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Year-end songfest a beloved tradition

Taking up herewith DY Weekend News by Yomiuri ONLINE.
Japanese Life Style Trend might be read via these News.
The News titled "Year-end songfest a beloved tradition" is introducing one of the TV Programs on Dec 31 of the year. 
Give 'em the boot: This winter, it's thigh-high or bye-bye 
Dec 26, 2009 by Yomiuri ONLINE

Knee-high and thigh-length boots are back again this winter. In Japan, they often accompany short-shorts and microminis.

"I love boots because they make my legs look longer," says a 22-year-old Hyogo Prefecture woman in a houndstooth coat and black boots adorned with black ribbonlike laces.

One clerk at a clothing retailer has coordinated a pair of gray boots with a casual white dress. ...

Behind the beard: The secret lives of Santa Claus 
Dec 25, 2009 by Yomiuri ONLINE

For the real Santa Claus, hauling toys around the world all night is hard work. But it is also hard work just to play Santa, as The Daily Yomiuri learned in recent interviews with three different men who have assumed St. Nick's red furry mantle. Collectively, their experience is a mix of misadventures and emotional rewards.

John Owens said he began his Santa career in 1998, when the language school he then worked for rented a costume for him to wear to their annual party. By coincidence, Owens' church sent Christmas carolers to a Tokyo nursing home the same weekend. "I thought, 'Great--I'll dress up as Santa!' And that started it," he said. ...

TASTE OF HOME / Christmas at the South Pole means plenty of snow--but what about cake? 
Dec 25, 2009 by Yomiuri ONLINE

How would you feel if you spent your Christmas at the South Pole? Recently, while I was baking my favorite fruitcake, I was thinking about a friend of mine named Hideko Nagai who is spending her Christmas at the South Pole now. Last year, she and I had Christmas dinner together with another friend, and we had a very good time.

In the middle of September, I received a very short mail from my friend. It said she was going to the South Pole. She said she would be leaving Japan on Nov. 24 and would be back in March.

"Four months at the South Pole?" I was totally puzzled because I knew that she was teaching at primary school. It seemed quite unusual for a teacher to go abroad for such a long time during the semester. ...

Avoiding the OTHER annual holiday 'gift' 
Dec 25, 2009 by Yomiuri ONLINE

The Christmas and New Year season can be a real gut-buster. It's party after party, each offering seasonal cuisines that tempt you into partaking of their deliciousness. But while your stomach guides your hand to the scrumptious morsels, your mind struggles to stop it, knowing it will only lead to extra winter poundage. Yet, you still want to enjoy all that gourmet food. So what do you do?

The advice nutrition and fitness experts have for this time of year is thus: Enjoy the season while paying attention to the little things day to day, rather than going on some major diet to compensate.

Nutritionist Erica Angyal, a diet consultant for contestants who have gone on to win the Miss Universe pageant, says the key is moderation. ...

Easy ways to do good for children 
Dec 25, 2009 by Yomiuri ONLINE

As we are now well entrenched in the holiday gift season, it may be a good time to think about those to whom you have yet to send a present.
There are international charity organizations seeking people's help to make sure children eat proper meals or go to school to receive very basic education. They are offering ways by which even those who have not taken part in charitable giving before can make easy, casual contributions, often while giving themselves some form of pleasure at the same time. ...

Cameron uses power for good 
Dec 25, 2009 by Yomiuri ONLINE

Cast: Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Zoe Saldana

When space aliens come to the planet Earth, they often take human form so the natives can better relate to them, and also to get the most out of the limited special-effects budgets in movies that are made about them.

In Avatar, the space aliens who come to the planet Pandora are human to begin with, but they take the towering blue form of the indigenous Na'vi people so the natives can better relate to them, and also because writer-director-producer James Cameron had a nearly unlimited special-effects budget. (The whole movie reportedly cost far north of 200 million dollars.) ...

An animated Kohaku singer
Dec 25, 2009 by Yomiuri ONLINE

J-pop singer and voice actress Nana Mizuki has had quite a year. It started with a January concert at Nippon Budokan and will end on Dec. 31 with her first appearance on NHK's year-end Kohaku Uta Gassen (Red and white song contest).

"I still can't believe that I'm going to perform at the Kohaku," the native of Ehime Prefecture told The Daily Yomiuri in Tokyo earlier this month.

Traditionally, NHK's annual entertainment extravaganza has defined New Year's Eve for many families in Japan, and the Mizuki household has been no exception. ...

Year-end songfest a beloved tradition 
Dec 25, 2009 by Yomiuri ONLINE

New Year's Eve in Japan would not be complete without the annual Kohaku Uta Gassen (Red and white song contest) on TV. Critics may regard it as corny and outdated, but NHK's entertainment extravaganza still manages to appeal to artists and viewers of all ages.

"The Unlimited Power of Music," is the theme of this year's broadcast, the show's 60th. Noted composer Joe Hisaishi wrote the theme song, "Uta no Chikara" (The power of music).

None of this year's 50 performers (25 each for the women's red and men's white teams) were on stage for the first contest in January 1951, when it was broadcast on NHK radio, but veterans Saburo Kitajima, Shinichi Mori, Akiko Wada and Sayuri Ishikawa go back quite some time. ...

TELEVIEWS / A Yuletide visit from merry Mito Komon 
Dec 25, 2009 by Yomiuri ONLINE

The Night Before Christmas

(with appropriate apologies to Clement Moore and Mito Komon)

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through Japan/Not a creature was stirring, not even Ultraman./The stockings were hung by the old TV with care/In hopes Santa would put a digital one there!

The children were nestled all snug in their beds/While visions of Crayon Shin-chan danced in their heads.

And I in my Hokkaido Ham Fighters cap/Was just settling down for the Tenchijin recap/When up on the screen there arose such a clatter,/I knew it must be Downtown, the kings of chatter./Away to the remote, I flew like a flash/To turn down the volume on the fellows so brash. ...

Battle CGI: Japan vs. USA 
Dec 18, 2009 by Yomiuri ONLINE

Movie theaters in Japan this year found themselves jam-packed with Hollywood's latest offerings in 3D CGI animation--Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Monsters vs Aliens, A Christmas Carol, Tinkerbell and Up, just to name a few. Can non-American CGI films, such as the Japan-France production Yona Yona Penguin, which opens on Dec. 23, even hope to make a dent in that market? That film's director, Rintaro--who was involved in classics such as Astro Boy and Galaxy Express 999--says they can, because they can offer something that feels "completely different from, say, Pixar."

"Japan's CGI animators will never beat Pixar at its own game. But what's the point of making the same kind of stuff they do anyway? We have a sensibility and concept of beauty that is unique to Japanese animation," Rintaro tells The Daily Yomiuri. "That is how we can compete with the likes of Pixar." ...
By T.S. on Dec 30, 2009

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Author:T. SATOH