29 August 06 - 21:38Banana Yoshimoto: KitchenBanana Yoshimoto's famous book Kitchen doesn't seem to lose it's attraction over the years. The book still feels fresh to read, just as it was in 1987 when it was first published in Kaien-magazine. Kitchen is book about lost love, missing of people you love and lose, and about cheerfull beauty of life. This book made Banana Yoshimoto famous all over the world. Recommended reading for those interested in modern Japanese fiction.
See also: Banana Yoshimoto
「ISBN: 0671880187」Washington Square Press $8.50 160 pages ★★★★★
20 August 06 - 23:11Random haiku generatorCheck random haiku generator.
This is what it generated for me:
Near the tundra I wonder
The breeze is spent.
And they say computers cannot be creative!
17 August 06 - 12:01DVD BOX - ALWAYS: Sanchome no YuhiI just got the special edition box set of ALWAYS: Sanchome no Yuhi / Always - Sunset on Third Street from Shogakukan. This movie written by Takahashi Yamazaki, the same director than in the action packed hollywood style flick "Returner". ALWAYS is a totally different kind of movie and has some real showa spirit in it.
The DVD special edition is truly a special edition! It includes two DVD's, one CDROM a very well illustrated book about making of the movie, post cards, and 3D images!
See full story: http://www.hanamiweb.com/topstory17082006.html
Always Sanchome no Yuhi 「Shogakukan VPBT-15326」 ￥6,800 ★★★★★
16 August 06 - 01:29TOKIWA: Dois MapasRecent months I've been listening the latest album of Brazil Jazz / world music singer Tokiwa Kinoshita. I met Tokiwa-san and her fellow musicians in one small Brazil music bar in Tokyo this March. They were doing this pretty standard, but nice performance, but then in the last piece, a surprise guest star Matsumonica appeared and made amazing solo with harmonica. Everyone, including the guitarist was stunned.
Tokiwa's latest album is a live album - very nice and smooth going world/Brazil oriented music. Cover design is truly unique and cute - suits well Tokiwa's elegant music.
Dois Mapas 「NIR-001002」 ￥2,381 N.I.Records ★★★★★
16 August 06 - 01:07Tall Buildings / Coffeeshops in ShinjukuI realized once again how much I enjoyed my last visit in Japan. And one of the things I enjoyed best were those few days I could enjoy in Shinjuku. I used to stay at my girlfriend's house that time, and it was really close to Shinjuku, less than 20 minutes with a bus. (more)
12 August 06 - 10:37Retired Weapons art projectYuji Tokuda & Junya Ishikawa's fantastic and cheerfull Retired Weapons is truly brilliant concept. The minimalistic flash animations are cute and well made. You can also use it to send greeting cards to your friends, or download the wallpapers or screensavers from the site. See Retired Weapons Art Project. See also Junya Ishikawa's site..
10 August 06 - 06:00Artistic horrorPULSE aka. Kairo was interesting movie, featuring beautiful Koyuki. It is something considered as "underground movie" or even "art house movie". The story of the film is very interesting. Spirits of the dead people are communicating with the living through the electronic gadgets. The other dimension where the souls are living is getting crowded and they attempt to stop new people entering their dimension by trapping them into loneliness. Cities of Japan soon grow empty and planes crash and people just turn in to dark dust. The movie has little special effects which I personally liked. The the philosophical dimension and the really different view than in Hideo Nakata's movies was nice.
「See in IMDB」 Kairo (aka.Pulse) 2001 Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa ★★★★★
09 August 06 - 18:00Hot summer in JapanIt appears that summer in Japan is getting more and more hot every year. This is obviously due to global climate change. This year, is especially terribly hot summer and more heat records are probably be made. Temperature in Osaka area has already broke 36~37C. This summer is also strange because it came so late in Japan, usually the rainy season ends sometimes in middle of July and the typhoons blow away the humidity making way to the summer.
