Reviews and Blog Posts: Japan

Plaza Voices: the Art of Ikebana

Still from Case Drury's video "Seiko"

Check out this beautiful video from Case Drury, featuring ikebana artist Seiko Yoshikawa sharing her skills in the Japanese art of flower arranging.

Dengeki Daisy. Vol. 1

by Kyousuke Motomi

Reviewer Rating:
5

This series started me on a manga binge the likes of which usually only teenagers fall into. In it, the main character has lost her parents and, more recently, her brother and is being watched over by a mysterious person named Daisy. Who is Daisy? And what’s the story with...

When my name was Keoko

by Linda Sue Park

Linda Sue Park's When My Name Was Keoko​ is told from the dual perspectives of Kim Sun-hee (renamed Kaneyama Keoko) and her older brother Kim Tae-yul (renamed Kaneyama Nobuo) during the Japanese occupation of Korea in the 1940s. The pair have grown up speaking and writing Japanese; the history of their own culture...

Hana's Suitcase

by Karen Levine

Reviewer Rating:
4

I listened to the audible book version of Hana’s Suitcase: A True Story. It is a quick listen, only two discs. I am drawn to Holocaust stories, especially nonfiction works, but, as we all know, the subject matter is difficult to take. Hana’s Suitcase is a children’s book, but its...

Unbroken : a World War II airman's story of survival, resilience, and redemption

by Laura Hillenbrand

It seems like everyone has read this book already, but it took a personal recommendation for me to pick it up, and I'm so glad that I did. Not because I enjoyed the story--this harrowing portrait of how people can treat each other was hard to read at times--but because...

A Man With No Talents

A Man with No Talents: Memoirs of a Tokyo Day Laborer

Talk About Bleak

Oskar here, again, to share another InterLibrary Loan gem -- A Man with No Talents: Memoirs of a Tokyo Day Laborer. Maybe "gem" is a little strong because this book gave me some trouble with its extremely introverted and destitute characters, most of whom lead a zombie-like, meandering existence. So how about "find" or, better yet, "warning"?

Cherry Blossom Festival

Blog image

The Cherry Blossom Festival is a jubilant weekend honoring Japanese-American culture, food, music and much more!

Japanese Dining

The Cove

The Cove

I watched The Cove last week and am still thinking about it. I was aware of the premise of The Cove - the hunting of dolphins in Japan - but was not prepared for the intense emotional impact of seeing how this "hunt" was actually carried out.

Richard O'Barry, the man who started as as the trainer of TV's Flipper in the 1960s, had a change of heart after working with bottlenose dolphins for many years. He leads a special ops-like team to photograph and show the world the herding and slaughter of thousands of dolphins in the Japanese coastal town of Taiji. What we see in the film is remarkable, and indescribably sad. However, the senseless killing of these intelligent animals is only part of the tragic story, and will lead to horrible repercussions for many years to come.

Kamikaze girls Shimotsuma monogatari

Reviewer Rating:
5

A story of the unlikely friendship between two girls living in rural Japan. One is obsessed with the lifestyle and frilly dresses of 18th Century France while the other imagines herself as a tough biker, even though she's a teenage girl on a scooter. They are brought together by, get...

The sea is watching

Reviewer Rating:
5
Tags:

One of the final scripts by Akira Kurosawa but directed by Kei Kumai after Kurosawa's death, this is beautifully filmed, very symbolic, and a more Japanese look at geisha than Memoirs of a Geisha.

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