Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema

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...

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The Beauty of Washi

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, and in addition to guest teaching we got to enjoy an exhibition of his work and other washi delights in the 7th floor gallery...

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An Evening of Umami and Shokuiku

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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人魚に会える日 (Girl of the Sea)

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 early 桜 (sakura, or cherry blossom) season is predicted for this year (if only I could have stuck around for a few more weeks…).  However, this morning’s Japan news reported the weather dipping back down to chillier temps...

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Wonder 500 Exhibition

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 base-hosting communities in the U.S. I hope that knowing our second half will be in San Diego/Hawaii will make surviving the brutal cold awaiting us in our next stop of Omaha, Nebraska a bit easier…

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Hatsune Miku Expo in NYC

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 ...

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Japan's Underutilized Female Resources

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 Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi, and Morgan Stanley Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat.  The conversation was moderated by Columbia Professor of History Carol Gluck, a Japanologist who has written several books on Japanese history.

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Japanese Events New York City - Nihongo Dake Dinner

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 for JETAANY (http://jetaany.org/), he’s also the co-founder of Hills Learning (https://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 ...

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