Nov 30

JQ Magazine: Fathom Events Bring Totoro, Macross to the Big Screen

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.

A longtime partner of classic and current theatrical anime releases, Fathom Events is showcasing two enormously influential films in theaters nationwide this month that were first screened in the U.S. a generation ago.

© 1988 Studio Ghibli

Kicking things off as a capper to this year’s Studio Ghibli Fest 2021, My Neighbor Totoro returns to the big screen Dec. 5, 6 and 9. Directed by Academy Award-winning legend Hayao Miyazaki, the titular Totoro is a gigantic but gentle forest spirit who can only be seen by children. When the young Satuski and her sister Mei move to a new home in the countryside with their father, Totoro and his friends introduce the girls to a series of adventures, including a ride in the extraordinary Cat Bus!

Originally released in U.S. theaters in 1993, this edition features exclusive bonus content. The 2005 English-language dub screenings on Dec. 5 and 9 feature the voices of Tim Daly, Lea Salonga, and real-life sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning. With over $1 billion from licensed merchandise sales worldwide and a top spot on many “best animated film ever” lists, don’t miss your chance to catch this unforgettable tale of magic an adventure for the whole family!

© 1995 BIGWEST/MACROSS PLUS PROJECT #MacrossPlus_US

From the past to the not-too-distant future comes Macross Plus Movie Edition, a theatrical sequel to the groundbreaking Macross (Robotech in the U.S.) 1980s TV staple. Originially released a four-part video series in the mid-’90s, Macross Plus features a Who’s Who of anime talent: Directed by series creator Shoji Kawamori and Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop), music by the legendary Yoko Kanno (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex), and the vocal talent of Megumi Hayashibara (too many to mention), among others.

In this one-night-only (Dec. 14, subtitled) theatrical event, viewers will be transported to the year 2040 on the distant planet Eden, where former childhood friends Isamu Dyson and Guld Bowman face off in both love and war as mecha fighters and potential suitors for Myung Fang Lone, who has returned as the manager of Sharon Apple, an artificial intelligence pop star and the galaxy’s biggest singing sensation—which becomes self-aware and takes control of the Macross battle fortress itself!

For all upcoming Fathom Events anime screenings and tickets, visit www.fathomevents.com/categories/anime.


Nov 16

JQ Magazine: Anime NYC Returns with Special Screenings, Exclusive Guest Panels

© Anime NYC • All Rights Reserved.

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.

Live gatherings are back, and over 50,000 fans are expected to attend Anime NYC later this month, a three-day showcase of the best of Japanese pop culture, exclusive screenings, talks with iconic creators and industry leaders, Japanese games, and incredible live concerts.

Highlights from this year’s programming include:

FRIDAY, NOV. 19

  • Funimation Presents Attack on Titan Final Season (4:30-5:30PM)
    Celebrate the end of Attack on Titan with two lead cast members on stage. Join Bryce Papenbrook (English voice of Eren Jaeger) and Jason Liebrecht (English voice of Zeke Jaeger) as they discuss their characters and their complex relationship, particularly during Attack on Titan Final Season Part 1 and the upcoming Attack on Titan Final Season Part 2.
  • Shinji Aramaki Panel (5:00-5:45PM)

Shinji Aramaki is a film director and mechanical designer who will be conducting a rare live appearance. He has been directing anime films since the 1980s and is currently working on the CG anime series Blade Runner: Black Lotus (co-directed with Kenji Kamiyama) which will appear on Adult Swim and Crunchyroll.

SATURDAY, NOV. 20

  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Special Event (12:00-1:30PM)
    Aniplex of America is proud to present all three lead voice actors on a stage for the first time this year! Join special guests Zach Aguilar (Tanjiro Kamado), Aleks Le (Zenitsu Agatsuma), and Bryce Papenbrook (Inouske Hashibira) and look back on the TV series and Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train, plus the new Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles game.
  • Lupin the 3rd: Prison of the Past (3:30-5:30PM)

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the gentleman thief Lupin’s first animated series with a trivia contest hosted by the dub cast along with awesome prizes and a world premiere screening.

