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Untying the kimono myth: A little creativity makes traditional wear an attractive daily alternative

Once in a lifetime: Japan welcomes some of Boston's greatest art treasures 
Apr. 23, 2010 by Yomiuri

The word "masterpieces" is often used in the titles of exhibitions visiting Japan from European or North American museums, but more often than not, that superlative applies to a disappointingly small percentage of the works on show. With the exhibition European Masterpieces from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston at the Mori Arts Center Gallery in Roppongi, Tokyo, however, you needn't fear disappointment. ...

TASTE OF HOME / Fuki in springtime is an acquired taste, but not to be missed 
Apr. 23, 2010 by Yomiuri

During the spring vacation, my friend Rie spent three weeks in Japan. We have been close friends since middle school, but now she lives in her English husband's home country, where they have four daughters aged 9 to 14. As I also have four children, both of us have been surrounded by children for a long time.

This year, when I heard that Rie would come home for the first time in a while, I thought of taking her on an overnight trip somewhere to get a break from the kids. Another member of our group did her best to find a wonderful ryokan with an onsen in Hakonemachi, Kanagawa Prefecture, and made a reservation. ...

Untying the kimono myth: A little creativity makes traditional wear an attractive daily alternative
Apr. 23, 2010 by Yomiuri

As beautiful as they are, kimono can be scary for many women. They seem expensive and their use and care are notoriously complicated. But there are easier, creative and less expensive ways to make the traditional dress a daily part of one's life.

Fashion designer Minako Yokomori, 60, wears a kimono at least once a week when eating out with friends or attending business meetings. She began wearing kimono regularly about seven years ago after she came across a pink edo-komon--a kimono with a certain style of pattern--when sorting through her mother's belongings after she died. The kimono had been a gift to Yokomori when she was in her 20s. "I don't know why, but all of sudden I wanted to wear it," she recalls. ...

Powerful acting for a powerful story
Apr. 23, 2010 by Yomiuri

Dir: Lee Daniels

Cast: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz

In itself, a script about a teenage girl who is physically and sexually abused can be depressing and painful--so much so that it can become hard to even cry. The powerful story of Precious, however, moved me to tears: Not for its story so much as its incredible level of acting.

Harlem, 1987. Clareece "Precious" Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) is an obese African American middle schooler who dreams of being a cover girl and having a light-skinned boyfriend. However, her reality is a far far cry from that dream. ...

'Wolfman' has fierce bark, little bite 
Apr. 23, 2010 by Yomiuri

Dir: Joe Johnston

Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving

If you want to become a monster, Rick Baker is the man to see. Baker (no relation to this reviewer) is a six-time winner of the Academy Award for best makeup, taking that prize in its first year of existence for An American Werewolf in London (1981). He also created faces for Hellboy, the Grinch and the X-Men, gave Michael Jackson a makeover for his Thriller video (1983), gave Tommy Lee Jones half a makeover for his role as Two-Face in Batman Forever (1995) and turned Jack Nicholson into the title beast in Wolf (1994). ...

Revue dancers eye younger audiences
Apr. 23, 2010 by Yomiuri

Alumnae of a once popular revue company are heading to Tokyo's Akihabara--the pop-culture heart of the nation--in the hope of attracting Japan's youth to the genre, epitomized by the popular all-female Takarazuka theater troupe.

Revue company STAS was founded in 1992 by four top dancers from the defunct Shochiku Kageki Dan (Shochiku revue company), including Chidori Senba and Miki Takajo. Better known as SKD, the revue company--which was founded in 1928--was headquartered in Asakusa, Tokyo, and was considered to be on par with the popular Takarazuka Revue Company, which is based in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. ...

TELEVIEWS / Spinning. Tumbling. Sometimes entertaining.
Apr. 23, 2010 by Yomiuri

So, as I was saying to my TV just the other day, "What's with you? Are you trying to give me a migraine every night or what?"

I know all the high-tech digital technology is absolutely amazing. Creatively, almost anything is possible now, but is any thought being given to the befuddled brains of the poor viewers trying to process the dizzying, visual onslaught every night? The incessant whirling, twirling, swirling on-screen gadgetry is giving me a full-fledged case of chronic sensory overload. ...

Fashion monuments: Hussein Chalayan and the designs that have defined & confined his career
Apr. 16, 2010 by Yomiuri

When you create beautiful pieces of clothing that transform, morph, rust, show videos and shoot lasers, your twice-yearly collections are likely to be fashion moments, causing a stir in both the industry and the media. This has been the story of Hussein Chalayan's noteworthy yet sometimes rocky career.

Despite producing highly wearable clothes each season, those lines are relegated to the back seat when models take to his unusual catwalks in dresses that recreate a wind-tunnel effect (from his 2009 spring-summer collection) or an evening dress outfitted with 15,600 light-emitting diodes that produce images (pictured, from his 2007 autumn-winter line). "Monuments," he calls them. ...

Kalafina: animated divas
Apr. 16, 2010 by Yomiuri

It always seemed to me that the word "diva" was little more than a marketing gimmick perpetuated by rabid fans. But that mindset changed after meeting the three vocalists of anime-centered pop group Kalafina, which is about to kick off a national tour next month.

The voices of divas Hikaru, Wakana and Keiko--be it together or on their own--free one's soul, making it feel as if it will leave your body altogether, in their song Hikari no Senritsu (Melody of light), the theme song for anime So Ra No O To.

Hikaru kicks off the song in a world-music style, her voice glimmering yet with a hint of tension. Later, Wakana joins in with her free and light singing style, as does Keiko, with her rich, low pipes. ...

The disaffected world of Inio Asano
Apr. 16, 2010 by Yomiuri

Mangaka Inio Asano has become one of the voices of his generation. His work--stories of youth that would be too alien or embarrassing for full-fledged adults--has found a home in the hearts of disaffected teens and twentysomethings. One of Asano's best-known manga is Solanin, the story of a young band, which was recently released as a live film starring Aoi Miyazaki.

Perhaps it should have come as little surprise that during our interview at his Tokyo studio, Asano appeared to be one of his own characters--a "soshoku danshi" (lit. herbivore boy), a current lifestyle in which men tend toward hobbies traditionally associated with women, at the same time refraining from building close relationships with members of the opposite sex. ...

By T.S. on Apr 27, 2010

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Author:T. SATOH