09 August 06 - 15:00Flower Gardens of KyotoFlower Gardens of Kyoto by Mizuno Katsuhiko is a beautiful view to amazing visual bliss of Kyoto gardens. The book has photos of famous Kyoto gardens from every season. Azaleas in Chishaku-in temple or Cherry Blossoms in Soren-ji. The photos display the beauty to the Kyoto temples through their gardens and nature, without concentrating to the temples themselves. First edition of this book was published in April 1996 by Mitsumura Suiko Shoin Publishing Co., Ltd.
Recommended for those who love photography of Japanese gardens.
「ISBN4-8381-0162-7」 ￥1,000 SUIKO BOOKS ★★★★☆
09 August 06 - 14:48BIWAKOBiwako - or Lake Biwa is perhaps the most famous lake in Japan. Throughout the centuries it has been source of inspiration for painters, novelists and haikuists. UESUGI Matsuo's photography book Biwako is fantastic journey to this magical lake and reveals the many faces of it. Also Uesugi shows the beauty of the birds that live on the lake as well as the many seasons. Each photo comes detailed with the aperture and timing values so photographers will surely enjoy these masterpieces.
「ISBN4-8381-0308-5」 ￥1800 SUIKO BOOKS ★★★★★
09 August 06 - 13:39Japanese climate in Finland!Today the weather turned very interesting here in Finland. The wind is blowing from the sea and humidity increased - it smells just like in Japan. Only difference is that it's not nearly as hot as in Japan. The humidity is so high that you can't see so far away. The haze looks just like in Japan in summer afternoon!
I surely wish the cool and fresh breeze from the sea continues! This makes me remember one summer I spent in Yokohama.
09 August 06 - 12:47What they are saying about Hanami Web!Here is some feedback I've got. ☀☁☂ (more)
09 August 06 - 12:03Sake from Shiga prefectureI recently got two bottles of nice sake from Shiga prefecture. This sake has essence of crystal clear moutain rivers that flow to lake Biwa (Biwa-ko). This sake is famous of it's clear essence and is associatiated with the culture of the prefecture and especially to lake Biwa. This sake is best enjoyed chilled. Sake is such a delicious drink, and great with small snacks and good company. See close up:
Read more about sake: Sake in Hanami Web
09 August 06 - 11:52Nama yatsuhashi: Black sesame wagashiRecently I got a very nice gift from a Japanese friend. Nama yatsuhashi, sweets made from black sesame. The brand is famous Otabe (www.otabe.co.jp. The box design is so beautiful, isn't it?
The taste is something like sweet omochi, but has more substance. Goes great with some shizuoka ocha. Nama Yatsuhashi is certainly good gift idea! See close ups here:
Read more about wagashi and mochi.
06 August 06 - 21:11Kawabata's Yukiguni still touchesThe original edition of Yasunari Kawabata's Yukiguni, (Snow Country) was published in short stories from years 1935-1937. Yukiguni is one of the most famous novel of Kawabata - most of the Japanese people know about this epic yet realistic book.
