about aspects of Japanese culture such as film, food and language. Stacy starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

明けましておめでとうございます! 今年もよろしく お願いします。 (Akemashite omedetō gozaimasu! Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu).   Or in more casual parlance, アケオメことよろ (ake-ome-koto-yoro)! Hope 2020, a.k.a. the Year of the Rat, has been treating you well so far. With the Tokyo Olympics around the corner, Japan is already in full gear.

But of course there is much more to Japan than just Tokyo. As part of its Get to Know Japan Series, Japan Society is kicking off the new year with a slew of programs related to Kanagawa Prefecture. The first offering takes place on January 23rd at 6:30 pm, and it has the catchy title of Get to Know Kanagawa: Hot Springs, Japan and the Great Wave. It will be moderated by my friend Susan Miyagi McCormac, Japan cultural connoisseur and founder of JapanCulture·NYC. If that is not enough of an incentive for you, the discussion will be followed by a tasting reception featuring maguro donburi (tuna rice bowl) from Misaki Port and Kanagawa sake!

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Dec 19

Justin’s Japan: ‘Weathering with You’ at Anime NYC

Click image to view article

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

On Nov. 17, more than 3,000 fans gathered in the Special Events Hall of the Javits Center for the East Coast premiere of “Weathering with You,” the latest animated film from celebrated writer/director Makoto Shinkai.

The screening served as the Closing Film event of the annual Anime NYC convention, which in its third year drew a record 46,000 fans over three days. This hotly anticipated new film from Shinkai and producer Genki Kawamura is the follow-up to their critically acclaimed global smash “Your Name” (2016), the highest-grossing Japanese film of the decade.

Produced in English and set for national release in January by New York’s own GKIDS (who backed last year’s Academy Award-nominated anime film “Mirai”), “Weathering with You” follows high schooler Hodaka, who runs away from his remote island home to Tokyo and quickly finds himself pushed to his financial and personal limits. After befriending the bright and strong-willed Hina, Hodaka witnesses her strange and wonderful ability: the power to stop the rain and clear the sky. Together the two develop a successful “sunshine” startup, but what happens when manipulating the weather leads to even greater problems?

A crowd-pleasing story with elements of comedy and romance that wed the supernatural elements of “Your Name” with the more adult concerns of Shinkai’s earlier work “The Garden of Words” (2013), “Weathering with You” serves up unforgettable animation in its exquisite lensing of an unusually gloomy and rainy Tokyo. Japanese rock band Radwimps, also returning from “Your Name,” provide solid music and songs.

“Weathering with You” premieres in the New York metropolitan area with dubbed and subtitled fan preview screenings Jan. 15-16. The film opens nationwide Jan. 17. For more information, visit https://gkids.com/films/weathering-with-you.


Oct 3

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — Pico Iyer, Hiromi, Lincoln Center Bunraku

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobeshi, 2001-02). Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

The Japan-centric events of the month ahead promise to be as rich and full as autumn itself—brisk and colorful, with a dash of unpredictability.

This month’s highlights include:

Courtesy of Zac Zinger

Thursday, Oct. 3, 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Zac Zinger Fulfillment Release Concert

Jazz at Kitano, 66 Park Avenue

$18 cover, call (212) 885-7119 for reservations

A four-time recipient of the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award, Zac Zinger is a composer and musician (whose credits includes Final Fantasy XV: Assassin’s Festival and Street Fighter V) ready to unleash his debut album. Fulfillment is a compilation of Zinger’s best compositions for small jazz ensemble over the last decade, performed on shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) and saxophone with his progressive jazz quartet featuring Sharik Hasan on piano, Adam Neely on bass, and Luke Markham on drums.

Courtesy of MuSE

Sunday, Oct. 6, 2:00 p.m.

Wind of Tsugaru in New York: Bunta Satoh, Tsugarubue

Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall), 881 Seventh Avenue

$25-$45 (click here for 20% discount for orchestra seats)

Flautist Bunta Satoh introduces the history and culture of Tsugarubue, a Japanese bamboo flute from the Tsugaru region of Aomori Prefecture. In addition to performing this one-of-a-kind music, he composes for the instrument and organizes workshops to inspire a new generation to uphold its tradition. He released his third album, The Wind of Tsugaru, in January 2017. Joining him for this performance are Hiro Hayashida and Sota Asano (taiko drums), Chihiro Shibayama (percussion), Stephanie Matthews (violin), Reenat Pinchas (cello), and Hsin-Ni Liu (piano).

