Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Brain Diving - Short Term Memory

Brian Ruh, a well known scholar of anime, has started a new column over at the Anime News Network called: Brain Diving - Short Term Memory

For his first column he looks at one of the Ghost in the Shell novels, The Lost Memory by Junichi Fujisaku.

I'll be following this column regularly.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

TokyoScope Talk : BAD GIRLS & WILD WOMEN!

Patrick Macias and assorted comrades have been doing a great series of presentations at the Viz Cinema in San Francisco.

I plan to make this one, probably will be bringing a group of folks with me.

Macias has uploaded a trailer for the event and there is further event information on the Viz Cinema web site.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Satoshi Kon's last words

Makiko Itoh has translated Satoshi Kon's last words, a farewell statement by Kon.

I am most appreciative for this translation as Satoshi Kon became one of my favorite directors, something that is not easy to become, when I first saw Perfect Blue many years ago. The film completely gripped my attention and when I stood up after the credits had finished rolling I was shaking and could taste the adrenaline in my mouth. It took some hours to fully relax. Since that early film I have eagerly awaited his next productions.

A few years ago I was given the honor of introducing Millennium Actress, my favorite of Kon's films, at a special screening in San Francisco co-sponsored by the San Francisco Public Library and the Japanese Counsel General's office. After the screening many stayed for a presentation I did and discussion.

I hope I again have the opportunity to do something like this with one of Satoshi Kon films some day.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Satoshi Kon RIP

Satoshi Kon has passed away of pancreatic cancer.

One of my favorite directors is no longer with us. I highly recommend if you have not seen his movies that you do so.

I also high recommend the book Satoshi Kon The Illusionist by Andrew Osmond

Too many good ones leaving us so early.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Crunchy sweet

This week I have a traditional sweet from Asakusa. The next time I go to Tokyo I need to get some for folks at work.

kaminari-okoshi (thunder brittle) 雷おこし

Monday, August 16, 2010


There are so many foods seen and mentioned in anime and manga that are just not part of our non-Japanese vocabulary.

With this in mind I give you a new edible entry.

kiritanpo きりたんぽ or 切りたんぽ

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

More recommended manga

I have added for following three entries to my recommended manga web page.

Tatsumi Yoshihiro

Drifting Life by Tatsumi Yoshihiro

Seven Seas Entertainment

A fictionalized account of the authors life from August 1945 to June 1960. The work chronicles his rise as a manga artist from his early efforts, contact with Tezuka Osamu (link), struggles with publishers, more to Tokyo, and role in creating the gekiga [link] genre of manga. This is a massive work, at 840 pages the longest single volume manga published in English.

Cultural Details : Postwar life in the Ōsaka area, 1950s Tokyo life, manga industry

Cautions: Mild nudity.

Order Drifting Life from The Right Stuf

Nakazawa Keiji

Barefoot Gen by Nakazawa Keiji

Last Gasp

The classic manga, 4 volumes were first translated into English in the late 1970s by New Society Publishing. The current edition is a new translation of all ten volumes for the first time. This covers from the days before the bombing to the main characters move to Tokyo in the mid 1950s. The author himself survived the bombing of Hiroshima and based this tale on his experiences and those of others. Gen starts out as a happy kid coping with living during WWII with his oparents sister and brother as best a kid can. With the bombing things rapidly change as only he and his pregnant mother survive the bombing. They struggle to do their best in the weeks after the bombing, and over time begin to form friendships with other survivors and from this a group of friends who help each other come into being. The authors anti-militaristic views are presented with force and humor as we see Japan's recovery from the devistation of the war through the experiences of one young man.

Cultural details: Military occupation, Hiroshima, daily life 1945-1955.

Barefoot Gen volume 1 from The Right Stuf

Watanabe Taeko

Kaze Hikaru by Watanabe Taeko

VIZ Media

Kamiya Seizaburo in 1863 joins the Shinsengumi in the hope of taking vengence on the killers of his father and older brother. Small and quick Kamiya passes the test of skill in the use of the sword and is accepted. Okita Soji, a legendary swordsman and one of the founding members of the Shinsengumi, takes Seizaburo under his wing. However Kamiya is not a he but a she who had taken to disguising herself to carry out her mission and some of the men are very enamored with this "pretty boy" who has joined their troop.

Cultural Details: 19th Century Kyoto, bakumatsu, Shinsengumi, 19th Century urban life.

Cautions: Violence, swordplay, nothing sexual shown, references to male male sexuality, references to prostitution.
Order Kaze Hikaru volume 1 from The Right Stuf

Canada on comics and literacy

A new report from the Canadian Council on Learning covering gender reading preferences and comics/graphic novels.

More Than Just Funny Books: Comics and Prose Literacy for Boys

Interesting stuff, worthy of consideration.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Portraits of Modern Japanese Historical Figures

While searching for information on Jirochô of Shimizu I found a great resource of Japanese historical figures from the National Diet Library

Portraits of Modern Japanese Historical Figures

Folks may want to bookmark it for future use.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Failed coup

This week's entries concern a conspiracy from the 17th century, and one of the major players. The conspiracy was never carried out due to information getting to the authorities before the planned event happened.

Keian Jiken 慶安事件

Marubashi Chūya 丸橋忠弥