Sep 6

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — Collision: Brooklyn, ‘Four Nights of Dream,’ The Joy of Sake

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 Nipponclub.org

Friday, Sept. 8, 6:45 p.m.

Sake Social 2017

The Nippon Club, 145 West 57th Street

$70, $60 members

The Nippon Club will present “Sake Social 2017″, featuring a sake tasting with 14 different “Kuramoto” (sake brewers) from Japan, on 9/8 (Fri). From Fukui to Yamaguchi, each Kuramoto will bring 2 types of Sake to the event, so you can enjoy 28 types of Sake and Chef Yasuoka’s tasty appetizers. For RSVP and more info, call Mita-san at (212) 581-2223 or email info@nipponclub.org.

Courtesy of Residentadvisor.net

Friday, Sept. 8, 8:00 p.m.

Collision: Brooklyn

Lot 45, 411 Troutman Street (Brooklyn)

$20 advance, $30 at the door

Collision is a cross-cultural event that aims to expose Japan’s underground music and culture to cities across the globe by curating lineups of Japanese and local artists (seven acts in all). With the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics on the horizon, organizers hope to introduce Japan’s unique subcultures to the millennials of the U.S. and contribute to the attraction and brand of the country, while supporting local creatives and businesses.

Illustration by Ben Warren and David O’Nyon, copyright Japan Society

Sept. 13, 15-16, 7:30 p.m.

Four Nights of Dream

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street

$55, $45 Japan Society members

A frustrated samurai. An unwieldy herd of pigs. A mysterious murder. A woman’s dying wish. Four surreal stories from Japanese author Natsume Soseki’s (1867-1916) Ten Nights of Dream come to life in Four Nights of Dream (2008), a contemporary chamber opera that traverses the subconscious through colorful melodies and piercing emotions. For this new production, New York vocalists and Tokyo instrumentalists come together to perform within a spellbinding and ever-morphing set. Performed in English.

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Sep 6

Justin’s Japan: LUCKYRICE and The Joy of Sake

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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.

Autumn in New York is the season for delectable dishes, and this month has two unmissable events on the calendar.

First comes the annual LUCKYRICE New York Feast at Mandarin Oriental on September 22. Founded by Danielle Chang in 2010, this eagerly awaited event will once again showcase the city’s most enticing Asian food experiences, along with avant-garde spots, fine dining establishments and local superstar mom and pop shops. Tradition becomes progressive in this mash-up of culinary cuisines, with drinks provided by Asahi Beer and Suntory Whisky (for even more LUCKYRICE, check out their EPIC-urean Asian Feast hosted by BD Wong at Capitale on October 14).

Turning the spotlight to sake, returning for its 12th annual celebration in New York City is The Joy of Sake. The world’s largest sake tasting event outside of Japan comes to Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea on September 27, featuring a record 400 premium labels from every part of Japan and sake appetizers from 16 of New York’s finest restaurants, including Momofuku, Sakagura and SushiSamba.

While current statistics show that sake is losing ground to beer in Japan, it continues to make inroads in the U.S., especially among drink-savvy New Yorkers.

“In the last 10 years the amount of sake imported into New York has doubled as more and more people discover how good the premium labels can be,” says event organizer Chris Pearce. “The Joy of Sake is a celebration of the pleasures of the sake cup—and it’s also one of the best annual food and beverage events in New York.”

For more information and tickets, visit www.luckyrice.com and www.joyofsake.com.


Sep 3

Around Japan in 47 curries: Fukushima fire curry

Tom Baker (Chiba, 1989-91) is writing a 47-part series of posts on his Tokyo Tom Baker blog, in which he samples and comments on curries representing each of Japan’s 47 prefectures. Those covered so far include Kumamoto Prefecture horse meat curry and Gunma Prefecture silk mill curry. Here’s an excerpt from his 17th installment, about two spicy curries from Fukushima Prefecture.

Fukushima Prefecture has a long history of recovering from geological disasters. Some of those disasters can be remembered through local curries.

