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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Asakusa Observatory and Todai precursor

浅草天文台

Asakusabashi in Tokyo’s Taito ward is known nowadays as little more than a wholesalers’ town—albeit with some famous Japanese doll shops in Asakusabashi, just two stations south of the tourist center of Asakusa, and one station east of the electronics and nerd culture mecca of Akihabara.

However, until about 170 years ago, Asakusabashi was scientifically and technologically one of the most important places in Japan thanks to the astronomical observatory that used to be here, and which included offices for the study of the latest scientific literature from overseas.

Kuramae 1-chome intersection, Taito ward, Tokyo.
Kuramae 1-chome intersection - with signboard for Asakusa Observatory at foreground left
Not far from where the observatory was is a signboard, on the south-west corner of Kuramae 1-chome  intersection, which is now a designated public smoking area. The following is a full translation of the Japanese information on the signboard (which is only partially translated into English on the signboard).


Site of Astronomical Observatory

In the late Edo era, a little west of this spot, was an astronomical observatory on a road running through an area comprising the whole of Asakusabashi 3-chome 21-24 banchi, and part of 19-, 25- and 26-banchi. Besides astronomical observation, it also hosted other pursuits such as calendar-rule research, surveying, compilation of topographical data, and the translation of Western books.

The observatory was known as Shitendai or Asakusa-tenmondai, and was transferred here in 1782 from Ushigome-waradana (current day Fukuromachi in Shinjuku ward) and rebuilt. It was officially named Hanrekidokoro-goyoyashiki ("The Imperial Office of Calendar Making") which, as the name suggests, was part of the government office, the Tenmongata, for working out the calendar. Astronomical  observations were required to ensure calendar accuracy.

Asakusa Observatory signboard, Asakusabashi, Taito-ku, Tokyo.
Signboard for site of old Asakusa Observatory, Taito ward, Tokyo.
According to a historical document known as Shitendai-no-ki ("Shitendai Records"), the Shitendai observatory was built on top of an artificial hill about 93.6 meters in circumference and about 9.3 meters high. The observatory was a square building, with each wall about 5.5 meters long, access being provided by 43 stone steps. Another historical record, the Kansei-rekisho ("Chronicles of the Kansei Era") states that there were two separate flights of stone stairs, each of 50 steps, and that the artificial hill was 9 meters high.

Katsushika Hokusai was an ukiyoe painter active during the final years of the Edo era, in the 1850s and 1860s, one of whose most famous works was the Fugaku Hyakkai ("100 Scenes of Mt. Fuji") series. One of the scenes, Torigoe no Fuji ("Mt. Fuji from Torigoe") depicts the Asakusa Observatory in the foreground, with an armillary sphere on top, and Mt. Fuji in the background.

Torigoe no Fuji ("Mt. Fuji from Torigoe") ukiyoe print by Hokusai.
Torigoe no Fuji ("Mt. Fuji from Torigoe") by Hokusai
It was here at the Asakusa Observatory that the astronomer Takahashi Yoshitoki (1764-1804) revised the calendar for the Kansei era (1789-1801). One of his understudies was Ino Tadakata (1745-1818), a surveyor and cartographer known for completing the first map of Japan. Before starting his survey of the whole of Japan, Ino first set out to establish the length of one degree of latitude by working out the direction of the observatory from his house in Fukugawa and the distance between them. After Takahashi’s death, upon the advice of his son and heir, Kakeyasu, in 1811 an office for translating foreign books, the Bansho-wage-goyo (蕃所和解御用), was established on the premises. This office underwent many transformations: from Yogakusho ("Center for Western Learning"), to Bansho-shirabesho ("Western Learning Research and Educational Institute"), to Yosho-shirabesho ("Western Writings Institute"), to Kaiseisho/Kaiseijo (“Office for Opening and Developing”), to Kaisei Gakko (“School for Opening and Developing”), to Daigaku-nanko (“University Southern School”), and was a precursor institution of the current University of Tokyo.