SUNDAY, NOV. 21

  • Pompo The Cinephile (12:00-1:30PM)

East Coast premiere! A rollicking, exuberant ode to the power of the movies and the joys and heartbreak of the creative process, as a new director and his team devote their lives to the pursuit of a “masterpiece.”

  • BELLE (2:30- 5:00PM)

See a special advance screening of Mamoru Hosoda’s biggest film ever, BELLE, before it hits theaters early next year. When shy, everyday high school student Suzu enters “U,” a massive virtual world, she escapes into her online persona as popular idol singer Belle. When a mysterious “beast” enters her world, she embarks on an emotional quest to discover its identity—and her true self in the process.

Anime NYC takes place at Javits Center, 655 West 34th Street, Nov. 19-21. Click here for a complete list of programming. For tickets and more information, visit https://animenyc.com.


Oct 22

Posted by: Doug Tassin (Fukushima-Ken ALT, 2007-2010 & Krewe of Japan Podcast Co-Host)

DOUBLE TROUBLE (aka whoops I forgot to post last week…)

Last week on the Krewe of Japan Podcast

The Krewe (shonen) jumps into the world of manga! Nigel, Jennifer, & Doug provide an intro to manga for those unfamiliar with it, notable characteristics, and why you should consider picking up a volume and read. Afterwards, they sit down with Danica Davidson, author of 17 books & frequent manga journalist for Otaku USA & other major publications, to discuss her career path, the manga industry, & things you may not have known regarding the manga scene!

This week…

Strap in for a wild ride as the Krewe talks Japanese theme parks! Nigel, Jennifer, & Doug all share their own experiences and favorite parks around the country. Then, Chris Nilghe of TDR Explorer joins us to talk all things theme parks! Tokyo Disney vs. Universal Studios Japan… who wins? Chris shares his top tips & tricks, along with some great insider knowledge for planning any theme park-based trip in Japan!

The Krewe of Japan Podcast is a weekly episodic podcast sponsored by the Japan Society of New Orleans. Check them out every Friday afternoon around noon CST on Apple, Google, Spotify, Amazon, and Stitcher.  Want to share your experiences with the Krewe? Or perhaps you have ideas for episodes, feedback, comments, or questions? Let the Krewe know by e-mail at kreweofjapanpodcast@gmail.com or on social media (Twitter: @kreweofjapan, Instagram: @kreweofjapanpodcast, Facebook: Krewe of Japan Podcast Page, & the Krewe of Japan Youtube Channel). Until next time, enjoy!


Dec 8

JQ Magazine: LuminoCity Festival Lights Up New York

LC

By Vlad Baranenko (Saitama-ken, 2000-02) for JQ magazine. Vlad is an avid photographer.

Returning for its second year, the New York City-based holiday light show LuminoCity Festival brings outdoor family-friendly fun to Randall’s Island Park now through January 10. This walking journey takes visitors to distinctly themed sets and dreamlike worlds through a wonderland of fantastical ancient civilizations, lush luminated jungles, and mystical towering light art displays (with opportunities to pick up warm treats and special gifts). At the heart of it are three brilliantly sparkling Christmas trees, creating the perfect backdrop for holiday and Instagram fans alike. JQ caught up with LuminoCity founder Xiaoyi Chen to learn more.

Please tell us about the history of LuminoCity in NYC. From where do you draw your inspiration?

The story of LuminoCity goes back to my time as a student at Pratt Institute here in the city. I’ve always had a love for art and knew that I eventually wanted to create a brand. Originally, I am from Zigong, which is a city located in China that is famous for their annual lantern festival. Through LuminoCity, I was able to combine my interest in art with my cultural background to create a new festival experience. From a business perspective, we chose to stage LuminoCity in New York City because there is a strong market here for large-scale events and the city is a robust economic center.

What is the theme for this year’s light festival?

We drew inspiration for this year’s theme from my travels to South America. This year’s presentation includes distinctly themed sets and dreamlike worlds. There are many different types of light sculptures including lush foliage inspired by the rainforest, whimsical animals, and glittering crystals. At the center of the adventure is Lumi, a magical light bulb and the host of the festival.

Are there any Japan or Asia-related attractions or vendors that this year’s guests can enjoy? 