One such curry commemorates the July 15, 1888, eruption of Mt. Bandai, a volcano near the center of the prefecture. The mountain had been a smooth, Fuji-like cone before it suddenly exploded due to a buildup of underground steam. The blast – which went largely sideways rather than up, similar to the explosion of Mt. St. Helens in the United States a century later – left behind an irregularly shaped mountain with four separate peaks. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the explosion could be heard from a distance of 50 to 100 kilometers, an avalanche of debris buried five towns and 11 villages, and ash fell from the sky along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, about 90 kilometers away. At least 461 people died.

Did I say there’s a curry that commemorates this event? Perhaps I should have said there’s a curry that cashes in on it. The design on the box of “Mt. Bandai Great Eruption Curry” is not exactly reverent. But I bought it in a souvenir shop at the foot of the still-active volcano. The people who live and work in such an area are entitled to a bit of gallows humor, especially more than a century later.

The back of the box includes warnings that children, pregnant women, and those with weak stomachs or high blood pressure should eat this lava-like curry with caution, if at all. So naturally, I was expecting something super-hot…

To read the full post, including a comment on radiation, go here.


Apr 8

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — ‘Your Name,’ Miyavi, Charan-Po-Rantan

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobeshi, 2001-02) for Examiner.com. Visit his Japanese culture page here for related stories.

Spring has sprung in the Big Apple, and that means one thing: a new season of sounds, colors, and spectacular performing arts to match the blossoming sakura trees throughout the city.

This month’s highlights include:

© 2016 “YOUR NAME.” FILM PARTNERS

Now playing

Your Name

Landmark Sunshine Cinema, 143 East Houston Street

$14.50

Written and directed by Makoto Shinkai (Centimeters Per Second, Children Who Chase Lost Voices), the highest-grossing internationally released anime film in history finally comes to America! The day the stars fell, two lives changed forever. High schoolers Mitsuha and Taki are complete strangers living separate lives. But one night, they suddenly switch places. Mitsuha wakes up in Taki’s body, and he in hers. This bizarre occurrence continues to happen randomly, and the two must adjust their lives around each other. Yet, somehow, it works. They build a connection and communicate by leaving notes, messages, and more importantly, an imprint. When a dazzling comet lights up the night’s sky, something shifts, and they seek each other out wanting something more—a chance to finally meet.

Courtesy of Bbkingblues.com

Sunday, April 9, 8:00 p.m.

Keiko Matsui

B.B. King Blues Club and Grill, 237 West 42nd Street

$29.50 advance, $35 day of show

A courageous, spiritually-driven and consummate artist who transcends boundaries, Keiko Matsui has worked alongside the best, including Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Hugh Masakela, and Bob James. Her unique melting pot of musical influences have garnered her a devout international following, as she tours relentlessly and seeks to make a genuine connection with her audience. “This music energizes me and I am overwhelmed with emotion when I listen to it. I hope people will allow themselves to go inside the music and become a part of my journey,” says the Tokyo native. In the words of Duke Ellington, Keiko Matsui is “beyond category.”

Courtesy of Clubbonafide.com

Friday, April 21, 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Orange Pekoe

Club Bonafide, 212 East 52nd Street

$20

Orange Pekoe is a band composed of vocalist Tomoko Nagashima and guitarist Kazuma Fujimoto. Formed in 1998, they started creating original songs and have developed a unique sound sublimating various types of music such as jazz, Latin, Brazilian and soul. Since then, Orange Pekoe has been acclaimed as a one-of-a-kind uniquely artistic band.. Their performance style varies from a duo to a band, sometimes playing alongside a 16-member big band-style orchestra, which they received renown as one of the most unique and talented artists in Japan.

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Feb 2

LM (CIR Ishikawa-ken, Anamizu, 2009-11) is the editor of The Ishikawa JET Kitchen: Cooking in Japan Without a Fight. Ze works in international student exchange; writes I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog about food culture in Japan and the US; curates The Rice Cooker Chronicles, a series of essays by JETs and JET alumni on the theme of cooking/eating and being alone in Japan; and admins The JET Alumni Culinary Group on LinkedIn.

 

Channel your inner katsudon fatale with this recipe, plus a review of hit anime Yuri!!! on Ice.

