Category Archives: Me

“Pachinko,” Korean heritage, and sidestepping the real Japan

Last spring I saw Korean-Japanese filmmaker Yang Yonghi’s latest documentary, Soup and Ideology, at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. During the post-screening Q&A, Yang expressed frustration over her belief that Japan has not really produced any great films about … Continue reading

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The art of satisfaction

We had already gone through security before finding out we were at the wrong gate. The representative of AEG Live, which was managing the Rolling Stones’ tour through Asia, had told me to go to the VIP booth at Gate … Continue reading

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Donald Richie

My first encounter with Donald Richie, who died earlier this week at the age of 88, was a pleasant surprise, since it was he who approached me. In late 1995, about a year after I started my Media Mix column … Continue reading

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Fuji Rock 12

I’ve attended the Fuji Rock Festival every year since 1998 and worked for the Fujirockers web site every year since 1999. I won’t say this year’s was the best but it was definitely the most fun I’d had at the … Continue reading

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Levon Helm changed my life

The Band was the first rock group I paid any close attention to. While growing up in the 1960s I was as obsessed with AM radio as any other white suburban American kid was; or maybe even more so. At … Continue reading

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Fountains of Wayne play to the choir

Yesterday I attended the first of Fountains of Wayne’s two-night stand at Ebisu Liquid Room in Tokyo. Though not sold out, the show was suitably packed to provide the sort of sweaty love-in the group tends to enjoy from its … Continue reading

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Media Mix, Feb. 19, 2012

Here’s this week’s Media Mix, which is about changing attitudes toward hospital care for terminal patients. In the column I only used the statistics I needed, but the issue is quite interesting in what it says about the government’s approach … Continue reading

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Today is the 30th anniversary of the Hotel New Japan fire, which killed 33 people. It is also my 30th wedding anniversary. Here is an excerpt from a letter I wrote to a friend some years ago describing that day. … Continue reading

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Seidensticker’s Tokyo, and ours

Several years ago while writing a column about life in Tokyo I realized how little I really knew about the history of the city I had lived in since 1994 and worked in since 1986. On Amazon I sought Edward … Continue reading

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The end

Seems like a good idea to start with an ending. Yesterday I signed off on my last movie reviews for the Asahi Shimbun/International Herald Tribune, for which I’d written since 1996. This, in fact, is the second time I’ve been … Continue reading

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