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Mariko Kato
For Mariko Kato's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Apr 27, 2007
Nigel Kennedy
One of the biggest-selling classical musicians of all time, Nigel Kennedy will treat local audiences to his other great passion, jazz, when he performs at Blue Note Tokyo May 2-6. It is the violinist's third appearance in Japan but first at a jazz venue.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Apr 20, 2007
Adventures in folk
'At a festival like this, where you're collaborating with highly talented, colorful artists during a short, intense time period, there is always a risk. But the wonderful thing about 'La Folle Journee' is that the artists are given the opportunities to work with partners who they would not have otherwise met. I can rediscover my own music at this festival. It's an adventure."
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Apr 13, 2007
The cutting edge of Chiba
When a meandering road trip along the coast in southern Chiba took me to Nokogiri-yama ("saw mountain"), I didn't think I'd come across Japan's largest Buddha, or the oldest umeboshi (salt-cured plums) and cheapest fresh fish I'd ever laid eyes on.
Japan Times
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Apr 13, 2007
Vienna Boys' Choir pay homage to trad, pop worlds
Vienna Boys' Choir, known for their exquisite voices and on-stage charm, return to Japan to give 23 performances across the country from April 27 to June 17.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Apr 13, 2007
Akiko Yamada
Considered one of the most exciting young violinists, Akiko Yamada is renowned for the breadth of her concert repertoire. For a one-off recital at Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, Yamada narrows her focus to the works of J.S. Bach, Schubert, Debussy and Cesar Franck, accompanied by celebrated Ukrainian pianist Oleg Maisenberg.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Apr 12, 2007
Zimmermann ascends Beethoven's 'Mount Everest'
Effortless, elegant melodies warmed by sublime vibrato rise in volume as the phone is whisked toward Frank Peter Zimmermann, one of the greatest violinists of this age, at his home in Germany. They end abruptly, but interrupting Zimmerm- an's rehearsal causes him no irritation, and he dives enthusiastically into the subject of his return to Tokyo with the London Symphony Orchestra and celebrated conductor Daniel Harding.
CULTURE / Books
Apr 1, 2007
Cooking kaiseki and 'eating the seasons'
KAISEKI: The Exquisite Cuisine of Kyoto's Kikunoi Restaurant, by Yoshihiro Murata. Kodansha International Ltd., 2006, 191 pp., 5,500 yen (cloth) Chef Yoshihiro Murata, the third-generation owner-chef of Kikunoi, the celebrated kaiseki (a light "tasting-menu" meal) restaurant, presents a vivid journey of kaiseki through spring, summer, fall and winter. The book both describes and illustrates the innovative and imaginative ideas behind Murata's seasonal cuisine.
CULTURE / Music
Mar 9, 2007
Meet Asia's next generation of opera stars
Sumi Jo isn't the only Asian star to have taken the Western opera scene by storm in recent years. Below are three other talents fast stamping their presence on the international stage.
Japan Times
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Mar 9, 2007
Violinist's 'virtuoso fun'
Promising young Japanese-American violinist Ray Iwazumi makes his Tokyo debut at Opera City Recital Hall on March 17. In an e-mail interview, Iwazumi himself described the evening's program of great Belgian works composed around the turn of the 20th century as an entertaining one, which will combine "elements of . . . history and pure violin virtuoso fun."
Japan Times
CULTURE / Stage
Mar 8, 2007
Freedom leaves us consumed by doubt
On a small raised platform, a lone dancer, naked except for his white pants, slowly twists his convoluted body around metal chains suspended from the ceiling. Twelve other dancers, similarly undressed and bald, watch in silence from all angles of the tiny studio, their own bodies stretching and contracting as if taunt strings connect their limbs to those of the lone performer.
CULTURE / Books
Mar 4, 2007
Unearthing proverbs, essential to life but hard to swallow
ZEN OF VEGETABLE ROOTS, calligraphy by Siu-Leung Lee, paintings by Fu Yi Yao, translated by Siu-Leung Lee. Yuzankaku, 2006, 254 pp., 2,800 yen (paper) The original "Zen of Vegetable Roots" integrates the philosophy of Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism in a collection of more than 750 Chinese proverbs dating from the 14th and 15th centuries.
Japan Times
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Feb 16, 2007
An update on hogaku
Orchestra Asia Japan presents an innovative interpretation of traditional Japanese sounds on March 1 in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. Held in commemoration of the Japan-China Exchange Year of Culture and Sports 2007, the concert features a world premiere of a work by Chinese composer Tang Jian Ping.
CULTURE / Books
Feb 11, 2007
There is nothing two-dimensional about Japanese manga in the U.S.
Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S., by Roland Kelts. Palgrave, Macmillan, 2006, 223 pp., $24.95 (cloth) In "Japanamerica," Japanese-American writer Roland Kelts explores how and why Japanese manga and anime have become as familiar to Americans as sushi or karaoke in the 21st century. Manga's exquisite drawings, overtly unreal characters and lack of happy-clappy endings have developed from sideline pop culture to a major commercial and trend-setting enterprise in mainstream pop music and Hollywood movies.
Japan Times
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Feb 2, 2007
Soprano gets in romantic mood
This Valentine's Day in Mito City, Ibaraki Prefecture, celebrated Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Vesselina Kasarova will serenade an intimate audience with suitably romantic melodies from the opera world. Famed for her rich voice and intense characterization, Kasarova draws in audiences in their thousands in Europe's opera houses.
Japan Times
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Jan 19, 2007
Violinist keeps father's flame alive
A program of lively Gypsy music will be performed in Nagoya and Osaka on Feb. 2-3.
Japan Times
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Jan 19, 2007
Recital reunites teacher with pupil
The contrabassist Isao Fukazawa will perform a bass recital to celebrate 20 years as principal bassist of Kyushu Symphony Orchestra, at Kioi Hall, Tokyo, on Jan. 25. The program, quipped the "ultimate" contrabass concert program, presents masterpieces spanning many musical eras.
Japan Times
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Jan 12, 2007
From orchestra with love
Tokyo Chamber Orchestra performs a concert of musical classics at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space on Jan. 19. Titled "Bringing Much Love to You," the concert presents an indulgent program in which the recurring theme, unsurprisingly, is love.
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Dec 15, 2006
Christmas-themed pipe organ concerts keep it snappy
Two contrasting pipe-organ concerts will be given at Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall on Dec. 20 and 23. The organists will be joined by instrumentalists and vocalists to perform Christmas-themed programs that include works that were innovative for their time.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Dec 8, 2006
Leonid Korkin
From Dec. 9 to 25, the St. Petersburg Chamber Ensemble will give 11 performances of "Ave Maria in Christmas" in Tokyo and Yokohama. Renowned as one of the best ensembles in Russia, the group have invited harpists and soprano soloists from the Leningrad State Opera to join the tour. Opening quietly with "Air on a G-String" by J.S. Bach, the concert will be crowned by a powerful performance of "Winter" from Vivaldi's "Four Seasons." The program will finish with a dedication to Mozart to mark the end of the 250th anniversary of his birth.
Japan Times
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Nov 17, 2006
Intimate evening of grand illusion
Emmy award-winning illusionist and entertainer David Copperfield performs at Tokyo International Forum for 10 shows starting Dec. 6. "An Intimate Evening of Grand Illusion," which Copperfield has performed across the United States, is the magician's first Japan tour since 2001.

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