Another observatory was built at Kudanzakaue (present day Kudankita, Chiyoda ward) in 1842, but both were abolished in 1869, in the second year of the modernizing Meiji era.

March 1999


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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Nex Plaza Nagoya Expressway

ネックス・プラザ

The Nex Plaza Nagoya Expressway is a free museum dedicated to expressways (kosokudoro) in Nagoya and a favorite of parents with car-obsessed kids at the weekend. There are lots of hands-on and interactive exhibits and fun quizzes.

Nex Plaza Nagoya Expressway

Children can drive Nagoya's expressways in a a simulator in a converted Mini as well as plan their own route to drive on another machine.

There are models of cars and information on how expressways and highway tunnels are built in ways to keep inconvenience to the public to a minimum.

Nex Plaza Nagoya Expressway Aichi


Nex Plaza
Nagoya-shi
Kita-ku
Shimizu 4- 17-30
Nagoya Highway Corporation Kurokawa Building
Tel: 052 919 3241

名古屋市
北区清水四丁目17-30
名古屋高速道路公社黒川ビル内

Nex Plaza is open 10am-5pm Tuesday to Sunday. It is located in the Nagoya Highway Corporation HQ below an expressway very close to Kurokawa Station on the Meijo Line of the Nagoya subway.

Nex Plaza Nagoya Expressway Aichi Japan


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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Japan News This Week 25 May 2014

今週の日本

Japan News.
Panicked Workers Fled Fukushima Plant in 2011 Despite Orders, Record Shows New York Times

Japan Fukushima operator releases groundwater into sea
BBC

Get this free app and you too can have a cute girl watching you all the time
Global Post

Gourmet manga stirs up storm after linking Fukushima to nosebleeds
Guardian

Japan neglecting wetlands: ministry
Japan Times

What Japan’s Designated State Secrets Law Targets Japan Focus


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Statistics

Women were a record 14% of new police hires. According to the National Police Agency, in fiscal 2013 14.3% of those hired were female. As of April 1 there 19,856 female policewomen, which is up 1,137 from the previous year.

Source:

Yomiuri Shinbun

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Centurion Hotel Ueno - designer comfort in a Tokyo sightseeing hotspot

センチュリオン・上野

The Centurion Hotel group has four hotels, all in Tokyo. The Centurion Hotel in Tokyo's Ueno district re-opened on February 11, 2014 after extensive refurbishment, to become one of the Ueno area's most stylish and affordable hotels. (The Centurion Hotel Ueno is on the site of what used to be known as Hotel Pine Hill Ueno.)

Centurion Hotel Ueno, Tokyo

The Centurion Hotel Ueno - a self-style "designer hotel" - is a striking presence in Ueno, unmissable with its massive billboard on top. Inside, the Centurion Hotel Ueno aims for rich - albeit somewhat restrained - elegance, in subdued golden brown tones with simple lines, and black and silver highlights. The Centurion Hotel Ueno appeal is of good taste relaxation and comfort, based on the concept of "your urban home."

The Centurion Hotel Ueno offers four kinds of room, all reasonably priced:
Single Room, semi-double bed, 2 persons, 11 sq.m.+
Double Room (Standard and Superior), 2 persons, double/queen-size bed, 12 sq.m.+
Twin Room (Family and Standard), 2 persons, semi-double twin beds, 15 sq.m.+
Suite Room, 4 persons, with separate bathroom and toilet, semi-double twin beds, 42 sq.m.

Check-in is from 2 p.m. (although the after-9:00 p.m. check-in plan will save you money), and check-out by 11:00 a.m.

In addition to the after-9 p.m. check-in plan, there are various other money-saving "plans" such as the afternoon-time only D-Use Plan, for a stay from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. only, costing about 5,000-6,000 yen.

Breakfast at the Centurion Hotel Ueno is served between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. (last orders 9:30 a.m.)

