Yumi and I spent a couple of hours wandering Nitobe Memorial Garden at the University of British Columbia.
Yumi and I went to the Kodo concert in Vancouver this evening. We’ve seen them several times, and this show was another fantastic event.
While they used to focus on the sheer stamina and physicality of extreme, marathon taiko drumming, this tour is more nuanced with more story-telling.
It worked well. Close enough to their ripped roots to satisfy hard-core fans, and different enough to demonstrate that they are not creatively stagnating.
Also a bit more humor, which is fun.
I love celebrating New Year Japanese style.
We tape the entire Kohaku Red (Women) vs White (Men) NHK song extravaganza to our PVR, and watch it at our leisure over the course of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. It’s always a bit over the top, a tish maudlin, and with few actually gripping or moving performances, but it’s a fun way to stay somewhat in touch with contemporary Japanese music and culture.
The food is great. Sushi, sashimi, chawan mushi, and a couple of bottles of choice nihonshu (sake) shared with friends.
Ringing the temple bell at midnight at Tozenji in nearby Coquitlam is always fun, too. Out with the old, in with the new.
Returning home at a crazy hour and cooking and eating toshi koshi soba for long life and prosperity.
Here’s Yumi’s Japanese-Canadian fusion tableau in our foyer:
I enjoy the “Before and After” show on TV Japan. Yes, it’s a home renovation show, but with Japanese construction, architecture, and interior design.
Often the show is about some 50- or 75- or even 100-year-old house, with a lone grandmother living there. The architects do amazing jobs of refurbishing these old homes, and a common theme is preserving as much of the past as possible while incorporating as many modern amenities as budgets permit.
Much of what is torn down is reused, and often in emotionally powerful ways. Japanese construction features extensive use of beautiful wood, much of which can be reused or re-cut.
The architects also honor the departed. For example, items from a late grandfather’s workshop may be incorporated into the modern decor.
A favorite rock in the garden takes a new place of honor in the restyled greenery.
Was a deceased family member an avid ink painter or photographer? A favorite piece may be used as a template for a much larger decorative feature.
Perhaps the house used to be fronted by the owner’s business — a sushi counter or noodle shop — and elements of such are maintained and used in creative ways.
And since these houses are often being improved for elderly persons, many shows depict creative solutions to barrier-free issues.
Japanese homes tend to be smaller than North American ones, so often unique space-saving solutions are thought up.
It all adds up to compelling story-telling that educates and warms the heart.
Lauren and Boggie. That’s what most of us remember. But recollections of them together are framed by where we saw them on the big screen. And that brings back memories. . .
I think the first place I saw this movie aside from small-screen TV may have been an old theater In Takadanobaba, Tokyo.
Back in the 1980s Takadanobaba was a haven for students, local and foreign. Cheap dorms, cheap cafes, cheap bars and a dingy, cheap movie theater that ran amazing series of foreign films. The theater is likely long gone by now.
Oh, gosh, my mind is tickling at the answer, but it’s not quite there.
“Waseda Shochiku”? Something like that. Anyway…
I’d walk by the theater every few weeks and sign up for series of Bunuel and other Euro masters. Saw a lot of stuff in many languages that I didn’t understand, but the lighting, the photography, the acting remains in my mind to this day.
it was a perfect place to watch Sam play it again.
Hot damn, a Google search says it’s still alive? Hard to comprehend, but wonderful.
On a foray into Richmond, BC, to visit several Asian supermarkets, Yumi and I ran into a display of huge, animated bugs at the Aberdeen Centre. It was great fun, enchanting kids and parents alike.
We always enjoy the annual Powell Street Festival in what is left of Vancouver’s original Japantown. What was once a vibrant community was dismantled in 1942 with the Canadian government’s internment of Japanese Canadians — many of them Canadian citizens. The festival never dwells on that part of the past, it’s a super celebration of Japanese culture, art, music, food, martial arts, and more.
We’re getting some unusually warm weather here in Burnaby, BC.
Depending on which forecast you believe, it’s supposed to hit between 30C to 33C tomorrow. With ocean to the west, mountains to the north, and a valley extending toward more mountains to the east, temperatures in the lower mainland can vary, with a general trend of cooler near the water/west, and hotter up the valley toward the east.
My office is in the basement of our three-story townhouse, and being halfway underground, it tends to be a few degrees cooler than the main floor or the upstairs.
What keeps us somewhat cooler is that it nearly always falls below 20C overnight, so we crank the windows open in the late evening. We usually button up overnight, but we crank everything wide open when we get up somewhere between 6:00 and 6:30 am, and air everything out for an hour or two. That gets the internal temp down to around 17 or 18C, and we then button everything up again until evening.
We’re fortunate to have a forested park directly to the east of us, with tall, mature trees, so we don’t get hit by direct sunlight until mid-morning. In an eastern end unit we don’t get as much sun in the evening, either.
I’ve lived in much hotter places, like New York and Tokyo, and both required air conditioning, particularly with the high humidity and night temperatures that for extended periods would be not much lower than daytime highs. Ugh.