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ISSUE 144 • MAY 2012















may 2012 |


Reader’s photo















Not what it looks like

Fear and loathing at the Kansai Economic Seminar Escape from Fukushima

A city of playgrounds

Sleep yourself slimmer

Life under the ocean wave

Three in one—Malaysia





Mountains in the mist

Japan’s lost genius

Jordan Wright

Want to see your photograph here? KS is accepting submissions on the theme of ‘Kansai’ to display here (75mm x 100mm/300dpi). Please send all your entries in digital format to:

Published by Kansai Scene KK • Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

Christian Page

NEWS Kansai news roundup 05 LINGO Visitation rites 30 DRINK Alma Latina, Umeda 46


Event & Festival: Yuki Uchibori FLEA MARKET & CINEMA: Yoko S. Tokyo: Patrick St. Michel Film: Donna Sheffield Classical: Michael Vezzuto Live: Phillip Jackson Club: Terumi Tsuji News: Christian Page

Eiko Page Creative director

Jatin Banker

Production Manager

Shuka Kitani

Assistant editor

Donna Sheffield


Copy editor

Brendan Wong

ART Exhibitions and listing EVENT Events and listing FESTIVAL Festivals and listing FLEA MARKET Bargain fun TOKYO Tokyo roundup FILM New film releases CLASSICAL Classical musings LIVE Gigs and listing CLUB Nightclubbing

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Advertising: Tel: 070-5659-1356 (10am–7pm, Mon–Fri) • Fax: 06-6537-1303 Postal address (Meetings strictly by appointment. お越しの際は、事前にご連絡ください): 1-4-5-202, Nanbanaka, Naniwa-ku, Osaka 556-0011 〒556-0011 大阪市浪速区難波中1丁4番5号 立花ビル202号

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may 2012 |

Party! This year, Kansai Scene is turning 12 and we’re having a birthday bash. We’ll be celebrating with a party at Cafe Absinthe in Osaka on June 10th. There will be live music, DJs, a buffet, prizes and all the customary hospitality of Absinthe. The party will be a rare chance for readers to meet the writers and the KS team, mingle and have a chat. We’ll be announcing further details online and in the next issue. The KS team would be delighted if you dropped in and we hope to see you there. KS has been serving Kansai since May 2000, publishing news, event listings and stories on culture, history, current affairs and so on. We also carry stories on places to go and things to do, not just in Kansai but in Japan and Asia generally, in the hope that they will inspire readers to get out and see what this region has to offer. Twelve years after starting, we are the only Kansai=based English language print magazine.

Another party! Talking of parties, Osaka is having it’s own bash this month. The event is the Midosuji Festa, the event formerly known as the Midosuji Open Festa. Osaka’s main drag will be closed to traffic on May 13 and instead devoting itself to festivities: music, dance, food, fashion, arts, and general fun. There is even an educational event on the rules of bicycle riding, something to quicken the pulse of any party animal and a sure-fire crowd puller. The event, which is a celebration of civic pride, drew 370,000 last year. Midosuji Avenue is Osaka’s principle artery running from Umeda in the north to Namba in the south for a distance of 4.4km. These days it is known for its up market shops, civic centres, prestigious office buildings and lots and lots of statues. It has not always been such an important thoroughfare. Through the Edo period it was a humble, narrow street, just 6m wide named Yodoyabashisuji and was only widened and promoted in the Taisho era. Tales that Midosuji was widened so that it could double as a military runway during the second world war seem sadly apocryphal. Osaka City’s own account of the avenue’s upgrading attributes the upgrading to the foresight of a former mayor anticipating Osaka’s massive growth.

Be seen in Kansai Scene


Not exactly a party On May 25th you may wish to carry a towel for the day. That date is Towel Day, an international and annual event to remember and celebrate the author Douglas Adams. Adams died of a heart attack on May 11th, 2001 and friends and fans quickly nominated May 25th as an annual day of remembrance, marked by carrying a towel. The eponymous publication in Adams’s best known work The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy tells us, “A towel … is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have,” and goes on to elaborate, “…any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.” Adams gained international fame and respect through Hitchhiker’s, his comedy SF trilogy in five parts. He also authored the Dirk Gently novels, numerous TV and radio scripts and appeared on Monty Python’s Flying Circus. When Hitchhiker’s was turned into a TV show by the BBC, Adams managed to insert footage of himself naked into at least one episode. Adams died at the age of 49 and would have been 60 this year. This birthday was marked by a large party event in London. Towel Day events are being planned all around the universe. See the site (URL below) for more details, and there’s a Towel Day page on Facebook too. If anyone decides to have a Towel Day event in Kansai, please be sure to let us know and we’ll pass on the word. So, what’s the relevance of this to Kansai? None that KS can figure out, but we do have towels and when talking of life, the universe and every­thing, Adams was presumably including Japan.


Kansai Sceneは関西唯一の英文フリーマガジンです。読者層は、関西に住ん Kansai Scene is Kansai’s only English-language print magazine. Advertise in both the print edition and online and でいる外国人を始め、英語を学ぶ日本人、世界各国からの観光客など。配布場 benefit from the combined power of two media. To find out 所は、大型書店洋書コーナー、大学、空港、観光センター、PUBやレストランな ど500カ所以上にも及びます。なお、広告の掲載は、雑誌面及びWebサイトでも more about advertising with us, go to www.kansaiscene. com and look for the link labelled Advertising on the menu 受け付けています。詳しくは、 > Advertising bar below the KS logo or email to をご覧下さい。*日本語の案内もあります。広告に関するお問い合わせ Email: or call 070-5659-1356 or call 070-5659-1356.


FEATURE | may 2012

Not what it looks like Text: Marcelo Cárgano Photos: courtesy of Ryuko Azuma & Ai Ehara



hose of us who live in Japan might have experienced something like the following: you check your email, Twitter or Facebook and see that a friend or relative has sent you a message about some ‘bizarrely funny thing from Japan’. The message gives you a link to an article from a credible, respected media institution from your country. You open the article, which is titled something like “The new mania in Japan: licking doorknobs”, and see some pictures of girls, well, licking doorknobs in sensual ways, together with some disparaging captions. Determined to know the truth, you do a quick web search just to see other websites, all carrying the same pictures, all describing the ‘fad’, ‘fashion’ or ‘mania’. Case solved, Japan is weird, right? Yet, in the case of the doorknob licking gals, not a single website mentions that this is not a mania, but the work of an artist. After having a short and mostly unsuccessful career drawing manga, Azuma Ryuko, a 35-year-old illustrator from Iwate, came up with the thought that girls licking doorknobs — ‘doorknob shojo’ — would call attention and sell well. One Twitter message later, a photographer and amateur model called Ai Ehara joined him as his first model and work partner. According to Azuma’s description, the entire process looks simple and homemade. All models work voluntarily.

The pictures are taken either at Ehara’s house, Azuma’s studio, or at the model’s own house. One session takes around two hours, and the costs are equally shared in by Azuma and Ehara. The ‘fad’, which actually involves just two artists and some amateur models, never left the studio, and Japan’s girls aren’t yet wantonly licking doorknobs left and right. For someone who read one of those the articles though, the lingering imagery is of a bizarre country.

Wrong perspectives

“Wait a minute,” you might say. “The pictures do exist, and they were taken in Japan. Those newspapers and websites did not publish any lie”. Yes, but whether the pictures were real or not is not the issue. Nor is the relative bizarreness of the images. Azuma himself admits that most people just think that he and the pictures are a crazy idea (he prefers to describe it as one of exposing society’s hidden sexuality and violence). The mistake of those websites was blowing the news out of all proportion — and copying them from other websites without checking them first. One Japanese comedy program (Kasuga x Nakata) actually joked that the number of doorknob girls is “quickly increasing”, only to go to the streets and fail to find a single person who had ever heard of it.


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can legitimately ask whether the real fascination with doorknob licking is with the western media.


As an interesting comparison, earlier this year, 4,000 people rode the New York subway without pants, as part of the 11th Annual No Pants Subway Ride. Now imagine for one second that instead of describing the happening as a yearly event, a Japanese newspaper published ‘the new mania in the US: taking the subway without your pants’ — such a claim would probably attract a storm of derision.

An isolated mistake?

The doorknob licking story is not, of course, the first or only incident of this kind. Every once in a while, western papers, TV, websites and bloggers rave about a new ‘mania’, ‘craze’ or ‘fashion’ in Japan without any apparent regard to reality. Some websites are even dedicated to it — to the extent that typing “wtf” on Google will yield the suggestion “wtf Japan”. Worse, as seen in the doorknob case, these mistakes are being made not only by small blogs and websites, but also by the best in the business, too. Last year, the New York Times website’s technology section published, in an article titled ‘New Japanese Fashion: LED Lights for Your Teeth’, that ‘LED lights’ were becoming a rapidly desired fashion item among the Japanese youth. In the UK, the Guardian’s website soon followed suit, declaring LED teeth smiles the new “must-have accessory in Japan”. Both the NYT and the Guardian also published a video of some Japanese students walking around Tokyo with the above-mentioned lights, thus ‘proving’ it. The Japan Times soon revealed the truth: the accessories were part of an advertising campaign, were not commercially available, and there are no plans to produce them for sale. The ‘Japanese students’ were actresses hired by the same producers of the LED lights. While the New York Times acknowledged the mistake, it was already too late. The article kept appearing in blogs, tweets and retweets, reinforcing the misunderstanding. The article became so popular that, ironically, one of the creators of the LED lights revealed that many people from overseas contacted him wishing to buy one. We

Japan is not alone in being the target of stereotyping in the media, as this author, a Brazilian, is keenly aware. But does Japan actually get more targeted than most? “I think the stereotyping is strong [in Japan’s case], yes”, affirms Barbara Holthus, Ph.D. in Japanese Studies and Sociology and currently deputy director of the German Institute for Japanese Studies. She adds that there is already quite a bit of scholarship on the topic. There are countries that are generally easier to stereotype — Japan among them. The reasons why a particular country gets more often stereotyped than other are varied. One is how different is the culture between the one who stereotypes and the stereotyped. Other reasons might be historical — that would explain why Germans are much more stereotyped than their neighbours in Denmark. Power relations also play a role — cue to stereotyping of Mexicans in the United States. Holthus remarks that stereotyping isn’t all black-andwhite, though. “One should be cautious about the casual use of the term stereotype, since the word itself is a difficult one. Our world is very complex. Humans need to make it less complex, and to do so, there is an absolute need to categorize, to stereotype things that we don’t personally know about. So stereotypes per se are not ‘bad’. But if they are thoughtlessly used, in other words, if we let stereotypes turn into prejudice, then we have a problem”. Finally, how does the creator of the ‘doorknob shojo’ pictures sees how his creation is portrayed abroad? Well, Azuma doesn’t seem particularly concerned about it. “Whether one views my work negatively is entirely an individual matter”, he says. He prefers to believe that the and his work offers an opportunity to show foreign audiences that at the same time that the Japanese are seem as shy and inward, they can also be open and creative. Azuma has declared that he sees a trend now for producing and distributing this kind of material over social media such as Twitter and Tumblr, and has already started to plan “the ultimate goal” of the “doorknob shojo”, which is to publish a photo book. If this last episode is any indicator, he can be sure to have plenty of free publicity from the western media.



Fear and loathing at the Kansai Economic Seminar AS KANSAI’S GREY EMINENCES GATHER in Kyoto each year, Kansai’s residents should watch out for the bats. Text: HL Stone • Images: Christian Page


estled in the quiet hills of north Kyoto is the Kyoto International Conference Center, a concrete monstrosity only a modern architect could love. The children’s manga/early Stalinist design is relieved by the bucolic setting, with Takaragaike pond on one side and Mt. Hiei on another. This scene, at least, encourages the multitude of VIPs who gather to reflect upon life’s most important issues. It was here that the 1997 Kyoto Protocol was forged. The center also hosts the cream of Kansai’s corporate crop at the Kansai Economic Seminar. ‘The Kansai Fortunate 500’ who attend includes the chairmen (and they are virtually all men) and presidents of Japan’s most internationally recognized companies. Begun a half century ago, the seminar offers local titans an opportunity to escape the boardroom, the golf course, the Macau casinos, or the arms of their favorite snack bar hostess and consider issues of not only economic, but also political, social, cultural, and even moral import. The seminar’s emphasis is on the future and the ideal. ‘Discussions’ tend toward meandering monologues, or

pretentious, platitude-laden lectures. At the opening session, keynote speakers toss about the latest English business buzzwords to prove they’re international movers and shakers, not local yokels who happen to have a black Nissan Crown Royal with white frilly curtains on the windows and a uniformed driver at their beck and call. Buzzwords are akin to those tiny green peppers in Thai food — nice when sprinkled about sparingly, but screaminducing when overused. Served straight from the kitchens of Harvard Business School, though, they cleanse the palette for the main buffet of panel discussions that follow. Here, the business leaders, along with the odd (often extremely odd) academic and befuddled foreign diplomat, pontificate on Kansai’s cultural charms, how to create Japanese versions of Steve Jobs, the importance of coddling up to the US defense industry, how young Japanese are lazy, self-absorbed morons who refuse to do a hard day’s work, and the safety of nuclear power and the dangers of renewable energy (Transpose ‘nuclear power’ and ‘renewable energy’? — Ed. No. — HL) The tone is paternalistic. Always, the people must be


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guided by those with the right pedigree (a degree from Tokyo University or a half dozen others, and employment with a firm on the first level of the Tokyo Stock Exchange). Obviously, what’s best for the Fortunate 500 is best for Kansai. The trick is to come up with the right mixture of top-down, centrally administered (from Kansai, of course, not Tokyo) policies that prevent “confusion in the marketplace” — a euphemistic phrase for ‘competition’ or ‘independent thought’, depending on whether one is speaking in an economic or political sense. As a long-term follower of corporate Japan, I take it for granted that capitalist, free market big business leaders are interested in social engineering experiments reminiscent of Maoist China or the Soviet Union than in fostering a nation of independent thinkers who embrace Adam Smith and Ralph Waldo Emerson. True, on the economy, the rhetoric does not echo Marx or Lenin, but Reagan and Thatcher. Not surprising, though. The average age of attendees is at, or above, the age most people retire. The late 20th century’s socioeconomic theories revered as gospel when the old men were young may have been discredited elsewhere, overtaken by events and rejected by the World Socialist Forum and the World Economic Forum. But in Kansai’s insular corporate world, they remain frozen in amber, revered as holy writs and pushed by those whose greatest fear is that they’ll lose power to ideas they don’t agree with and can’t control. To cite just one example, take a subject that gets debated every year— decentralization. There are persuasive, common sense reasons for it. Japan would be a lot better off if Tokyo had less political, social and economic power. But as a few commentators with more than a passing acquaintance of Japanese history have warned, decentralization does not guarantee increased efficiency. If Japan ever becomes a nation not of 47 prefectures but of eight or nine super states, as many in the government want, would that not also mean eight or nine ‘miniKasumigasekis’, each with differing laws and regulations? Are business leaders arguing not for “decentralization” but “recentraliza-

500 tion” on a more local level, a mutated version of the collectivist farms once espoused in the communist world? What will happen to local democracy? Good questions. But not ones you will hear asked, much less discussed, at the seminar. Nor would you expect to. Kansai’s corporate leaders believe decentralization automatically leads to greater efficiency because that’s the way the business world works (in theory). It would never occur to them to ask whether the result is a more open and democratic society. Their attitude toward the public is perhaps best summed up by the word they use to describe their Ideal Man: jinzai or “human capital”. Not shimin (local citizens), kokumin (national citizens), shakaijin (member of society), or a half dozen other words that are broader and deeper in meaning, nuance, or both. In one sense, the use of jinzai is refreshing. Western firms must choose their words carefully when addressing the ‘folks’ and the economy. Thankfully, when Kansai’s leaders debate the fate of the peasants, they are under no obligation to put lipstick on the pig. They are free to speak of human capital in the manner of a 19th century robber baron: as interchangeable drones, intelligent enough to operate the machinery but not independent-minded enough to lead a strong union or a class action lawsuit. This also explains why there is great hostility in the Kansai Economic Seminar to true entrepreneurship and innovation. Top-down bureaucratic organization and a process-oriented strategy ensuring economic and social


stability is the goal. Reading the participants’ resumes, I was struck by the fact that those addressing the room in a well-modulated voice about the need for new, risk-taking business types worked for old, conservative businesses that, in some cases, have no competition (i.e. Kansai Electric Power Co.). No self-made entrepreneurial types bucking the system, Silicon Valley-style, here. Again, not surprising. Anyone who has dealt with Japanese company presidents of large firms knows they were usually chosen for their political, not business, acumen. They are by nature compromisers and back room dealers — managers and caretakers who assumed the top position not to do anything original, but to ensure nothing original got done. To ask such gentlemen to challenge prevailing economic orthodoxies or offer innovative solutions to the pressing political, and social issues Kansai and Japan now confront is an exercise in futility. Yet to dismiss their influence is also folly. For very often, ideas bantered about at the seminar end up as official government policy years later. The policies of Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto, in particular his efforts to merge the city and the prefecture, simmered for years in the panel discussions of the Kansai Economic Seminar. Over the years, they were taste tested by the chefs, who added a pinch of buzzwords here, or a dash of platitudes there, until the whole mixture was declared fit for human consumption. Even ideas only halfbaked, the chefs knew, would be devoured by a hungry electorate if served up by a charismatic head waiter in the mayor’s chair. This is why it’s in every Kansai’s resident’s interest to keep an eye on what the Kansai Economic Seminar says and does. It offers a unique glimpse into where the region is headed. That the seminar takes place in relative secrecy, free noisy demonstrators and contrasting political, economic and social ideas the rest of the world — including the corporate world — is seriously discussing and often embracing may be of comfort to the old men. But it should be cause for concern for the rest of the Kansai.



