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Japan Film Festival Los Angeles

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 8, 2011 03:33pm | Post a Comment
Japan Film Festival Los Angeles 2011

The Japan Film Festival Los Angeles gets underway today with screenings in Hollywood, Irvine and Little Tokyo and goes until April 17th. Directors Kinshiro Ogino, Katsuhito Kobayashi, Kenji Kobayashi, Lisa Takeba, Hidetaka Inazuka and producer Shoichi Kawahara are scheduled to appear at various events. Click here to check out the website for scheduling, tickets and plot descriptions.

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Something In the Way He Moves: The Magic of Mansai Nomura

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, March 30, 2011 07:01pm | Post a Comment
onmyoji nomura mansai candle head oni
When there's something strange in the imperial court, who you gonna call? During Japan's Heian period, an era of classical Japanese history spanning from 784 to 1185, most folks relied on powerful ghostbusters called onmyoji, wizard-like masters of yin and yang, to ease the energies of vengeful spirits (most famously that of Prince Sawara) who'd stir up all kinds of trouble from plagues and famine to earthquakes and typhoons and other natural disasters mistaken as superstitious punishment. As we have witnessed in recent weeks, perceiving catastrophe as divine comeuppance has changed little over the centuries thanks to Shintaro Ishihara and Glenn Beck, among others, for their knuckleheaded remarks --- no "that was then, this is now" about nomura mansai abe no seimei onmyoji kyogen japanese actor traditional theater heian period era kyotoit. But this is not about jabbing trashy speculation at fresh wounds, this is about a cheesy, historic fantasy movie that I recently caught in my Heian Culture class called Onmyoji (2001, Yojiro Takita) starring Mansai Nomura as Abe no Seimei, a person of historic origin, legendary in Japanese folklore, who was in fact the Merlin of his time and place. Being one of those so-called "super seniors," it's a small miracle I didn't skip said scheduled movie day, I might add.

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Help Northeastern Japan: Let Your Donation Take You to the Movies!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, March 17, 2011 08:00pm | Post a Comment
japan earthquake rally cry banner don't give up ganbare nihon tohoku
In the wake of a devastating week for Japan, especially the northeastern Touhoku region where seaside towns and villages were washed away by a tsunami last Friday while the world watched in disbelief, many are exploring what they can do to help survivors and evacuees of this extraordinary catastrophe. Well, here is something fabulous happening this Saturday in San Francisco: New People, a specialty gallery/shopping/media complex located in Japantown, will be holding three special screenings of Hula Girls, a wonderfully heart-warming comedy featuring some of my favorite things: dancing, Polynesian pop, head-strong young heroines (coal-miner's daughters!), perseverance in the face of stodgy adversity and, of course, Japan. Based on true events that took place in 1960's Fukushima Prefecture, the same paralyzed zone experiencing a nuclear crisis having been hard hit by the recent natural disasters, this film is being shown as a fundraiser at $10 a ticket with 100% of the proceeds to be donated to NORTHERN JAPAN EARTHQUAKE RELIEF FUNDS by Japantown's JCCCNC. Check out the trailer below:

A Report From Japan From Shin Miyata on Earthquakes & Music

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 15, 2011 10:49pm | Post a Comment
Shin Miyata
Shin Miyata and I have been friends for over ten years. He owns a record company called Music Camp Inc, which distributes such labels as Six Degrees and Nacional Records in Japan. But if you ask him, his true love is his own subsidiary label called Barrio Gold, dedicated to reissues of classic Chicano Rock and Soul artists as well as new Chicano artists coming out of the barrios of East L.A, San Francisco and Texas. Back in 2006, I was fortunate to go on package tour dedicated to promoting Chicano culture in Japan with the band Quetzal and writer Luis Rodriguez, author of the infamous book Always Running. It was an honor and something I’ll never forget. When Shin visits L.A., its always a great time. It’s about seeing lots of great music, going to his favorite Mexican and Japanese restaurants, having a few drinks and digging for vinyl. Truly, a man after my own heart!

Naturally, after the earthquake and tsunami hit, I contacted Shin. Even though he lives on the outskirts of Tokyo and far from the damage of the north, I was still concerned about my friend’s wellbeing, as are many of his friends across the U.S. All those horrible images on the news and the threat of nuclear fallout doesn’t help, either. After e-mailing back and forth over the last couple of days. I asked him if he wanted to do a quick interview just to let some of his friends know how he is doing. I thank Shin for taking time to do this in a very difficult time for him and all of Japan.

So where were you when the earthquake hit?


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And the Award For Best Use of Christmas in a Non-Holiday Movie Goes To...

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, December 23, 2010 08:00pm | Post a Comment
gen sekiguchi survive style 5 christmas xmas holiday movie japanese film
...Gen Sekiguchi's patchwork vomitorium of tsunamic set design and cinematographic eye-candy  Survive Style 5+!!! The random yet clearly delineated Christmas sequence of this whirlwind adventure, set to the strains of "The First Noel" turned way up to eleven, is so over-the-top fabulous and inspiring that I hope to one day successfully drown my house in holiday decor à la Sekiguchi --- every year I get closer to the mark. Enjoy the visuals! Wanna know more about how Japan "gets" its Christmas kicks? Check out my "Christmas in Japan" jam here!

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