Shochiku

Oct. 11-17, various times

Tora-san, Our Lovable Tramp (It’s Tough Being a Man)

Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street

$15, $9 members

New 50th anniversary 4K restoration! The longest-running film series starring the same actor (48 features over 27 years), with all but two directed by Yoji Yamada and every one starring Kiyoshi Atsumi as the itinerant, rough around the edges peddler Torajiro Kuruma (nicknamed Tora-san, literally “Mr. Tiger”), a comic figure as iconic in Japan as Chaplin while capable of cutting through pretentious piffle and providing serene counsel to the troubled and the lovelorn—if not always to himself. In his debut appearance, Tora-san hilariously botches the arranged marriage of his kid sister Sakura (Chieko Baisho), but later reverse-psychologizes two timid lovers into a real romance.

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Sep 24

 

 

Posted by Tom Baker

Novelist and former Aomori Prefecture JET Charles Kowalski, the author of the thrillers “Mind Virus” and “The Devil’s Son,” as well as the new middle-grade novel, “Simon Grey and the March of a Hundred Ghosts,” will present a workshop on giving names to fictional characters at this year’s Japan Writers Conference, happening in Tokyo on Oct. 12-13. Here’s a description of his presentation:

What’s In A Name? Tips and traps in character naming
Craft workshop

Remember the journey into Mordor by the heroic Bingo Baggins? (Of course not, and aren’t you glad?) The naming of characters is a difficult matter, but we will discuss the three main considerations (sound, meaning, and associations) and their applications to genres ranging from contemporary fiction to SF and fantasy, along with pitfalls to avoid.

Charles Kowalski’s debut thriller, MIND VIRUS, won the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Colorado Gold Award, and was a finalist for the Killer Nashville Claymore Award and the Adventure Writers’ Grandmaster Award. His first middle-grade novel, SIMON GREY AND THE MARCH OF A HUNDRED GHOSTS, was just released by Excalibur Books.

For more information, visit charleskowalski.com or japanwritersconference.org.


Sep 21

 

Posted by Tom Baker

Kanazawa JET Michael Frazier is set to lead a poetry workshop at this year’s Japan Writers Conference (Oct. 12-13 in Tokyo). Here’s the official description:

Haibun, Tanka, Pecha Kucha—Contemporary English-Language Poets & Japanese Forms
Craft Workshop

This workshop focuses on the influences of unsung Japanese poetic forms on contemporary English language poetry and spoken word. We’ll watch and read haibun, pecha kucha, and tanka. We’ll discuss the forms and write our own poems using one of the forms. This generative workshop is open to writers of all genres.
In particular, we will look at less common forms (haibun & tanka) and newly-invented forms (Origami & Pecha Kucha). The Pecha Kucha, based on a Japanese business presentation style, was pioneered as a poetic form by American poet Terrance Hayes. It is this type of ingenuity this workshop is to focused on. In this workshop we will look at poems by writers of color who practice “re-approaching” by using Japanese forms like Aziza Barnes, Sonia Sanchez, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Amiri Baraka, and Terrance Hayes. We will discuss the content of their poems, why they used the form, and how they reinvented. Participants will be asked to choose a form and write something new in the workshop.

Michael Frazier graduated from NYU, where he was the 2017 Poet Commencement Speaker & College Union Poetry Slam Invitational Co-Champion. He has performed at venues such as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, & Gallatin Arts Festival. His poems appear in The Visual Poetry Project, Day One, The Speakeasy Project, & others. Catch him reading poems for The Adroit Journal & teaching SHS in Kanazawa.


Sep 15

 

Posted by Tom Baker

A trio of current JETs – Micah Tasaka, Yoshika Wason, and Michael Frazier – will be among nearly 50 published writers making presentations at this year’s Japan Writers Conference (Oct. 12-13 in Tokyo). Here’s the official description of what they’ll do:

Beyond Borders: Creating Connective Writing Communities
Reading, Panel, and Q&A

In this presentation, we will discuss how to build international writing communities, utilize internet resources, and create publishing opportunities for one another. Ultimately, we want to explore the connective power of writing communities in our home countries and abroad while focusing on creating mutual support and legitimacy for other writers.
While publishing is often thought of as written work being “accepted” by a publisher, we would like to question what publishing means and focus on how to build international communities that support and create opportunities for one another. Through this discussion, we seek to dismantle the scarcity complex that often surrounds publishing and find new ways to get our work in front of audiences by means of collaboration and community support while utilizing internet resources to extend our reach to a global scale. With backgrounds in both written and performance art, we would like to redefine publishing to be more inclusive and community based. By establishing communities that are willing to hear and experience one another’s work, can we create space for more writers to be legitimized? In doing so, how can we ensure that those who exist in the margins are also heard from and not just established writers?

