Friday, April 29, 2005

Donald Richie celebrates 81st birthday

Donald Richie celebrated his 81st birthday among friends and fans in Tokyo with a reading from his recent book, The Japan Journals: 1947-2004.

Shogo Oketani and Leza Lowitz, authors of several books including Designing with Kanji, hosted Mr. Richie at their Sun and Moon Yoga Studio on April 16. Pictured with Leza is Koichi Mori, who baked the birthday cakes.

And no, there aren't 81 candles on that cake!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Update: Ron Herman joins Christian Tschumi at The Japan Society for discussion on Mirei Shigemori

Author Christian Tschumi will be speaking at the Japan Society about the controversial designer of Zen gardens and subject of Tschumi's new book, 'Mirei Shigemori: Modernizing the Japanese Garden.'

The author will be in a discussion with landscape architect Ron Herman who has created more than four hundred full-scale garden designs in his 35+ year career. Currently Mr. Herman is engaged in the 25-acre Japanese-style village of Oracle CEO Lawrence Ellison and other large estates including residential projects for Joe Montana, Neil Young and numerous other sports, entertainment and high-tech personalities.

For details on the event this May at the Japan Society, see the previous blog entry.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Big Brother and Little Sisters: Moe Market Worth 88 Billion Yen

Anime News Network found a report at Yahoo! Japan that a research firm has valued the moe market at 88 billion yen (US$840.5 million).

This should come to no surprise of fans of the book, Cruising the Anime City: An Otaku Guide to Neo Tokyo. Author Tomohiro Machiyama writes that moe might be the single most important keyword to understanding otaku in Japan today:

"In Japan, you will see flyers and posters with moe characters for escort clubs and massage parlors. Even on a train, a typical moe anime girl talks to you from a TV monitor. Everywhere, moe girls smile at you, just like Big Brother in George Orwell's 1984."

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Japanese the Manga Way reviewed in The Japan Times

The Japan Times Online: "...Even without manga the book would be one of the best explications of Japanese grammar and structure available."

Friday, April 22, 2005

Anime Essentials reviewed at WarCry Network

WarCry Network review of Anime Essentials: "...Pick up this one if you're new to the genre or want to give someone a basic overview and assure them it's not all violent pornography."

Thursday, April 21, 2005

For a Life Less Ordinary, Try Marrying an Otaku

The Japan Times has a hilarious column by Kaori Shoji discussing her friend's marriage to an otaku.

If you think you're in love with an otaku, learn more about them with Cruising the Anime City: An Otaku Guide to Neo Tokyo and Anime Essentials: Every Thing a Fan Needs to Know.

Meanwhile, let's see someone stitch "Ota-yome no michi wa ibarano michi" ("The path of the otaku wife is strewn with thorns") on a pillow or something.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Stone Bridge Press announces eight new books for Fall 2005

Stone Bridge Press, publisher of books about Japan, will release eight titles in Fall 2005. The Fall Season covers music, spirituality, design, fiction, poetry and Asian studies, plus the paperback version of Donald Richie’s personal journals and the latest book by Leonard Koren.


The Tokyo Zodiac Murders: Detective Mitarai's Casebook
by Soji Shimada, Translated by Ross & Shika MacKenzie. 252 pages, US$22.95

This is the first book by mystery master Soji Shimada ever translated into English! The book that launched Shimada's mystery novel career, The Tokyo Zodiac Murders introduces self-styled detective Kiyoshi Mitarai who in one week must solve a series of murders that have baffled Japan for forty years. With maps, charts and other illustrations, Shimada challenges you to solve the mystery before Detective Mitarai. The Japan Times called the book "Intricately constructed and entertainingly exotic."

Tokyo Fragments: Short Stories of Modern Tokyo by Five of Japan's Leading Contemporary Writers
by Ryuji Morita, Tomomi Muramatsu, Mariko Hayashi, Makoto Shiina, and Chiya Fujino, Translated by Giles Murray. 206 pages, US$19.95

Tokyo is far more than streets and skyscrapers full of gray-suited businessmen, super-trendy teenagers, and schoolgirls in sailor-suit uniforms. Five of Japan's most popular contemporary fiction writers present their vision of life in different quarters of Japan's capital. From Tokyo's mean streets to its bars and elegant cafes, here are stories that measure the pulse of the city while dissecting its heart. These five stories break down the metropolis into fragments of experience that anyone can relate to and enjoy. It is also the chance to sample these leading Japanese authors whose work has never before appeared in English.

The Flower Shop: Charm, Grace, Beauty & Tenderness in a Commercial Context
by Leonard Koren. 112 pages, $19.95

From the author of Wabi-Sabi, on the intersection of beauty and design. If beauty is defined as a quality encompassing both extraordinary sensoriality and exemplary human behavior, then possibly the most beautiful flower shop in the world is located in Vienna's low-key-but-hip 4th District. Blumenkraft (literally, "Flower Power") is a place of inspiration, refuge, and virtue that will inform and enlighten anyone involved in design and modern commerce. Mixing analysis, anecdote, and observation, Leonard Koren once again reveals the key principles of practical wisdom at work in the world. His concise and lucid text is illustrated by his own photographs.

The Japan Journals: 1947 - 2004
by Donald Richie, Edited by Leza Lowitz. 510 pages, US$18.95

Following on the critical success of the hardcover, this is the trade paperback edition of Richie's journals: a record of both a nation and evolving expatriate sensibility, providing insight on world-famous friends along with Tokyo's demimonde. This is not a mere recounting of daily details, but a literary tour de force, filled with insights into culture, art, and personality.