Screen Shot 2017-01-08 at 11.37.43 PM

 

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Jan 31

WITLife #309: An Evening of Umami and Shokuiku

WIT Life is a periodic series written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03). She starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some of the interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

Last night I had the opportunity to interpret for Chef Kiyomi Mikuni at an event at Japan Society entitled “Umami and Other Japanese Culinary Secrets.” Mikuni is an entertaining speaker whose wide-ranging presentation covered everything from how important it is to develop taste buds at a young age to working with Japanese children on 食育 (shokuiku, or dietary education). Mikuni runs the gourmet French restaurant Hotel de Mikuni in Tokyo, but his culinary journey started in a fishing village in Hokkaido. Growing up he would go out with his fisherman father, and enjoy the fruits of the sea bestowed upon them. At 15 he went to Sapporo to work as a chef at a hotel there before moving to Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel. At 20 he was sent to Geneva to be the chef at the Japanese Embassy, where he Read More


Nov 18

WIT Life is a periodic series written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03). She starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some of the interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

Along with ramen and sushi, sake is a part of Japanese food and drink culture that is ubiquitous here in New York.  But as someone who spent the majority of my time in Japan in Kyushu, I sometimes wonder why shochu doesn’t get its fair share of the acclaim.  Down there shochu is the go-to drink, and since 90% of domestic production takes place at distilleries in Kyushu it is known as Shochu Island.

So I was thrilled when Japan Society asked me to interpret at its first ever event showcasing shochu, Distilled, Not Brewed: Discovering Shochu.  The main speaker was Shinichiro Watanabe, CEO of Kyoya Shuzo and Chairman of the Committee on Shochu Planning at the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association.  His presentation on shochu was for the uninitiated, and highlighted aspects of this distilled liquor such as its history, cultural significance and health benefits.

To breakdown the basics of Watanabe’s presentation, the main way that shochu differs from sake is that it is distilled as opposed to brewed.  Sake is made from rice whereas shochu can be made from ingredients such as sweet potato, barley and rice.  The ingredient is determined by what Read More


Sep 29

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — ‘Shin Godzilla,’ New York Comic Con, Ramen Slurpfest, ‘We Are X’

 

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 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:

01-courtesy-of-i-ytimg-comOct. 1-2

ESL One New York 2016

Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Avenue (Brooklyn)

$49, $89

ESL, the world’s largest esports company, brings the East Coast’s largest esports tournament to Brooklyn! This two-day tournament will feature a $250,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competition and a $75,000 Street Fighter V Brooklyn Beatdown offline tournament! In addition to the tourneys, ESL One New York will feature a wide array of activities as part of the main event, including pro player autograph sessions, virtual reality experiences, the ESL Shop, and other fan fest activities.

Courtesy of Dromnyc-com.

Courtesy of Dromnyc.com.

Sunday, Oct. 2, 7:00 p.m.

Edensong Album Release Show

DROM, 85 Avenue A

$13 advance, $18 at the door

“I started writing some of the material for the album on my final year on JET,” says New York City-based alum Tony Waldman (Mie-ken, 2005-09), drummer and co-composer for progressive rock quintet Edensong, about the band’s new album, Years in the Garden of Years. “Some of the music is definitely inspired by Japanese RPG game music and references stuff both musically and in the titles of songs.” The band’s self-released 2008 debut The Fruit Fallen was hailed as a “masterpiece” by critics, and helped pave the way for live shows and notable festival appearances throughout North America. Their new release further explores their intricately composed eclectic orchestral rock style, culminating in this special live performance.

Courtesy of Jazz.org

Courtesy of Jazz.org

Wednesday, Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Lew Tabackin Trio with special guest Toshiko Akiyoshi

Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Broadway and 60th Street, fifth floor

$40, $25 students

One of the greatest marriages in jazz history, NEA Jazz Master Toshiko Akiyoshi and reed virtuoso Lew Tabackin have been leading and performing in top jazz groups since the sixties. Akiyoshi is known for her challenging and full-textured arrangements that sometimes evoke her homeland, Japan, while Tabackin is recognized for his dedication to showing the full range of possibilities on his instrument—melodically, rhythmically, and dynamically. Together, they lead an eponymous big band of international renown, but this special one-night-only engagement at Dizzy’s will showcase the duo in a more intimate small group setting.

