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Ramen Girl

ramengirl

Finally saw The Ramen Girl, the 2007 movie some described as "Lost in Translation meets Tampopo" -- yeah, Tsutomu Yamazaki makes a cameo appearance. I found it unexpectedly charming, definitely less offensive than LIT. Though, there were some fake moments -- some of the music was more Chinese than Japanese, and a typical salaryman who decorates his apartment with traditional dolls and a bright red kimono?

Toshiyuki Nishida doesn't disappoint, and Kimiko Yo remains one of my favorite Japanese character actresses. But really, it is stunning to think that Brittany Murphy passed just a few weeks ago..
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The Starfish and The Spider (The Japanese edition)

starfishcover


My new book (of translation) is out.

It is the Japanese translation of "The Starfish and the Spider -- The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations" (By Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom).

In Japanese, the title is 「ヒトデはクモよりなぜ強い--21世紀はリーダーなき組織が勝つ」(オリ・ブラフマン/ロッド・A・ベックストローム著/糸井恵訳)

Check it out here (Nikkei BP, the publisher, website) and here (Amazon.co.jp).

To check out the original (English) version of "The Starfish and the Spider," go here.

New Book by Chikako Atsuta

ako book


Here it is, "Living with the Internet on the East Coast," by my good friend, the late Chikako Atsuta.

Buy the book at:
http://www.shinpusha.co.jp/cgi-bin/php2/data_more.php?more=4-289-00133-5&select=&mode2=mbook
http://item.rakuten.co.jp/book/4105501/
http://www.bk1.co.jp/product/2703022
http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/4289001335/ref=sr_11_1/250-2834863-6466606?ie=UTF8

Or you can find her writings (both in Japanese and English) at:
http://chikako-atsuta.net/


She left us on August 20, 2004. Her legacy lives on.

Joey Sr. likes Asian girls... but we don't like him

Last year I saw an episode of "Joey," the "Friends" spin off, in which Joey the actor is excited that he'll be interviewed by People magazine. He says to his agent: "Wow, People magazine. My mom is gonna be so excited. If you just get me into Playboy with an Asian on the cover, my dad can read about me too!" (Episode title: Joey and the Valentine's Date).

Then last night, I saw (and you wonder why I would still watch this show) another episode, "Joey and the Dad." His friend Alex is upset with Joey's father, who's visiting from New York.

Joey wonders why she's unhappy (yes, Alex is a she -- an attractive woman), and says: "I get it; you are insulted because he didn't make a pass at you. All right, well, if you want him to, just throw on a geisha outfit; he's got this Asian thing."

And a big laugh. I just don't get this... how is this funny? Somebody said this is a way to portray his dad as pathetic, ignorant and insensitive. On whose expense?

My favorite Mako moments on TV

makolumbo

Mako in "Columbo: Muder Under Glass" (1978)

According to an essay by Yumiko Murakami, author of a Mako Iwamatsu book (in Japanese) titled "East Meets West: Mako and Susie's US-Japan Stories" (1993), in the August 1, 2006 Asahi Shimbun, Mako didn't care much for his film roles. He did movies in order to support East West Players, which he co-founded in Los Angeles in 1965.

Unfortunately I'm not familiar with Mako's theater work because I've always lived in Tokyo. I am familiar, however, with some of his numerous guest starring roles in TV shows.

Some of my favorite Mako moments on TV:

1) Mr. Ozu, a Japanese businessman in the episode "Murder Under Glass" (1978) of "Columbo." The murderer is a French food critic, who entertains Mr. Ozu with fugu and geishas. At home. Where Columbo shows up and gets a clue from Ozu. But really, if you just get in L.A. from Tokyo like Ozu did, would you eat fugu there? I don't think so...

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