Nov 23

JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers: M.T. White, Hiroshima-ken (2003-2005)

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JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers is produced by Ryan Hata (Tottori-ken, 2014-2017), Margie Banin (Kochi-ken, 2005-2007), and Jim Walsh (Fukushima-ken, 2018-2020). Want to be featured next? Submit your information here.

M.T. White, Hiroshima-ken (2003-2005)

Accomplishment:
Author

More Information:
I was a JET from 2003-2005 in Hiroshima-Ken (on the island of Etajima adjacent to Hiroshima-shi and Kure). Some of that experience was put into my novel CONTENT which is a mixture of Bret Easton Ellis, Michel Houellebecq, and Ryu Murakami…kind of. I’m also a columnist for the online publication PunchRiot. Here is the first issue from PunchRiot, which also contains an excerpt from CONTENT.



Nov 21

Japan Insights—Spectacular Buildings

*********By Makoto Shirai, secretary, Japan-Insights Research Institute (Non-profit organization in Tokyo)

Under the roof of Zuihoden ©Miyagi Prefectural Government

Dear Friends,

Have you visited Sendai, Japan? Let me introduce an essay from Japan-Insights archives. The fourth one is on Sendai’s legacy of Architecture and Art by Dr. Anton Schwizer.

https://topics.japan-insights.jp/#sendaiarchitecturelegacy

https://topics.japan-insights.jp/Public/pdf/japan-insights_jp/topics/JIN_SendaiArchitectureLegacy.pdf

Japan-Insights is a nonprofit open database compiled by leading experts in Japanese studies. The posts present a broad range of historical and contemporary topics that encourage visitors to engage with the real Japan through immersive experiences. Follow the Facebook page and website to learn about and share these insights from around the country!

#japan #japaneseculture #sendai


Nov 14

Hokkaido milk bread and Wolf Children

By Jack McDonough, 2021 prospective JET

Our milk bread

Have you ever had Hokkaido milk bread? If you’ve ever watched the Youtuber Emmy Cho, who runs the channel emmymadeinjapan, you might be aware of this Japanese bread. My sister is a fan of Cho, and so we decided to try our hand at baking the bread. Not being a baker myself, I was skeptical about our ability to create anything resembling food, but our bread actually turned out to look and taste delicious. The bread was light, fluffy, and had a sweet taste; it was great in the morning with coffee for a nice breakfast. The baking of the bread proved to be surprisingly easy, as most of the process was spent waiting for the dough to prove and bake. 

Yuki, Hana, and Ame

While we baked the bread, we decided to watch the movie Wolf Children by Mamoru Hosoda. My younger sister Grace considers Wolf Children to be one of the best movies ever made; with a recommendation like that, I knew I had to give it a try. The film is about a young, single mother named Hana, who must raise her two children alone after the death of their father.  The children have inherited from their father the ability to transform into wolves. The boy Ame and the girl Yuki must decide whether they want to live life as humans or wolves. For Hana, she not only has to raise the children without their father, but she must also keep their ability secret so that Ame and Yuki can grow up safely. Most of the film is carried by the incredible animation: a style that is cute but realistic enough to give weight to the characters’ decisions. One scene in the film stands out: Ame and Yuki play in freshly fallen snow, where they transform between their human and lupine forms while enjoying themselves. While the animation is spectacular, I can’t say that I loved the film: the ending of the film stumbles a bit and fails to really give the story of Hana, Ame, and Yuki the send-off it deserves. I still recommend watching Wolf Children, especially to someone who enjoys great animation and heartfelt stories.

Mixing Wolf Children and baking Hokkaido milk bread made for a fun evening. I never expected to bake something delicious while watching a movie about children who can turn into wolves, but I would highly recommend combining baking and anime; you never know what you might get. 


Nov 11

The Tumbleweed Christmas Tree

The Tumbleweed Christmas Tree was written by JET alumna, Bridget Thomas (Yamaguchi-ken, 1994-1997).

The Tumbleweed Christmas Tree is based on a true story and is available for purchase in both paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon.


Nov 11

Inaka—Portraits of Life in Rural Japan

Inaka life is something special, and Camphor Press is celebrating it with an anthology that it calls “an affectionate but unsentimental taste of authentic rural living.” I’m happy to be among several JET alumni authors who contributed work to this collection! Sarah Coomber – writer


Nov 10

Seeking a special holiday gift? Consider, Kokoro Care Packages! *Special discount code included*

Kokoro Care Packages offers hand-crafted Care Packages filled with premium-quality, artisanal Japanese foods delivered straight from Japan to your door. Each item (including noodles, cooking essentials sauces, spices, snacks, soups, teas and more) is carefully selected for its quality, ease of use and of course, great taste! All products are free from chemicals and many cannot be found outside of Japan. They work closely with local producers who share their values and are passionate about the foods they create, while connecting you to their stories and their communities. They also include all the English translations making it easy to enjoy all these Japanese tastes and flavors.