We have two food vendors who sell Asian cuisine: C Bao (@cbaoasianbuns) and Tojo’s Kitchen (@tojosankitchen).

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Nov 17

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — Home (Media) for the Holidays

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.

As fall turns to winter, some spiffed up favorites, holiday hits and new discoveries are coming your way to close out the year.

This season’s highlights include:

VIZ Media

Available Nov. 17

Mermaid Saga Collector’s Edition, Vol. 1

392 pp, $24.99

From Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame inductee Rumiko Takahashi, the legendary creator of Ranma 1/2 and Inuyasha! Yuta became immortal when he unwittingly ate mermaid flesh, and now he seeks a way to become human again. Hundreds of years later, he encounters a volatile and determined young lady named Mana while searching for a mermaid. Could this mysterious woman hold the key to saving Yuta’s humanity?

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Oct 27

JQ Magazine: Book Review — ‘The Japanese Sake Bible’

“While reading The Japanese Sake Bible, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed. But you’ll leave amazed at the journey of ‘Japan’s gift to the world of drinks.'” (Tuttle Publishing)

By Rashaad Jorden (Yamagataken, 2008-10; Kochi-ken, 2018-2020) for JQ magazine. A former head of JETAA Philadelphia’s SubChapter, Rashaad is a graduate of Leeds Beckett University with a masters degree in responsible tourism management. For more on his life abroad and enthusiasm for taiko drumming, visit his blog at www.gettingpounded.wordpress.com.

Maybe it’s a bit too strong for your liking. Or maybe it contributed to an unpleasant hangover. But it’s quite possible it was a part of your JET experience.

I’m talking about sake. Anyone curious about what they might have been sipping at an enkai would do well to pick up The Japanese Sake Bible. Compiled by Kotaku Senior Contributing Editor Brian Ashcraft, this comprehensive work examines the world of sake—most notably its origins, its rise to becoming “Japan’s National bBeverage” (coincidentally the title of the first chapter), and tips on how to make the drink yourself. 

True to its name, Ashcraft creates a book heavy on history. It’s clear upon looking at the first page of the aforementioned first chapter that this Bible will be more or less Sake 101 (oddly enough, the origins of sake were addressed not at the beginning of the book, but in chapter five). Although the author presents a lot of facts that will probably go over readers’ heads, he excels at thoroughly explaining in detail topics like the definition of sake, which is legally defined as being filtered from fermented rice, koji and water, and the differences between sake, wine and beer.

Although the book is in large part an introduction to the drink, it also serves as a guide for aspiring, if not full-fledged, sake connoisseurs. Ashcraft (also the author of Japanese Whisky) presents to readers more categories of sake than one might have thought actually existed: there’s well-polished sake, sparkling sake, and raw and unprocessed sake. Also, niche sake that might not be easy to find. 

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Oct 12

JQ Magazine: Book Review — ‘Pure Invention’

How did Japanese pop culture become such a dominant force across the globe? Matt Alt answers that question and more in Pure Invention: How Japan’s Pop Culture Conquered the World. (Crown)

By Rashaad Jorden (Yamagataken, 2008-10; Kochi-ken, 2018-2020) for JQ magazine. A former head of JETAA Philadelphia’s SubChapter, Rashaad is a graduate of Leeds Beckett University with a masters degree in responsible tourism management. For more on his life abroad and enthusiasm for taiko drumming, visit his blog at www.gettingpounded.wordpress.com.

Nintendo, karaoke, Miyazaki, manga, Pokémon. Those names resonate with so many people all over the world as Japanese pop culture, which has become a significant tool in promoting the country. After all, many people feel like they know Japan through what they’ve seen on TV, in the movies, etc. They can also enrich and add joy to our lives.

But how did Japanese pop culture become such a dominant force across the globe? Tokyo-based writer, translator and reporter Matt Alt answers that question and more in Pure Invention: How Japan’s Pop Culture Conquered the World by illuminating brands and names that have seemingly made Japan an epicenter of coolness.