Car parking from 2:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. costs only 2,000 yen.

Non-smoking rooms are available at the Centurion Hotel Ueno.

The following is available in every room at the Centurion Hotel Ueno:
Free Wi-Fi
Free mineral water
Free CS
Coin laundry available
20% hotel restaurant discount
TV
Phone
Fridge
Hairdryer
Body soap and face soap
Shampoo, rinse and conditioner
Brush and comb set
Razor
Nightgown
Toothbrush set
Hot water pot
Tea set
Slippers
Trouser press, iron, humidifier available from front desk
Microwave oven in some rooms

Centurion Hotel Ueno, Tokyo

The Centurion Hotel Ueno is close to numerous attractions in Taito and Bunkyo wards, such as Ueno Park, with its numerous museums, the Ueno Zoo, and various other attractions.

Access to the Centurion Hotel Ueno:
2 minutes walk from  North Exit of Okachimachi Station (JR and Keihin Tohoku)
3 minutes walk from Exit 2 of Yushima Station (Chiyoda subway line)

Centurion Hotel Ueno
Ueno 2-3-4, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0005, Japan
〒110-0005東京都台東区上野2-3-4
Tel 03-3836-5111
Fax 03-3837-0080

www.centurion-hotel.com/ueno


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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Yamaga no Yado Tsukasa

Yamaga is a hot spring resort town on the Kikuchi River in the mountains about 27 kilometers north of Kumamoto city in Kyushu. Other than the onsens, its main attraction is a rather fine Kabuki theatre.


Yamaga no Yado Tsukasa

There are no budget business hotels in the town, only ryokan, and I was wary of having to pay the normally higher prices at onsen ryokan, so I was pleasantly surprised by the prices at Yamaga no Yado Tsukasa.

It's a large ryokan located right on the river bank and big enough to handle wedding banquets etc. My room, with a view out to the river, was 8 tatami, with a separate sitting area by the window.

Yamaga no Yado Tsukasa, Kyushu

There was also a small extra room with fridge, kettle, space for luggage etc. Toilet and bathroom were en-suite, but being an onsen it had a large public bath. It was the least hot onsen I have experienced in Japan, which was not bad.

They have larger rooms, and some with beds rather than futons.

Yamaga no Yado Tsukasa, Kumamoto, Kyushu, Japan


For the room without any meals I paid only 3,800 yen.

Yamaga no Yado Tsukasa
113-5 Yamaga, Kumamoto 861-0501
Tel: 968 43 5126

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Monday, May 19, 2014

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 33 Ibusuki To Ei

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 33
Kagoshima to Ibusuki
Friday August 2nd, 2013

I head off from Ibusuki as the sun just rises above the horizon and bathes the land in gold. The road at first heads up a gentle but long slope and as it tops out it turns and faces west in the distance I get my first glimpse of the landmark that will dominate the day, Mount Kaimondake.

Mount Kaimondake, Satsuma Fuji, Japan

Almost perfectly conical, the 924 meter high volcano is for obvious reasons known as the Fuji of Satsuma, and though it is not that high, its position, all alone at the edge of the sea, makes it quite dramatic.

I had toyed with the idea of climbing it and sleeping out on top, expecting that the sunset and sunrise views would be awesome, but in the end decided that a 900 meter climb with heavy pack in the heat of the summer would be a price too high to pay.

At Nishioyama I take a small detour off the road to visit Nishioyama Station, the southernmost railway station in Japan. In English we would call it a halt, not a station, as there are no buildings, but across the street is a small shop which sells souvenirs, including postcards that can be posted in the bright yellow postbox.

It is surprisingly busy considering there are only a handful of trains a day, While I'm sitting in the shade enjoying a cool drink half a dozen cars turn up and the visitors spend a few minutes having their photo taken against the station sign before heading off to their next sight.

