| Feb 15, 2009

Keio's man ahead of his time

Next time you come by a ¥10,000 bill, take a look at the face of Yukichi Fukuzawa (1835-1901) that appears on the front, for he was a most remarkable man. In October 1858, Fukuzawa, then a 23-year-old samurai, opened a small school of Western ...

Feb 13, 2009

Jazz collective thrills, unites Asian nations

Unit Asia, a multicultural jazz outfit known for its high-energy performances and versatile musical sensibilities, is about to delight music lovers in Japan. The group — whose members are Japanese guitarist Isao Miyoshi, Thai saxophone player Koh Mr. Saxman, Japanese drummer Hiroyuki Noritake, Malaysian ...

Myanmarese puppetry comes to Japan

Feb 6, 2009

Myanmarese puppetry comes to Japan

The trials and tribulations of Myanmar — which is run by a junta and often in the headlines for all the wrong reasons — can often take the focus away from the fact that the nation has a rich cultural history. Puppet theater from ...

Of orphans and granddaughters

| Jan 18, 2009

Of orphans and granddaughters

When I was 10 years old, I found a book titled “Akage no An” (“Anne with Red Hair”) in a library. It was a Japanese translation of “Anne of Green Gables” written by Canadian novelist Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942) in 1908. I became absorbed ...

Jan 16, 2009

Silent cinema to appeal to foreigners

Four Japanese silent movies produced in the 1930s will be shown in Tokyo on Jan. 28. One of the movies, titled “Oatsurae Jirokichi Koshi,” or “Jirokichi the Rat,” was produced in 1931. The movie was directed by Daisuke Ito and starred Denjiro Okochi. Jirokichi, ...

Ekiden pulls them in from around the world

Dec 28, 2008

Ekiden pulls them in from around the world

Foreign athletes have been conspicuous in numerous ekiden long-distance relays since the 1980s. In the 65th Hakone Ekiden in 1989, Joseph Otwori, a Kenyan student at Yamanashi Gakuin University, and the first foreign runner in the race, overtook seven runners in the second leg, ...

Start your new year with night of opera

Dec 26, 2008

Start your new year with night of opera

Popular scenes from operas and ballets will be performed by top singers and dancers from Japan and Italy in the “New Year Opera Palace Gala” at the New National Theatre Tokyo on Jan. 5 and 6. In the first program, the third act of ...

Tongue-twisting over Beaujolais

| Dec 21, 2008

Tongue-twisting over Beaujolais

On Friday, Nov. 21, the day after the worldwide release of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau in France, I joined a gathering of some 100 wine-lovers in Tokyo’s Odaiba waterfront district to welcome the new, jet-lagged plonk to these shores. However, our meeting point was ...

Rokkasho plant too dangerous, costly: expert

Nov 27, 2008

Rokkasho plant too dangerous, costly: expert

Japan’s plan to reprocess and recycle spent nuclear fuel in a reprocessing plant in the village of Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, will be a huge waste of electricity users’ money and an environmental threat, according to a French atomic power expert. Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd., ...