Escape from A Fukushima

As if the earthquake in Tohoku and the meltdown weren’t enough, Fukushima refugees have had to deal with DISCRIMINATION and bureaucratic intransigence. However, many have found a welcoming new home in Kansai. Text & photos: Daniel Krieger

fter Michiyo Ishizuka’s home in Fukushima was destroyed by the earthquake on March 11, 2011, the local government assured her there was no danger and discouraged those living outside the power station’s evacuation zone from leaving. They gave her housing, and she tried to get on with her life. On weekends, she took her daughter to neighboring prefectures to try and get away from it all. One Saturday, she stopped by a ramen shop in Niigata for lunch. But before she could sit down, the shop owner asked where she had come from. She told him, and he politely asked her to leave, fearing radiation he thought she could be emitting. In the tense aftermath of the quake, stories like this were common: displaced children getting bullied at their new schools, evacuation centers turning away refugees who lacked paperwork declaring them ‘radiation-free’, hotels refusing to take them in for the night. Such shockingly unsympathetic behavior actually has a precedent in Japan. Some Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors became outcasts due to the supposed risk in getting near them, fears that sprang to life again in the wake of Fukushima. But now more than a year on, the panic has subsided and many refugees who fled are settling into their new lives. Though discriminatory treatment still occurs, especially in areas around Fukushima where anxiety still runs high, at the same time there is a strong countercurrent — communities across the country that have been taking refugees in without fuss. On a chilly Saturday afternoon earlier this year, I attended a tea party at the headquarters of the Takarazuka NPO in Takarazuka-shi, Hyogo, where memories of the massive Hanshin quake that killed thousands linger. Since May last year, the director Mitsuko Nakayama has hosted monthly get-togethers to help refugees connect with other displaced people as well as locals who are eager to help. It was an afternoon of tea and talk, with more volunteers than victims. Japanese sweets and green tea were circulating, and there were soothing hand massages for all.

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Ishizuka, a 39-year-old single mother, had just moved to Takarazuka a week earlier and was still filling out paperwork. After the quake, she said the government set her up in a new house in Fukushima-shi, and the following month she was able to reopen her restaurant. She didn’t think about leaving until she heard about dangerously high levels of radiation in the area and started worrying about her young daughter. But no other prefectures would take her in because she had already accepted the housing provided by the city. Convinced that it would be harmful to stay, she kept searching throughout the spring and summer, in vain. “We called ourselves ‘guinea pigs’ because we had to continue living there with all that radiation around us,” she told me. She didn’t give up, and in the fall came across Takarazuka, whose mayor was concerned about children. She was accepted and moved with her mother and daughter in early January. Though she feared discrimination at first, she got a warm welcome, which was a great relief because she had heard stories of discriminatory treatment around Fukushima, like that day she was turned away from the ramen shop in Niigata. Some locals there would go to even greater lengths to discourage these newly minted untouchables from sticking around by vandalizing cars with Fukushima plates. “All of my acquaintances have had some experience like this,” she said. “Newspapers explained it’s totally safe, but they treated Fukushima people as if we were carrying some infectious disease.” Shortly after the earthquake struck in March, a few major Japanese newspapers ran editorials condemning the “groundless rumors” and “harassment” of the displaced, a discrimination eerily reminiscent of what Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors faced after the war. This group, known as hibakusha, or ‘explosion affected people’, had to hide their past to get ahead in life. But nowadays, it’s become a bit harder to get away with such treatment, especially when couched in government policy. Last year, the mayor of Tsukuba, in Ibaraki, was criticized for a measure



that required evacuees to prove their radiation-free status, which he apologized for after a backlash. And the new Industry and Trade Minister, Yoshio Hachiro, resigned after his first week on the job following his insensitive remarks last September. However, such public flayings provided little consolation to those who had to flee, such as Kazunori Kowata, 43, who was sitting at the center sipping tea with his wife, Chieko, 30. Immediately after the quake, they stayed in their house, which was 22 kilometers from the Daiichi plant. The local government wouldn’t assist with their evacuation because they were two kilometers beyond the mandatory evacuation zone and told them just to stay indoors. With a two and a three-year-old, they knew better, so they set out to move. But they were delayed one month because all the moving companies they contacted with the exception of one refused the job, fearing radiation contamination. They told me they had heard numerous stories from acquaintances who were treated badly in Tohoku and Kanto. “That’s why we came here — we wanted to get as far away from Fukushima as possible,” said Kowata. “There seems to be no discrimination here in Kansai.” And they can live rent free for up to two years, thanks to Takarazuka City and the NPO staff behind the program that helps refugees like them get back on their feet. Mitsuko Nakayama, the Takarazuka NPO Center’s director, explained that this NPO was founded right after the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995 to help the victims the government left behind. She said that after the 3/11 quake, it was only natural to continue the mission. “I want to give the evacuees who are living here a chance to gather in one place to network and make friends,” she said. So every month, refugees have a chance to meet one another, share their stories and help each other get over the trauma. “The wonderful thing is that ordinary citizens come here to help,” she said. “Maybe they can’t go to Fukushima but they want to do something for the victims, and here they can.” Her aim is to get these displaced people so comfortably settled into the community that they stop coming by. Naomi, 38, who declined to give a last name, came to Kansai on her own. Her house in Fukushima was just 11 kilometers from the Daiichi plant. After a string of evacuation centers and houses of friends and relatives, she arrived in September, having left behind her elderly father, who didn’t want to leave. She chalks the radiation discrimination up to the government’s unwillingness to provide complete information, which results in the spread of misinformation that in turn stokes fear. “For my father, it’s very difficult to believe any unofficial information which comes from twitter, blogs or even people working at the plant,” she said. That’s why he chose to stay on alone. She knows he might need her in the future, but she can’t imagine ever returning. “I don’t think I can,” she said, shaking her head. “I don’t think I can.”

To volunteer at the Takarazuka NPO Center, contact: 2-1-1 Sakae-cho, Sorio 1 3F, Takarazuka-shi, Hyogo. Tel: 0797-85-7766 •


FEATURE KIDS | may 2012

A city of playgrounds The winter can be long and grey, and more so if you have kids raring to get out of the house. Spring brings the sun, and KS offers a roundup of Osaka parks where the kids can run wild at last. Text & photos: Natalie Foxwell


s we put our winter jackets away for another year, I have been eagerly looking forward to the change of season and what it means for my toddler daughter, let alone my sanity. As the mother of a three year old, it’s a tough few months staying indoors during the Japanese winter, so with the first signs of spring in the air we are busy planning both day trips and short visits to our favourite playgrounds around Osaka.

Shop and play

To me, Namba Parks is a playground for both parents and children. Famous for its sloping rooftop garden, this architecturally renowned shopping centre was built on the former site of the Osaka Baseball Stadium. With eight floors of garden terraces, boutique stores and an abundance of dining, it’s an oasis in the city where I can let my daughter run around on the rooftop playground. Very small and simple in design, the playground consists of a slide and an obstacle

course providing an easy way for kids to stretch their legs, while you relax with a coffee. Use the elevators closest to Toys R Us and go straight to the ninth floor.

‘Mini town” which has play stalls such as a koban, post office, beauty salon, sushi stand and best of all, the supermarket where children collect groceries and scan them at the checkout.

For a rainy day

A local feel

For a day that requires indoor play, I highly recommend Osaka Kids Plaza, located in Ogimachi. A museum dedicated to children and their imaginations, it’s design will appeal to any personality and keep them busy for hours. There are three floors of activities titled ‘Let’s Try’, ‘Let’s Play’ and ‘Let’s Make’, with a range of activities catering to all ages and levels of complexity. My daughter gravitates towards the percussion instruments or the soap bubbles, while her friends, especially the boys, love the bugs and fish tanks or the more interactive activities like generating electricity. The large play structure with ladders, a ropeway, slides and interesting shapes to climb through creates a chaotic, contagious sense of fun. I think all children enjoy

For smaller local parks that fill up a morning or afternoon we have a few favourites among the many available throughout Osaka. Next to the Osaka City Pool complex at Asashiobashi Station you can find Yahataya Koen. Along with an abundance of space to kick a ball or ride a bike, there is a large wooden structure suited for older kids that has a roller slide along with many levels to climb over and run around. For the younger ones there is a climbable snake along with swings and a sandpit. If it’s too cold to play outside, the main pool in the complex next door is converted into an ice-skating rink from November to March every year. Suminoe Koen is a medium sized park that provides a great escape with all the facilities needed for a fun after-


may 2012 | noon. With a rose garden, tennis courts, and a spacious playground suitable for younger children, my reasons for going are not purely selfless. If you take a five-minute walk down the road you can step inside a world of relaxation at Spa Suminoe. With hot spring bathing areas along with massage rooms and a restaurant, it’s a place for the whole family or time for us mums to spend while the children are taken care of at the park. In Osaka’s office district Hommachi is Utsubo Park constructed on a former United States Army airfield; its long rectangle shape is reminiscent of its former life as a runway. Smaller in size and having a very local feel, it’s never overly busy and offers eateries such as Indian, Spanish and a French Bakery within its neighbourhood. The playground has enough to keep younger children busy so they work up an appetite with a climbing structure, monkey bars, slides, swings and a sandpit. It also contains the Utsubo Tennis Centre, a rose garden and a water fountain with a grassed area where we enjoy taking our shoes off and relaxing during summer. The Hommachi Starbucks is close by and I am sure the nearby Hard Rock Café menu will appeal to all taste buds.

A big day out

I have only really appreciated the appeal and enjoyment of a ‘park day’ since having a child, where I can watch her run free, doing what she pleases without my nagging, its good for all of us. Of all the bigger parks in Osaka that offer much more than just a playground one of my favourites is Hattori Ryokuchi Koen. When you arrive, follow the “Paradise of Kids” signs and you’ll find an extensive playground certain to entertain children of all ages for hours. Rivalling anything I have seen before, Paradise of Kids has multiple structures separated to appeal to different ages so the little ones are not getting knocked over in all the excitement. With its flying fox, giant octopus, various slides, including an everpopular roller slide, you can take a picnic, set yourself up along the bank and enjoy a full day out with the family. The kiosk provides any refreshments you didn’t bring along or there is a convenience store within walking distance.

Said to be 33 times the size of Koshien Stadium, Hattori Ryokuchi Koen and its spacious forestry grounds includes the famous Open-Air Museum of Old Japanese Farmhouses, along with tennis courts, ponds, flower gardens, horse riding, multiple playgrounds along with the Ryokuchi Water Land that opens each year on 1 July for the summer. Other large parks which include great playgrounds around the city include the Osaka Castle with its Taiyo-no-hiroba playground or Tennoji Park which is home to not only a large range of recreational activities but the very child-friendly Tennoji Zoo. Hamadera Park, located in Sakai, is one of the oldest parks in Osaka most commonly known for its collection of roses and over 5,000 pine trees. It’s been developed over the years to offer more modern facilities such as an amazing playground for all aged children, tennis courts, baseball and softball fields along with a swimming pool that boasts a giant slide. Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park is rightfully known as one of Osaka’s largest and most beautifully designed parks, making it hard to believe it was once a garbage dumping site before becoming the International Garden and Greenery Expo in 1990. The park’s famous windmill stands proudly on the hillside surrounded by tulips, over 2,000 roses and another 450 varieties of flowers blooming throughout the year. Its playground equipment, suiting all ages, is as outstanding as the rest of the park and along with its all season swimming pool, dining facilities, sports centre, horse riding, camping and barbecue sites it truly is a magnificent place to spend a day.

Something different

Finally, for a unique park that entertains those plane enthusiasts, you have the Itami Sky Park, aptly named for its close proximity to Itami Airport. While the playground, with its jungle gym and maze, is enough to entertain any child, the nearby runways will surely capture their attention. While it’s worth mentioning but should be implied, since we are in Japan, all of these playgrounds have functioning bathrooms very close by, convenience stores and car parks


within an easy walk and most importantly the ambience that allows you to escape for a few hours and be reminded of the joy of being a child.

Namba Parks

• Namba Station: Nankai Line / Kintetsu Line / Midosuji Line / Sennichimae Line

Osaka Kids Plaza

• Ogimachi Station: Sakaisuji Line • Temma Station: JR Osaka Loop Line

Yahataya Koen

• Asashiobashi Station: Chuo Line

Suminoe Koen

• Suminoe Koen Station: Yotsubashi Line / New Tram

Utsubo Park

• Hommachi Station: Yotsubashi Line /Midosuji Line

Ryokuchi Koen

• Ryokuchi-koen station: Midosuji Line

Osaka Castle Park

• Tanimachi 4-chrome Station: Tanimachi Subway Line / Chuo Subway Line • Osakajokoen Station: JR Osaka Loop Line

Tennoji Park

• Tennoji Station: Midosuji Line

Hamadera Park

• Hagoromo Station: Nankai Line • Higashi-Hagoromo Station: JR Hanwa Line

Tsurumi Ryokuchi Koen

• Tsurumi-ryokuchi Station: Nagahori Tsurumi Ryokuchi Line



Sleep yourself slimmer

It may seem counterintuitive: sleep more to lose fat; but new studies are showing quality ‘down time’ could be an important factor in staying lean. Text: Kym Hutcheon • Photo: KS


s the pace of life continues to accelerate, the average person is sleeping less than ever before. And thanks to electric lights and the 24-7 availability of food, entertainment and key services, when we do sleep it is often completely disconnected from the day/night cycle that governed our ancestors’ lives for millions of years. With all this increased activity, you might expect us to be lean, fat-frying machines, but a quick look around shows there is clearly a big hole in that logic. Obviously there is a lot more to weight control than being active, and the simple answer here is people who are awake longer eat more. A solid theory, except for the fact that in the world’s most extensive study on the subject (tracking almost 70,000 women over 16 years) researchers at Case Western Reserve University found the major weight gain experienced by many short sleepers was unrelated to their food intake. When the work was originally published in 2006, the Case Western scientists did not have a clear explanation for this fairly surprising finding but subsequent research has revealed a complex relationship between hormones such as serotonin, ghrelin, leptin and cortisol and also the importance of sleep timing. We also now understand that sleep quality rather than quantity is probably more important for weight management.

Hormone balancing act

Glossing over all the biology stuff, there is a good reason our ancestors slept at night: the dark stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. While levels vary with geography and season, melatonin generally rises from 9pm, preparing us for sleep by around 10pm. We then enter a roughly four hour period of deep sleep, during which physical repair occurs. This is followed by a similar window of lighter sleep and “mental” repair, including memory organization. | may 2012

If we are on schedule, we wake around 6am soon after sunrise, at which time the light stimulates the release of serotonin, a feel good, get busy hormone. Being in bed by 10pm may sound weirdly early, but doing this five nights a week should help to balance hormones, increasing wellbeing and fat burning. An hour or so isn’t going to make a huge difference but at least try to maintain a semiregular bedtime. Even a few days of sleep restriction or irregularity is known to decrease levels of leptin, an appetite suppression hormone, and increase ghrelin, an appetite simulating hormone, leading to cravings for calorie-heavy high-carb, high-fat foods. Sleeping short also raises production of the stress hormone cortisol, leading to fat storage particularly around the waist, a primary indicator of metabolic syndrome.

Sleep quality control

All of this naturally leads to the question of how much sleep is enough. The short answer is whatever allows you to awake feeling refreshed and ready to go. For some, this is five or six hours; for others, eight or nine. However, it is clear that quality beats quantity: six hours restful sleep is better than eight disturbed. Also, sleeping longer is only likely to leave you feeling drowsy as melatonin stays higher after you rise. To find out what works for you, aim for around seven hours for two weeks until your body adjusts and then fine tune. Our perception of how much sleep we need has a powerful effect, but most of these ideas actually come from our family or the media, so try to suspend disbelief during the trial. The results may be surprising, especially if you also start some kind of exercise program. Once you figure it out, you can expect healthier levels of the hormones above as well as higher growth hormone and testosterone, all of which will help reduce fat deposition, particularly around the gut. You should also feel more mentally alert, highly important as motivation is key to any fat loss effort. Longer term, you can also look forward to better cardiovascular health — there is a well established link between sleep deprivation and hypertension (high blood pressure).

16 OUTDOOR FEATURE | may 2012

Keita Sakai, Nanki Seamans Club

Keita Sakai, Nanki Seamans Club

Akihiko Tanimai

Akihiko Tanimai

Life under the ocean wave

Coral reefs, exotic fish, fascinating locations, Japan has some great diving — and some of the best is right here in Kansai.