It's also the southernmost point of my walk around Kyushu. Not yet halfway in distance to cover, but a milestone nonetheless. I have walked down the eastern side, and now I must head up the western coast, which is much more convoluted and wiggly.

By early afternoon I reach the town of Kaimon, as close as I'm going to get to the mountain itself. I head to Hirasaki Shrine, a group of vermillion buildings inside a dark grove of old, tall trees. This was the highest ranked shrine in Satsuma Province, the Ichinomiya, and the shrine is dedicated to Amaterasu, the sun goddess, which is actually kind of unusual.

Wooden Japanese masks, Kyushu


Though modern Shinto claims Amaterasu to be the highest of all the kami, there are actually very few shrines to her, her pre-eminence being a modern idea nurtured in the pre-war State Shinto. The shrine has a treasure house and I am delighted to discover a big collection of old, wooden masks. In one of the shrines ancillary buildings I can see more, newer masks, and I ask the priest in the room who is in the room changing into robes for a ceremony if I can come in a photograph them. He agrees.

From here the coast road turns and heads north so I have Kaimondake at my back. By late afternoon I arrive in Ei where I have a room booked at a guest house. I am the only guest. After a change of clothes and an hour of air-conditioning I buy some beers and head down the the beach to watch the sunset. The sky is cloudless, but down at the end of the land Kaimondake is capped with a single cloud, draped over the summit.

Jake Davies

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 32

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Japan News This Week 18 May 2014

今週の日本

Japan News.
For foreign operators, Japan casinos no sure bet New York Times

Japan PM Abe calls for new defence law interpretation
BBC

Japanese haiku should probably be the official language of diplomacy
Global Post

Shinzo Abe reveals plans to lift Japan's ban on fighting in conflicts overseas
Guardian

Population fixes have anti-foreign bias, official says
Japan Times

What March 11 Means to Me: Nuclear Power and the Sacrificial System 私にとっての3・11 原子力発電と犠牲のシステム Japan Focus


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Statistics

94.4% of graduates - high school and university - have found full-time jobs.

Source:

Yomiuri Shinbun

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

an・an Magazine for Japan's Young Women

アン・アン

Magazine House Ltd. is a Tokyo-based publishing company that produces some of Japan's most popular and widely recognized magazines, as well as a range of mainly lifestyle-related books, both paper and digital.

Magazine House’s stable of magazines is extensive, currently comprising 16 magazines.

anan magazine - Japan's long-running mag for young women.

The oldest in the stable is an・an, a weekly lifestyle magazine for young women in their teens and twenties, released every Wednesday, with a circulation of over 200,000 copies.

an・an began in 1970 as a collaboration with the French Elle magazine. an・an’s focus is on beauty, food and fashion. an・an’s main competition in the 1970s was the non-no magazine, yet their combined influence saw the birth of a fashion movement that styled itself the “an・non clan.” an・an went independent in 1982.

an・an has earned itself a reputation in particular for its annual “most loved man, most hated man ranking” survey (won for most years by the singer Takuya Kimura), and for its explicit—and somewhat controversial—“sex special” for women that comes out at the beginning of every August.

This week's an・an is a "Sweets I Like" special, subtitled "You can't live without sweet things!!" Pages 17 to 61 are chockablock with mostly super-glossy, lusciously full-color coverage of "sweet rankings," introductions to various confectionery shops, bakeries and jam shops and their websites, skilfully blended in with advertisements, and—interestingly—without a single recipe.

Jun K., South Korean singer appearing in Japan's anan magazine for women.