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Apr 1

LM (CIR Ishikawa-ken, Anamizu, 2009-11) is the editor of The Ishikawa JET Kitchen: Cooking in Japan Without a Fight. Ze works in international student exchange; writes I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog about food culture in Japan and the US; curates The Rice Cooker Chronicles, a series of essays by JETs and JET alumni on the theme of cooking/eating and being alone in Japan; and admins The JET Alumni Culinary Group on LinkedIn.

Have I told you, dear readers, how much I love Lottie and Doof‘s “Black Sesame and Pear Cake”? When I could get Western pears, I loved making that cake in Japan, where black sesame is a common ice cream and wagashi flavor. I wanted to adapt the flavors of this cake into something smaller, less sweet, and more portable for weekday breakfasts, hence the muffins.

Click HERE to read MORE.


Mar 7

Leah (CIR Ishikawa-ken, Anamizu, 2009-11) is the editor of The Ishikawa JET Kitchen: Cooking in Japan Without a Fight. She works in international student exchange; writes I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog about food culture in Japan and the US; curates The Rice Cooker Chronicles, a series of essays by JETs and JET alumni on the theme of cooking/eating and being alone in Japan; and admins The JET Alumni Culinary Group on LinkedIn.

Via @eerrkkyy. Images of Aya, the Pocky character, in a yellow dress and her lips puckered up, lined up with the women characters from the Afternoon Tea bottles, thus appearing to kiss them.

Via @eerrkkyy. Images of Aya, the Pocky character, in a yellow dress and her lips puckered up, lined up with the women characters from the Afternoon Tea bottles, thus appearing to kiss them.

On Feb. 16, 2016, Kirin’s Afternoon Tea brand and Glico’s candy Pocky released their second design/pairing collaboration with Pocky’s “Lemon Love” (恋のレモン) and Afternoon Tea’s “Teagurt” (yogurt + tea) (ティーグルト). Eaten together, the candy and the tea are supposed to taste like rare cheesecake (レアチーズケーキ) a Japanese style of cheesecake that isn’t baked but is stabilized by the addition of gelatin. The package design is also a collaboration: the Pocky boxes feature a woman (Aya) in a yellow dress on one set and a man (Tsubasa) in a yellow vest on the other. Aya and Tsubasa are positioned on the left side of their respective Pocky boxes so you can pair them with the 6 different characters featured on the right side on the drink bottle. There are three men and three women characters on the drink bottles, with one woman character and one man character on opposite sides of the same bottle, so you can turn the bottle to have the character of your choice to face the character on your Pocky box.

At first glance, it looks like Glico and Kirin have created something inclusive, and it’s really, really adorable.

At least until you start reading the copy.

Click HERE to read MORE.


Jan 31

WIT Life #295: Wonder 500 Exhibition

WIT Life is a periodic series written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03). She starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some of the interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

I arrived in DC yesterday to begin my first State Department interpreting assignment in a while.  I’m looking forward to working with my Okinawan group as we travel across the country learning about base-hosting communities in the U.S. I hope that knowing our second half will be in San Diego/Hawaii will make surviving the brutal cold awaiting us in our next stop of Omaha, Nebraska a bit easier…

Getting to spend time in such lovely warm weather while New York is in the middle of winter is a great incentive to be on the road, but the hard part is missing out on cool stuff back home.  One such event is the currently running Wonder 500, a collection of Japan’s finest goods, foods and travel experiences.  This free exhibit Read More


Jan 12

I’ll Make It Myself!: Crying a Thousand Beautiful Tears into my Tofu

Leah (CIR Ishikawa-ken, Anamizu, 2009-11) is the editor of The Ishikawa JET Kitchen: Cooking in Japan Without a Fight. She works in international student exchange; writes I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog about food culture in Japan and the US; curates The Rice Cooker Chronicles, a series of essays by JETs and JET alumni on the theme of cooking/eating and being alone in Japan; and admins The JET Alumni Culinary Group on LinkedIn.