Text: David Graham Photos: Keita Sakai, Nanki Seaman’s Club, Akihiko Tanimai & Yamamoto


ould you be surprised to know that Kansai has world-class scuba diving? Most people believe that great diving can only be found in tropical locales. But, just a few short hours from Osaka by train or car, you can plunge into the Pacific Ocean’s Black Current and drift dive with manta rays and hammerhead sharks. Or dive with turtles among gardens of coral and schools of barracuda. Just throw your gear in the car, and go. To really take it easy, takyuubin your kit ahead, and take the train; no luggage no fuss. Just amazing diving. Kansai’s geography makes it a unique place for diving, offering an amazing diversity of diving environments and experiences. The warm-water Black Current (Kuroshio) flows up from Okinawa, along Wakayama’s coast, bringing with it a rich variety of tropical sea life from southern waters. Among fields of hard and soft corals, you’ll find sea turtles napping, clown fish darting in and out of sea anemone and families of pennant coral fish lazily circling coral outcroppings while moray eels sit patiently in their holes, waiting for prey to swim by. You’ll dive through schools of barracuda and mackerel and watch amberjack feed. Trigger fish will swim up, hoping you’ll treat them to a tasty crustacean, or two. And there is no lack of places to go diving. From Shirasaki, at the Northern end of Wakayama’s coast, to Kushimoto, at the southern tip, great diving can be found along the entire coast. Only a little over an hour from Osaka by car, Shirasaki is a prefect location to ditch work for a quick day of diving. Being so far north, it is benefits least from the warmer waters of the Black Current. Visibility usually averages seven to ten meters, and on its best day, may reach as much as 15 meters. Even so, you’ll dive through schools of mackerel and squid, and can enjoy wreck diving, as well. The best diving though, is found about three hours from Osaka in Kushimoto. Honshu’s southern-most point, it is the closest to the Black Current, with visibility often reaching 25 meters. It offers an amazing variety of diving in the two major diving areas of Sue and Kushimoto.


Sue is the most striking diving experience in Kansai. Known for its rich variety of sea life, you see species not normally seen in other diving locations. Turtles, bullhead and Japanese angel sharks, rays, eels and octopus are common. Normally found at depths over 100 meters, john dory are also common — so much so, they are the mascot of Sue. And, diving off Sue’s beach, you can watch Japanese amberjack feed on schools of horse mackerel. And then there are the manta rays and hammerhead sharks. Between June and September, mantas and both hammerhead and whale sharks congregate to breed in the Pacific Ocean’s Black Current. You dive right into the current and drift along with them. But this is not for the inexperienced or faint-hearted. The Black Current rips along at over four knots, making these dives all drift dives. Advanced Open Water certification and experience of a minimum of 50 dives is required for this adventure. For those looking for a little less drama, Kushimoto Bay offers what many rank as the best diving on Honshu, often referred to as ‘the northern Okinawa’. Schools of pennant coral fish circle overhead, while eels, shrimp and lobsters back into holes in the coral. And the coral! Fields of hard and soft coral spread out across many of the diving spots. It is the beauty and variety of coral combined with the abundance of sea life that makes Kushimoto Bay a top rank diving destination. All diving in Wakayama is arranged through authorized diving services at each of the diving locations. These diving services operate the dive boats, offer club houses for relaxing between dives, as well as showers, rental gear and bento lunches. For divers who book directly with these services, they also provide certified diving guides. Whether you are a single diver, or part of tour arranged through your neighborhood dive shop, it is these local diving services that actually take you out diving. For non-Japanese speaking divers, tours booked through shops is probably the easiest way to go diving. The shop will book the local diving

service and lodging, provide transportation to and from the diving location, as well as arrange meals for the entire tour and rental gear. Tour leaders are certified instructors who will be your guides underwater, maximizing the enjoyment and safety of each dive. They can also provide certification for first time divers, as well as advanced training. Dive shop tours range from ¥25,000, for one day trips to Shirasaki, to ¥70,000 for three day excursions to Kushimoto. For experienced, Japanese-speaking divers, booking directly with diving services is often the most economical option, but it will require making your own travel and lodging arrangements. Costs range from ¥6,000 for two beach-entry dives to ¥18,000 for three guided boat dives, including weights and tanks. Gear rental is about ¥5,000. Lodging ranges from ¥2,500 to ¥15,000. Shirasaki Ocean Park is Shirasaki’s best known diving service. They offer both beach and boat diving, as well as an indoor pool for diver training. The park has four rental log cabins, as well as auto-camp sites with electrical hookups; everything you need for a low-cost, get-back-to-nature weekend of diving. In Kushimoto, Sue Diving Center offers a unique diving experience. Located in a converted 100 year-old grade school, the center has maintained the traditional, wood-frame construction of the school, while making it diver-friendly. The classrooms are converted into break rooms to relax in between dives, and the old cafeteria has been converted into a bar and art gallery. The school’s courtyard is now a diver’s deck where, after washing your gear, you can kick back and relax to the strains of Hawaiian music playing through the outdoor speakers. Between June and September, Sue Diving Center offers ‘blue water diving,’ taking divers drift diving in the Black Current. At Kushimoto Bay, Nanki Seaman’s Club operates three large dive boats, and complete club house facilities. For divers booking directly, they offer certified diving guides and full gear rental. The second floor of the clubhouse is divided into two tatami great

rooms; one for men and one for women. Divers spending the night can stay there for ¥2,625 per night, including full use of the clubhouse kitchen. On the other side of the bay, Kushimoto Diving Park offers activities for divers and non-divers, alike. A full service resort, with a restaurant and rental log cabins, they offer guided boat and beach diving, and allow self-guided diving when diving with a buddy. Non-divers can enjoy snorkeling, sea kayaking and whale watching in season. For non-Japanese speaking divers who desire the economy of booking direct, the diving school Dive Station in Kushimoto offers diving in English. The owner, Akihito Tanimai, spent many years overseas. He speaks English well, and is sensitive to the needs of non-Japanese divers. He books dives on Nanki Seamen’s boats, as well as other area diving services. He is more than happy to make all your arrangements, including lodging and meals. All of Kushimoto’s diving services are family-run operations, with the owners often being your underwater guide. They treat all divers like members of the family, making for thoroughly enjoyable experiences.


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For more information: • • On Facebook: ‘Kansai Divers’ group • Or contact the author:



Three in one

Malaysia is where the various cultures of Asia mix and mingle, bringing the visitor the spectacle of diversity and some excellent food. Text & photos: Emerald Huang


magine you are in a café and see Indonesians squeezing a wedge of lime over satay, Indians tearing apart chapati to dip into chana masala, and Chinese slurping rice noodles from a bowl of meat broth. You hear greetings exchanged and food ordered in the same language. You realize you are not in a typical cafe found in western shopping malls but in the only place in the world where the Chinese, Indian and Malay cultures merge. You are in Malaysia. Situated in the heart of Southeast Asia, Malaysia is a hop away from Thailand, Brunei, the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia. As with its neighbors, its pristine beaches and tropical jungles attract many tourists. However, what truly sets Malaysia apart from top holiday destinations is its multi-ethnic cuisine. Having evolved over centuries through influences brought over by Indian merchants, European spice traders, and Chinese and Indonesian immigrants, Malaysian cuisine today is a scrumptious product of the world’s most sophisticated flavours. This evolution of flavours has characterized the country as an irresistible food heaven for visitors of all kinds.

Most visitors to Malaysia start their journey at Kuala Lumpur (KL), the capital city. Not just an international travel hub, it is also the best place in the country to eat, shop and enjoy the nightlife. From a RM5 (pronounced ‘five ringgit’) one-plate meal at a mamak (Tamil Muslim) stall to a RM300 course meal at a five-star resort, visitors with whatever size budget can afford and indulge in the most delectable meals in the world-class city of KL. Depending on the length of stay and personal interests, checking out other cities prior to KL may result in a better overall experience. Particularly for first-timers, the many choices offered right off the airplane can be quite overwhelming. The classic ten-day route (usually Golden Week), runs from Melaka to Pulau Tioman and ends in KL. Melaka is one of the three most important historical sites (Penang, KL and Melaka) on the peninsula and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Pulau Tioman was selected by Time magazine as one of the world’s most beautiful islands. In other words, one is culturally significant for its colonial past and the other is a paradise for adventure sports. With so many great attractions in Malaysia, the advantage of this


may 2012 |

route is its proximity to, and accessibility by, inexpensive transportation. From KL and Singapore, there are several daily express buses that connect Melaka to Mersing, where ferries to Pulau Tioman are available. Said to be the soul of the country, Melaka features most of what is left of Malaysia’s history. Long before the establishment of Penang and KL, Melaka was already one of the major trading centres in Southeast Asia. Arabs, Chinese, Indonesians and Indians were settled there well before the Portuguese, Dutch and British each periodically ruled for the purpose of spice exports. In comparison to KL, modern Melaka is just as entertaining for visitors but with a laid-back atmosphere. Discover ancient Buddhist temples sitting quietly behind Catholic churches. Watch the racing rickshaws light up dark alleys with their decorative lights. Listen to the prayer calls broadcast aloud from distant mosques. A stroll around the old town feels like browsing art in a giant museum with one exception: food and drinks are allowed. The best way to appreciate Melaka’s multicultural identity is to eat through it. Besides South Indian specialties, Malay staples, and Chinese classics, there is Nyonya cuisine, a fusion of Chinese and Malay ingredients and cooking techniques. Ranked seventh on the World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods list by CNNGo, one of Nyonya’s iconic dishes is asam laksa, a sweet and sour fish-based soup with thick rice noodles (laksa). Asam is the Malay word for tamarind, which is also used in Indian and Thai cuisine to give a sour flavour. Besides noodles, there are countless rice dishes that are served in all forms. Claimed as the national dish, nasi lemak is jasmine rice cooked in coconut milk and topped with toasted peanuts, sliced cucumber, dried anchovies, hardboiled egg and sambal (shrimp and chili sauce). This simple yet substantial dish is traditionally wrapped in banana leaves and grilled to add extra fragrance to the rice. With so many options to indulge your palate, the gold medal has to go to roti canai (pronounced ‘chan-nai’), a flaky unleavened bread griddled with ghee until crisp and eaten with curry. It would be a sin to leave Malaysia without tasting this culinary legend. Before ordering a second round of these savoury delights, prepare a betsu-bara (‘separate stomach’ in Japanese) for dessert. A personal favourite is cendol (pronounced chendoh), which is a mix of green jelly made from rice flour, coconut milk, shaved ice and palm sugar syrup. There is no doubt the kuih muih (sweets) will satisfy a sweet tooth, but the best news for visitors from Japan is the large selection of tropical fruits. Indulge yourself with mouth-watering mangosteen, durian, papaya, rambutan, green guava and many others without paying an eye-watering price. Those who overindulge in this food heaven should have no need to repent. A trip to Pulau Tioman will consume those calories through its wide range of outdoor activities. A half-day trip from Melaka, Pulau Tioman is the largest island off the peninsula’s east coast. Pristine water surrounding its sandy and rocky beaches provides visitors a perfect environment for snorkeling, diving or simply lazing around. In addition to aquatic sports, trekking and cross-island walks in the interior jungle are also popular. Most of the kampung (villages) are on the west coast and equipped with accommodations of various standards. There is an

airport in Tekek, the island’s largest kampung, which connects to KL and Singapore with frequent flights. Alternatively, smaller kampung such as Salang in the north offer cheaper chalets and a better chance to spot wildlife such as monitor lizards, long-tailed macaques and sea eagles. Palau Tioman’s most enticing aspect, however, is its dutyfree alcohol. Beers are sold at half price, which means after a long day of exercise, there is no better place in this Islamic country to kanpai with new friends. It doesn’t take long to realize that Malaysia is not one but three countries united under the same flag. Whether the aim of your itinerary is to explore a jungle or go on a gourmet tour, the country’s impressive diversity and great hospitality are guaranteed to meet any expectations. It is only until you watch monitor lizards peacefully wandering around the doorsteps of your chalet at dawn and admire the roti canai chefs flipping and expanding oily dough in the air that the tourism department’s slogan, Malaysia, Truly Asia, is fully understood.

Ways & means

Current exchange rate of 1MR (Malaysian Ringgit) is roughly ¥26. Thanks to the ever-expanding network of low-cost carriers (LCC), Malaysia can easily be reached from Osaka. The best time to visit is from April to June, as the rainfall is the lowest of the year. Religious and cultural celebrations can be spectacular, but should be avoided as hotel vacancies and seats on public transportation are in shortage. Advance bookings are essential particularly during Chinese New Year and Thaipusam in January or February, as they may cause temporary closure and irregular schedules. The best place we stayed at was Puteri Salang Inn in kampung Salang, Pulau Tioman. The owner Eddy was cheerful and very helpful. The inn had small chalets that are simple but clean, inexpensive and hidden away from the main street.


may 2012 |

Mountains in the mist Tokushima is steeped in history, natural beauty and quintessential Japanese culture, and it’s only a short trip from Kansai Text & photos: Sophie Umeda


ou may have heard of Tokushima for its famous Awa Odori Dance Festival in August. But you will discover much more than the Bon Festival dance if you travel to the place. Tokushima prefecture is located almost in the center of Shikoku, and its Nishi Awa area on the mighty Yoshino river and Shikoku Mountain Range is full of unique treasures. Iyakei (Iya ravine) is located in the Nishi Awa area, which is a V-shaped valley nestled between the Iya River and the Shikoku Mountain Range (Mt Funa, Mt Nakatsu and Mt Kunimi). It was an atmospherically rainy and misty day when I visited in March. Looking down the valley, you can see the cottages scattered on the mountainside. I was momentarily under the illusion that I was travelling back to ancient Japan. Iya is where the Heishi clan (of the Tale of Heishi) moved after their surrender at the Battle of Yashima. To this day, the descendants of the Heishi live here. Iya has a unique bridge called Iya’s Kazura Bashi ‘Vine Bridge’. Legends say that the Heishi clan built the bridge to access the neighboring lands, however, the bridge can be easily cut down if the Genji were to pursue them to their hiding place. The bridge is dramatically suspended above the water and is challenging and thrilling to cross. With large gaps between each bridge plate, it will surely give you an adrenaline rush. Further down to the south along the Iya River, there is Ochiai Village, set high in dramatic valleys. There are houses dating from the middle of the Edo period to the beginning of the Showa period. The area has been named an Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings and is is full of houses of ancient rural design. It is a must-do to stay in one of these folk houses. Author Alex Kerr, who has restored many traditional houses, produced these folk houses or fusho. They

preserved the original structure and wood, yet the inside of the house is delicately renovated to make it more comfortable for visitors. There is under-floor heating because old Japanese houses are infamously cold in winter. I asked Mr Kerr when is the best season to visit the fusho, and he told me the rainy season is his favorite time: “You can enjoy not only the panoramic view of the mountains but also look at the swirling clouds from this huge window.” To accommodate the various visitors, they are now preparing a multi-lingual service. I had never experienced such a dramatic view of the nature before visiting nearby Oboke/Koboke Gorge, to the west of Iya. The rapid torrents of the Yoshino River has ground and crystallized the Shikoku Mountain Range, resulting in the formation of the gorge. Because the river color changes depending on the amount of sunlight, it makes the gorge an enjoyable place take pictures. The surface of the water changes through the seasons — green as the sky reflects the water in spring, and red as it reflects the coloring leaves in autumn.


There are several ways to get to Awa-Ikeda in Tokushima. • Budget Traveler: Highway Express Buses from Kansai area (Kobe/Osaka/Kyoto) to Tokushima • JR (Nearest Station: Iyaguchi/Oboke) • Shuttle buses run on a regular schedule to take tourists to the Oboke/Iya area from Awa Ikeda Bus Terminal. (Japanese language only) • Touring companies, such as JTB Global Marketing & Travel, may have English tour packages available. • Nishi Awa Tourism Zone web page (Japanese and English) • If you prefer visiting the sites on your own schedule, take your own vehicle (Shikoku is accessible via the Akashi Ohashi Bridge/Awaji Island) or rent a car locally.

ART | may 2012 Bosco Sodi. Untitled, 2012. Mixed media on canvas. 200x280cm. Courtesy of Yoshii Gallery, New York / Photo: Keven Kunstadt, New York.

土屋貴史 ”SJQ/Pico 2009 ミュージックビデオ”



Until May 26 Until May 13

Moving 2012: Video Arts Festival Various Locations in Kyoto ‘Moving’ has many connotations: the moving image, action, and emotion. Part of the Art Fair Kyoto that took place at the end of April, Moving 2012 continues on into May to showcase cutting edge video art and performance artists in Japan. The festival will be held at six venues around Kyoto, both large and small: Kyoto Arts Center, Kyoto Cinema, Metro, Division, Social Kitchen, and the Dai 2 Hase Building B1F. Events include video art exhibitions, screenings, artist talks, concerts and DVD sales. A total of 18 artists and groups will participate, including: Antenna, Otograph, Kanamori Yuko, PsysEx, and Yagi Ryota. A must see for those interested in video or media art. For specific event information, please see the website.