The men that appear in an・an No. 1905 are either oshare ("o-sha-reh": chic, dapper, stylish), as in the interview with the veteran singer-songwriter and actor, Hiroshi Tachi, or the young Left-Bank-looking thinker-cum-fashionista Tokyo-based French artist, Nicolas Buffe; fresh-faced and femme (at least in the photo of him featured in this an・an) like idol singer and actor, Kazuya Miyanomiya; or stunningly ultra-camp, like Korean singer Jun K, promoting his first album. The only butch appearance is by the pro wrestler, Togi Makabe, who plays a parody of himself in the confectionery section as the boor sitting down to dainty sweet dishes while taking lessons in how to do it daintily from Japan's famous etiquette and manner consultant, the petite Hiroko Nishide.

an・an isn't cheap, at 450 yen (tax inclusive); however, at 102 pages, there's plenty enough to keep the girl looking for the next kawaii, oishii or oshare thing occupied.

Read more on Japanese beauty trends

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Monday, May 12, 2014

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 32 Kagoshima to Ibusuki

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 32
Kagoshima to Ibusuki
Thursday August 1st, 2013

I take a train out to the southern outskirts of Kagoshima and head off down the main road. I have a room booked in Ibusuki tonight so I have a good distance to make and try to cover as much as I can before the day reaches its hottest part.

It's still pretty built up and the traffic is heavy so I don't look for interesting diversions such as shrines and just focus on moving. I pass by the largest solar power plant in Japan, with 290,000 solar panels covering 1.27 million square meters, it will generate 70 megawatts of power. From eye level nothing can be seen. By lunchtime I reach Miyagahama and can leave the main road and head inland a little to temple 47, Komyoji.

When I arrive I find scaffolding covered in blue tarps as the main hall is in the middle of being rebuilt. The priest and his wife invite me in to the air conditioned building that temporarily houses the altar and statue.

They ply me with fruit and cold drinks and give me more of both to take with me. Back at the main road I head off round the headland rather than take the direct route into Ibusuki. The coast road has numerous love hotels with names like Hotel Singapore and Hotel Hong Kong. At the tip of the headland I see what I had hoped for, Chiringa Island, a small island that for a few hours a day for just a few months a year is accessible by a sandbar revealed at low tide.

Chiringa Island, Kagoshima, Kyushu

I have arrived at an opportune moment as the sandbar is visible and I meet a couple of older gentlemen who have just walked back from the island. The tide is rising so I can't take the chance of going out myself. From here into downtown Ibusuki the coast is covered with upscale resort hotels.

In the grounds of one is The Satsuma Denshokan, a huge museum devoted to Satsuma ware, the highly decorative ceramics that became very popular in Europe in the latter half of the 19th century.

Like most of the "Japanese" ceramic types, it was created by Korean potters brought back from Toyotomi Hideyoshi's invasion of Korea. I am pleased to learn that in half the museum photography is allowed.

On my way to the museum I spied a curved metallic roof of some kind glinting in the distance, so I headed off to investigate and was amazed by what I found.

Looking like something from a SF manga, it is the Nanohanakan, a sports complex for the elderly. There were huge indoor gateball courts, indoor swimming pools, and even a residential complex. They were expecting senior citizens to come here from other parts of Japan.

Like so many of these white elephants, the reality did not match the pre-bubble dream, and now most structures are locked and empty. I spend about an hour literally rushing around trying to get as many good shots as I can.

Nanohanakan, Kagoshima, Kyushu


By the time I'm finished its late afternoon and there is still a few kilometers to go to my minshuku, so I decide to take a short bus ride. I get on the bus and go to my wallet to get the fare ready for when I get off and, horror of horrors, I can't find my wallet. I never lose my wallet, literally never.

The last time I saw it was about 2 hours ago when I bought a drink from a vending machine on my way here from the Denshokan. With adrenaline surging I quickly hop off the bus and start to retrace my steps around the sports complex. I don’t find my wallet, so I start to walk back towards the Denshokan, eyes scanning the ground in front of me.

At the vending machine my wallet is just sitting there on the wall. In all likelihood there has been no-one walking by it as it is a very quiet road and no-one is out and about in the heat. I trudge slowly back to the bus stop and catch the next bus into the station and walk to my room. It has been a long, hot day, made even more tiring by the adrenaline and rushing around looking for my wallet.

