NY Japan Cinefest 2017

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Last night I attended the first night of the 6th annual NY Japan CineFest 2017 at Asia Society.  This is one of my favorite cinematic events in the city, as it is a compilation of Japan-related short films.  As usual, there were many thought-provoking selections ranging from documentary to futuristic to artistic.

The Beauty of Washi

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This weekend I had a chance to sit in on a culture class at the Nippon Club in order to write an article in Chopsticks.  We were studying calligraphy, but specifically practicing this art on 和紙 (washi or Japanese paper).  Sensei Mori Suzuki was visiting from Japan just for this class...

An Evening of Umami and Shokuiku

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Last night I had the opportunity to interpret for Chef Kiyomi Mikuni at an event at Japan Society entitled “Umami and Other Japanese Culinary Secrets.” Mikuni is an entertaining speaker whose wide-ranging presentation covered everything from how important it is to develop taste buds at a young age to working with Japanese children on 食育 (shokuiku, or dietary education). Mikuni runs the gourmet French restaurant Hotel de Mikuni in Tokyo, but his culinary journey started in a fishing village ...


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Last night I attended a screening of Martin Scorsese’s new film Silence, based on the 1966 novel 沈黙 (Chinmoku) by Shusaku Endo, himself a Japanese Catholic.  It is the story of a Jesuit missionary sent to 17th century Japan, who is played with great nuance by Andrew Garfield.  He and his followers endure horrible persecution during this period when 隠れキリシタン (Kakure Kirishitan or Hidden Christians) are targeted for their beliefs.  Having lived in Kyushu I had a vague sense of what had taken ...

Happy Hour at MoMA

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Back in March I didn’t have time to blog about my participation in the New Directors New Films festival held at Lincoln Center, but I had the chance to interpret for director Ryusuke Hamaguchi when his epic ...

JAPAN CUTS 2016 comes to a close

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This weekend marks the end of the 2016 JAPAN CUTS film festival.  Due to a business trip midway through I wasn’t around as much as I would have liked, but I was able to attend the beginning and end to see ...


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 Last week kicked off the 10th year of the JAPAN CUTS film festival at Japan Society, and if the initial films are any indication this year’s lineup looks as stellar as the nine previous.  The opening film ...

New York Japan Cinefest

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Last week I had a chance to check out the 5th annual New York Japan Cinefest, whose mission is to introduce Japanese themed films and discover new talent in filmmaking.  In the past I have attended this ...

Wonder 500 Exhibition

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I arrived in DC yesterday to begin my first State Department interpreting assignment in a while.  I’m looking forward to working with my Okinawan group as we travel across the country learning about ...

Round Trip Heart/Our Little Sister

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A business trip to Japan prevented me from viewing the majority of the films at this year’s Japan Cuts at Japan Society, but I was able to catch Round Trip Heart (ロマンス) during the festival’s opening week. ...

NY Asian Film Festival

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This year’s NY Asian Film Festival is showcasing 11 films as part of its focus on new cinema from Japan.  I had the chance to catch two of them, Permanent Nobara (パーマネント野ばら) and Chasuke’s Journey ...

Japanese Stars in Recent American Cinema

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Lately there have been a bonanza of films being screened here in the city made by American directors starring Japanese actors. One is Kumiko the Treasure Hunter, currently playing at IFC, Nitehawk Cinema and BAM.  It features the ever fabulous Rinko Kikuchi as a discontent OL who is dealing with a harassing boss, insipid colleagues and a mother who is nagging her to get married.  She is totally disconnected from the world around her, with her only salvation being her pet bunny and her ...

Cape Nostalgia

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WIT Life is a periodic series written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03). She starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some of the interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations. I’ve been on the road for the majority of this month, and have been glad to escape the cold weather.  Now that March is around the corner, hopefully temps will warm up and we can look forward to spring and ...

Food Culture - Ramen

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One of the best ways to learn about a culture is through food. It's a way for you to eat delicious meal while also learning about the country from which the dish originates. Ramen (ラーメン or らーめん) is a perfect example of this food culture. It's one of Japan's most well-known foods, aside from sushi. The Brief History of Ramen Types of Ramen Where to Get Ramen? How to Make Your Own Ramen! The Brief History of Ramen Though ramen is most associated with Japan, it actually came ...

Sailor Moon is Back and Better Than Ever!

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When I was little, I remember watching Sailor Moon every week during summer break. My eyes were always glued to the TV every time she appeared on screen. I adored everything about her - her lively personality, her beautiful sailor uniform, and her ability to fight off the forces of evil with the help of her fellow Sailor Scouts. It was the very first anime I watched before I even knew it was originally from Japan. When I found out it was actually Japanese anime and not just an American ...

Japan Cuts!

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This weekend wrapped up Japan Society’s annual film festival Japan Cuts, and all of the films that I caught out of the 28 presented this year were wonderful.  I particularly enjoyed the opening film on the ...