*Please note that last admission for all museums is 30 min prior to closing, if not listed


Japanese and Western Samurai: Warrior Armor Osaka Museum of History Until May 6 Historical artifacts • Open: 9:30am–5pm (–8pm on Fri), closed Tue • Admission: ¥1,000 • Subway Tanimachi 4–chome stn, exit 9 • Tel: 06-6946-5728 Imamura Hajime & Hakamata Kyotaro: Melting Zone Art Court Gallery

May 5-Jun 2

Installation • Open: 11am–6pm, closed Sun, Mon and holidays • Admission: free • JR Kanjo line Minami-Morimachi stn • Tel: 06-6254-5444

Shibata Seiichi Gallery Hosokawa May 7–26 Sculpture • Open: 11:30am–6pm (–8pm on Fri), closed Sun, hol • Admission: free • Subway Namba sta. Exit 30 • Tel: 06-6633-0116 Yanagimoto Akiko CAS May 12-Jun 2 Contemporary art • Open: 1pm–7pm, closed Mon–

Bosco Sodi: Iro Miede Taka Ishii Gallery Kyoto Gallery 1, Kyoto That this exhibition began in April is no accident. Cherry blossoms were on the artists mind during the making of these five new paintings on show at Taka Ishii Gallery. As Sodi writes, “I want to approach the cherry blossom as a symbol of life’s physical transience and to show how the sakura reminds us of our humanity and morality.” The title of the exhibition in fact comes from a waka poem by Ono no Komachi which translates as ‘a thing which fades’. Sodi, fittingly, is known for his use of organic materials, creating at times vast canvases built up of sawdust, wood pulp, glue and water, among others. Over time, the works dry and crack, highlighting a natural process beyond the artist. For this show, he uses a light sensitive pink pigment that will slowly turn white over time. He notes, “In the end, I want to emphasize a profound truth; that life is too short to squander.”

• Open: 11am–7pm, closed Sun and Mon & holidays • Admission: free • Access: Subway Gojo stn, 7 min walk from exit 8 • Tel: 075-353-9807 •

Wed • Admission: free • JR Namba stn • tel: 06-6647-5088

Tomohiro Kato: Life is Steel Full! Tezukayama Gallery May 25-Jun 16 Metalworks • Open: 11am–7pm, , closed Mon • Admission: free • Subway Yotsubashi exit 6 • Tel: 06-6534-3993 Teruko Kumamoto SoHo Art Gallery May 22–27 Pen works • Open: 12pm–7pm, (–5pm on Sun), closed Mon • Admission: free • Subway Tanimachi 9–chome stn, exit 3 • Tel: 06-4394-7456

The Allure of the Collection The National Museum of Art, Osaka Until Jun 24 Contemporary art • Open: 10am–5pm (–7pm on Fri), closed Mon • Admission: ¥420 • Keihan Watanabebashi stn • Tel:06–6447–4680 From the Collection of the Museum of Meissen Art The Museum of Oriental Ceramics Osaka Until Jul 22 Ceramics • Open: 9:30am–5pm, closed Mon • Admission: ¥1,000 • Subway/ Keihan Yodoyabashi stn • Tel: 06–6223–0055


may 2012 |


Art Salad 2012 May 15–20

Soho Gallery, Osaka

Canadian Celio H. Berreto Ramos has been providing an international voice to the Kansai art scene through his Soho Gallery, showcasing both local and international artists. Art Salad 2012 celebrates the gallery’s 5th anniversary, and, as the title suggests, it will be a mix of artists of various genres and nationalities. Celio tells KS, “Its purpose is to bring Japanese and foreign-born artists together to celebrate art and create opportunities for professional growth, artistic exchange, dialogue and network building — in essence, a microcosm of the gallery itself.” While art galleries can sometimes feel elitist, Soho gallery is a friendly environment open to everyone. Check it out.

• Open: 12pm–7pm (5pm on Sun), closed Mon • Admission: free • Access: Subway Tanimachi 9–chome stn, exit 3 • Tel: 06-4394-7456 •


Magnitude Zero Kyoto International Manga Museum Until May 6 Illustrations • Open: 10am–6pm (every day until Aug 31) • Admission: free with general admission • Subway Karashuma Oike stn north exit 2 • Tel: 075-254-7414 Maruyama Tomoyoshi: Got All of Me Seething The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto Until May 13 Various arts • Open: 9:30am–5pm (–8pm on Fri), closed Mon • Admission: ¥850 • Subway Higashiyama stn • Tel: 075-761-4111 Bosco Sodi: Iro Miede Taka Ishii Gallery Kyoto Until May 26 Mixed Media • Open: 11am–7pm, closed Sun and Mon • Admission: free • Subway Gojo stn • Tel: 075-353-9807 Kagaku Murakami Kaihitsukan – Kyoto Museum of Contemporary Art Until Jun 10 Painting • Open: 10am–6pm, closed Mon • Admission: ¥1,000 • Keihan Gion-Shijo • Tel: 075-525-1311 Moving 2012: Video Art Festival May 3–13 Various venues

Yukari Matsushima: When the Darkness of Night Falls Asleep Kodama Gallery May 12-Jun 16 Painting • Open: 11am–7pm, closed Sun and Mon • Admission: free • Subway Jujo stn • Tel: 075-693-4075 Sakai Hoitsu and Edo Rimpa Hosomi Museum Until May 13 Painting • Open: 10am–6pm, closed Mon • Admission: ¥1,000 • Subway Higashiyama stn • Tel: 075-752-5555 The Efflorescence of Heian Court Culture Kyoto National Museum Until May 27 Various genres • Open: 9:30am–6pm (–8pm on Fri), closed Mon • Admission: ¥1,300 • Shichijo stn • Tel: 075-541-1151 Serizawa Keisuke Exhibition from the Munehiro Art Collection The Museum of Kyoto Until Jun 3 Textile dyeing • Open: 10am–6pm (–7:30pm on Fri), closed on Mon • Admission: ¥1,000 • Subway Karasuma Oike stn, exit 5 • Tel: 075-222-0888


PECHU: Again


Until May 15

Photography • Open: 11am–7pm, closed Wed • Admission: free • JR or Hanshin Motomachi stn, west exit • Tel: 078-392-8909

Soetsu Yanagi and Old Tamba Pottery The Museum of Ceramic Art, Hyogo Until May 27 Ceramics Open: 10am–7pm, closed Mon • Admission: ¥200 • JR Aino stn • Tel: 079-597-396 Light and Shadows in Namban Art: The Mystery of Western Kings on Horseback Kobe City Museum Until Jun 3 Various genres • Open: 9:30am–5pm (–7pm on Fri, Sat), closed Mon • Admission: ¥1,300 • JR Sannomiya stn • Tel: 078-391-0035 Ito Kiyonaga: A Retrospective Hyogo Prefectural Museum Until Jun 22 Painting • Open: 10am–6pm, closed Mon • Admission: ¥1,300 • Hanshin Iwaya stn • 078-262-0901 Evening Dresses Kobe Fashion Museum Until Jul 3 Fashion • Open: 10am–6pm, closed Wed • Admission: ¥500 • Rokko liner Island center stn • Tel: 078-858-0050


Sato Churyo Sagawa Art Museum Until Jun 24 Sculpture • Open: 9:30am–5pm, closed Mon • Admission: ¥1,000 • JR Katata stn • Tel: 077-585-7800 Vertical and Horizontal The Museum of Modern Art, Shiga Until Jun 24 Various genres • Open: 9:30am–5pm, closed Mon, July 20 • Admission: ¥950 • JR Seta stn • Tel: 077-543-2111 Miho Grandama II: To the Honored Mother Miho Museum Until Aug 19 Various arts • Open: 10am–5pm (last admission 4pm) • Admission: ¥1,000 • JR Katata stn • Tel: 0748-82-3411 KS has 10 pairs of tickets to give away for Miho Grandama II. To apply send email with name and postal address to giveaway@


Jokei: A Monk at the Heart of the Kamakura-era Buddhism Nara National Museum Until May 27 Historical Artefacts • Open: 9:30am–6pm (–7pm on Fri), closed Mon • Admission: ¥1,000 • Kintetsu Nara stn • Tel: 050-5542-8600


EVENT | may 2012


May 12 & 13

Take part in one of the greatest free music shows in Kansai. The Kobe Shinkaichi Music Street has helped boost the redevelopment of this neighbourhood, which thrived as an entertainment district in the past. Swing with brass bands and gospel choirs in the Bigman Stage zone, and shout with rock bands in the Square Stage zone. Slow music will soothe you in the Round 1 Stage zone, and famous artists will give their performances at the main stage. Food stalls, fine art market and activities for children will also be held. These events will take place only at Minatogawa Park on May 12th.

• Time: 3pm–8pm on May 12th, Noon–8pm on May 13th • Admission: free • Access: Hanshin/Hankyu/Kobe Railway Shinkaichi stn • Tel: 078-576-1218 •

May 12–20

Imai-cho town Machinami Sanpo IMAI-CHO, NARA Imai-cho is a town that is proud of its historical past and expresses itself through fascinating old streets and historic buildings. Around 500 of the 600 residences in this town retain their original Edo period architecture – most of the local people continue to live in these wooden houses today. During the event, art exhibitions will be held at some of these traditional buildings. Guided walking tours of these 150-year-old houses, bustling markets, demonstrations of traditional industrial arts and more will be held on May 19th and 20th. A fancydress parade in honour of historical personages of Imai-cho will be held on May 20th.

• Time: 10am • Admission: most of events are free • Access: Kintetsu Railway Yagi stn, 5min walk • Tel: 0744-22-1128

Rose Festival, Hyogo Until May 31 A deluxe exhibition of roses will take place at one of the largest botanical gardens in Japan. Enjoy the dynamic arrangements of flower displays. From May 3 to 5, live music performances will be put on, also a fine food market and a food court will appear in the atrium of the greenhouse. • Time: 10am–6pm • Admission: ¥600 adults, concessions • Where: Kiseki no Hoshi Botanical Museum • Access: JR Kobe line Maiko stn bus (intercity bus) to Awaji Yumebutai-mae • Tel: 0799-74-1200 Oharame Matsuri, Kyoto May 1–15

Ohara in Kyoto is famous for its traditional female street vendors known as Oharame. During the event, you can dress as an Oharame and travel around the neighbourhood – booking must be made by the day before. Also many other interesting attractions to celebrate this region’s fine points have been planned. • Time: 10am •Admission: free • Where: Ohara no Sato •Access: Subway Karasuma line Kokusaikaikan stn bus to Ohara •Tel: 075-744-2148

Takatsuki Jazz Street 2012, Osaka May 3 & 4 One of the greatest free music shows in Japan will take place

again this year. Local musicians and famous artists give performances at about 50 special stages for these two days – mainly around JR Takatsuki stn and Hankyu Railway Takatsukishi stn. • Time: 12am–9pm • Admission: free • Where: Takatsuki City • Access: JR Kyoto line Takatsuki stn/Hankyu Railway Takatsukishi stn • Email:

The 41th Nakanoshima Matsuri, Osaka May 3–5 The Nakanoshima Matsuri is an annual large festival organised by the citizens of Osaka, featuring music, visual arts, theatre, food and family events. With a wide range of free events, the festival

is designed to welcome all. • Time: 10am–4pm (on May 5th 10am–3pm) • Admission: free • Where: Nakanoshima Park • Access: Subway Midosuji line Yodoyabashi stn/Keihan Railway Naniwabashi stn • Tel: 06-6367-6272

Junior Rescue Challenge, Osaka May 3–6 A special event for children under junior high school age and their parents will be held. Children will learn a lot by experiencing rescue drills. This is well worth a visit. • Time: 10am–11:40am and 1pm–4:40pm • Admission: free •Where: Osaka City Abeno Life Safety Learning Center • Access: Subway Tanimachi line Abeno stn


may 2012 |


Talk — A Digital ‘Roving Reporter’ Walk Through Japan VENTURE DREAM OFFICE, 13F OFFICE ONE SHIJO-KARASUMA, KYOTO

May 19 • Time: 2:30pm–4:30pm • Admission: ¥1,000 SWET and JET members/¥1,500 non-members • Access: Subway Karasuma line Shijo stn/Hankyu Railway Karasuma stn, 2min walk • Email: •

British journalist Mary King spent 15 months walking across Japan. She covered 7,500 kilometers on foot, reporting for the media from various locations along the way. Her new book Japan on Foot chronicles her journey. She will talk to SWET Kansai about what it was like to undertake a digital roving reporter walk in 2001–2002, and how the development of new media technologies would allow for a different style of recording her adventures if she were to set off today. SWET comprises people engaged in the three professions of writing, editing, and translating, and other areas related to the written word in Japan.

Thai Festival Osaka 10th Anniversary OSAKA CASTLE PARK, OSAKA May 19 & 20

Osaka-jo park will be transformed into Little Thailand on these days. The Thai Festival Osaka will bring spicy food stalls and bewitching live performances to the baseball field overlooking a magnificent Japanese castle tower. Experience both modern and traditional Thai culture – this festival will showcase classical dances, contemporary pop music, cooking demonstrations, authentic crafts and many other interesting things. Get excited with a demonstration of powerful Thai boxing, or relax with a Thai massage. Don’t miss your chance to enter a competition with wonderful prizes, including round-trip tickets to Thailand!

• Time: 10am–8pm •Admission: free • Access: JR Loop line Osakajokoen stn/Subway Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi line Osaka Business Park stn, 3min walk • Tel: 06-6262-9226/6262-9227

exit 1/7 • Tel: 06-6643-1031

RoboCup Japan Open 2012 Osaka, Osaka May 3–5 The best robot teams from all over the country will compete for the crown in robot soccer. • Time: 10am–6pm (10am– 4:30pm on May 5th) • Admission: free • Where: Osaka Institute of Technology • Access: Subway Tanimachi line Senbayashi-Omiya stn, 12min walk • Email: japanopen2012@ Traditional Martial Arts Exhibition, Kyoto May 4 Japanese traditional martial arts will be on display in front of the

altar at Shimogamo shrine. Witness judo, kendo, swordplay using naginata blades and kusarigama — a sickle with chains. • Time: 1pm • Admission: free • Where: Shimogamo-jinja • Access: Keihan Railway Demachiyanagi stn, 10min walk/JR Kyoto stn bus to Shimogamojinja-mae • Tel: 075-781-0010

Tales From Off the Grid: Renewable Energy from Kansai to Tohoku, India, Mongolia, Nepal, and Beyond, Kyoto May 6 Tadg’s Restaurant (Kyoto) Vince Ng, of Sky Group, a consortium of Osaka-based renewable energy firms, will

discuss renewable energy in Japan and abroad from the viewpoint of small and medium firms at Tadgs’ Pub. • Time: 7:30pm • Admission: free • Where: Tadg’s Pub • Access: see URL •

The 42nd Kobe Matsuri, Hyogo May 19 & 20 Kobe’s major event serves up exhilarating parades, stage performances and markets. The Samba street held on Kyomachisuji is one of the highlights of the festival. Various entertainments will be held at each ward in Kobe City on May 19th. • Time: 11am • Admission: free

• Where: around The Former Foreign Settlement of Kobe • Access: JR/Hankyu/Hanshin Railway Sannomiya stn • Tel: 078-333-3330

Pet Okoku, Osaka May 5 & 6 Kyocera Dome will host a large pet event. Come and see thousands of small animals including cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, fish and reptiles. There will be a question and answer corner, petting animal sections, a fashion show performed by dogs and many other events. Visitors can bring their own pets to the venue. • Time: 10am–5pm • Admission: ¥1,300 adults (¥1,500 on the door), concessions • Where: Kyocera


EVENT | may 2012

May 27 May 26 & 27

Aioi Peron Matsuri AIOI BAY, HYOGO

Every year on the last Sunday of May, a mixture of serious rowers, their supporters and laid-back bystanders gather on the shores of Aioi bay for one day of racing. Extremely competitive dragon boat races take place in the Peron Matsuri. The name Peron came from China, and it means white dragon. Each boat holds 32 people, and the percussionists hit their drum and gong for the rowers to paddle in unison. Aioi bay will have an exciting and exotic atmosphere for the whole day. There will be many attractions to keep visitors entertained, including a colourful parade of various dance teams, live music performances and food stalls. With 5,000 fireworks lined up, the festival will be livened up in the evening on May 26.

