Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Pacific grim: What with brain-sauce spaghetti, switchblade cellphones, and other wonders, could horror flicks from Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong be any better? Patrick Galloway savors the genre in Asia Shock ($19.95), from Berkeley's Stone Bridge Press. Check out Organ, Convent of the Sacred Beast, and Eight Immortals Restaurant: Human Meat Roast Pork Buns. And who could resist such source-material details as "Back in 1995, a report came out of the town of Shenzhen in mainland China concerning hospital staff eating aborted fetuses and offering them to others as a nutritional supplement"?
Astrology. DIVINING THE ASIAN ZODIAC: ANCIENT GUIDE TO LIFE AND LOVE by Fumio Shiozawa (Heian, color illustrations, 127 pages, softcover, $18.95, 978-0-89346-949-8): colorful book details the characteristics of each sign in the Chinese Zodiac and how to get along with others, based on their signs.
The full newsletter is online here.
Four Stories, a reading series originally only in Boston (The Boston Globe has called it "the city's hippest reading series"), is debuting in Tokyo at The Pink Cow on Thursday, February 15th. Two Stone Bridge authors, Leza Lowitz (Yoga Poems) and Donald Richie (The Donald Richie Reader, The Inland Sea) will be reading new fiction. They will be joined by authors Eric Shade and Tracy Slater. The evening's theme: "Growing Pains: Stories of adolescence, growing up, and breaking all the rules."
Thursday, February 15, 2007
The Pink Cow (offering music, art, and great food and cocktails for order!)
Villa Moderuna B1, 1-3-18 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Monday, January 29, 2007
Galloway has all sorts of interesting insights and facts that'll make you want to rewatch your favorites, or check out some that you've never seen.
Friday, January 26, 2007
If world drumming is of interest then Japanese taiko drums must be on the list of things to learn about; and there's no better place to learn than through the pages of THE WAY OF TAIKO, covering the rich history and playing of Japanese taiko drums. Bright color photos throughout accompany an introduction to taiko instruments and movement, a review of training and drumming, and details on connected spirituality. A gorgeous presentation discusses taiko past, present and future.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Friday, January 19, 2007
In Thursday's Japan Times, Mark Schilling, author of The Yakuza Movie Book, writes a tremendous review of Teruyo Nogami's Waiting on the Weather: Making Movies with Akira Kurosawa. Here's an excerpt:
The self-portrait that emerges is of a smart, passionate woman who was in love with film and filmmaking long before she met Kurosawa -- a love that continues to this day. The translation for the book's English edition, by Juliet Winter Carpenter, perfectly captures Nogami's salty personality, and Nogami's photos and 27 drawings of Kurosawa and his world add to what is sure to become a classic memoir, essential for our understanding of one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century.
Schilling also interviews Nogami-san in a related feature titled "In the presence of 'the Emperor'" Again, an excerpt:
What impression did you have of Kurosawa when you first worked with him on "Rashomon?"
Kurosawa had had a big hit with his first film ["Sugata Sanshiro" (1943)], so he was quickly elevated to the top rank. When he arrived [at the Daiei Studio to make "Rashomon"], he was still young -- only 40. He was like a star. He came with all these famous actors from Tokyo, which made him shine even more. He cut a stylish figure -- I was a bit scared of him. But I consider myself lucky. If it hadn't been for Itami-san [Nogami volunteered to care for Itami's teenage son, Juzo, who would later become one of Japan's premier filmmakers, after his widowed mother moved to Tokyo], I wouldn't have been in Kyoto [working at the Daiei Studio]. Kurosawa just happened to come along, and I just happened to be there. It was all a matter of chance. Kurosawa believed in luck; he felt that something would always turn up. In that sense, he had a lot of confidence.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
The Anime Encyclopedia, Revised & Expanded Edition by Jonathan Clements and Helen McCarthy was recently noted in the Footnotes section of ForeWord Magazine's e-newsletter and also on Frames Per Second's "New and Notable This Week" blog.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Galloway recognizes that the differences go beyond Hollywood's instinct to oversimplify, but points to a larger dichotomy. "I'm trying to find out, for one reason, why the Asian dark film is so much darker, and you've got to start with the age of the culture, with the spiritual underpinnings of the culture, folklore and just your typical anthropological considerations of a given culture," he says.Don't forget to check out Galloway's own blog and website.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Helen McCarthy, author of Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation and co-author of The Anime Encyclopedia, Revised & Expanded Edition, will be interviewed by reporter Ben Taylor for London's LBC Radio live on January 15 at 12:45 pm GMT. She will be discussing the new Barbican season of anime and of course, her new book!
Monday, January 08, 2007
Friday, January 05, 2007
Metropolis, "Japan's #1 English Magazine," recently reviewed both The Haiku Apprentice: Memoirs of Writing Poetry in Japan by Abigail Friedman and The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film by Tom Mes and Jasper Sharp.
Hillel Wright reviews The Haiku Apprentice:
"The Haiku Apprentice gives the reader an original, thoughtful and personal glimpse of one expat’s productive encounter with Japan."
Kevin McGue reviews The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film:
"Five years ago, Donald Richie’s A Hundred Years of Japanese Film seemed destined to be the definitive resource on the topic for years to come. We now have The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film, which serves as the perfect companion piece."