Of course, seemingly everything in Japan has a long history, so why would various forms of pop culture be any different? Unsurprisingly, chapter one of Pure Invention is devoted to the very first manufactured item to emerge from the ashes of World War II, which was a toy jeep. It’s fascinating to read about the backstory of the toy’s creator (Matsuzo Kosuge) and creation, as “jeep” was one of the first English words that Japanese kids mastered in the postwar years. Despite this influence, it is the story of a product that, in Alt’s words, was largely forgotten. 

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Oct 12

JQ Magazine: Book Review — ‘Healing Labor’

Healing Labor reveals that there’s more than meets the eye for those who have spent a night out in a seedy Japanese neighborhood.” (Stanford University Press)

By Rashaad Jorden (Yamagataken, 2008-10; Kochi-ken, 2018-2020) for JQ magazine. A former head of JETAA Philadelphia’s SubChapter, Rashaad is a graduate of Leeds Beckett University with a masters degree in responsible tourism management. For more on his life abroad and enthusiasm for taiko drumming, visit his blog at www.gettingpounded.wordpress.com.

Modern Japan is a huge market for sex.

That statement probably isn’t surprising to those who have spent a night out in certain parts of Tokyo. But this is a reality for people who devote a lot of time to sex work.

Gabriele Koch tackles that statement and more in her examination of Japanese sex workers in Healing Labor: Japanese Sex Work in the Gendered Economy. Koch, an assistant professor of anthropology at Yale-NUS College, conducted 21 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Tokyo from 2008 to 2013 (she also gathered information from additional trips to the metropolis in 2016 and 2017). During her fieldwork, the author explored sites connected to the sex industry as well as diverse groups of people involved in it. Koch would seemingly have had plenty of opportunities to do so: according to research she cited in the book, roughly 22,000 legal sex industry businesses are in operation in Japan.  

The information in Healing Labor (a term used to illustrate the view many sex workers have of the reparative aspects of their care since it’s ostensibly vital to any success in the male-gendered economy) is largely qualitative, so Koch doesn’t heavily rely on statistics. But she does use numbers to illustrate the risks for sex workers at Tokyo deriheru (an escort business in which a sex worker is sent to a hotel, rental room or private residence): mainly, in that instance, the relatively low condom use by male patrons.

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Sep 13

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — Fall Reading Roundup

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.

With live events still on hold, the weeks ahead are serving up some solid post-summer reading, ready to be enjoyed at home or on the go.

This month’s highlights include:

VIZ Media

Available Sept. 15

A Rumiko Takahashi Classic Returns

Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition, Vol. 1

344 pp, $24.99

For the first time in more than a decade comes a new expanded edition of the fan favorite romantic comedy about finding your path in life from Rumiko Takahashi, the legendary creator of Ranma 1/2 and Inuyasha! Twenty-year-old Yusaku Godai didn’t get accepted into college on the first try, so he’s studying to retake the entrance exams. However, living in a dilapidated building full of eccentric and noisy (to put it mildly) tenants is making it hard for him to achieve his goals. Now that the beautiful Kyoko Otonashi has moved in to become the new resident manager, Godai is driven to distraction!

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Apr 28

JQ Magazine: Book Review — ‘Issei Baseball’

By Rashaad Jorden (Yamagata-ken, 2008-10; Kochi-ken, 2018-present) for JQ magazine. A former head of JETAA Philadelphia’s Sub-Chapter, Rashaad is a graduate of Leeds Beckett University with a master’s degree in responsible tourism management. For more on his life abroad and enthusiasm for taiko drumming, visit his blog at www.gettingpounded.wordpress.com.

The first professional baseball game involving a team of Japanese players took place in Frankfort, Kansas.

Yes, you read that correctly. That fact—and many other interesting tidbits—appear in Mashi author Robert K. Fitts’ new book Issei Baseball: The Story of the First Japanese American Ballplayers, which chronicles the birth of Japanese American baseball as well as several key figures in its growth. Those figures color the early chapters, as Fitts doesn’t jump right into the tours embarked upon by Japanese American teams.

We’re treated to the stories of pioneers such as Harry Saisho, the creator of a club named the Japanese Base Ball Association (which canvassed the Midwest in 1911), Tozan Masko, the co-founder of the Mikado team (the world’s first Japanese-run professional club), and Isoo Abe, the manager Waseda University’s baseball club and organizer of its U.S. tour in 1905.