• Time: 7:50pm–8:50pm on May 26th, 8:30am–4:30pm on May 27th • Access: JR Sanyohonsen line Aioi stn, 20min walk • Tel: 0791-23-7133 • Fax: 0791-23-7160

Dome • Access: Hanshin Railway Dome-mae stn/Subway Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi line Dome-mae Chiyozaki stn • Tel: 06-6367-1680

Midosuji Festa 2012, Osaka May 13 One-off gala afternoon held in Midosuji Street that is the major thoroughfare and a symbol of Osaka City. Enjoy catwalk shows, live music, dance, sports events and many more. The street will be free of vehicles during the event. • Time: 1pm–5pm • Admission: free • Where: Between Nagahoridori and Sennichimae-dori on Midosuji Street • Access: Midosuji line Shinsaibashi stn/ Namba stn • Tel: 06-4301-7285 The 22th Osaka Castle Jazz Festival, Osaka May 19 & 20 Enjoy energetic jazz performances as 11 big bands from universities in Kansai play funky swing jazz in

the open air. Double Force Orchestra and Global Jazz Orchestra will play as special guest players. • Time: 1:30pm (Venue opens at 1pm) • Admission: ¥500 • Where: Osaka Castle Park Open-air Concert Hall • Access: JR Loop line/Subway Morinomiya stn 5min walk • Tel: 080-6162-8694

Tour of Japan Sakai Stage, Osaka May 20 An exciting road cycling event will enliven the streets of Sakai city. This event is Asia’s top road cycling event, where competitors ride individually against the clock over a distance of 2.7km. The time trials will begin and end at the entrance of the world’s biggest ancient burial mound, Nintoku Tennoryo. • Time: 11:15am • Admission: free • Where: Nintoku Tennoryo • Access: JR Hanwa line Mozu stn, 3min walk • Tel: 072-233-9555

Higashi Omi Oodako Matsuri YACHIO-BASHI BRIDGE ON THE RIVER ECHIGAWA, SHIGA Spectacular giant kites will be flying in the sky during the Higashi Omi Oodako Matsuri. This kite festival boasts the biggest kite in Japan. This tradition dates back 300 years and is one of Japan’s national intangible folklore cultural assets. The Higasi Omi kite is renowned for its grand fine art and design with holes in its fabric to reduce the wind resistance. The giant kite, which is 15 meters high, 12 meters wide and 700 kilograms in weight, will fly sometime between 11:30am and 2:30pm. Around 100 kite pullers have to help fly it! On this day, there will also be interesting performances on a stage, market selling local produce and a contest of hand-made kites.

• Time: 9:20am–3pm (If it rains, postponed to June 3rd) • Admission: free • Access: Omi Railway Yokaichi stn, free shuttle bus to the venue • Tel: 0748-24-1234 •

Kanku Tabihaku 2012, Osaka May 19 & 20 This is a travel commerce exhibition where visitors can collect travel information from around the world. See live performances of world music, and taste something new at stalls selling in-flight meals. In addition there will be a participatory quiz show, shows with celebrities and booths featuring world cuisine. • Time: 10am–5pm • Admission: free • Where: Kansai International Airport • Access: JR/Nankai Railway Kansai-airport stn • Tel: 0120-030-550 Kageroza, Nara May 27 A quality fine art and traditional crafts event featuring artists from around the country, including craftsmen, woodworkers, glass-workers, dyed goods and many more. These works will be

exhibited and sold on an old street lined with traditional houses. Interesting street performances will also held during this day. • Time: 10am–4pm • Admission: free • Where: Shinmachi and surroundings • Access: JR Wakayama line Gojo stn, 10min walk • Tel: 0747-22-4001

Hieizan Hill Climb Rally 2012, Kyoto May 27 This Cycling Time trial will take place on the hillside car roads. Entrants will ride uphill over 10.9km. The venue offers good gradients for the riders and superb viewing chances for spectators. • Time: 7am–noon • Admission: free (to spectate) • Where: Hieizan-Driveway • Access: Keihan Raiway Sanjo stn, 50min bus to Enryakuji Bus Centre • Tel: 077-522-4103 • hieizan

may 2012 |

May 5

Makura Matsuri Festival HINE-JINJA SHRINE, OSAKA This traditional religious festival can be traced back to the 8th century. Even though the truth of the origin of the festival has been undiscovered until today, it took on its present form in the Edo period. Vigorous local men in happi – short coat kimono – carry bundles of 25 colourful pillows tied on bamboo poles, which is characteristic of this festival. Some people say that the pillows represent straw rice-bags, while other people believe these pillows are symbol of being blessed with children. On this day, people parade around the neighbourhood with three bamboo poles singing folk songs.

• Time: 9am • Admission: free • Access: JR Hanwa line Hineno stn/ Nankai Raiway Izumisano stn bus to Higashiue • Tel: 072-467-1162


Richly decorated 25 boats go up and down the river Oi. It is a beautiful re-enactment of courtly boating in the Heian period that attracts 100,000 people every year. This festival is held to commemorate the deity of the Kurumazaki shrine, Kiyohara Yorinari, who was a great governor and a member of the aristocracy. After a solemn ritual at the shrine, a procession of participants dressed in colourful period costumes cross the Togetsu-kyo Bridge and get onto the boats where Noh, court dances and music, poetry readings and tea ceremonies will be performed.

• Time: 2pm (boating starts) • Admission: free • Access: Keifuku Railway Arashiyama stn/Hankyu Railway Arashiyama stn • Tel: 075-861-0039

FESTIVAL 27 Shinoda Hanabi Fireworks, Shiga May 4 Spectacular fireworks displays are offered at this annual religious festival at Shinoda-jinja. The fireworks event climaxes with incredible sight and sounds, and a beautiful picture appears after the huge explosion. • Time: 9pm (postponed to on the next day in case of rain) • Admission: free • Where: Shinoda-jinja Shrine • Access: JR Biwako line Omihachiman stn bus to Ueda; 5 min walk • Tel: 0748-36-5573 • Email: Kamo Matsuri Festival, Shiga May 6 Kamo-jinja houses the guardian deity of horses. Horse racing dating from the 9th century takes place at this annual festival. After a glittering ceremony at the main shrine, colourfully dressed riders and horses take part in the races in the precincts. • Time: 1pm • Admission: free • Where: Kamo-jinja Shrine • Access: JR Biwako line Omi-hachiman stn bus to Kamohigashi • Tel: 0748-33-0123 Aoi Matsui Fesival, Kyoto May 15 This historic festival features prominently in The Tale of Genji. 500 people in glittering period costumes go on to parade to Kamigamo-jinja from Kyoto Imperial palace via Shimogamo-jinja. Buying tickets for the event is advisable. • Time: 10:30am • Admission: free • Where: Kyoto Imperial Palace (the staring point) • Access: Subway Karasuma line Marutamach stn to Kyoto Imperial Palace • Tel: 075-752-0227 Waka Matsuri Fastival, Wakayama May 13 This is one of the largest annual festivals that Wakayama boasts. The highlight is the grand parade reflecting the samurai period. 1000 participants wearing valuable costumes and artefacts demonstrate traditional performing arts in the parade. • Time: 11:30pm • Admission: free • Where: Kishu Toshogu Shrine & surroundings • Access: JR Wakayama stn bus to Wakanouragucchi • Tel: 073-444-0808 Uchiwamaki, Nara May 19 This ritual is familiar to everyone as a signature of spring in Nara. Around 3pm, hundreds of paper fans shaped like hearts will be thrown from the temple building. The crowd will get quite excited to catch a fan as they believe it will ward off disaster and illness. • Time: 1pm • Admission: ¥600 adults, concessions • Where: Toshodaiji Temple • Access: Kintetsu Railway Nishinokyo stn 8 – min walk • Tel: 0742-33-7900 Kibune Matsuri Festival, Kyoto Jun 1 Kibune Matsuri is the main annual festival in this shrine. Various rituals will be carried out. There will be bugaku (classical Japanese performing arts), a parade of the miniature shrine and a ritual performed by children. At the end of the festival, a Shinto theatrical dance called Kagura will be performed. • Time: 11am – 6pm • Admission free • Where: Kifune-jinja Shrine • Access: Eizan Railway Kibuneguchi stn bus to Kibune; 5 min walk • Tel: 075-741-2016




Takatsuki Jazz Street — Art no Mori May 3 (Thu) & 4 (Fri) • Time: 10am–6pm • Admission: free • Where: Takatsuki Castle Park, Osaka • Access: Hankyu Kyoto Line Takatsukishi station, 10min walk • Art & Craft Market May 5 (Sat) & 6 (Sun) • Time: 11am–6pm • Admission: free • Where: Crysta Nagahori Takino Hiroba, Osaka • Access: Midosuji Line Shinsaibashi station, Sakaisuji Line Nagahoribashi station • Earth Day Osaka May 13 (Sun) • Time: 11am–5pm • Admission: free • Where: Hamadera Park, Osaka • Access: Nankai Line Hagoromo station, 10min walk • Ten Mart May 17 (Thu) • Time: 10am–4pm • Admission: free • Where: Osaka Tenmangu (shrine), Osaka • Access: JR Tozai Line Osaka Tenmangu station, Subway Tanimachi/Sakaisuji Line Minamimorimachi station • Tel: 06-4256-7187 • Domyouji Tezukurino Ichi May 27 (Sun) • Time: 10am–2pm • Admission: free • Where: Domyoyuji (temple) Fujiidera, Osaka • Access: Kintetsu Minami Osaka

Line Domyoji station, 3min walk •


Kyoto Monozukuri Art Town May 4 (Fri) • Time: 10am–4pm • Admission:free • Where: Kyoto City Office Mae Hiroba, Kyoto • Access: Keihan Sanjyo station, Subway Tozai Line Kyotoshiyakusho-mae station • Hyakumanben Tezukuri Ichi May 15 (Tue) Handmade crafts • Time: 8am–sunset • Admission: free • Where: Hyakumanben Chionji (temple), Kyoto • Access: JR Kyoto station bus 206 or 17, Shijyo Kawaramachi bus 201, 31, 17, 3 to Hyakumanben • Tel: 075-771-1631 • Kyoto Art Festa 2012 Spring May 19 (Sat) & 20 (Sun) • Time: 11am–5pm • Admission: free • Where: Miyako Messe, Kyoto • Access: Kyoto Subway Tozai Line Higashiyama station, JR Kyoto station Bus 5 or 100 to Kyotokaikanbijyutsukan-mae • Konpira Tezukuri Ichi May 20 (Sun) • Time: 10am–3pm • Admission: free • Where: Konpira Shrine, Kyoto • Access: Kitakinki Tango Testudo Mineyama station, 10min walk • Tel: 0772-62-0225 • | may 2012

Tenjin-San May 25 (Fri) • Time: 7am~ sunset • Admission: free • Where: Kitano Tenmangu, Koyoto • Access: JR Kyoto station bus 50 or 101/ Hankyu Shijyo Omiya station bus 55 to Kitano Tenmangu mae • Tel: 075-461-0005 • english


Ashiya Art Bazaar in Spring May 3 (Thu) & 4 (Fri) • Time: 10am–4pm • Admission: free • Where: Ashiya City Museum of Art and History, Hyogo • Access: JR Ashiya station Bus (20, 29, 32, 36)/Hankyu Ashiya station Bus (26, 31, 32, 36) to Midori-cho, Hanshin Ashiya station 20min walk • Tel: 0797-38-2677 • Art & Handmade Bazaar in Kobe May 3 (Thu) & 4 (Fri) • Time: 10am–5pm • Admission: ¥600 (advance ¥500) • Where: Kobe Convention Center • Access: From Sannomiya station take Port Liner to Shiminhiroba • Tel: 06-6947-1912 • makingbazaar_kobe Earth Day Kobe 2012 May 4 (Fri) & 5 (Sat) • Admission: free • Where: Minatonomori Park, Kobe • Access: JR Kobe Line Sannomiya station, 10min walk • Himeji Craft & Art Fair May 12 (Sat) 13 (Sun) • Time: 10am–5pm (13),

9am–4pm (14) • Admission: free • Where: Shirotopia Kinen Park, Himeji • Access: JR Himeji station, 15min walk • Tel: 079-234-7407 •

Akooishi Jinjya Tezukuri Ichi May 19 (Sat) & 20 (Sun) • Time: 10am–5pm • Admission: free • Where: Akooishi shrine, Hyogo • Access: JR Ako Line Banshuako station, 15min walk • Tel: 078-855-9001


Miwa no Ebisu Ichi May 1 (Tue) • Time: 10am–4pm • Admission: free • Where: Ebisu shrine, Miwa, Nara • Access: JR Sakurai Line Miwa station • Tel: 0744-49-3818 Kageroza 2012 May 27 (Sun) • Time: 10am–4pm • Admission: free • Where: Gojyo Shinmachi Street, Nara • Access: JR Gojyo station/ Yamatofutami station, 5min walk • Tel: 0747-22-2720 •


Art Gallery Hemslojd 2012 May 26 (Sat) & 27 (Sun) • Time: 10am–5pm (May 26), 10am–4pm (May 27) • Admission: free • Where: Kotou Hemsloid Village, Shiga • Access: JR Biwako Line Notogawa station take Omi Bus to Koyagi, 15min walk • Tel: 0749-45-0742 •


may 2012 |


TOKYO SCENE A quick roundup of what’s happening in that other place this month. Tokyo International Bar Show May 5 & 6 The simplest reasons to head to this year’s Tokyo International Bar Show are all the drinks just waiting to be consumed. Yet this event offers way more than easy inebriation. Bartenders from all around the world will teach attendants how to up their skills, and there will also be various other seminars about bartending and drinks in general. Also at the Show is Whisky Live Japan, an event that will allow whisky enthusiasts to sample whiskies from all over the world. Participants range from common Japanese brands (Kirin, Asahi) to companies from Europe. • Time: 11:30am–6pm • Admission: ¥5,000 for one day or ¥9,000 for two days • Where: Tokyo Midtown • Access: Roppongi station • Tel: 03-3475-3100 • Metamorphose Spring 12 May 12 The Metamorphose music party brings together acts from the world of rock and electronic, the unifying theme being “sounds to zone out to.” Weirdo-rockers The Flaming Lips will bring their spectacle of a live show; expect people in animal costumes, confetti and lead singer Wayne Coyne inside an inflatable hamster ball. English electronic duo, Orbital will also play a live set, that will be sure to

include cuts from their new album Wonky. Also at the event are Derrick May, Afrika Bambaataa, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group and Eye of Osaka psych-rockers Boredoms. • Time: 10pm • Admission: ¥12,500 in advance, ¥14,000 at the door • Where: Makuhari Messe • Access: JR Kaihin Makuhari • Tel: 03-3429-7240 •

Lady Gaga May 10, 12 & 13 Speaking of live-music spectacles, Lady Gaga is arguably the most popular pop artist in the world today; her songs practically radio staples at this point. Last year, she released Born This Way, a loopy long-running album featuring hit songs like ‘Born This Way’ and ‘Judas.’ She’s also still getting mad media attention for what she does away from the studio, from her outfits to her politically powered quotes. She’s bringing her ‘Born This Way Ball’ to Japan in May, and the odds are that it will be ridiculous. Tickets won’t be easy to get, but will be worth it. • Time: 7pm on May 10, 6pm on May 12 and 5pm on May 13 • Admission: Starting from ¥9000 • Where: Saitama Super Arena • Access: Saitama-Shintoshin Station • Tel: 0180-993-050 • Annie Until May 13 Based on the Little Orphan Annie

comic strip, Annie has become one of the most famous musicals in the world. Focusing on the exploits of the titular 11-year-old orphan as she tries to find her real parents with the help of a robust cast of characters. It also details the American Great Depression of the 1930s. This will be only the fifth time Annie has been performed professionally in Japan, the last time being in 2010. If you love musicals, check this out. Or, alternatively, go to hear that song Jay-Z sampled for ‘Hard Knock Life.’ • Time: May 2 at 1pm and 5pm, May 3 through 6 at 11:30am and 4 pm, May 8 at 5pm, May 8 and 9 at 1pm and 5pm, May 12 and 13 at 11:30am and 4 pm • Admission: from ¥6,500 • Where: Aoyama Theater • Access: Shibuya Station • Tel: 03-3797-5678 •

Fuji Shiba-Zakura Matsuri Until May 20 The cherry blossom leaves might have all been swept away by now, but there are plenty of other gorgeous flowers to take in during the month of May. One of the most majestic opportunities is at the Fuji Shiba-Zakura Matsuri. See a wide variety of flowers that have sprouted up in wonderful shades of pink and white, forming a pastel blanket across the grass. If fauna isn’t enough for you, the ShibaZakura Matsuri occasion close to

the base of Mt. Fuji. This is definitely the most photogenic occasion in May. • Time: 8am to 5pm • Admission: ¥500 • Where: Fuji Motosuko Resort • Access: Kawaguchiko Station • Tel: 0555-89-3031 •

Katsuhiro Otomo: Genga Until May 30 Katsuhiro Otomo started creating comic books in 1973, and has spent the last four decades creating new manga, some of them now iconic in Japan. He made the popular comic serial Domu in 1980, and soon after worked on his first anime, Harmagedon. His most acclaimed work came in 1983 with Akira, the story of psychic children in a postapocalyptic Tokyo. This exhibit gathers all sorts of original artwork from Otomo’s longlasting career, including color illustrations straight from his newest work Kaba 2. Thirty percent of the profits will go to quake relief efforts in Tohoku. • Time: 11:30am to 8pm on weekdays, 10:30am to 8pm on Sat, Sun and holidays • Admission: ¥1,500, ¥800 for students, ¥500 for junior high schoolers • Where: 331 Arts Chiyoda • Access: Suehirocho Station • Tel: 03-6803-2441 •


LINGO | may 2012

Visitation rites W Text: Wes Lang • Image: KS

hether it’s a close friend, an esteemed co-worker, or a distant in-law, knowing how to act when visiting someone’s home in Japan can mean the difference between a short-lived encounter and a long lasting relationship. Study the steps below to make your next visit a memorable one. The first thing you should do is ring the doorbell (yobirin wo narasu). After your host answers the door, enter the genkan (entrance), take off your shoes, and politely say ojamashimasu (sorry for being a hindrance). Don’t confuse this with the word tadaima (I’m home), which is only used when returning to one’s own dwelling. The next step is to give a present. Senbei, wagashi (Japanese sweets) or sake all make wonderful presents, and make sure they are wrapped or at least put in a nice


may 2012 |


bag. When giving the gift, it is customary to use the phrase tsumaranai mono desu ga (here’s something trivial for you) for which the receiver will probably reply: sumimasen, warui desu ne (Sorry I troubled you). Then comes the meal that could be anything from simple tea and sweets to a full jean-bursting feast. After eating, make sure you say gochisousama deshita (it was a feast) for which you’ll probably hear osomatsu sama deshita (sorry for my sloppy offering of food). Finally, when the time has come to depart, simply utter soro soro shitsurei shimasu (I have to go soon) followed by iroiro arigatou gozaimashita (thank you for everything). Your kind host will hopefully answer with mata okoshi kudasai (please visit us again). 呼び鈴を鳴らす

yobirin wo narasu





Used when arriving home


tsumaranai mono desu ga

Here’s a trivial gift.


gochisousama deshita

It was a feast.


sorosoro shitsurei shimasu

I have to go soon.