Their Care Packages are available in two options: Subscriptions and Collections

Just in time for the holidays, their upcoming December Nourishing Essentials and Winter Seasonal Delights Care Package theme is Oshogatsu – Japanese New Year Celebrations where they’ll be featuring their favorite New Years inspired foods from Japan. Order yours or as a gift by Nov 30th and use discount code JETAA for 10% off your first order of a subscription purchase.


Nov 6

Japan Foundation New York Online Pop-Culture Event Session 3

The Japan Foundation, New York launched a monthly online series delving into Japanese pop culture from academic and professional perspectives!

For our third session, three musicologists in U.S academia will unravel the power of music in anime. You may love anime soundtracks as much as the anime itself, but have you ever thought about the role of music in storytelling, how the music affects the work itself, and what meanings might be hidden in the music?

Come join the panel discussion with Stacey JocoyKunio Hara, and Rose Bridges as they discuss how directors and composers collaborate to create the music, explaining the role of music in storytelling, and the uses of music in beloved anime such as My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro)Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no haka)Cowboy BebopYour Name. (Kimi no na wa.), and other animes.

The discussion will be followed by a live Q&A. If you have any questions about music and soundscapes in anime, now’s your chance to ask the musicologists! Please feel free to post it on the Eventbrite page when you register. Live commentary will also be enabled on the YouTube stream, so you can participate in the Q&A session.

This is a free event. Registrants will receive the link to the stream via email.

Eventbrite link:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ep3-the-power-of-music-in-anime-tickets-125762034631?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=escb&utm-source=cp&utm-term=listing
Twitter post: https://twitter.com/JF_NewYork/status/1321149344674963459?s=20


Nov 6

Japan Insights—Spirits of the Countryside Exploring the folklore and yokai of rural Japan

*********By Makoto Shirai, secretary, Japan-Insights Research Institute (Non-profit organization in Tokyo)


Hyakki yagyo, 1865, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892); Courtesy of International Center for Japanese Studies

Dear Friends,

Have you met with Yokai in Japan?
Let me introduce an essay from Japan-Insights archives.
The third one is on exploring the folklore and yokai of Iwate, Akita and Tottori prefectures.
Dr. Michael Dylan Foster introduces the spirits of the countryside of Japan.
https://topics.japan-insights.jp/#spiritsofcountryside
https://topics.japan-insights.jp/Public/pdf/japan-
insights_jp/topics/JIN_SpiritsOfCountryside.pdf

Japan-Insights is a nonprofit open database compiled by leading experts in Japanese studies. The posts present a broad range of historical and contemporary topics that encourage visitors to engage with the real Japan through immersive experiences. Follow the Facebook page and website to learn about and share these insights from around the country!”

#japan #japaneseculture #iwate #akita #tottori


Oct 27

WIT Life #347: Japan events

Professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03) presents WIT Life, 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 offers some interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

As we get deeper into fall, I hope everyone has been enjoying the cooler temps, かぼちゃ (kabocha or pumpkin), and 紅葉 (kouyou or autumn foliage). I went hiking upstate two weeks ago and the leaves were just starting to turn pretty colors, so I’m hoping when I go again this weekend they will be in their full glory.

In sad news, last Sunday’s Times featured a story on the horrific attack on Japanese pianist Tadataka Unno. I first heard about what happened on the Japanese news, and since then many publications have covered it. A groundswell of support followed this tragedy, and a GoFundMe campaign to help Unno and his family has since raised more than $255,000.

Finally, there are couple of great webinars coming up for all you Japanophiles. Tonight at 8 pm Columbia’s Center on Japanese Business and Economy will discuss the transition from Abenomics to Suganomics. Tomorrow at 6 pm Japan Foundation will sponsor a Q&A with Stephen Snyder, known for translating The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa (excellent read!), nominated for this year’s International Booker Prize. For all the Noh fans out there, Noh Society will be continuing its monthly webinar series this Saturday at 8 pm with a session focusing on the play Izutsu, based on the classic literary work The Tales of Ise. In addition, the 21st Century Japan Politics and Society Initiative at Indiana University has a bunch of interesting events coming up. You can directly sign up for next month’s webinar, but for next year’s events you have to sign up to the mailing list to receive further information. Happy viewing!

