The Departure

Last month’s Tribeca Film Festival featured the world premiere of the documentary The Departure directed by Lana Wilson.  It profiles Ittetsu Nemoto, a Buddhist priest whose lifework is suicide prevention.  In the group sessions he holds at his temple, he introduces exercises that attempt to show attendees what ending their lives would really mean in terms of loss and even simulates the experience of dying. 

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Waku Waku +NYC and Sebastian Masuda

This weekend I had the chance to visit “Waku Waku +NYC,” a new Japanese pop culture festival which took place over two days across multiple venues in Greenpoint and Williamsburg.  According to the event’s homepage, it brings together the worlds of anime, manga, music, food, film, and fashion via exhibits, panels, screenings, and interactive events.  This blend of pop culture from Japan and Brooklyn...

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猫マニア!

Can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I’ve written here, but two weeks of that time was my amazing trip to Japan!  I wasn’t sure how spending Golden Week in Tokyo would be, but it was actually quite nice as people tend to leave town to travel both domestically and abroad.  Most of my friends stuck around, so it was great to catch up with them without the usual work and other obligations cutting into our time together...

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Sailor Moon is Back and Better Than Ever!

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 ...

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Japan Town in New York? Why, it's St. Marks Place

A lot of our readers and students of the Japanese language have all been to "Japan Town" in New York City. However, if you look on a map or read a guidebook, there's no official listing of Japan Town in New York. There's definitely a Chinatown and Koreatown (Koreatown is actually written on 32nd street) so where's the Japan Town? And why has it been called that? The "where" is easy to explain. St. Marks Place is actually another term for East 8th Street. The "Japan Town" location is ...

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Japanese Text Messaging and Emoticons

I saw this video a few weeks ago about Japanese students being introduced to some English texting/internet abbreviations like “b4″ and “gr8″ (though who over the age of 12 still uses those anymore?). If they were this enthused about those, I wonder what they would make of LOL or WTF? Anyway, it made me wonder, what were some Japanese equivalents? The video notes the abbreviation “KY” in Japanese, which stands for “kuuki yomenai” (空気読めない – literally “can’t read the air”), which is ...

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Japanese Grocery Stores in New York

How can you make Japanese or other Asian recipes without the right ingredients? Large US grocery chains often have an “international” aisle, but the pickings are usually slim. But there are many small Japanese grocery stores in Manhattan and the other boroughs, as well as several online resources available for those who don’t feel like traveling to a brick-and-mortar store. Many Chinese or Korean markets also have a lot of common Japanese ingredients for cheaper prices, so it’s probably best ...

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