Micah Tasaka is a queer mixed Japanese poet and spoken word artist from the Inland Empire, California, residing in Fukui prefecture, Japan. They received their undergraduate degree in creative writing from the University of California, Riverside. Micah is a community organizer and has taught workshops on publishing manuscripts, poetry performance skills, and using poetry as healing for trauma survivors. Their first full length manuscript, Expansions, was released on Jamii Publishing in 2017, and their work has appeared in In the Words of Women, Name and None, and Nikkei Uncovered among others.
www.micahtasaka.com

Yoshika Wason is a teacher and writer. She earned her BA from Boston College, where she was Editor in Chief of ASIAM, an Asian Pacific Islander American literary magazine. She is continuing her work in the API community through her current role as Co President of the Asian Pacific Islander Association for Japan Exchange and Teaching (API AJET.) Yoshika is working on her first full length poetry manuscript currently titled Second Chances for Fallen Blessed Children and also has a self published micro chapbook called Extra Bold. She currently writes a monthly education column
called Today’s Lesson and has been published in Ghost City Review, Rice Paper Magazine, The Paper Napkin, and elsewhere. Learn more at
www.yoshikawason.com

Michael Frazier graduated from NYU, where he was the 2017 Poet Commencement Speaker & College Union Poetry Slam Invitational Co-Champion. He has performed at venues such as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, & Gallatin Arts Festival. His poems appear in The Visual Poetry Project, Day One, The Speakeasy Project, & others. Catch him reading poems for The Adroit Journal & teaching SHS in Kanazawa.

For more information about this year’s Japan Writers Conference, visit www.japanwritersconference.org.


Sep 11

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — Babymetal, ‘Promare,’ Joe Hisaishi

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobeshi, 2001-02). Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

As the summer winds fade into fall colors, the weeks ahead are shaping up with these exciting events, ready to be enjoyed after Labor Day.

This month’s highlights include:

Courtesy of Babymetal

Sunday, Sept. 15, 8:00 p.m.

Babymetal + Avatar 

Terminal 5, 610 West 56th Street

$59.50

First NYC appearance in three and a half years! Su-metal and Moametal are a genre-smashing duo of teenage girls who perform a fusion of metal and idol music dubbed kawaii (cute) metal. After playing to a capacity crowds at Hammerstein Ballroom in 2014 and PlayStation Theater in 2016, the group returns to support its long-awaited third album Metal Galaxy, coming in October. After opening for bands like Metallica, Guns N’ Roses and the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2017, Babymetal is one of the biggest (and widely known abroad) Japanese musical acts today. Featuring support from Swedish metal group Avatar, promoting their recent release The King Live in Paris.

Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.

Monday, Sept. 16, 8:00 p.m.

Man with a Mission

Gramercy Theatre, 127 East 23rd Street

$27.50

Returning to North America for the first time in five years, Man with a Mission are one of the most important and loved rock bands in Asia today, having collaborated with artists ranging from Patrick Stump to milet. Their newest single “Dark Crow” has been selected as the theme song for the second season of NHK’s TV anime series Vinland Saga, and the tour supports the release of their most recent album, Chasing the Horizon. The album is the wolf collective’s fifth in their native Japan but their first brand new album to be released worldwide and has received widespread critical acclaim.

GKIDS

Sept. 17 & 19, 7:00 p.m.

Promare

Regal E-Walk 42nd Street 13, 247 West 43nd Street

AMC Empire 25, 234 West 42nd Street

AMC 34th Street 14, 312 West 34th Street

$12.50

The first feature-length film from the acclaimed Studio TRIGGER, creators of the hit series KILL la KILL and Little Witch Academia, and director Hiroyuki Imaishi (GURREN LAGANN, KILL la KILL), Promare uses a bold cel-shaded visual style to tell a blistering action-adventure story, and is the spiritual successor to many of director Imaishi’s former works. Thirty years has passed since the appearance of Burnish, a race of flame-wielding mutant beings, who destroyed half of the world with fire. When a new group of aggressive mutants calling themselves “Mad Burnish” appears, the epic battle between Galo Thymos, a new member of the anti-Burnish rescue team “Burning Rescue,” and Lio Fotia, the leader of “Mad Burnish” begins. The Sept. 17 screening is presented in English. The Sept. 19 screening is presented in Japanese with English subtitles.

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Aug 29

Posted by Tom Baker.

JET alum Jennifer Hammer will be among nearly 50 published writers making presentations at this year’s Japan Writers Conference (Oct. 12-13 in Tokyo). Here’s the official description of her talk:

“NaNoWriMo: What Are These Syllables and Why Do Writers Care?”