To ring a doorbell. Used when first entering someone’s house.


FEATURE FILM + | may 2012

Japan’s lost genius A victim of his times, Kyotoborn Sadao Yamanaka may have become one of Japan’s signature filmmakers. Text: Ron Duwell • Images: KS


hat is known about Japan’s pre-war film output is a pale reflection of how much was actually created or of the artistry it represented. The Kanto earthquake in 1923 and the firebombing of Tokyo in 1945, in addition to the immense human suffering and loss, destroyed huge amounts of the nation’s cultural heritage. One young director to suffer an especially heavy blow was Sadao Yamanaka. Yamanaka was born in Kyoto in 1909 and began making films at the age of 20. Critics hailed him for his keen ability to escape the conventions of propaganda films prescribed by the government. Instead, Yamanaka firmly established himself as a leading voice of the humanist movement, using his exciting films to highlight social injustices. This unwavering desire to side with common people over nationalist trends would eventually lead to his tragic downfall. Of his twenty-four films, only three survived the war, all of them prime examples of his penchant for jidaigeki, samurai dramas. Each of these films set an unrivaled tone perfectly balancing comedy, tragedy, action, and terror in a way not even his legendary contemporaries could dream of. The oldest of these three films features a long-running Japanese anti-hero Tange Sazen, a nihilistic ronin with only one arm and one eye. Cursed to wander Japan an outcast for the rest of his life because of his deformity, most directors have molded him into a rough brutal killer with little hope for his fellow man and a quick desire to enact his violent sense of justice. However, unlike the character, Yamanaka believed in the human spirit and used Sazen to satire the samurai genre in his 1935 film The Pot Worth One Million Ryo. Yamanaka portrays Sazen as an oaf, lazily living out his days guarding a girly hangout. Twinkles of his traditional character shine through, but rather than disgust or fear, every second of his screen time is sheer joy. Kabuki actor turned movie star Denjiro Okochi gives the character more depth with his ridiculous performance than any other

actor who would portray him in more serious roles. Sazen is coaxed into adopting an orphaned young boy, the owner of a featureless urn with no value. Little known to Sazen, the bumbling local samurai lord accidentally lost this urn and wants it back after discovering it contains the secret to a large fortune. The Pot Worth One Million Ryo features a deceptively simple plot easily manipulated by Yamanaka. Neither character seems remotely interested in obtaining the treasure. Sazen simply uses it as an opportunity to bicker with a woman he secretly loves, and the samurai uses his hunt as an excuse to flirt in bars and avoid his overbearing wife. Yamanaka subtly weaves his belief in simple joys over money and power into what otherwise would have been typical fluff. Yamanaka’s other films follow a similar path, but the looming threat of war had taken its toll on Yamanaka’s soul. Kochiyama Soshun (1936) and his masterpiece Humanity and Paper Balloons (1937) also feature minimalist plots drenched in humanist ideals, but both films end on a more pessimistic note where the greedy and powerful persevere. Undermining the pro-hierarchy message found in their original kabuki plays, Yamanaka shifts the sympathy towards the characters traditionally viewed as villains. Yamanaka’s mockery of social roles, refusal to embrace nationalism, and irreverent retooling of traditional Japanese stories frequently angered the hard-line government. In 1937, on the day of Humanity and Paper Balloons’ debut, Yamanaka was drafted into the military as punishment for his rebellious art. He died on the front lines in Manchuria in 1939, suffering from dysentery. There perhaps has never been such a serious loss to the Japanese film industry. A vehement defender of the weak and a wonderful storyteller, Yamanaka Sadao could have easily become another of Japan’s defining film directors. However, the loss of both the man and his early films in disaster and war robbed the world of the chance to see the master he might have become.


FILM | may 2012

The Muppets May 19

“It’s time to play the music/It’s time to light the lights/It’s time to meet the Muppets on The Muppet Show tonight.” If those words don’t send a shiver of nostalgic joy down your spine, fear not, you’ll soon be as enchanted as the rest of us. The Muppets were created by the late, great Jim Henson in 1954, and if you’re only going to recognize one of this bunch of hyperactive, colorful characters it’ll be Kermit the frog. He’s the green-skinned guy running the show – or trying to, while the other muppets cause havoc around him. While they’ve made cameos on many TV shows, their

Larry Crowne May 11 Tom Hanks writes, directs and stars in this gentle slice of life story about everyman, USA. Larry is a nice guy, but it didn’t save him from getting the boot at work. He enrolls in college, and his classmates give him a new social life and a new wardrobe. Julia Roberts is his speech class teacher, and provides confidence boosts and a romantic spark while Larry figures out what the heck to do next. Nothing spectacular here, but it’s sure to be a feel-good movie with a nicely seasoned cast. • Comedy/Drama/Romance/USA/ English/98mins • Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Sarah Mahoney • Director: Tom Hanks • Walt Disney Studios

Killer Elite May 12 The electrifying Jason Statham and the chiseled Clive Owen are running around with veteran Robert De Niro, dodging shadows, leaping off buildings and firing guns all over the shop. Two of them are special air service soldiers, and the other is part of a vigilante organization protecting former SAS members. The chaos begins after a Dubai sheikh orders the assassination of SAS members involved in his son’s death. This movie is based on a controversial novel, The Feather Men by adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Is it fact or fiction? Watch it and decide for yourself. • Action/Crime/Thriller/USA/ Australia/English/116mins • Starring: Jason Statham, Clive Owen, Robert De Niro • Director: Gary McKendry • Showgate

own series — The Muppet Show — ran from 1976 to 1981. Zany song and dance routines, famous guests and backstage jokes made for a non-stop enjoyable show. Not content with small-screen fame, The Muppets made movies too, and classics including The Muppet Movie (1979) and The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) proved they could sustain the funny feature-length. It’s about time a new generation met The Muppets, and seasoned fans can rejoice at this movie, which is part tribute, part reboot. Walter, a common muppet, waits on tables and dreams of joining the group someday. He visits the abandoned muppet theatre with his brother, and overhears evil oil tycoon Tex Richman plotting to tear it down. Walter makes it his mission to reunite The Muppets for one last show there, and ropes his brother Gary and Gary’s girlfriend Mary into the plan. They find Kermit the Frog is rich but depressed in his Hollywood mansion, The Great Gonzo is a plumber and the curvaceous Miss Piggy is the plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris. Will they rally together, play the music and light the lights one more time? You betcha. With cameos from celebs fair elbowing each other to get screen time, and an Oscar-winning song by Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie, this one’s a winner for all the young at heart.

• Comedy/Drama/Family/USA/English/103mins • Starring: Amy Adams, Jason Segel, Chris Cooper • Director: James Bobin • Walt Disney Studios Japan

Sadako 3D May 12 So, there’s a rumor that you can watch someone commit suicide on the internet, but if you watch it, you’ll also want to end your life. Hang on, this sounds a bit familiar — didn’t this happen in The Ring, when that creepy girl Sadako came to life, and … what? You already watched the footage? Oh nuts. Here we go again. Akane is the sweet high school teacher doing battle with evil, as Sadako gets a new lease of life on the net. Just for extra thrills, it’s in 3D. Don’t say we didn’t warn you … • Horror/Japan/Japanese • Starring: Satomi Ishihara, Koji Seto, Hikari Takara • Director: Tsutomu Hanabusa • Kadokawa

Rentaneko May 12 Feeling lonely? Why not rent a cat to keep you company? Cat lover Sayoko thinks she’s hit on the ideal business, and walks along the river shouting offers of cat rental to the locals. From an early age she’s got on better with cats than people, and lives alone with her feline friends. Her service clearly helps people deal with tough times, but there’s still a void in her own life the kitties can’t quite fill. A man from her past may be about to disrupt her peaceful existence, but don’t expect fireworks. Director Ogigami is known and loved for her slow-paced, subtle momentfilled movies. • Drama/Japan/Japanese/110mins • Starring: Mikako Ichikawa, Reiko Kusamura, Ken Mitsuishi • Director: Naoko Ogigami • Suurkiitos


may 2012 |

Men in Black III May 25

The men are back — but in the case of Agent K, not for long. Men In Black was a box-office smash when it opened in 1997, reviving Will Smith’s on-screen career as the sharpsuited Agent J, a former New York cop who got roped into a mysterious agency. Men in Black is a secret organisation without any ties to government, who aim to assist aliens living on earth as a neutral zone. They keep alien exis-

Dark Shadows May 19 Ah, the glorious duo of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. What darkly clever imaginings have they come up with this time? Barnabas is a vampire, unearthed after two long centuries, and returns to his old family manor to find a strange new world. The family business has gone to the dogs, new technology is like ancient witchcraft to him and the woman who turned him into a vampire is back to claim him. The movie is based on an obscure American TV soap, revamped and re-fanged for a new vampire-loving generation. • Comedy, Fantasy/USA/English • Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green • Director: Tim Burton • Warner Bros

Midnight in Paris May 26 Often named the most romantic city in the world, Paris certainly has its fair share of beautiful sights, but Gil is seeing a whole different side, and indeed decade, after dark. Gil, a Hollywood writer, is holidaying with his fiancee Inez and her parents. While Inez wants to hang out with her elitist friends, Gil prefers to amble along the side streets, dreaming of a Paris long gone … or is it? Soon his long late nights alone raise questions with his new family. The legendary Woody Allen writes and directs this quirky romance with a French flavor. • Comedy, romance/Spain, USA/ English, French, Spanish, German/94mins • Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates • Director: Woody Allen • Longride


tence secret by erasing the memory of any human who comes into contact with them, including those of former agents. They make money from selling alien technology in the form of nifty consumer products. In the first film, old hand Agent K, played by Tommy Lee Jones, headhunted Agent J to become his new partner after an alien incident cost him his last one. After he showed Agent J the ropes, the pair battled a giant cockroach-shaped alien, and a worn-out Agent K decided to retire. His retirement was short-lived, however, as Men in Black II saw Agent J pressing him back into service for his expertise. The third movie opens with Agent J as a high-ranking member of Men In Black, but he soon has a major problem to solve: Agent K, his mentor for the first two movies, no longer exists in history. Aliens must have meddled with the past, so now Agent J has to travel back to 1969 and track a young Agent K down to save him. But there’s a catch — of course — he has a time limit of 24 hours to save Agent K, or else he’ll be trapped in the past forever, and make a right old mess of the present. Those sharp suits and fancy weapons should look even sharper and fancier as this one is also being shown in 3D. Look out for a cameo by Lady Gaga — finally, an explanation for her out of this world style?

• Action/Comedy/Sci-Fi/USA/English/88mins • Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin • Director: Barry Sonnenfeld • Toho-Towa

The Skin I Live In May 26 Dr Robert Ledgard is a brilliant plastic surgeon who lost his wife after a tragic car accident. Tortured by the past, he’s creating a type of synthetic skin that can take any damage — burns, cuts, whatever you can throw at it. His guinea pig is Vera, a mysterious young woman who he keeps confined to a bedroom while he experiments on her. Is Vera happy to be his test subject, or is there something more sinister going on? If you’ve seen other Almodovar movies you’ll know what to expect from this stylish and often surprising Spanish director. • Drama, Thriller/Spain/Spanish/ 117mins • Starring: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Jan Cornet • Director: Pedro Almodovar • Broadmedia studios

My House May 26 What’s it like to be homeless in Japan? In this black and white movie, we meet Suzumoto-san and friend Sumi-chan, as they set up a makeshift home in the corner of a city park. Suzumoto scours the streets for aluminum cans to exchange for food money, and finds a new life for the things others discard. Contrasting with his generally carefree life, we also meet Shota, a gifted junior high school student who lives a life of privilege, but also incredible pressure. It’s fiction, but was inspired by Kyohei Sakaguchi’s books on inventive architecture by homeless people in Japan. • Drama/Japan/Japanese/93mins • Starring: Tae Kimura, Itsuji Itao, Eri Ishida • Director: Yukihiko Tsutsumi • T-Joy




DVD RELEASE LISTINGS Perfect Sense May 2 A chef and a scientist are slowly losing their senses, but find love with each other. Goethe! May 2 An aspiring poet is sent away to study law, but studies a beautiful, yet unavailable lady instead. All Good Things May 2 Drama based on the real unsolved case of a woman’s murder in New York City. London Boulevard May 11 Colin Farrell is hired to protect a young actress, but their relationship leads to trouble. Another Year May 11 Mike Leigh writes and directs a gentle comedy about a happily married couple. Real Steel May 16 A former boxing champ and his son train an abandoned robot to earn them money in the ring. Hard Romanticker May 21 A Korean-Japanese man gets caught up in a web of violence, hostess clubs and gangs. Johnny English Reborn May 23 Rowan Atkinson’s bumbling spy is enlisted to save the Chinese premier. Wild 7 May 23 Seven former criminals now secretly work for the police by taking out underground baddies. Miral May 25 An orphaned Palestinian girl is unwittingly drawn into the Arab-Israeli conflict. NOTE: KS has verified all film and DVD release dates and they are correct at the time of going to press. However, film and DVD distributors may change release dates without notice. | may 2012

OSAKA TOHO CINEMAS UMEDA • Tel: 06-6316-1312 • www. • ¥1,000: Wed for women, 1st & 14th of the month • ¥1,200: after 8pm • Now showing: Thermae Romae, Thomas and Friends 2012 • From May 5: Space Brothers • From May 11: Larry Crowne • From May 18: The Descendants • From May 19: Dark Shadows • From May 25: Men in Black 3 • From May 26: Girl, The Skin I Live In

UMEDA BURG7 • Tel: 06-4795-7602 • http:// • ¥1,000: Wed for women, 1st of the month • ¥1,200: after 8pm • Now showing: This Means War, Wrath of the Titans, Home Itoshino Zashikiwarashi • From May 5: Take Shelter • From May 11: Larry Crowne • From May 12: Killer Elite, Robot, Sadako 3D • From May 19: Dark Shadows, Nijiirohotaru UMEDA GARDEN CINEMA • Tel: 06-6440-5977 • www. umeda • ¥1,000: Wed for women, 1st of the month • Now showing: Le Gamin au Velo, Le Havre • From May 12: Oranges and Sunshine, Last Night CINE LIBRE UMEDA • Tel: 06-6440-5930 • www.ttcg. jp/cinelibre_umeda • ¥1,000: Wed for women, 1st & 15th of the month • Now showing: Monsters Club • From May 5: Truth or Dare • From May 12: Rentaneko, Faces in the Crowd • From May 26: Hesomori THEATRE UMEDA • Tel: 06-6359-1080 • www.ttcg. jp/theatre_umeda • ¥1,000: Wed for women, Tue for men, 1st of the month • Now showing: Bridesmaids • From May 5: Kongen Av Bastoy • From May 12: Bitter Coffee Life • From May 19: Operation: Endgame • From May 26: Vidal Sassoon OSAKA STATION CITY CINEMA

• Tel: 06-6346-3215 • www. • ¥1,000: Wed for women, 1st of the month • Now showing: Chronicle of My Mother, Home Itoshino Zashikiwarashi • From May 5: Space Brothers • From May 11: Larry Crowne • From May 12: Sadako 3D, Potechi • From May 18: The Descendants • From May 19: The Muppets, Dark Shadows • From May 25: Men in Black 3, Girl • From May 26: Midnight in Paris • From June 1: The Vow, Abduction

TOHO CINEMAS NAMBA • Tel: 06-6633-1040 • www. • ¥1,000: Wed for women, 1st & 14th of the month • ¥1,200: after 8pm • Now showing: Thermae Romae, Thomas And Friends 2012 • From May 5: Space Brothers • From May 11: Larry Crowne • From May 12: Sadako 3D • From May 18: The Descendants • From May 19: The Muppets, Dark Shadows • From May 25: Men In Black 3

