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Alisa Yamasaki

For Alisa Yamasaki's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Japan races to become the robot capital of the world

Nov 11, 2016

Japan races to become the robot capital of the world

Japan may have a long way to go before it can build a fully functional Gundam or Doraemon, but it’s getting closer to bringing sci-fi-style robotic helpers and protectors into our daily lives. Japan Robot Week, which took place at the Tokyo Big Sight ...

A 'moonlit' afternoon tea in Tokyo with Noritaka Tatehana

Oct 21, 2016

A 'moonlit' afternoon tea in Tokyo with Noritaka Tatehana

Japan has a long history of noticing subtle seasonal changes and taking each as an opportunity for celebration. The appearance of cherry blossoms in early spring may be the most well-known example, but October’s tsukimi (moon-viewing) festival is also culturally significant. In celebration of ...

When to speak and when to shut up: the art of a Japanese 'benshi'

Oct 16, 2016

When to speak and when to shut up: the art of a Japanese 'benshi'

The silent films screened in Japan from the 1920s to ’40s were never completely silent. Katsudo-shashin benshi, or benshi for short, delivered live narration that provided everything an audience might need to appreciate a film — from commentary to translation. Derived from Japan’s many ...

The changing face (and bodies) of fitness

Aug 4, 2016

The changing face (and bodies) of fitness

There has been a recent trend among Japanese comedians to go big — with their workouts. Toshiaki Kasuga, Nakayama Kinnikun and Yoshio Kojima all incorporate flexing into their routines, playing up macho stereotypes for laughs. However, Shun Kaneko isn’t laughing. “On Japanese TV, when ...

Domestic content rules at Waradise Garage's 'wamono' events

Mar 20, 2016

Domestic content rules at Waradise Garage's 'wamono' events

Japan’s club scene continues to divide itself into smaller niche events like cells undergoing mitosis. Each new party differs slightly from the others and together they cater to almost every genre and micro-genre imaginable; if it has been blogged about, then there’s a night ...

Sapphire Slows looks to build on her past lo-fi success

Oct 11, 2015

Sapphire Slows looks to build on her past lo-fi success

‘I get asked, ‘How can you make it as a musician?’ and I really think it’s all about mental strength,” says Kinuko Hiramatsu, who produces music under the name Sapphire Slows. In the past two years the 25-year-old electronic-music artist has released a full-length ...

Sparrows to step up to the studio sound board

Oct 11, 2015

Sparrows to step up to the studio sound board

‘It’s embarrassing to be flashy,” says Ryota Miyake, explaining why he chose the sparrow, one of the plainest, most ubiquitous birds in Japan as his moniker. The 34-year-old musician and bird lover is one of Japan’s two Red Bull Music Academy participants in Paris ...

Akiko Kiyama's twisted techno turns to new kind of sound

Jun 19, 2015

Akiko Kiyama's twisted techno turns to new kind of sound

Akiko Kiyama has made a name for herself as one of the most prominent female Japanese techno artists. Since returning to Tokyo this past December after living in Berlin for several years, she has already launched her own label, Kebko Music, with two releases ...

Shokuhin Matsuri aka Foodman cooks up footwork on 'oiss'

Jul 1, 2014

Shokuhin Matsuri aka Foodman cooks up footwork on 'oiss'

“I used to be a video-game nerd,” says Takahide Higuchi, the experimental footwork producer also known as Shokuhin Matsuri in Japanese and Foodman in English. “I thought that guys who were popular with girls made music, but I was sort of stubborn and didn’t ...