Sunday, April 06, 2014

In Seattle

As of April 1, 2014 I am officially on leave from Meiji U. I am spending this Spring in Seattle at UW as a visiting scholar with their Japanese department. So here I am, back in Seattle, forever cloudy and gentle and green. Now is the time for me to concentrate on my own writing! (And a little sea kayaking, too?)

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Almost a year...

I seem to have neglected this blog for almost a year. My messages in English is now mostly sent to Facebook. But maybe I will resume posting here de temps en temps...

I am now in breezy Taitung on the east coast of Taiwan. One of the hot spots for surfers, too. Ready to fly back to Taipei this afternoon. More on this trip later.

Peace. And no nukes.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tomatsu Shomei

There is a huge retrospective of the photographer Tomatsu Shomei going on at the Nagoya City Museum of Art. In conjunction with that, a trialogue (the word doesn't exist in English, I know) was held Saturday with the photographer himself, his long-time buddy Nakahira Takuma, and Kuraishi Shino, my colleague and critic.

It was very interesting. Tomatsu who lives currently in Okinawa couldn't participate because of his health problem. Kuraishi was as lucid as possible and did most of the talking. Then Nakahira, the great Nakahira, pronounced not a word... just nodded everything away.

I was moved. By his gesture he showed us two simple truths: that photography remains in the realm of the unspeakable, and that everything about photography should be treated with a big YES.

I recommend the exhibition to anybody who even remotely is interested in photography...

By the way the above trialogue took place at the Naka Ward Hall. The very place I as a high schooler gave a concert with my band: The Cracked! in 1974. At that time the future, this future, which means NOW, was utterly out of sight...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

After so many days

I have not written here for such a long time but now I am resuming it. Japan as we know it has turned a different country since 11 March. People are suffering in the Northeast, the beautiful and poor. There is nothing I can do to help the region, but we are preparing a book as a token of our solidarity.

It is conceived as a collection of short texts (poems, stories, and essays) to be read aloud in small groups around a candle light. More than 20 writers have agreed to join this project. All the sales will be donated to the people of the damaged area through a NPO.

The book will be ready in July, hopefully.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Nice wind at night

Haven't updated this blog for a while... Too many things have been going on at once. Films, mostly watched on DVD these days, are not quite the same as your old theater experience. I need to go out into the darkness of the movie theater more often.

I have been close-reading Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry and I find it to be one of the most powerful novels of my life. Will soon write a substantial review of its new Japanese translation (that appeared last year for the centennial of Lowry's birth).

A typhoon seems to be approaching... we are having a breezy night. Very comfortable and cooling. Good night then.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

In Taipei

Films this year:

17. Seiji Hisamatsu, Chino hate ni ikiru mono (He Who Lives at the Edge of the World, 1960).

18. Stéphane Brizé, Mademoiselle Chambon (2009)

17 features Japan's great comedian the late Hisaya Morishige and is a story of an old man who spends winters alone in a hut by the northern sea. Shiretoko is full of spell-binding charm. Rather predictable in many ways, but a surprisingly beautiful scene comes as that of the hero's imagining his son's love.

18 I saw in Taipei, at Hou Shao Shen's theatre midtown. The film narrates an incredibly boring story with incredibly good acting by three principal characters. Carefully treated cinematography is a success and everything about the film is skillful. I didn't know much about these actors, but then found out to my surprise about their fascinating real-life relationship. Vincent Lindon in the film has a heartbreaking affair with Sandrine Kiberlain (his real-life ex) and his in-the-film wife Aure Atika, who senses the affair but doesn't say anything about it, is his real-life wife.

Actors are emotional monsters.

Monday, April 05, 2010

To that kind of London

Have been very slow these days; too busy at work. Apart from re-watching some familiar (to me) titles, not many new films. Still.

13. Peter Jackson, The Lovely Bones (2009)
14. David Mackenzie, Young Adam (2003)
15. David Cronenberg, Spider (2002)
16. Guy Ritchie, Sherlock Holmes (2009)

13 is great. Just watching it and you feel that Kiwi kind of aesthetics! Superb beauty rendered skillfully. The girl what's-her-Irish-name (from Atonement) is destined to become a great actress.

14 is a story of water, beautiful cinematography, and a disgusting story staged by good actors. Sex-obsessed Adam doesn't begin a lineage. But that life on a boat is quite attractive.

15 is a confusing story in which you will never know how much and what has really happened in the man's life. It might all have been in the boy's imagination. He thinks that his father killed her own mother, but it could have been him killing the mother or his father's adultery could have been his mother's. Such emotional ambivalence and factual ambiguity are everywhere; what you see is what the boy imagines his reality to be, interwoven with inescapably realist depiction of the film language. There is literally no distinction between fantasy and reality.

16 is so entertaining! I haven't watched Rocknrolla; in fact I haven't watched anything anything by Guy Ritchie since his masterpiece LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS. This atmosphere of nineteenth-century London is so attractive and it's the place I least want to live in.