Read more in Hanami Web
06 August 06 - 16:46Conceptual Product DesignerTakeshi Ishiguro is truly one of the rare, creative and innovative designers who never stop wondering and doing new things and experiments. One of his most famous installations is Smoke Ring, exhibited in International House of Japan. It produces beautiful smoke rings every five minutes, which rise to sky. Another his work is "lighting costume" which has 300 LEDs which react to user's movement. Another installation of his is "Slow Motion" a chair that moves very slowly - so slow that only the person sitting on it can experiment it. His works have both, material and immaterial substance. Check out: Takeshi Ishiguro Official Site
06 August 06 - 12:24Tanabata MatsuriTanabata Matsuri, or the Star Festival, takes place on the 7h day of the 7th month. It is a reference to the Chinese Lunar Calendar which has a very vague indication in modern days, so different regions have their own festival dates around July-August. (more)
05 August 06 - 21:28Parks in TokyoNot very comprehensive introduction to parks in Tokyo, but the ones that definitely earn my recommendation! Plus Google Earth placemark for all the parks is included! (more)
05 August 06 - 19:15Google Earth Day in JapanThis is my first blog since, ummm... the dinosaurs. So I'll keep it short. This is a Google Earth tour of my first day in Japan. (more)
04 August 06 - 12:28Takoyaki with USB connection!WOW! I got one of these rare USB products introduced by PingMAG! They are certainly hard to find. My friend had to work so hard to find one. This takoyaki (from Osaka!) has a memory of 128 megabytes and preinstalled mail software and spice inside. Download the bigger photo: I will post more details later ^^
03 August 06 - 21:00"Home Away from Home"Sawa Kurotani, assistant professor of anthropology in California, recently published her book "Home Away from Home: Japanese Corporate Wives in the United States". The book, result of several years of fieldwork and study, takes a look of life of of Japanese corporate wives in the United States. Kurotani's book is not just written from common view but instead is very personal and deep. Kurotani highlights the beauty of ordinary daily (often mundane!) life. Daily tasks such as washing dishes and preparing bento, are natural life for Japanese housewife. And often there are pressures in marital relationship.
When this setup is brought to different continent it becomes interesting soup.
I hope I can get chance to read this book soon.
「ISBN: 0-8223-3622-7」 241 pp $21.95 ★★★★★
03 August 06 - 15:00Wacky family: "Happiness of Katakuris"This movie by Takahashi Miike was truly different kind of film by this famous horror director. The movie is a mix of revyy, clay animation and comedy, and ofcourse a lot of music scenes. You don't know whether to laugh or cry. Well, ok, mostly laugh. Check out in IMDB .
03 August 06 - 12:00Going to Japan first time?Hanami Web has official Japan Fact Sheet which offers information perhaps interesting for those going to Japan first time. I've got some critical feedback from this article, like "okay guy, volcanoes doesn't cause earthquakes". Please send me more feedback.
03 August 06 - 09:00Young Artist Has a Story to Tell"Loving is the ultimate prerequisite to any worthwhile achievement" said Shunsuke Sato (21) in the interview I made of him in October 10 2005. This talented and awarded violinist is interesting person to get acquainted to, not only due to his interesting views and lifestyle, but his enthusiasm towards art and work. I had chance to meet him in November in Ikebukuro, and I certainly had great time listening to his ideas and thoughts.
Read the interview here.
Visit also Shunsuke Sato official homepage.
03 August 06 - 08:00Nagasaki remembered after 61 yearsAsahi Shimbun wrote again an article that totally stopped me. Writer Kyoko Hayashi is one of those who survived the bomb. The article shares insights of International Peace Symposium through words of Hayashi. When she visited the New Mexico atomic bomb test area she finally shed tears as she stood in ground zero. As she very cleverly pointed out, we humans can talk about our feelings even after disaster, but all the plants, and animals which suffered and died, remain silent. Asahi Shimbun impressed me again with their very human way of bringing out important topics.
Read the story here: Still hoping for peace 61 years...
Check Kenzaburo Oe's book about Hiroshima in Hanami Web: http://www.hanamiweb.com/gokaomita.html
03 August 06 - 00:4670 million Japanese web users..When you need Japanese web content graphics - banners, Flash, or entire site stationery - that are savvy culture-wise and market-wise, who do you turn to? asks webproject.jp report. They are truly right - usability of commercial web services is terrible, and latest AJAX tricks won't help much.
What we need is cost effective localization agency that most importantly understands the current advertising weather / atmosphere in a foreign country and foreign culture. We are not talking about individual, separated things like "how does this new cool AJAX window look like" or "where do we get the most clicks from". It's all one united matter - and good localization / ad agency must master all that, and wrap it up in package that is not too expensive. And as we all know, no advertising plan is never guaranteed to bring some certainl result. Things change and fluctuate.
Good design, however is always important, as webproject.jp website states:
webproject.jp - webdesign word!