On my business trip, I had an overnight in Kyoto, and my coworker and I stopped to get lunch at Kyoto Station before going to our hotel. While I’m partial to the “solid tofu” (katatôfu [堅豆腐]) of the Kaga region, I also love Kyoto’s yuba (ゆば, 湯葉), the “tofu skin” and didn’t want to leave the city without eating some. We stopped at Kyotofu Fujino (京豆富「不二乃)」, the Kyoto JR Station’s location of Kyotofu Fujino (note the different kanji: 京とうふ藤野) and ordered a set lunch.

And then proceeded to weep into our tofu.

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Oct 28

Leah (CIR Ishikawa-ken, Anamizu, 2009-11) is the editor of The Ishikawa JET Kitchen: Cooking in Japan Without a Fight. She works in international student exchange; writes I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog about food culture in Japan and the US; curates The Rice Cooker Chronicles, a series of essays by JETs and JET alumni on the theme of cooking/eating and being alone in Japan; and admins The JET Alumni Culinary Group on LinkedIn.

Krispy Kreme’s “Mad for Monsters” campaign features four types of doughnuts: Spider Chocolate Custard (スパイダーチョコカスタード), a custard-filled doughnut with a spiderweb design in chocolate icing; Caramel Halloween Jack (キャラメルハロウィーンジャック), a caramel-custard-filled doughnut with a jack-o-lantern design; Maple Milk Franken (メプルミルクフランケン), a square doughnut with a Frankenstein’s monster design and filled with maple custard; and Purple Potato Monster (ムラサキイモモンスター), a yeast ring with purple-sweet-potato icing and three cereal “eyes.”

Click HERE to read MORE.


Oct 28

Justin’s Japan: LuckyRice New York Slurpfest Serves up Ramen Heaven on Earth

Gator Shio Ramen from Crane Ramen of Gainesville, presented at LuckyRice New York Slurpfest 2015. (Justin Tedaldi)

Gator Shio Ramen from Crane Ramen of Gainesville, presented at LuckyRice New York Slurpfest 2015. (Justin Tedaldi)

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Examiner.com. Visit his Japanese culture page here for related stories.

Imagine a place where a variety of regional ramen from around the world is served all in one night. Enter New York Slurpfest 2015, which was held Oct. 22 at Astor Center in Manhattan, featuring dishes from places as diverse as Florida, Fukuoka, Hawaii and Rhode Island—a ramen lover’s dream event.

Slurpfest, which is organized by New York-based Asian culinary event producers LuckyRice, was first held in 2013 and is expected to continue from the looks of last week’s participants, all slurping ramen with smiling faces.

“LuckyRice was founded seven years ago to bring awareness to [Asian] culture, and food is the most universal medium,” said LuckyRice founder Danielle Chang, who rhapsodized about ramen with guests throughout the evening.

“This simple staple has become this glorified chef cuisine,” she added, noting that the amount of ramen restaurants in Japan alone outnumbers every McDonald’s location on the planet.

My evening began with an intriguing dish originating from Crane Ramen in Gainesville called Gator Shio Ramen, which was made with a surprisingly refreshing salt broth topped with corn, greens, quail egg, and alligator tail chashu.

For the complete story, click here.


Oct 27

Leah (CIR Ishikawa-ken, Anamizu, 2009-11) is the editor of The Ishikawa JET Kitchen: Cooking in Japan Without a Fight. She works in international student exchange; writes I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog about food culture in Japan and the US; curates The Rice Cooker Chronicles, a series of essays by JETs and JET alumni on the theme of cooking/eating and being alone in Japan; and admins The JET Alumni Culinary Group on LinkedIn.

Documenting Halloween in Japan used to be sort of a game to see which companies were marketing the holiday as a seasonal event amidst globalization and marketing gimmicks…. I wanted all the cool doughnuts from the website/ad, but all Ikebukuro had was the jack-o-lantern shaped ones. I also got a kinako raised ring (yeast doughnut) and a chocolate Pon de Ring.
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