Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Haruki Murakami talks travel in Paper Sky

Mark Twain pals around with Haruki in California
“From the beginning, Haruki Murakami wanted to get away. He left Kyoto for Kobe, Kobe for Tokyo, Tokyo for Europe and America. I met him eleven years ago and was instantly drawn to the man behind the art. Like Haruki, I am a writer who wanted to escape. For me, the destinations were reversed: I left America for Europe, then Japan. These days we arrange visits around our itineraries. I landed in Tokyo three days before this interview; the following day, Haruki boarded a plane.
Roland Kelts: What’s the value of writing so far from home? Why have you written so many books overseas?
Haruki Murakami: It’s easier for you to write about your own country when you’re far away. From a distance, you can look at your own country as it really is. I wrote “Norwegian Wood” when I was on several Greek islands, and in Rome and Palermo, Italy. “Dance, Dance, Dance” was mostly written in Rome, and partly in London. The first half of “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” was written in Princeton and the latter half in Cambridge. And I wrote “After The Quake” in the middle of Tokyo, in an isolated little house owned by my publisher. I guess I have a nomadic spirit inside me that I can’t keep down. Because I know that each one of those books is connected to each of the places where they were written. When I think of them, the scenes of the locations where I wrote them come to mind.
R: Why did you write those books in those places? Any reason?
H: For me, to write fiction is to have a certain kind of relationship with the imagination…” [more @ Paper Sky]
JP version:

ローランド・ケルツ(以下、R):自国から遠く離れた場所で執筆活動をする価値とは? あなたはなぜ、多くの小説を海外で執筆するのですか。
R:場所自体は執筆に影響を与えますか? それぞれの作品を振り返ってみて、イマジネーションが場所によってどのように色付されたのか、その色の違いなどを自覚したりしますか?[more @ Paper sky]

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Yoshiki and X Japan invade the US

"Today the barriers to translation may not be as great, as social-networking tools have made it easier for bands to communicate directly with their fanbase. (While he professes no interest in Facebook or MySpace, Yoshiki finally opened a Twitter account during the run-up to X Japan's U.S. concert debut at Lollapalooza in early August—and garnered more than 12,000 followers in less than 12 hours.) Another reason for optimism lies in a larger cultural shift, wherein Japanese artists have proved ever-more adept at appropriating bits and pieces of American culture and returning them in new and exciting forms. 'We're in an age of mashups, fan sites, bit torrents and YouTube," says Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S. "A culture that mastered the art of imitating and copying original ideas is right in tune with the 21st century.'" [more @ Details magazine]

Friday, September 10, 2010

Resurfacing w/my peeps in New England, 2010

My peeps @ the beach

Larry Kelts (jazz-drummer) and me @ Ipswich.

Kaori Saeki (mum) and me back @ Boston.

Trevor and Twig taking it easy.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

TinierMe getting bigger than you: 500,000 US-based users

TinierMe CEO Masaru Ohnogi @ Tokyo headquarters
"This summer, TinierMe announced that it has surpassed the one-million user milestone, and today boasts over 1,175,000 distinct users. But this week, an even more significant number hits the streets and screens: over half a million of TinierMe’s current users worldwide are based in the United States, suggesting that the American audience for Japanese-made and -styled characters and environments continues to expand, even in a decidedly lackluster consumer market." [more @ TCJ]

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Satoshi Kon, 1963-2010

SOFT POWER HARD TRUTHS / World of anime director Satoshi Kon still alive

I was soaking my bones in a riverside rotenburo when news of anime director Satoshi Kon's death flashed across my cell phone via text message from Tokyo. Must be a macabre joke, I thought at first glance, though the friend who sent it isn't given to jabs of dark humor.

Maybe a promotional gambit for Kon's next work? His films are characterized in part by multiple realities and unexpected shifts among them, so that just when you think something is really happening, perhaps it isn't. After all, typing or even thinking about the phrase, "the late Satoshi Kon," just didn't feel right.

But I returned to Tokyo and the banal and humbling truth: Kon, one of the most gifted, innovative and searchingly intelligent artists working in the anime medium and the film world at large, died on the morning of Aug. 24 from pancreatic cancer--at the age of 46. [continued here]

On virtual girlfriends (Love Plus+)

Align Center

On The Alyona Show -- and straight off the plane from Tokyo (hence all the blinking against sleep, pills and jet lag).