Ben & Jerry's hopes for a warm reception

Apr 13, 2012

Ben & Jerry's hopes for a warm reception

Say goodbye to your waistline: Ben & Jerry’s is back in Japan — and this time the world-famous ice-cream brand means business. On April 14, Ben & Jerry’s will open its very first Scoop Shop in Japan, housed in the Omotesando Hills complex at ...

Tommy February<sup>6</sup> makes a heavenly return

Mar 2, 2012

Tommy February6 makes a heavenly return

The pop music industry — it’s enough to turn anyone into a schizophrenic. And Tomoko Kawase is perhaps J-pop’s most fragmented personality of all. Rising to fame in the late-1990s as the singer in top-selling Kyoto guitar-pop band The Brilliant Green, she went solo ...

Toquiwa gets a great gift from The Wedding Present

Mar 1, 2012

Toquiwa gets a great gift from The Wedding Present

There’s no doubt that the best way for an independent band to tour in another country is by opening for one that people have actually heard of. So when spunky all-girl Tokyo four-piece Toquiwa befriended 1990s indie-rock heroes The Wedding Present, its members jumped ...

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1

Feb 24, 2012

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1

Director: Bill Condon Language: English Running time: 117 minutes Opens: Now showing It would be easy to dismiss the “Twilight” saga as “The Lost Boys” via “Dawson’s Creek.” But damn, things get dark in the penultimate chapter of this vampire love story. Bella (Kristen ...

akai ko-en try to avoid getting caught in the Web

Feb 23, 2012

akai ko-en try to avoid getting caught in the Web

With a layered sound that blends postrock dynamics and sprawling song structures with pure J-pop sensibility, akai ko-en is quickly becoming one of Tokyo’s most talked-about new bands. But just try searching for the group on YouTube and see how far you get. Despite ...

Animal Kingdom

| Jan 20, 2012

Animal Kingdom

Director: David Michôd Language: English Running time: 113 In the darkly immersive directorial debut from Australian screenwriter David Michôd (“Hesher”), freshly orphaned teen Josh (James Frecheville) must choose between loyalty to his family of bank-robbing, drug-dealing uncles, headed by matriarch (Jacki Weaver), and, well, ...

'Spamalot' cast hopes 2012 is Year of the Python

Jan 6, 2012

'Spamalot' cast hopes 2012 is Year of the Python

“This is Spam,” says Eric Idle to a room full of Japanese journalists, holding up a can of the precooked meat product that he and his fellow Monty Python cast members mocked to lasting effect in 1970 in their iconic BBC TV series. That ...

Shonen Knife celebrates 30 years

Dec 29, 2011

Shonen Knife celebrates 30 years

Today we celebrate 30 years under the Knife. Yes, it was on Dec. 29, 1981, that three teenage girls — Naoko Yamano, her sister Atsuko and their friend Mitchie Nakatani — entered an Osaka rehearsal studio for the first time. They emerged as Shonen ...

Best of 2011: AKB48 'Koko ni Ita Koto'

Dec 22, 2011

Best of 2011: AKB48 "Koko ni Ita Koto"

AKB48 is not a band, or even a pop group: AKB48 is a hate crime. With “Koko ni Ita Koto,” pop music has reached its lowest ebb. And that is precisely why this album is not my favorite of the year, but the one ...