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Mariko Kato
For Mariko Kato's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Sep 14, 2007
Guitar duo carry exotic sounds around Japan
Kiyoshi Shomura and María Esther Guzman, renowned guitarists from Japan and Spain respectively, perform their guitar duo recital across Japan from Sept. 15-30. They promise to entertain with an exotic blend of European Mediterranean repertoire from various periods.
Japan Times
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Aug 31, 2007
Plucking the final string
The Vermeer Quartet, the internationally renowned string ensemble formed in Marlboro, Vermont, will play their final tour of Japan Sept. 24 to Oct. 7, before retirement at the end of the year. They have played in Japan four times since 1996, and this time they will teach talented young students in masterclasses that are open to the public, as well as performing eight concerts.
Japan Times
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Aug 3, 2007
Sensitive spin on an all-time classic
Britain's world-famous Imperial Ice Stars arrive in Japan for the first time to perform "Swan Lake on Ice" in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture and Tokyo this summer.
Japan Times
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Jul 20, 2007
Kids leave stuffiness outside the door
The Czech Philharmonic Children's Choir visit Iizuka City, Fukuoka, and Tokyo for two concerts this month and next of traditional and folk songs from around the world.
Japan Times
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Jul 6, 2007
Japan's favorite violinist
Kyoko Takezawa, one of today's foremost violinists, celebrates 20 years since making her concert debut with a series of recitals featuring an all-romantic, modern program. Titled "A Trip Around the World on the Violin," the tour takes in Nagano, Osaka and Tokyo from July 8-13.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Jun 29, 2007
Slow train is a coming
Not many sane people jump out of bed at 2 a.m. on a Saturday morning and speed to the coast to see the sunrise. Unless, that is, you're making your way to Cape Inubosaki, Chiba Prefecture, the Kanto region's furthermost eastern point.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Jun 29, 2007
David Helfgott: Genius reborn
Critical praise — not public adulation — has eluded piano virtuoso David Helfgott since his life inspired the hit movie 'Shine.' But that's fine by him
Japan Times
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Jun 15, 2007
A star in the ascendant returns
Since his first Tokyo performance in 1997 aged 13, Nikolai Tokarev has cemented his reputation as one of the most popular young international pianists in Japan by performing more than 100 concerts here. Moscow-born Tokarev will add to that impressive tally when his forthcoming nationwide tour starts on June 30.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Jun 15, 2007
Losing his head on Rachmaninov
Russian piano virtuoso Boris Berezovsky is on the phone and he's very excited, though not as excited as he should be when he plays the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo this summer. There, Berezovsky will be performing Rachmaninov's Concerto No. 3 in D minor Op. 30, a work he considers "infamous" because of its technical demands and beautiful melodies.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Stage
Jun 14, 2007
In step with nature, if not with celebrity
Renowned butoh dancer, award-winning actor, choreographer and agriculturist Min Tanaka has tried hard to escape international stardom.
Japan Times
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Jun 8, 2007
Lloyd Webber, Rice box-office smashes take center stage
Two of the most successful musicals of all time, "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Evita," take center stage in Tokyo and Kyoto this summer.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Jun 8, 2007
War and peace
No Japanese city outside of Tokyo holds as great a significance in global history as Hiroshima. A 15-minute tram ride from JR Hiroshima Station transports you from the lively bustle of the city to the calm of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. From the tram stop, the first monument you will see is the Atomic Bomb Dome, its skeletal structure appearing gradually from behind the rustling trees that gently break the silence.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
May 25, 2007
Ingrid Fujiko Hemming
The Super World Orchestra will unite section leaders from the Vienna, Berlin and Boston philharmonics with two of Japan's most respected pianists, Takeshi Kakehashi and Ingrid Fujiko Hemming, in Tokyo, Kanagawa and Gunma next month.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
May 22, 2007
All twisted up in Thai massage
"It's like doing yoga without the hard work," enthused my trendy friend, whose paradoxical nature — she's both lazy and obsessed with health — had led her to the latest popular massage to take Tokyo by storm: the traditional Thai massage.
CULTURE / Music
May 18, 2007
Yasuaki Shimizu & Saxophonettes "PENTATONICA"
Combining the five-note pentatonic scale — the basis of Asian and African music — with a love of Bach is like trying to mix oil with water. But that's what saxophonist Yasuaki Shimizu does on his latest album, "PENTATONICA."
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
May 18, 2007
In thrall to a craggy coast
Hopping on the train at Tokyo Station after the morning rush hour still gets you to south Izu for lunch. So, with a promise of stunning views of the sea and more fresh fish sashimi than you could throw a wasabi tube at, we relaxed on the Super View "Odoriko" train to Izukyu Shimoda Station — later than planned but not unduly concerned. Stepping off the train to feel the city dust swept away by the breezy scenery of the Pacific Ocean, we picked up our rented car and drove to the southernmost tip of Izu Peninsula, Irozaki.
Japan Times
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
May 18, 2007
Germany's last gentleman
German baritone Max Raabe will perform an alluring mix of Weimar-era cabaret songs and modern-day pop in Tokyo on May 25 and in Osaka the following day, accompanied by his Palast Orchester.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
May 11, 2007
Peace is found in a historic town
Not since my Adidas-donning days in my hometown Croydon (famous as the breeding ground of chavs) in southeast London, have I ridden trams around town, and even then it was only to pick up a Chinese take-away and buy the odd large hoop earring. So, when I visited Nagasaki with a couple of friends, touring a major city entirely on trams in a country where trains and buses are the primary mode of transport in city centers, it felt oddly nostalgic and slightly surreal. The fact that it cost only 500 yen for an all-day pass only added to the feeling that we had slipped back into the good times of old.
Japan Times
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
May 11, 2007
Five symphonies in one day
The Berlin Symphony Orchestra will storm through five major symphonies in a single day at Kioi Hall, Tokyo on June 24 as part of a Japan tour that also takes in Nagoya, Osaka and Yokohama.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Apr 27, 2007
'Spider-Man 3'
It's been three years since our favorite geeky superhero left us with a promise for a climactic battle with his best friend and a final obstacle for his relationship with the love of his life.

Longform

Historically, kabuki was considered the entertainment of the merchant and peasant classes, a far cry from how it is regarded today.
For Japan's oldest kabuki theater, the show must go on