Jake Davies

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 31

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Japan News This Week 11 May 2014

今週の日本

Japan News.
Japan’s Pacifist Constitution New York Times

Japan man held over '3D-printed guns'
BBC

On Location Video: Meet the beautiful, melancholy women paid to flirt in Japan
Global Post

Japan's population continues to age as number of children hits new low
Guardian

Radioactive cesium-137 released from Fukushima 1.5 times Tepco estimate: study
Japan Times

Yellow Blood: Hepatitis C and the Modernist Settlement in Japan. Japan Focus


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Statistics

The three current Grand Champion wrestlers in sumo are all from Mongolia.

In the top flight of the sport, 10 of the 42 sumo wrestlers are from Mongolia.

It has been 14 years since a Japanese wrestler was Grand Champion.

Source:

NHK News

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Asakusabashi Red and White Chestnut Festival

浅草橋紅白マロニエまつり

This weekend, the 10th and 11th of May, is the seventh Asakusabashi Kohaku Marronnier Festival. Asakusabashi is a district in east Tokyo two train stations south of the more famous Asakusa district. Asakusabashi is best known for its wholesalers and shops selling accessories and sundries such as buttons, ribbons, balloons, leather goods, braid, and other clothing and hobbyist accessories, as well as fireworks shops and traditional Japanese doll shops which cater mainly to Japan's gift-giving tradition.


The "Kouhaku" in the festival's name means "red and white," and "Marronier" means "chestnut tree," referring to the chestnut trees that line the streets of Asakusabashi and bloom red and white in spring.

A fair with stalls took place today around the Hulic office building (the smartest and newest building in Asakusabashi) very near Asakusabashi Station (JR Sobu line and Toei Asakusa subway line). Besides stalls of local businesses and food vendors, there was a police stall, sporting a police motorbike, and a fire brigade stall as well.

As with any festival, dancing is indispensable. The Asakusabashi Kohaku Marronnier Festival featured the usual traditional Japanese dance parade, which proceeded from Asakusabashi Station north up to Torikoshi Shrine on Kuramae-dori. But a little exotic color was added in the form of Hawaiian dancing—made a little difficult on the very gusty spring day that Saturday was—but which gyrated and swung to the small crowd's delight. There were also taiko drumming performances and awa-odori dancing.

The Asakusabashi Kohaku Marronnier Festival program also offered Japanese-style afternoon entertainment, with manzai comedians and a shamisen performance.

In the evening, there was also the lure of the nearby Sumida River, with an hour or so in one of the local houseboats that ply the nearby Sumida River, where you drink and dine while enjoying views of the Tokyo Sky Tree.

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Friday, May 09, 2014

Greenroom Festival 2014

The Greenroom Festival is an annual music, film and art festival held at the Red Brick Warehouse in Yokohama. This year the festival is being held over the weekend of 24-25 May.

The emphasis is on surf, skate and beach culture.

The Greenroom Festival began in 2005 and has grown steadily every year. This year artists include Jimmy Cliff, Rip Slyme, Monkey Majik, Gabrielle Aplin, Donovan Frankenreiter and Xavier Rudd.

The long-time skate photographer Grant Brittain (www.jgrantbrittain.com) has been invited to show his work at the festival, which should be a treat for Japanese skate fans.

Greenroom Festival 2014


Over 50,000 people usually attend.

Venue: Red Brick Warehouse, Yokohama
1-1-2 Shinko, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0001
Transport: 15 minutes on foot from Sakuragicho Station or Kannai Station on the Yokohama municipal subway. Alternatively, 6 minutes from Bashamichi Station or Nihon-odori Station on the on the Minatomirai Line.
Tickets: 9,500 yen for 1 day; 16,500 for 2 days

Greenroom

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Nameless Theatre To Stage William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

June 6th–8th | Nagoya City Performing Arts Centre

English language with Japanese subtitles

Shakespeare meets the roaring 1920s in this exciting new adaptation of the Bard's greatest comedy. Brought to life through singing, live music, dance and a lavish set design, Much Ado About Nothing is the beauty of Shakespeare's language wrapped in glitz reminiscent of The Great Gatsby. A unique collaboration between local, professional and international theatre talent, the play will run for just 5 performances from June 6th to 8th at the Nagoya Performing Arts Centre in Shin-Sakae.