Erotic Haiku
by Hiroaki Sato with illustrations by Emi Suzuki. 112 pages, US$9.95

"deserted beach—a bikini top rolls in on a wave." Short but sweet, haiku is one of the world's most pleasurable forms of poetry, and size definitely matters when haiku turns to erotic themes. By turns cheeky, brilliant, teasing, sad, bitter, and lustful, these tiny poems (sometimes called "erotiku") submitted by numerous lovers (of poetry) pack an enormous erotic wallop. Each haiku appears in English and Japanese for maximum enjoyment, with playful pen and pencil drawings throughout. Best when read aloud, because after all, "without clothes, it's a different conversation."


A Light from the East: A Gathering of Asian Wisdom
by Frank MacHovec. 176 pages, US$16.95

The great spiritual traditions of Asia in a remarkably compact format... Included are Indian, Tibetan, and Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Yoga, T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Shinto, Confucianism, Feng Shui, and Falun Gong, with brief discussions and excerpts from key works like The Tibetan Book of the Dead and The Book of Five Rings, including the complete I Ching and The Book of Tao. Excellent for casual reading, classroom surveys, and for anyone wanting a broad view of how the Asian Ways complement and reflect each other. Easy to read yet comprehensive in an inexpensive package, this is the perfect "starter kit" for people interested in Asian religion and wisdom.

70 Japanese Gestures: No Language Communication
by Hamiru-aqui, Translated by Aileen Chang. 160 pages, US$9.95

Who needs to speak Japanese? There's a lot you can say with traditional hand gestures and body motions that are universal as well as uniquely Japanese. This whimsical look at "the language of no language" will teach you to hurl insults, flirt, agree, excuse yourself, cross the street, and even make promises—wordlessly! (And who is that stoic guy wearing a suit in all the photos?) Finally, a way to tell someone at a loud party, "Your underwear is showing," in four easy hand motions... This is a book for the serious student, the class clown, and the crazy guy at Akihabara Station hoping to communicate with Godzilla.


The Way of Taiko
by Heidi Varian, Foreword by Seiichi Tanaka. 128 pages, US$18.95

Taiko drumming is an ancient sacred practice in Japan, originally used to drive away pests from ricefields and then to call to the gods in thanks at harvest time. Today taiko in Japan and especially North America has evolved into a form of mental, physical, and martial arts training that combines rhythm, harmony, and movement. This book is for anyone who would like to try taiko or who is fascinated by the instruments, dances, and compositions of a typically powerful taiko performance. This book contains an introduction to taiko history as well as resources for students and fans.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Kansai Time Out excerpts The Japan Journals

Kansai Time Out - April 2005 Issue (no. 338) prints seven entries from Donald Richie's The Japan Journals.

Four SBP books reviewed in Protoculture Addicts

Protoculture Addicts Issue #83 reviews four Stone Bridge titles on page 17.

Cruising the Anime City: "This book is the perfect guide to Otakudom."

Mobile Suit Gundam: "The novels are essential for a better understanding of the Gundam universe and are a definitive must for all Gundam fans."

Japanese the Manga Way: "Learning Japanese is not easy, and to succeed you need all the help you can get. This manual is a good way to start since, even if it doesn't make learning that much easier, it makes it funnier and more interesting."

The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film: "...A well-written, well-documented and useful resource."

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Japanese the Manga Way reviewed at JapanVisitor

Books on Japan :: Japanese Language | Learning Japanese

Authors Patrick Macias and Tomohiro Machiyama to speak at Get Lost Books in San Francisco next week

On April 20th Get Lost Travel Books hosts TOKYO ANIME, an event in which Patrick Macias and Tomohiro Machiyama, authors of Cruising the Anime City: An Otaku Guide to Neo Tokyo, present a different view of Tokyo: an alternative-pop world of comic book and electronic game stores, anime film locations and the hang-outs of cosplay (those who dress up as anime characters). "...the information is one of a kind."

This free event starts at 7 pm at Get Lost Bookstore, 1825 Market Street, San Francisco, 94103

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Wabi-Sabi returns in Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune | Wabi-sabi: Read all about it: "Considered one of the must-reads if you want to really know wabi-sabi, this 1994 slim volume poetically pours forth the history and philosophy underlying the Japanese aesthetic that honors the beauty in all things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. It is a manual to set you forth."

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

PBS Program Features Taiko Group (That is also featured in upcoming SBP book)

Northern California PBS Station KQED will feature the San Francisco Taiko Dojo tonight at 7:30 pm and again on repeats throughout the week.

In Fall 2005 Stone Bridge Press will be publishing The Way of Taiko by SF Taiko Dojo student Heidi Varian with foreword by SF Taiko Dojo founder Seiichi Tanaka. This will be the first English-language guide to the exciting world of Japanese spiritual drumming.

Wabi-Sabi in Chicago Tribune

Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers was mentioned in the Sunday Chicago Tribune:
"...The 1994 tome considered a classic treatise on all things wabi..."

Monday, April 04, 2005

Donald Richie interviewed in Asahi Shimbun

In a March issue of Asahi Shimbun English edition, Gabrielle Kennedy interviews Donald Richie about The Japan Journals: 1947-2004

"An outsider who stayed the course, endeavoring to become 'the person who penned the best likeness.' His view has come full circle: from the difficult and turbulent days of the occupation when he rode allies-only carriages, the USA was criminalizing war efforts and Ueno was abuzz with an energy akin to Paris's left bank through the economic boom and into the present where the USA has cajoled Japan back into war, albeit this time on its side. Change he admits, but with all the original proportions in tact: things get 'higher,' he writes, but not necessarily 'better.'"

Japanese: The Manga Way reviewed at Animefringe

Animefringe: April 2005 - Reviews - Japanese: The Manga Way - An Illustrated Guide to Grammar & Structure

Sacred Sanskrit Words in Daily Yomiuri

Daily Yomiuri On-Line Book Review/New Paperbacks