NAMBA PARKS CINEMA • Tel: 06-6643-3215 • www. • ¥1,000: Wed for women, 1st of the month • ¥1,200: after 8pm • Now showing: Chronicle Of My Mother, Home Itoshino Zashikiwarashi • From May 5: Babies • From May 5 to 11: Massenet - Manon • From May 11: Larry Crowne • From May 12: Last Night, Potechi • From May 12 to 18: Verdi — La Traviata • From May 18: The Descendants • From May 19: Dark Shadows • From May 25: Men in Black 3 • From May 26: Midnight in Paris • From June 1: The Vow, Abduction CINEM@RT • Tel: 06-6282-0815 • www. • ¥1,000: Wed for women, Mon for men, 1st of the month • Now showing: Joyful Noise, Children • From May 5: Detective Dee & the Mystery of the Phantom Flame

may 2012 | • From May 12: Robot • From May 19: Svetat E Golyam I Spasenie Debne Otvsyakade • From May 26: Sunny, Midnight FM

KYOTO MOVIX KYOTO • Tel: 075-254-3215 • www. • ¥1,000: Wed for women, 1st & 20th of the month • ¥1,200: after 8pm • Now showing: Thermae Romae, Chronicle of My Mother, Bridesmaids • From May 5: Space Brothers, Babies, Massenet — Manon • From May 11: Larry Crowne • From May 12: Potechi, Sadako 3D, Rentaneko, Last Night, Verdi — La Traviata • From May 18: The Descendants • From May 19: Dark Shadows • From May 25: Men in Black 3 • From May 26: Midnight In Paris • From June 1: The Vow, Abduction KYOTO CINEMA • Tel: 075-353-4723 • www. • ¥1,000: 1st of the month • ¥1,300: Wed • Now showing: Nader And Simin, A Separation, Le Gamin au Velo • From May 3: Moving, Fukushima • From May 5: Poetry • From May 12: Chanterapas, Le Havre • From May 26: Animal Kingdom TOHO CINEMAS NIJO • Tel: 075-813-2410 • www. • ¥1,000: Wed for women, 1st & 14th of the month • ¥1,200: after 8pm • Now showing: Thermae Romae, Thomas And Friends 2012 • From May 5: Space Brothers • From May 11: Larry Crowne • From May 12: Sadako 3D • From May 18: The Descendants • From May 19: The Muppets, Dark Shadows • From May 25: Men in Black 3 • From May 26: The Skin I Live In

KOBE OS CINEMA MINT KOBE • Tel: 078-291-5330 • www.jollios. net • ¥1,000: Tue for women, 1st & 16th of the month • ¥1,200: after 8pm • Now showing: This Means War, Thermae Romae • From May 5: Space Brothers • From May 11: Larry Crowne

• From May 12: Sadako 3D • From May 18: The Descendants • From May 19: Dark Shadows, Nijiirohotaru • From May 25: Men in Black 3 • From May 26: Girl • From June 1: The Vow, Abduction

KOBE KOKUSAI SHOCHIKU • Tel: 078-230-3580 • www. • ¥1,000: Tue for women, 1st of the month • ¥1,200: after 8pm • Now showing: Chronicle of My Mother, Strike Witches The Movie • From May 12: Last Night, Potechi • From June 1: The Vow CINE MOSAIC HARBORLAND MOSAIC 3F • Tel: 078-360-0700 • www. • ¥1,000: Tue for women, 1st & 16th of the month • ¥1,200: after 8pm • Now showing: Bokuragaita Part2, Thermae Romae, Meitantei Konan • From May 5: Space Brothers • From May 25: Men in Black 3 • From May 26: Girl CINE LIBRE KOBE • Tel: 078-334-2126 • www.ttcg. jp/cinelibre_kobe • ¥1,000: Tue for women, 1st & 15th of the month • Now showing: Monsters Club, Bridesmaids • From May 5: Take Shelter, Kongen Av Bastoy • From May 12: Rentaneko, Manuale d’amore 3, Faces In The Crowd, Mi Ricordo Anna Frank • From May 18: The Descendants • From May 26: Midnight in Paris

NARA MOVIX KASHIHARA • Tel: 0744-21-1700 • www.movix. • ¥1,000: Wed for women, Thu for men, 1st & 20th of the month, 3rd Tue of the month • ¥1,200: after 8pm • Now showing : Chronicle of My Mother, Thermae Romae • From May 5: Space Brothers • From May 11: Larry Crowne • From May 12: Rentaneko, Potechi • From May 19: Dark Shadows, Set Up • From May 25: Men in Black 3 • From May 26: Midnight In Paris, Girl • From June 1: Abduction Note: for show times and ticket information, call cinemas.

38 CLASSICAL | may 2012

Classical Musings M

ajor events have been rather rare in the Kansai classical music world over the past two years. Fears of the lingering effects of radiation from last year’s nuclear disaster in Fukushima combined with the Osaka concert halls’ loss of government funding have convinced many bigname Western artists to give Kansai a miss for the time being. In spite of the situation, there is an abundance of good concert programs this month performed by local ensembles; perfect for a spring night out. First, visit Kyoto’s wonderful concert hall near the Botanical Gardens on Kitayama-dori to hear the Kyoto Symphony Orchestra. There are several good programs there this month, but I’ll single out young British conductor, Joseph Wolfe’s concert on Friday, May 18 at 7pm. Wolfe, who is the son of Sir Colin Davis (he changed his name to Wolfe in order to grow and develop his own identity) will be performing Elgar’s Cockaigne Overture; Mendelssohn’s Third Symphony in A minor, subtitled the “Scottish”; and Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, which features 26-year-old Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang, an artist noted for the depths of expression she pulls from her instrument. It’s a great program full of wonderful tunes so consider attending. Mendelssohn’s joyful Fourth Symphony, nicknamed the “Italian” and composed on the same trip as its predecessor, will be performed by the Osaka Symphony Orchestra, conducted by its music director, Kodama Hiroshi, at the Symphony Hall on May 20. Also on the program are Glazunov’s Violin Concerto, featuring yet another up-and-coming young violin soloist in Taki Chiharu, and the Overture to Rossini’s opera “La Gazza Ladra” (“The Thieving Magpie”). There will be two concerts on the day – at 1:30pm and 5pm. Tickets are priced cheaply at ¥2,500 to ¥3,000, and the early starting times ensure that restaurants will be open once the concerts end. One should never pass up an opportunity to hear music by Mahler performed live so keep Thursday May 24 in mind because Israeli mezzo-soprano Rachel Frenkel performs Mahler’s “Rückert-Lieder”, five of the most ethereally beautiful songs ever written. The highly sensuous orchestral accompaniment is provided by the impressively named Japan Century Symphony Orchestra under the baton of their principal guest conductor Numajiri Ryusuke. The rest of the program is dedicated to Dvořák. No, the New World Symphony is not included again (whew!). Instead, Dvořák’s Fourth Symphony gets a rare outing and like the Ninth, it’s full of great tunes. The Slavonic Rhapsody op. 45 no. 2 opens

the program. Tickets range from ¥1,000 to ¥6,000, but by the time you read this, the cheapest seats will most likely be sold out. There is one major international orchestra in Kansai this month on the 27th. Hailing from Hamburg, Germany, the NDR Symphonie Orchester and their principal conductor Thomas Hengelbrock will perform a program of Brahms’ muscular First Symphony and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, which features internationally acclaimed Japanese violin soloist, Takezawa Kyoko. This high-powered concert opens with the Overture to Mozart’s opera, “Le Nozze di Figaro”, and you’ll have to pay a high-powered price for tickets. Moreover, the cheapest seats for this highly anticipated concert are already gone! It’s a violin-heavy Romantic May in Kansai. Enjoy!

Vilde Frang (violin)

• Kyoto Symphony Orchestra, Joseph Wolfe (conductor) • Kyoto Concert Hall • May 18, 19:00 • ¥3,500-4,500, seats behind the stage = ¥2,000 • Kitayama subway station (on the Karasuma line), three minute walk from exit 1 • Tel: 075-711-3231 (10:00-17:00) •

Taki Chiharu (violin)

• Osaka Symphony Orchestra, Kodama Hiroshi (conductor) • The Symphony Hall, Osaka • May 20, Two concerts: 13:30 & 17:00 • ¥2,500 - ¥3,000 • JR loop line Fukushima Station or Oyodo-minami-1-chome bus stop • 072-226-5722 or 06-6453-6000 • symphony/event/detail.php?id=1571 and http://asahi.

Rachel Frenkel (mezzo-soprano)

• Japan Century Symphony Orchestra, Numajiri Ryusuke (conductor) • The Symphony Hall, Osaka • May 24, 19:00 • ¥1,000, ¥3,000, ¥4,500, ¥6,000 • JR loop line Fukushima Station or Oyodo-minami-1-chome bus stop • Tel: 06-6868-0591 •

Takezawa Kyoko (violin)

• NDR Symphonieorchester, Thomas Hengelbrock (conductor) • The Symphony Hall, Osaka • May 27, 14:00 • ¥12,000, ¥15,000, ¥18,000 • JR loop line Fukushima Station or Oyodo-minami-1-chome bus stop • Tel: 06-6453-6000 •


LIVE | may 2012 May 7

Blonde Redhead US Indie ambient-electric pop-rock

• Club Quattro, Osaka • Rock • 7:30pm • ¥5,800 • Tel: 06-6535-5569 May 8

Fronted by Kazuhiro Makino (who also covers rhythm guitar), and also featuring twin brothers Amedeo and Simone Pace, Blonde Redhead formed in New York nearly 20 years ago. The Pace brothers are originally from Milan, Italy, but they moved to Boston to study jazz. Shortly afterwards they teamed up with Makino, and taking the song title from a song by New York band DNA, Blonde Redhead was born. Two years later, the 1995 self-titled debut was released. The band’s latest release Penny Sparkle (though it’s over a year now since its release) is somewhat of a musical change. Previous albums have been heavy on guitar work but the band say they have pared the “guitars down to a bare minimum, letting the electronic flirtations on 23 (previous release) develop into a full blown romance.” Blonde Redhead is playing only one date in Kansai (and just one date in Tokyo) so don’t miss this rare chance to catch them live.

Kaori Kobayashi Smooth Jazz Saxophonist Prolific jazz saxophonist Kaori Kobayashi has released eight albums in the seven years since her debut Solar in 2005 — and just after graduating from Senzoku College of music aged 24. The daughter of a photographer (father) and a piano teacher (mother), Kaori was born into an artistic/creative environment and at a young age was already tinkling the ivories before moving on to the flute in her teenage years. Kobayashi released her latest album SEVENth in February of this year, which opens with the ‘England Funk’ which has garnered the performer a lot of acclaim and attention — check it out on YouTube. The album also includes a three-track DVD. Kaori’s saxophone playing is smooth and effortless; style-wise she doesn’t limit herself to jazz and also mixes with pop and funk. She has been likened to David Samborn and really has the musical talent that deserves a global audience.

• Club Quattro, Osaka • Sax • 7pm • ¥4,200/¥4,700 • Tel: 06-6311-8111

Ogre You Asshole Shangri-La, Osaka May 2 • Rock • 7pm • ¥3,300/¥4,000 • Tel: 06-6882-1224 Chage Namba Hatch, Osaka May 3 • Pop • 5pm • ¥6,900 • Tel: 06-6341-3525 Mizuki Ichiro & Horie Mitsuko Big Cat, Osaka May 4 • Anime-song • 5pm • ¥5,800/ ¥6,300 • Tel: 03-3496-6998 Masayuki Suzuki Grand Cube Osaka, Osaka

May 4 • Soul pop • 6pm • ¥6,800 • Tel: 06-6344-3326

Tamaki Nami Shangri-la, Osaka May 5 • J-pop • 6pm • ¥5,250 • Tel: 06-6343-8601 Rake Big Cat, Osaka May 5 • Pop-rock • 6pm • ¥4,200/ ¥4,500 • Tel: 06-7732-8888 Weaver Club Quattro, Osaka May 5–6 • Rock • 5th, 6pm; 6th, 5:30pm • ¥3,700 • Tel: 06-7732-8888

Blonde Redhead Club Quattro, Osaka May 7 • Rock • 7:30pm • ¥5,800 • Tel: 06-6535-5569 Kaori Kobayashi Club Quattro, Osaka May 8 • Sax • 7pm • ¥4,200/¥4,700 • Tel: 06-6311-8111 Oblivion Dust Varit, Kobe May 9 • Visual kei rock • 7pm • ¥5,000/ ¥5,500 • Tel: 078-392-6655 Mr. Children Kyocera Dome, Osaka May 9–10

• Pop-rock • 7pm • ¥7,350/¥7,875 • Tel: 06-7732-8888

Aldious Big Cat, Osaka May 10 • Metal • 7pm • ¥4,000/¥4,500 • Tel: 06-6882-1224 Brainchild’s Janus, Osaka May 11 • Rock • 7pm • ¥4,500/¥5,000 • Tel: 06-6344-3326 Char Big Cat, Osaka May 12 • Rock guitar • 7:30pm • ¥5,500/ ¥6,000 • Tel: 06-6882-1224


may 2012 |


Aldious All-Women Metal Outfit

May 10

All-female Japanese metal group Aldious formed in Osaka just four years ago but, dressed like primadonna prom queens and rocking out some of the best heavy metal around, have already caused stir on the rock scene with albums Deep Exceed (Oct 2010), Mermaid (April 2011) and Determination (Oct 2011). Fronted by vocalist Rami, the band play speed metal falling somewhere between the pace and ferocity of 1980’s speedsters Cacophany (featuring Marty Freidman) and the theatrical lyrical harmonies of Evanescence. Image-wise the band have definitely gone all out to catch the eye with outfits almost in the vein of visual kei rock but with a lot more colour and an excess of panache. Musos will be interested to know that guitarists Yoshi and Toki and bassist Sawa all play Aldious signature model Combat Guitars. A recent review summed up Aldious perfectly, “these girls will rock your brains out.”

• Big Cat, Osaka • Metal •7pm • ¥4,000/¥4,500 • Tel: 06-6882-1224

May 23

Johnny Winter US Rock-Blues Guitar Legend Johnny Winter, a living legend of the blues guitar, is still on the road at the age of sixty-eight. Born John Dawson Winter III in 1944, Johnny first came to prominence in the late sixties and early seventies with the blues-rock albums Johnny Winter, Second Winter and Johnny Winter And. Thankfully Winter’s nosedive into heroin addiction in the early seventies didn’t take the great musician from us. Last year, Winter released the album Roots (his first in seven years and only his second studio album in 20 years, the last being 1992’s Hey, Where’s Your Brother. Winter’s website claims that the latest album features “Johnny performing a selection of songs that helped shape his legendary talent.” Last year saw Winter’s Japan dates sell out, so die-hard blues rock fans get your tickets quick. Winter’s current band consists of Vito Luizzo (drums), Paul Nelson (guitar) and Scott Spray (bass).

