Category Archives: Inspiration!

We Ω “Green Porno” – by Melissa

Isabella Rossallini directs, writes, and stars in Green Porno, a series of one to three minute biologically accurate short films about the reproductive lives of creatures. The writing is theatrical, the filming beautiful, and Rossallini hilarious. Season One follows bugs and Season Two focuses on sea creatures with creative scoring, dramatic lighting and simple but riveting set and costume designs. Green Porno takes itself and its art seriously with Rossallini’s tantalizing control responsible for both the comedy and dramatic tension. Continue reading

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Filed under animals, Art, Inspiration!, Reviews

The Koto Concert – by Melissa

In the women’s dressing room, a concerted kimono effort was taking place. As if my entrance had startled a flock of birds, layers of kimono flapped in the air and floated down around the necks of my fellow koto players. Two helpers per woman kept the wings up while the wearers’ arms slipped in, the fabric was wrapped and tied, and a third helper stood on a stool behind, up-sweeping the hair in a fashion that screamed prom. Butterfly clips and sparkling feathers adorned the sides of these up-dos. Here, it wasn’t kitschy, it wasn’t tacky. These women, ages 17 to 60, looked elegant in kimono passed down from their grandmothers who wore them the exact same way. Continue reading

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Filed under For the Love of Japan, Inspiration!, Music

Haruki Murakami Accepting the Jerusalem Prize – by Emmett

In February, Japanese fiction luminary Haruki Murakami traveled to Israel to accept the Jerusalem Prize. Murakami had doubts about accepting the award, which honors the freedom of the individual in society, for good reasons. Israel had recently launched its overpowered offensive on the Gaza strip; he rightly felt ambivalent about the implications of being the new literary son of Israel. Continue reading

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Filed under Books, Fiction, Inspiration!, Japan, Literature, News, Reading

On The Black Hill – by Emmett

Sitting now in the empty staff room of my high school, I have just finished Bruce Chatwin’s On The Black Hill. I picked it up in a used foreign-language book store in Kyoto several weeks ago and have since then been consuming it reguarly with the same kind of avid attention one might give to a good cup of tea. I was able to soar through the final seventy-or-so pages that remained and I can say that On the Black Hill is one of the best works of fiction I have read in some time.

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Piano Recital – by Emmett

On Saturday, Melissa and I had the great fortune to attend a piano recital at the high school where she works. We don’t see live music as often as we would like to, and this opportunity, which had come to her unexpectedly, was one of those experiences that is enjoyed somehow sweeter for it comes out of the blue.

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O-koto – by Melissa

I have been living in Japan and taking koto lessons for 6 months.  I have a students’ concert in one month and here I am, full of mistakes and cold reading the last part of “Sakura Saukra” in practice with my teacher, Mizutani-sensei.  She gets the patience award. Big time.  I take lessons weekly in her traditional home. She serves me tea and we bow with an “Onegaishimasu” before we begin the first song of the lesson. Continue reading

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Filed under For the Love of Japan, Inspiration!, Japan, Music

Four – by Melissa

Or, Another Installment from The Pedestrian Diaries

On Friday morning the weather was cold and wet.  We readied to leave for work half an hour before departure, the two of us dealing out rain gear and  debating the need for boots.  I was going to meet Emmett at the train station after work and then off to Kyoto with us!  We were celebrating our fourth anniversary.  Four years of solid high fives, dancing in the kitchen, making instruments out of empty containers, packing and moving, making homes, making food, making friends, and participating in spontaneous a capella eruptions of Joanna Newsom’s “Bridges and Balloons.”  Leaving the house, Emmett said, “Our adventure begins tonight!”  I summoned Cary Grant, “Our adventure began four years ago.” Continue reading

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Filed under Food, For the Love of Japan, Inspiration!, Japan