Above the East China Sea: A Novel

Mar 14, 2015

Above the East China Sea: A Novel

Although this is supposedly Sarah Bird’s “most ambitious” novel to date — and it is ambitious — it’s not the novel that falls short, it’s the marketing. Rather than Bird’s ticket to entering the “literary elite,” it is the best of young adult fiction. ...

Tokyo Ballet revisits 'Giselle' anew

Mar 11, 2015

Tokyo Ballet revisits 'Giselle' anew

Ballet legend Vladimir Malakhov’s first connection with Japan was more than 20 years ago, when he danced in the World Ballet Festival in Osaka opposite Alessandra Ferri in a piece from Marius Petipa’s 1850 revival of “Giselle.” Now, as the Tokyo Ballet’s artistic adviser ...

A 'Swan Lake' of diversity

Feb 25, 2015

A 'Swan Lake' of diversity

“Ballet must be accessible,” the French choreographer and artistic director of The Ballet of Monte Carlo, Jean-Christophe Maillot, believes — and the upcoming Japan premiere of “LAC,” his most ambitious reconfiguration of a classic to date, promises to attract both fans of Tchaikovsky’s famed ...

Condors dancers share double bill with rising star

Jan 28, 2015

Condors dancers share double bill with rising star

Ryohei Kondo, who founded the popular male dance troupe Condors in 1996, is always brimfull of innovative ideas — even when they’re garbed in traditional clothing. When Maimi Sato, Saitama Arts Theatre’s head producer of dance, asked the choreographer to interpret a Japanese folk ...

The Ink Dark Moon

| Jan 24, 2015

The Ink Dark Moon

No other period in Japan’s literary history was as dominated by women as the Heian Period (794-1185). Most Japanophiles know names such as Sei Shonagon (“The Pillow Book”) or Murasaki Shikibu (“The Tale of Genji”) for their contributions to the world of literature, but ...

Lingering outside the way station for the dead

Jan 17, 2015

Lingering outside the way station for the dead

It’s a hardy soul who braves Osorezan (Mount Osore), a volcano in Aomori Prefecture known as the Japanese way station for the dead. For most, the name conjures up images of the supernatural and the unknown, but for Marie Mutsuki Mockett, it is a ...

Cat Town

Jan 17, 2015

Cat Town

Modernist 20th-century writer Sakutaro Hagiwara redefined Japanese poetry with his free-style verse and daringly common subject matter; he reached sublime heights by examining the mundane. Cat Town, by Sakutaro Hagiwara, Translated by Hiroaki Sato.NYRB Poets, Poetry. Published by the New York Review of Books’ ...

Cataloging the creatures of the unknown

Jan 10, 2015

Cataloging the creatures of the unknown

“Yokai dwell in the contact zone between fact and fiction, between belief and doubt … Yokai begin where language ends,” says Michael Dylan Foster in the introduction to “The Book of Yokai,” summing up what words often fail to conjure. His book takes readers ...