Tokyo’s Harmonica Alley

“Harmonica Alley” near JR Kichijoji Station in Musashino, Tokyo (Satoko Kawasaki).

Read more about Kichijoji in Satoko Kawasaki’s “From bars and cherry blossoms to Totoro, Kichijoji has it all” (Japan Times).

the Iwata Bookstore

Iwata is said to be gifted with a vast knowledge of written works, and legend has it that as a junior high student he had read nearly every novel in his school’s library. Anyone who wants 10,000 yen worth of his recommendations only needs to fill out a questionnaire explaining their jobs, favorite periodicals, and recently read books along with an evaluation of them.

—Steven Le Blanc and Masami M, “Small Hokkaido bookshop’s unique service is getting business from all over Japan” (RocketNews24)

JFK’s Cancelled Relay 1 Address to the Japanese People

This address to the Japanese people by US President John F. Kennedy was recorded and scheduled to be broadcast via the then new Relay 1 TV satellite on the morning of November 23, 1963 (Japan time). The technological effort was designed to further cement ties between the US and Japan. It was also a symbolic gesture, as Kennedy was a veteran of the Pacific War and he had lost two crewmembers along with his torpedo boat to an IJN destroyer. However, when Japan woke up that morning it did not see this address, but instead news reports that Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas.

link: “Japan’s sozzled salarymen: the lost tribe in a modern pickle”

Japan’s sozzled salarymen: the lost tribe in a modern pickle” by Alastair Himmer (Japan Today)

Japan’s identikit corporate samurai are cultural shorthand for the world of work, an army of back office grafters that swelled as the country’s post-war economic miracle took shape.

They squeeze daily onto famously crammed rush-hour trains to work lengthy shifts at the office—12 hours or more is relatively common—not daring to leave before their managers.

In the evenings they might be boozing with clients or summoned to practically compulsory company drinks, where much of the corporate bonding goes on.


Post #1000—Rev: “Tokyo Story” [1953]


Despite the international popular acclaim for Rashomon, IkiruThrone of Blood, Seven SamuraiKagemushaRan, and even Gojira, the Tokyo Story remains the greatest Japanese film ever made. It’s a simple and slow-paced film, the type many of the more aggressive film critics of today would condemn it for being languid and indulgent, just as they had condemned Lost in Translation for being slown. But slowness isn’t a sin, and especially not for Yasujiro Ozu film.


Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters [1985, Criterion]

  1. To understand modern Japan, we must read and seek to understand Yukio Mishima.
  2. We are all complex creatures. And complex creatures require complex films full of sound, fury, colour, and beauty.