Monday, April 25, 2011

Back to the Yōkai

I'd been holding off on adding more yōkai entries until I got the copy of The Great Yokai Encyclopedia I had ordered.

The book has finally arrived so am I now returning to adding more yōkai entries.

This week I bring you:

tankororin (persimmon yōkai) たんころりん

As for The Great Yokai Encyclopedia it is an ok book. It would have been nice if the author had spent more time on many of the entries and I was surprised that he did not include Mizuki Shigeru's book on yōkai which has been available since 2008 in a French translation as Yōkai: Dictionnaire des Monstres Japonais. On the whole The Great Yokai Encyclopedia is a useful book used in conjunction with other works just not as detailed and fleshed out as it could have been. Perhaps we shall see a better second edition in a few years.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A most wonderful fool

I finally pulled the first Tora-san box set, released by AnimEigo, from my pile of unseen DVD discs. What a great series, from the opening dialogue of the first film (1969) to the ending of the fourth I found myself wanting to see the next film. Atsumi Kiyoshi's portrayal of Kuruma Torajiro, aka Tora-san, is a delight. The bighearted fast talking Tora-san is enough of an idiot to get himself into all sorts of situations, usually complicated by his good intentions. Tora-san always manages to work his way through the mess he got himself into and in doing so drags others into it to our amusement.

If you are looking for a classic series of highly entertaining films I recommend these. You will see why they were popular enough to become a 48 film series.

One of the places I plan to visit in my next trip to Tokyo is the Tora-san Museum in Shibamata, the neighborhood much of the stories take place in. I even intend to take the Yagiri Ferry to Chiba and walk the banks of the Edogawa river just like Tora-san does in the movies.

I have now added two new entries to my Anime Companion Supplement. These are:

Atsumi Kiyoshi 渥美清

Otoko wa Tsurai Yo (It's Tough Being a Man, aka: The Tora-san movies) 男はつらいよ

Monday, April 11, 2011

Flat and tasty

This week I cover a food item few non-Japanese know about. Originating in the Kantō region it is a tasty treat I plan to have in Tokyo when I visit again this fall.

It is: monjayaki もんじゃ焼き

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Eternal Idol

This week I cover one of the major stars of Japanese entertainment who started as an idol singer and continued to perform and eventually play roles in movies, including a cameo in Michael Bay's Armageddon.

Matsuda Seiko 松田聖子

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Takehiko Inoue's latest

The Asahi Shinbun English website has an article on noted manga artist Takehiko Inoue's latest peoject. A large folding screen for Higashi-Honganji temple in Kyoto.

'Slam Dunk' artist's folding screen honors monk Shinran