This lecture will focus on what exactly NaNoWriMo is, the pros and cons of writing 50,000 words in thirty days, and how writers can benefit from this online (and real life) community during the official November event, in April and July for “Camp NaNo,” and with writers of varying levels from around the world. Why should a writer care about these four syllables? Because NaNo is a great resource for writers, can be adapted to schools (and/or clubs), and is a way to make friends for life (as well as connect with the 5AM writing club, whichever time zone you’re in).

Jennifer Hammer is the Tokyo Municipal Leader (ML) for NaNoWriMo and a four-year NaNo winner. She writes whatever pretty idea catches her attention, all the way from super hero romance (White Knight) to creepy-crawly horror (JA Hammer) to fantasy video games (Coffee Quills).

For more details, visit http://www.japanwritersconference.org/


Aug 3

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — Liberty City Anime Con, Miyavi, ‘Millennium Actress’

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobeshi, 2001-02). Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

In the dog days of summer, it’s best to escape the heat in a place that’s cozy and cool. For those into Japan-related cultural events, this month offers a diverse selection of film premieres and live music—all in the comfort of indoor air conditioning.

This month’s highlights include:

Courtesy of Renireni.com

Aug. 9-11

Liberty City Anime Con

Crowne Plaza Times Square, 1605 Broadway

$40-$60

The best three-day anime convention in New York City returns for its third year and features over 100 events and panels, three days of cosplay, game tournaments and anime screenings, concerts, balls and dances. This year’s special guests include Tyler Walker, Heather Walker, CDawgVA, Brittany Lauda, Matt Shipman and Gigi Edgley, with special performances by Frenchy and the Punk and and Reni Mimura!

Courtesy of Sonyhall.com

Saturday, Aug. 10, 8:00 p.m.

Keiko Matsui with Randy Brecker

Sony Hall, 235 West 46th Street

$35, $75 VIP

Keiko Matsui’s music speaks to the hearts and souls of fans around the world, transcending borders and building bridges among people who share a common appreciation of honest artistry and cultural exchange. Echo, her 28th recording as a leader, melds exquisite compositions with lush harmonies and global rhythms to create timeless musical anthems. Joining her is jazz trumpeter and composer Randy Brecker, who has helped shape the sound of jazz, R&B and rock for more than four decades. His trumpet and flugelhorn performances have graced hundreds of albums by a wide range of artists from James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen and Parliament/Funkadelic to Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, Jaco Pastorius and Frank Zappa.

Micah Joel Photography

Aug. 10-11

PLAY NYC

Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street

$25 single day, $50 full weekend, $100 dev & pro weekend pass

Launched in 2017, PLAY NYC is New York City’s premier game convention for creators and players. The weekend will feature a full pavilion of playable games for all consoles, PC, virtual reality and mobile devices from studios large and small and developers old and new. Games will include indie projects with some larger triple A titles. Get access to some of the biggest games coming later this year and discover many you’ve never even heard of. PLAY NYC celebrates every facet of gaming in a way that only the Big Apple can by uniting players, developers and industry pros at a games event like no other.

Eleven Arts

Aug. 13, 19, 7:00 p.m.

Millennium Actress

Regal E-Walk 42nd Street 13, 247 West 43nd Street

AMC Empire 25, 234 West 42nd Street

AMC Kips Bay 15, 570 Second Avenue

$12.50

Experience the gorgeous new restoration of what many believe to be Satoshi Kon’s (Perfect Blue, Paprika) greatest work. When the legendary Ginei Studios shuts down, filmmaker Genya Tachibana and his assistant are tasked with interviewing its reclusive star, Chiyoko Fujiwara, who had retired from the spotlight 30 years prior. As she recounts her career, Genya and his crew are literally pulled into her memories where they witness her chance encounter with a mysterious man on the run from the police. Despite never knowing his name or his face, Chiyoko relentlessly pursues that man in a seamless blend of reality and memory that only Satoshi Kon could deliver. Boasting countless awards, including the Grand Prize in the Japan Agency of Cultural Affairs Media Arts Festival (which it shared with Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away), Millennium Actress is a must-see for anime fans of all ages. Includes a post-film conversation with producers Taro Maki and Masao Maruyama as they reflect on making the film and Satoshi Kon’s legacy. The Aug. 13 screening is presented in Japanese with English subtitles. The Aug. 19 screening is presented in English.

Courtesy of Sonyhall.com

Monday, Aug. 19, 8:00 p.m.