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Oct 23

Japan Insights—Miyazawa Kenji’s footsteps in Iwate prefecture

*********By Makoto Shirai, secretary, Japan-Insights Research Institute (Non-profit organization in Tokyo)

Miyazawa Kenji’s footsteps in Iwate prefecture.

Dear Friends,
Let me introduce an essay from Japan-Insights archives.
Have you visited to northern Japan?
The second one is on Miyazawa Kenji’s footsteps in Iwate prefecture.
https://topics.japan-insights.jp/Public/pdf/japan-insights_jp/topics/JIN_BeingModern.pdf
Please share this expert’s experience!
Japan-Insights is a nonprofit open database.
#japan #japaneseculture #Iwate


Oct 20

Illuminating Japanese Studies: Lecture Series with Former Japan Foundation Fellows—Afterlife: Translation, “The Memory Police,” and Global Japanese Fiction

The Japan Foundation, New York is launching an online lecture series “Illuminating Japanese Studies: Lecture Series with Former JF Fellows.”

First up is Afterlife: Translation, Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police, and Global Japanese Fiction, with Dr. Stephen Snyder, translator of the recently published, International Booker Prize-nominated, “The Memory Police.” He will discuss the reception of the novel in the English-speaking world, 20 years after the initial publication. The lecture will be on Wed Oct 28 at 6 pm ET and followed by a live Q&A.

The event is free, but please register at the following Eventbrite: https://afterlife-translation-memory-police.eventbrite.com


Oct 19

JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers: Kat Lovegrove, Ishikawa-ken (2004-2007)

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JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers is produced by Ryan Hata (Tottori-ken, 2014-2017), Margie Banin (Kochi-ken, 2005-2007), and Jim Walsh (Fukushima-ken, 2018-2020). Want to be featured next? Submit your information here.

Kat Lovegrove, Ishikawa-ken (2004-2007)

Accomplishment:
Entrepreneur, on the metaphysical side

More Information:
Kat created Ravyn Grove Elemental LLC to craft intention specific tools such as candles, soaps, perfumes, and more people can use in their lives to help them direct and focus their energy on a specific purpose. Kat does it all – from production, design, and marketing; loving the grand adventure that is the creative process. She is also a massage therapist, with a focus on Bowenwork and Pranic Healing.

Public Information:
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/katlovegrove/
Website: www.RavynGroveElemental.com


Oct 14

Japan Foundation New York Online Pop-Culture Event Session 2

The Japan Foundation, New York launched a monthly online series delving into Japanese pop culture from academic and professional perspectives!

For our second session, we will analyze two of the most iconic animes: Ghost in the Shell and Neon Genesis Evangelion, both of which have been producing new works since their release 25 years ago.

These works are two massive monuments in the anime canon, both emerging as cyberpunk epics in the mid-1990s, each addressing issues of identity and the potential for technological interventions. However, they both manage to do so in different ways and with differently composed subjects. This discussion will address both the interesting similarities, but more compellingly, the particular differences with which Oshii and Anno understood this cyberpunk discourse. Two experts—Dr. Susan Napier and Dr. Stevie Suan—will help us to unravel these complex and fascinating anime works!

The event will be Free, but registration will be required for the event link.

Eventbrite link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/through-a-glass-darkly-identity-crises-in-ghost-in-the-shell-evangelion-registration-123088824989
Facebook Post: https://www.facebook.com/events/343477666720772/
Twitter Post: https://twitter.com/JF_NewYork/status/1314409962068733953


Oct 13

Japan-Insights—Enchanted Landscapes of Japanese Prehistory: Jamon Sites in Northern Tohoku and Along the Shinano River

*********By Makoto Shirai, secretary, Japan-Insights Research Institute (Non-profit organization in Tokyo)

Reconstructed six-pillared structure and a large pit dwelling, Sannai Maruyama site
©APTINET Aomori Prefecture

Dear Friends,
Let me introduce an essay from Japan-Insights archives.
The first one is on the ancient history and archeology of Aomori and Niigata prefectures.
https://topics.japan-insights.jp/Public/pdf/japan-insights_jp/topics/JIN_PrehistoryLandscapes.pdf
Please share this expert’s experience!
Japan-Insights is a nonprofit open database.
#Japan #Japaneseculture #arceology #Aomori #Niigata


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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