Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

I’m currently in the middle of Typhoon Noru, which has been steadily dropping large amounts of rain over Osaka all day long. It’s a slow-moving typhoon, one that a friend of mine described as “drunken,” so despite the downpour there aren’t any heavy winds to rattle the windows. In fact, in addition to producing some […]


Walking home with colleagues after dinner the other night, we passed this cute sign advertising some porcine parking, and I was reminded once again of how fantastic Japanese is for the making of inventive puns. “Boo boo” (ブーブー) is, of course, what pigs say in Japanese and, as my colleagues informed me, it’s also the […]


Not too long ago, Mikami Kan (三上 寛) – a folk/blues legend in Japan – came to Osaka to play at Imagination Pika Space as part of the Night of 1,000 Eyes series, curated by the serious and mysterious DJ Mike 1,000 Eyes. I’d seen Mikami Kan play once before in Kyoto in tandem with […]


your name

30Mar17

It might seem a bit facetious to link Your Name (君の名は), the Japanese animated sensation of 2016, with the trauma and mourning of a documentary like Trace of Breath. Your Name, which I’m going to refer to as Kimi no Na wa from this point on (because it simply feels more natural) is a kind […]


trace of breath

26Mar17

Komori Haruka’s documentary, Trace of Breath (息の跡) tells the story of Sato Teiichi, a survivor of the 2011 tsunami who has returned to the city of Rikuzentakata to reestablish the seed shop that he used to run there. In addition to selling seeds, however, Sato-san has also written an account of his experience of the […]


My birthday was on March the 4th, and I received this beautiful collage in the mail from my mother, Cecily Axt. The stamps that accompanied it were pretty super as well. As if that weren’t enough, a wonderful colleague of mine surprised me by popping into my office with his mandolin and singing a spirited […]


throwing beans

03Feb17

It’s Setsubun today, which means it’s time to throw beans and drive the demons out. And while the soybean savior is driving the demons out, would it be too much to ask for a couple of handfuls to be tossed in the direction of the White House as well?