Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema

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Last week the inaugural Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema began, and I’ve had the chance to catch a lot of great films at the two main venues of Kew Gardens Cinema and Queens Museum. Today they screened Persona Non Grata (杉原千畝 スギハラチウネ, 2015), a film about Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara (“Japanese Schindler”) who served as a consul in Lithuania from 1939-40 and saved the lives of thousands of Jewish refugees by issuing over 2000 transit visas to Japan. ..

New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) 2017

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This weekend concludes the 2017 New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), which offered another amazing lineup of films and special guests.  This is the 16th year of its running, and it just seems to get better over time.  I saw two of the Japanese films screened at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater, the festival’s venue, and another two I had seen on the plane during a recent business trip to Japan ...

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 ...

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 ...

人魚に会える日 (Girl of the Sea)

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Last week I returned from a short business trip in Japan when Tokyo was enjoying unseasonably warm weather.  People were in t-shirts over the weekend, and with 梅 (ume, or plum blossoms) already in bloom an ...

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 ...

Hatsune Miku Expo in NYC

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Hatsune Miku has finally made her place in New York City! For those that haven’t heard of her, Miku is a singing character software that can be bought and program to sing anything. She’s known as a Vocaloid, where there are other characters (Rin, Len, Kaito, Meiko), having live concert performances as holograms. After years of publicity, Miku finally took the stage at the Big Apple, having thousands of fans going to her Expo and Concerts. I happily attended the Miku Expo that just happens ...

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 ...

Japan's Underutilized Female Resources

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Early this month I attended a Japan Society event regarding empowering women in the U.S. and Japan.  The featured speakers were former Diet member, Minister of the Environment and Minister of Foreign ...

Japanese Events New York City - Nihongo Dake Dinner

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The Nihongo Dake Dinner is one of the few regular Japanese events in New York City designed to bring both Japanese and non-native Japanese speakers together. Currently run by Jon Hills for JETAANY (http://jetaany.org/), he’s also the founder of Hills Learning (http://www.hillslearning.com), a language school based in Grand Central, New York City. The event usually numbers around 20 people, and is designed to be half Japanese, half non-native Japanese speakers. The Japanese ...