Speaking of the famous Tokyo university, Fitts devotes most of the book’s fifth and sixth chapters to that cross-country jaunt.

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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 19

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

Click image to view article

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.


Feb 18

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — ‘Ride Your Wave,’ ‘Nourishing Japan,’ ‘Children of the Sea’

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 theatrical performance you won’t want to miss. This month’s highlights include:

GKIDS

Wednesday, Feb. 19, 7:00 p.m.

Ride Your Wave

Various locations and prices

From visionary director Masaaki Yuasa (The Night is Short, Walk on Girl, Devilman Crybaby) comes a deeply emotional new film that applies his trademark visual ingenuity to a tale of romance, grief and self-discovery. Hinako is a surf-loving college student who has just moved to a small seaside town. When a sudden fire breaks out at her apartment building, she is rescued by Minato, a handsome firefighter, and the two soon fall in love. Just as they become inseparable, Minato loses his life in an accident at sea. Hinako is so distraught that she can no longer even look at the ocean, but one day she sings a song that reminds her of their time together, and Minato appears in the water. From then on, she can summon him in any watery surface as soon as she sings their song, but can the two really remain together forever? And what is the real reason for Minato’s sudden reappearance?

Courtesy of Nourishingjapan.com

Thursday, Feb. 20, 7:00 p.m.

Nourishing Japan: Food Education & School Lunch in Japan

MOFAD (Museum of Food and Drink), 62 Bayard Street (Brooklyn)

$25

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 (and JET alumna) Alexis Agliano Sanborn (Shimane-ken, 2009-11) for the public premiere of this film. After the screening, Alexis will be joined in conversation with Yoriko Okamoto and Susan McCormac of JapanCultureNYC. Opening remarks will be given by Jennifer L. Pomeranz, Assistant Professor of Public Health Policy and Management at NYU. Reception with sake courtesy of SOTO and bites courtesy of Bessou and Kokoro Care Packages to follow.

GKIDS

Friday, Feb. 21, 6:30 p.m.

Children of the Sea

SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street

New York International Children’s Film Festival

Various locations

$17.50

East Coast premiere for the New York International Children’s Film Festival! Adapted from the acclaimed manga comes this visually dazzling, mind-bending aquatic mystery. Ruka’s dad is so absorbed in his studies at the aquarium that he hardly notices when she befriends Umi and Sora. Like Ruka, the mysterious duo has the unique ability to hear the call of the sea and its endangered creatures. Together, can they save them?

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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 15

JQ Magazine: Film Review — ‘Weathering with You’

“With beautiful visuals and compelling characters, Weathering with You is a charming world you want to believe.” (GKIDS)

By A.A. Sanborn (Shimane-ken, 2009-11) for JQ magazine.

Sun Amid the Clouds

*Warning: This review contains spoilers

“Don’t interfere with the weather too much,” warns a fortune teller early on: “Messing with nature always has a cost.” As the title suggests, weather is the focus for writer/director Makoto Shinkai’s newest feature film Weathering with YouIt’s a tough act to follow after 2016’s Your Name, Shinkai’s previous work and the most commercially successful anime film of the last decade. Nevertheless, despite similarities in plot (adolescent romance, natural phenomena, and a sci-fi twist) the film offers a refreshing story which transports and delights.

We follow the friendship of Hodaka, a runaway from a remote island, and Hina, a girl with mysterious powers that temporarily conjure sunny skies. Hodaka is intent to find freedom in the big city, while Hina is just trying to get by. The number of scenes alone where characters resort to eating cheap instant ramen is an indicator that life is not going quite as planned. Still, adventure can be found just around the corner.

Soon after meeting, Hina and Hodaka start a business using Hina’s sun-producing powers. Their services are marketed to Tokyoites for weddings and outdoor events otherwise ruined by a rainy day. The sunny vignettes are one of the most charming aspects of the film, connecting it to a broader sense of space and community. Tokyo is no longer an anonymous megalopolis, but a city formed of friendships and relations.

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