Nameless Theatre To Stage William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing


Originally written in 1598, this romantic comedy follows the turbulent love lives of two couples, Beatrice and Benedick, and Hero and Claudio. A play of sharp dialogue, slapstick action and feel good romance, Much Ado About Nothing is Shakespeare at his funniest and feistiest. “The struggle with Shakespeare is making it relevant for the audience,” says director Anthony Gilmore. “But Much Ado plays just like a modern-day romantic comedy. I think the audience will be immediately drawn into the glamorous 1920s world we are creating, and will connect quickly with the lives of these characters.”

For the period costume and set design, Nameless Theatre will collaborate with UK theatre design professional Max Jones. Internationally renowned for his work with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Globe Theatre in London, Max has won numerous accolades for his work in Europe over the last decade. It will be a rare opportunity for theatregoers in Japan to experience a play built with a European design sensibility. Joining as cast member and musical director for live singing performances in the show is Nagoya-­‐based singer and entertainer Prisca Molotsi. In addition to her numerous television appearances, Prisca is a much sought after singer, regularly playing to capacity audiences in jazz clubs and performance halls across Japan.

Nameless Theatre To Stage William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing


Performances will be held at the Nagoya Performing Arts Centre in Shin-Sakae on June 6th (Friday) at 6pm; June 7th (Saturday) at 1:30pm and 6pm; and June 8th (Sunday) at 1:30pm and 5pm.

Tickets are ¥4,000 in advance (¥4,500 at the door). Tickets are available online at namelesstheatre.org and through E+ (eplus.jp). Group ticket discounts are available. Please contact info@namelesstheatre.org or call 052 725 8216 for more information.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Tomiya Shokudo Chiran

鳥濱トメ

Tomiya Shokudo, in Chiran in Kagoshima Prefecture in southern Kyushu, was a small eatery (shokudo can be translated as canteen) in the town frequented by kamikaze pilots from the nearby air base.

Tomiya Shokudo Chiran Kagoshima Kyushu Japan


Tome Torihama, the owner, had a very maternal attitude to her customers, many of whom were very young, and some of whom ate their last meals there.

Some of the stories of Tome and her young customers were made into the semi-fictional 2001 move Hotaru (Firefly) which has contributed to the boom in tourism to Chiran.

Movie poster for Hotaru - Firefly


The building that housed the restaurant has been restored as a memorial museum to Tome and the pilots and is curated by her grandson, Akihisa.

On display at the museum are some of the last letters written by the pilots and handed to the owner - some recount their anguish at having to sacrifice themselves. One note reads: "A totalitarian country will lose a war."

Tomiya Shokudo
103-1 Chiran-cho
Minamikyushu
Kagoshima 897-0302.
Tel: 0993 58 7566
Open from 9am to 5pm.

Tome Torihama with some of the kamikaze pilots in Chiran


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Sunday, May 04, 2014

Japan News This Week 4 May 2014

今週の日本

Japan News.
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Global Post

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BBC

Papers prove Japan forced women into second world war brothels, says China
Guardian

Does pacifism need an update?
Japan Times

Abe Shinzo and the U.S.-Japan Relationship in a Global Context Japan Focus


Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog

Statistics

The three current Grand Champion wrestlers in sumo are all from Mongolia.

In the top flight of the sport, 10 of the 42 sumo wrestlers are from Mongolia.

It has been 14 years since a Japanese wrestler was Grand Champion.

Source:

NHK News

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