Miyavi

Sony Hall, 235 West 46th Street

$35, $69.50 VIP

Known to his fans as the “Samurai Guitarist,” Miyavi is gaining recognition around the world for his unconventional style of playing the guitar—not with a pick, but with his fingers and his “slap style,” which is like no other. Miyavi has six successful world tours under his belt, totaling more than 250 shows in 30 countries across North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. In recent years, Miyavi gathered attention from other artists and creators in the field. He has also produced music for television commercials, and is receiving a lot of attention from fashion brands. With his acting debut in Unbroken, Miyavi was inspired by the message of peace which he himself has strived for; he has been able to use all his performing abilities this time as an actor who considers his body and soul to be his instrument.

GKIDS

Aug. 25-26, 28, various times

My Neighbor Totoro

Regal E-Walk 42nd Street 13, 247 West 43nd Street

AMC Empire 25, 234 West 42nd Street

AMC Kips Bay 15, 570 Second Avenue

$12.50

From the legendary Studio Ghibli, creators of Spirited Away and Ponyo, and Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki, comes a classic tale of magic and adventure for the whole family. When Satsuki and her sister Mei move with their father to a new home in the countryside, they find country life is not as simple as it seems. They soon discover that the house and nearby woods are full of strange and delightful creatures, including a gigantic but gentle forest spirit called Totoro, who can only be seen by children. Totoro and his friends introduce the girls to a series of adventures, including a ride aboard the extraordinary Cat Bus, in this all-ages animated masterpiece. The Aug. 25 and 28 screenings are presented in English. The Aug. 26 screening is presented in Japanese with English subtitles.

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Jul 29

JQ Magazine: JQ&A with Director Shinya Tsukamoto at JAPAN CUTS

“In the film Killing, I don’t necessarily have one political message that’s strongly pursued, and I want the audience to figure out the film’s message for themselves. Personally speaking, I find it to be incredibly frightening today of what the Japanese government is doing.” (Courtesy of Shinya Tsukamoto)

 

 

By Lyle Sylvander (Yokohama-shi, 2001-02) for JQ magazine. Lyle used to work in New York City for Merchant Ivory Productions and the National Geographic Channel. He currently teaches history, international relations and film at an international high school in Shanghai, China.

Shinya Tsukamoto is a Japanese filmmaker most famous for his Tetsuo trilogy of horror/sci-fi films: Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989), Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1992), and Tetsuo: the Bullet Man (2009). Other films include Hiruko the Goblin (1991), Bullet Ballet (1998), and Tokyo Fist (1995). He has also acted in most of his own films as well as those of others, most recently in Martin Scorsese’s Silence (2016). 

Last week, Tsukamoto made a special appearance at Japan Society in New York City for their annual JAPAN CUTS film festival to receive their prestigious CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film, as well as to speak at the East Coast premiere of his latest film, Killing. In this exclusive interview, JQ spoke with the director about violence and politics in his work, lifelong influences, and the story behind the name of his most enduring creation. (Translation by Aiko Masubuchi.)

You have stated that Killing was made in response to the violence you see today in society. All of your previous films have dealt with violence in one way or another—how is your position towards violence different in this film than in others?

When I was little, and for a long time, of course there were some violent things that happened in Japan, but mostly speaking, the violence was outside Japan and Japan was a country that would try to avoid war. It was that way for a long period of time. So, in my earlier films, the violence I was depicting was more fantastical. But now, times have changed: Japan is turning into a country that is getting ready to go to war, and so I could no longer depict violence through a fantastical lens—I needed to depict violence as something realistic and scary and use it as a warning, and so could no longer depict violence the same way.

Does this mean that your film is in response to the Abe administration’s recent foreign policy and re-militarization of Japan?

In the film, I don’t necessarily have one political message that’s strongly pursued, and I want the audience to figure out the film’s message for themselves. Personally speaking, I find it to be incredibly frightening today of what the Japanese government is doing.

How does your version of Nobi (Fires on the Plain) differ from Kon Ichikawa’s classic version of the same anti-war story?

I am a huge fan of Kon Ichikawa’s film Nobi, and I first saw it when I was in high school. I thought it was a fantastic anti-war statement and incredibly moving. In fact, the films I made as a teenager were greatly influenced by it. What I like about Ichikawa’s film is that he brings the camera into the internal darkness of the characters. Even though the setting of the original story is in the Philippines, Ichikawa’s film was shot in Japan. But what struck me in the original story was the beautiful nature and the landscapes of the Philippines, which contrasted the horror of what the soldiers were doing to each other. To me, it seemed important to have the Philippines’ beautiful nature as a backdrop, so the way we approached the film visually was quite different.

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