02 August 06 - 23:29Henshin!Onlinehttp://www.henshinonline.com/ aka. H!O appears to be interesting site for Japanese movie fans. It offers introduction for masters like SHINICHI "SONNY" CHIBA, ULTRAMAN etc. Cool site, especially if you are in US and can attend the H!O happenings
02 August 06 - 22:38WOMB- Shibuya Hangout!Those into Drum'n'Bass, House or Techno, check out Womb. Little similar to Planet AKA, Womb is certainly worth of checking out if you are planning to go to clubbing in Tokyo and like electronic dance music. Womb is introduces big star DJ's and perhaps the best sound and light system in Tokyo. If you are looking for crowded place in weekend, Womb is the place. Planet AKA offers chance for nice dub chillout in upstairs bar, but Womb is really just for d'n'b partying. See also dublab.
02 August 06 - 01:29Gentle, Amoral Robot MusicI found this cool, refreshing music. It's so cool and refreshing. What got me interested was a clip played in my favorite channel "Cliqhop" of SomaFM Internet Radio station. This clip had some Japanese dialoque which could have been from Japanese movie. Totally funny, chic and at the same time natural and beautiful. This has essence!
02 August 06 - 00:05Dog fashion gone crazyCheck out this in Ping Mag! Dogs wearing kimonos and hakamas!
01 August 06 - 22:55Century of WomenI got a lot of nice feedback from the article: Top Story: Century of Japanese Women. I think of returning to the women's view in later stories, perhaps by interview of women.
01 August 06 - 21:58East End by Mr.JasonI published this CD in 2001. The music in this feels so nostalgic, now that I listen to it. CD baby page shows there is exactly one actual CD left. I wonder who will get the last one. But it will always be available from iTunes Music Store. :) Recently I heard Pepsi Co China bought my music. I wonder if I will hear it in next Pepsi ads LOL.
By the way, the calligraphy in the cover was made by my ex wife. 東 "higashi" - means simply East in Japanese. No, this doesn't have anything to do with the dodgy street in London.
01 August 06 - 19:03Japanese economy recovering?Asahi Shimbun published interesting article about Hiroko Noda, Tokyo-based wine importer. She became first female sommelier in Japan 20 years ago.
"I'm glad that wine has come to be recognized as a high-value commodity, like diamonds," she said in Asahi Shimbun interview. The big banks in Japan are no longer so reluctant to lend money to wine& food business which is sign of recovering economy but also the fact that wine has became solid and valuable merchandize.
Asahi Shimbun Vox Dei
01 August 06 - 18:39Gohatto / TabooAs it's name suggests, Gohatto / Taboo, in this movie you are going to see some thing what you don't expect. I was personally touched by the very spirit of the movie, especially Ryuichi Sakamoto's one of the greatest soundtracks. Takeshi Kitano's performance is captain of the clan is somehow a bit narrow though, yet he is great using bokutoo and a as great swordsman. There are some really stunning scenes of the movie. Personally, Oshima's style is a bit too realistic for me, but others might like this very close and tight touch to facts he has.
Check out in IMDB.
See also: Shinsengumi
01 August 06 - 16:41Kimono page at Hanami WebThe kimono page in Hanami Web has became recently a popular source of all kimono enthusiasts. It has been even suggested to be most profound kimono page in internet. Please tell us what you think! http://www.hanamiweb.com/kimono.html
01 August 06 - 16:35Kyoto POP-artist speaks through light and shadowTakagi Masakatsu, the Japanese pop artist shared his thinking and feeling about creating contemporary art through means of video and music in NHK's POP JAM DX program 28th of June. His visual work as well as music is truly amazing, both with technique and content. Screen turns into a moving painting of watercolor and mixed technique - sublime, relaxed and so fantastically fresh and stylish.
"When I first started making videos, I was always reacting to light. I was obsessed with light, and captured everything with light", the Kyoto artist said in the beginning of the interview.
Read full story: Top Story: Kyoto POP Artist speaks through light and shadow