• Namba Hatch, Osaka • Blues • 7pm • ¥8,000/¥9,000 • Tel: 06-4397-0572 Siberian Newspaper Janus, Osaka May 13 • World-rock • 6:30pm • ¥3,500/ ¥4,000 • Tel: 06-6214-7255 Harry Janus, Osaka May 15 • Rock-ambient • 7pm • ¥5,775/ ¥6,300 • Tel: 06-6357-4400 Tube Grand Cube Osaka, Osaka May 16 • Pop • 6:30pm • ¥6,700 • Tel: 06-6357-4400 Daizystripper Muse, Osaka May 18

• Visual kei rock • 6:30pm • ¥4,200/¥4,700 • Tel: 06-6245-5389

Amorphis Club Quattro, Osaka May 19 • Metal • 6pm • ¥6,000 • Tel: 06-6311-8111 Exile Kyocera Dome, Osaka May 19–20 Male vocal group • 5pm • ¥9,500 • Tel: 06-7732-8888 Rage Club Quattro, Osaka May 23 • Rock • 7pm • ¥7,000 • Tel: 06-6311-8111

Johnny Winter Namba Hatch, Osaka May 23 • Blues • 7pm • ¥8,000/¥9,000 • Tel: 06-4397-0572 Andrew W.K. Big Cat, Osaka May 24 • Rock • 7pm • ¥6,000 • Tel: 06-7732-8888 Nikaido Kazumi Taku Taku, Kyoto May 24 • Jazz pop • 7pm • ¥3,500/¥4,000 • Tel: 075-351-1321 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds Osaka Municipal Central

Gymnasium, Osaka

May 26 • Rock • 6pm • ¥8,500 • Tel: 06-6535-5569

Emi Meyer Taku Taku, Kyoto May 28 • Jazz piano vocal • 7pm • ¥4,500/ ¥5,000 • Tel: 075-351-1321 Koda Kumi Osaka Jo Hall, Osaka May 30–31 • Pop • 7pm • ¥8,000 • Tel: 06-6341-3525 Curly Giraffe Shangri-La, Osaka June 2 Pop-rock • 7pm • ¥5,000 • Tel: 06-6341-3525


CLUB | may 2012

May 19–20

The Star Festival 2012 Forest Hiyoshi, Kyoto The Star Festival will be holding their first ever outdoor festival at Forest Hiyoshi (Kyoto Fumin no Mori Hiyoshi) in Kyoto. The two-day festival features over 30 international and domestic DJs/bands on three stages and the lineup includes the house legend DJ Harvey, Danish progressive DJ/producer Emok, minimal techno producer from Berlin, Stefan Goldmann, Japanese dubstep icon Goth-Trad, drum ‘n’ bass pioneer DJ Aki and much more. Unfortunately no food or drink allowed into the festival but there will be plenty of food outlets and bars on site. Tent camping is free for the advance ticket holders so be sure to get one in advance if you are thinking about setting up camp. There will be a shuttle bus service from JR Sonobe station as well. To get the full line-up and more information, visit their website:

• The Star Festival 2012 (Techno/House/Drum’n’Bass/Chillout) • Acts: DJ Harvey, Emok, Stefan Goldmann, Goth-Trad, DJ Aki, 1945 aka Kuranaka, DJ Nobu, A.Mochi, Ree.k, Calm, Altz, Sodeyama, Baiyon + more • Open: 2pm • Admission: ¥6,000 (ADV: ¥5,000, Group tickets: ¥18,000 for 4 people) • Where: Nantan city, Kyoto • 1 (TUE) OWL OSAKA Sunset Party feat. Wave!! (Techno) • DJs: Ko Kimura, Sodeyama, Telly, Milk.bro, Yama • Open: 3pm–9pm • Admission: Men: ¥2,500/2D, Women: ¥2,000/2D(¥free before 6pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 • OWL OSAKA Night Party feat. Diamonds (All mix) • DJs: Hazime, Ree-Age, Imai, Bento, Mahoroba • Open: 9pm– 1am • Admission: Men: ¥2,500/1D, Women: ¥2,000/1D (¥free between 9pm–10pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 • 2 (WED) JOULE Astrix feat. Teionclub (Trance/ Techno) • Live: Astrix • DJs: Takatsugu Wada, C8, Energy-Dai, O-Man, Chang, Nats + more • Open: 5pm • Admission: ¥3,500/1D • Where: Shinsaibashi • Tel: 06-6214-1223 • OWL OSAKA Sunset Party (Techno/House) • Live: May J • DJs: Masanori

Morita, Tsuyoshi Takashiro, Soery, Ryoken • Open: 3pm–9pm • Admission: Men: ¥2,500/2D, Women: ¥2,000/2D(¥free before 6pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 •


Night Party feat. Set(All mix) • DJs: Ta-Shi, Minami, Malu, Kutuwada • Open: 9pm–1am •Admission: Men: ¥2,500/1D, Women: ¥2,000/1D (¥free between 9pm–10pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 •


Newtone Records presents Burnt Friedman (Techno) • Acts: Burnt Griedman + more • Open: 7pm–1am • Admission: ¥3,500/1D • Where: Shinsaibashi • Tel: 06-6212-2264 •

3 (THU) OWL OSAKA Sunset Party feat.Dreamcast (Techno/House) • Live: Black Jaxx • DJs: Dragon, Hiloco aka neroDoll, Earnee, hidetaka, h.nakajima • Open: 3pm–9pm • Admission: Men: ¥2,500/2D, Women: ¥2,000/

2D (¥free before 6pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 •


Night Party feat. Sonic (All mix) • DJs: Groovy workshop • Open: 9pm–1am • Admission: Men: ¥2,500/1D, Women: ¥2,000/1D (¥free between 9pm–10pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 •


Urban Research 10th Anniversary (Techno/House) • Guest DJs: Mathias Kaden, Sodeyama • DJs: Kiuchi, Ogi • Open: 10pm • Admission: ¥3,000/1D (WF ¥2,500/1D) • Where: Sannomiya • Tel: 078-321-3130 •

Giraffe Osaka

Raptus — Ali Wilson Exclusive Set in Osaka (Trance/House) • Guest DJ: Ali WIlson • DJs: Kitten aka Mikanyan, Takekiyo Ishimot, Shinji • Open: 7pm-1am • Admission: Men: ¥3,000/1D, Women: ¥2,500/1D (Before 9pm Men: ¥1,500/1D, Women: ¥1,000/1D) • Where: Namba

• Tel: 96-6211-1517 •

4 (FRI) OWL OSAKA Sunset Party feat. Shinichi Osawa (Techno/House) • DJs: Shinichi Osawa, Taku-Hero, Ko-Matsushima, Flash + more • Open: 3pm–9pm • Admission: Men: ¥2,500/2D, Women: ¥2,000/2D(¥free before 6pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 • OWL OSAKA Night Party (All mix) • DJs: Nana Suzuki, Groovy workshop • Open: 9pm–1am • Admission: Men: ¥2,500/1D, Women: ¥2,000/1D (¥free between 9pm–10pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 • TROOPCAFE Jeff Mills —The Messenger Special Exhibion (Techno) • DJ: Jeff Mills (Open to Last) • Open: 11pm • Admission: ¥3,500/1D (WF ¥3,000/1D) • Where: Sannomiya • Tel: 078-321-3130 •



5 (SAT) OWL OSAKA Night Party feat. Best Mix Loves... Housenation (All mix) • DJs: Groovy workshop • Open: 9pm–1am • Admission: Men: ¥2,500/1D, Women: ¥2,000/1D(¥free between 9pm–10pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 • STORK. Phase (Techno/Breakbeat) • DJs: Anchorsong, Chaos, Taiji, No-Key aka Dzonot + more • Open: 9pm • Admission: ¥3,000/1D (ADV: ¥2,500/1D) • Where: Okamoto, Kobe • Tel: 078-452-1357 • 6 (SUN) GIRAFFE OSAKA Eivissa!! (House) • DJs: Sugiurumn, Osakaman aka Yagyu, Uoshima, Takekiyo Ishimoto • Open: 7pm– 1am • Admission: Men: ¥3,000/1D, Women: ¥2,500/1D • Where: Namba • Tel: 96-6211-1517 • GRAND CAFE Danny Krivit Japan Tour (House) • DJs: Danny Krivit, K-Katsu • Open: 6pm–1am • Admission: ¥3,000/1D • Where: Shinsaibashi • Tel: 06-6213-0031 • METRO Phenoma (Techno/Experimental) • DJs: Hikaru, Kazuma, Yukke • Open: 9pm • Admission: ¥2,500 (ADV: ¥2,000) • Where: Kyoto • Tel: 075-752-2787 • OWL OSAKA Sunset Party feat. Minilogue (Techno/House) • Live: Minilogue • DJs: Isao Sudo, Shawn Basik, Fumi, Naoya Sugimoto • Open: 3pm–9pm • Admission: Men: ¥2,500/2D, Women: ¥2,000/2D (¥free before 6pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 • OWL OSAKA Night Party feat. Lady2Love (All mix) • DJs: Groovy workshop • Open: 9pm–1am • Admission: Men: ¥2,500/1D, Women: ¥2,000/1D(¥free between 9pm–10pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 • TROOPCAFE | may 2012

The Shelter Japan Tour (House/ Garage) • Guest DJ: Timmy Registord • DJs: Mr.K, Maru-FUku, Cabaret, Tatsuro, Fukuta, Det-Chin, deamon • Open: 5pm • Admission: ¥3,000/1D (WF ¥2,500/1D) • Where: Sannomiya • Tel: 078-321-3130 •


11 (FRI) GRAND CAFE Journey powered by Osaka Safari (Hip Hop/R&B) • DJs: TBA • Open: 8pm • Admission: ¥2,000/1D • Where: Shinsaibashi • Tel: 06-6213-0031 • OWL OSAKA Night Party feat. Ice (All mix) • DJs: Kango, Kent, Yoga, Kutsuwada, W-One • Open: 9pm–1am • Admission: Men: ¥2,500/1D, Women: ¥2,000/1D(¥free between 9pm–10pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 •


12 (SAT) OWL OSAKA Night Party feat. Fiesta (All mix) • DJs: Hiroto Da Yankee, Ko-Taro, Kelly, Rover • Open: 9pm–1am • Admission: Men: ¥2,500/1D, Women: ¥2,000/1D(¥free between 9pm–10pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 • STORK. House Beat (House) • DJs: Sugiurumn, Atsuo Morita + more • Open: 10pm • Admission: ¥TBA • Where: Okamoto, Kobe • Tel: 078-452-1357 • 13 (SUN) JOULE Topshop Topman 1st Anniversary (Techno/Electro) • Guest DJs: Darren Emerson, Shin Nishimura, Maar • DJs: hidetaka, Hajime Matsumura, Kazuya Tanaka • Open: 5pm • Admission: ¥3,000 (ADV: ¥2,500) • Where: Shinsaibashi • Tel: 06-6214-1223 • GRAND CAFE Hi-Tek Soul DJ Derrick May Japan Tour in Osaka (Techno/House) • DJs: Derrick May + more • Open: 6pm - 1am • Admission: ¥3,000/1D • Where: Shinsaibashi • Tel: 06-6213-0031


Sunset Party feat. NWC (Techno/ House) • DJs: Verbal, Mademoiselle Yulia + more • Open: 5pm–9pm • Admission: Men: ¥3,000/2D, Women: ¥2,500/2D(¥free before 6pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 • Night Party feat. Lady2Love (All mix) • DJs: Groovy workshop • Open: 9pm–1am • Admission: Men: ¥2,500/1D, Women: ¥2,000/ 1D (¥free between 9pm–10pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 •

18 (FRI) OWL OSAKA Night Party feat. Cluture Club ‘75(All mix) • DJs: Dexpistols, Juse, Freak Menu, Kanta • Open: 9pm–1am • Admission: Men: ¥2,500/1D, Women: ¥2,000/1D (¥free between 9pm–10pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 • TROOPCAFE Gold Flash (House) • DJs: Halfby, Handsomeboy Technique, Muraco, Daishi, Daigoro, Miki, Ken Murakami • Open: 10pm • Admission: ¥2,500/1D (WF ¥2,000/1D) • Where: Sannomiya • Tel: 078-321-3130 • 19 (SAT) GRAND CAFE Lectro Climax (Techno/House) • DJs: Dan Elliot, David Byrne, Dom Pang, Dmitori, Fullmoon Mondo + more • Open: 8pm • Admission: ¥2,000/1D • Where: Shinsaibashi • Tel: 06-6213-0031 • OWL OSAKA Sunset Party feat. Jose Padilla (Techno/House) • DJs: Jose Padilla, Takekiyo Ishimoto, Kitten aka Mikanyan • Open: 5pm–9pm • Admission: Men: ¥2,500/2D, Women: ¥2,000/2D(¥free before 6pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 • OWL OSAKA Night Party feat. Best Mix Loves... Housenation (All mix) • DJs: Groovy workshop • Open: 9pm–1am

• Admission: Men: ¥2,500/1D, Women: ¥2,000/1D(¥free between 9pm–10pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 •

20 (SUN) CONPASS Spinna Japan Tour 2012 (House) • DJs: Spinna + more • Open: TBA • Admission: ¥TBA • Where: Shinsaibashi • Tel: 06-6243-1666 • OWL OSAKA Night Party feat. Lady2Love (All mix) • DJs: Groovy workshop • Open: 9pm–1am • Admission: Men: ¥2,500/1D, Women: ¥2,000/1D (¥free between 9pm–10pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 • 25 (FRI) GRAND CAFE Osaka Safari (Hip Hop/R&B) • DJs: George, Shimotaku, Malu, B-Ball, Bullset, 551 • Open: 8pm • Admission: ¥2,000/1D • Where: Shinsaibashi • Tel: 06-6213-0031 • TROOPCAFE Harvey Japan Tour (House) • Guest DJ: Harvey • DJs: Telly, Long Slo-Distance, Akeem The Dream, Yamassan + more • Open: 10pm • Admission: ¥3,500/1D (WF ¥3,000/1D, ADV: ¥2,800/1D) • Where: Sannomiya • Tel: 078-321-3130 • 26 (SAT) OWL OSAKA Night Party feat. SYNC (All mix) • DJs: Groovy workshop • Open: 9pm–1am • Admission: Men: ¥2,500/1D, Women: ¥2,000/1D (¥free between 9pm–10pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 • 27 (SUN) OWL OSAKA Night Party feat. Lady2Love (All mix) • DJs: Groovy workshop • Open: 9pm–1am • Admission: Men: ¥2,500/1D, Women: ¥2,000/1D (¥free between 9pm–10pm) • Where: Umeda • Tel: 06-6362-0822 •



Live beats, Latin treats Alma Latina, Umeda Text & photos: Trevor Mogg

ALMA LATINA, UMEDA • Kodama Leisure Bldg. B1F, 1-14 Dojima-cho, Kita-ku, Umeda (See URL below for map, or KS Umeda map D2 for access) • Open: Every day, 5pm till late • Tel: 06-6312-0066 • • | may 2012


he latest addition to Umeda’s entertainment scene comes in the form of Alma Latina, a spacious bar/restaurant/club combo located along one of the district’s busiest shopping streets. Owned by long-time Kansai resident Arturo Azuara — better known to his friends as Aru — Alma Latina opened just a month ago, with the live music venue fast making a name for itself. Aru, who hails from the Mexican coastal city of Puerto Vallarta, has owned a number of Latin bar/restaurant establishments in Osaka over the years and has used his extensive experience to come up with what he believes is his most exciting venue yet. The dapper dresser visits most nights, coming straight from his day job as president of an import company. But don’t for a moment think Alma Latina is some kind of half-hearted part-time endeavour for Aru. Have a chat with the guy and you quickly realise that the 36-year-old is passionate about his night-time venture and has gone all out in an effort to make it stand apart from other entertainment establishments in the area. “We put on live music shows every night of the week, starting at around 6:30pm,” he tells KS. “And there’s no entry charge for it.” Free live music. Every night. There can’t be many places in Osaka like that, surely. He currently has about six musicians on his books — from Argentina, Peru, the Philippines and Japan — all of whom perform regularly at Alma Latina. Opening daily at 5pm, Aru’s place offers an ideal spot for dinner, with popular Mexican fare such as nachos, burritos and tacos on offer, alongside a decent range of other dishes. Most of the items on the menu cost between ¥500 and ¥1,200 yen. Be sure to give the chicken, pork and beef pie (¥800) a try, baked by none other than Aru’s mother, Monica, the resident cook, who Aru considers the soul of and inspiration for the business — Alma Latina means ‘Latin soul’. “The chicken, pork and beef pie is her speciality,” Aru says proudly. “It’s the most popular dish here and unique to Alma Latina.” I soon realised why after trying it for myself — the light, melt-in-your-mouth pastry combined wonderfully with the perfectly spiced ingredients. Finished off with a drizzle of Monica’s special sauce, this is surely the perfect pre-drink snack — just what you need to soak up those tequila shots, and hopefully help prevent you from keeling over on the dance floor later when you try to pull that daring dance move you haven’t quite perfected. Speaking of drinks, Alma Latina’s happy hour(s), running daily from 5pm to 7:30pm, sees two drinks offered for the price of one, with, for example, draft beer going for ¥500, regular tequila shots at ¥500 and the head-busting premium tequila shots setting you back ¥1,000 a time. Presumably you won’t need too many of them to get you through the night. The drinks menu offers a decent range of cocktails too, priced at ¥700 each. There’s seating for 70, and when things really kick off, which Aru says can happen as early as 8pm on the weekends, the staff — a multi-lingual, super-genki bunch hailing from Mexico, Colombia, Mongolia and Japan — are quick to set aside some of the chairs and tables, allowing party-goers to bust some moves on the sizeable dance floor. Alma Latina puts on occasional special events with entry costing between ¥2,000 and ¥3,000, and this usually includes dinner and one drink. Check the venue’s website to see what’s coming up. The place is also available for private gatherings and wedding parties, and one can well imagine that a location of this size, with its dance space too, could be popular for such events. Aru is understand­ ably excited about his new venture, and hopes people will visit to see what it’s all about. “Sure, it’s predominantly a Latin restaurant/bar with Latin music, but the main thing here is that everyone can come along and have a great time,” he says. “Come to meet friends, grab dinner, have a few drinks and listen to some fantastic Latin music — live music.”


may 2012 |

KS Classifieds is a free service to non-commercial advertisers — private individuals, community initiatives and so on — and will not be accepting gratis postings from businesses. A new service for commercial posters will be announced shortly on 関西シーン・クラシファイズは企業広告の掲載を中止しています。 再開まで今しばらくお待ち頂けます様、皆様のご理解とご協力を宜しくお願い致します。 詳しい内容につきましては、ホームページをご覧下さい。

Room/flat share SHARE MATE WANTED IN ESAKA I am JF live in 2LDK apartment at 8mins walk to Midosuji Esaka stn. 10mins to Umeda by subway. Rent ¥40,000/m (utility including) Gay friend desirble. Email: JF LOOKS 4 A FEMALE ROOM MATE Jf looks 4 a female room mate in Kita-tatsumi, Osaka. Available 7/20-12/25. ¥30,000 deposit (Refund) ¥49,000/M (elec. water,gas & net incl.) 6 tatami sized wooden fl. w/ furn. (Bed, table etc.) 2min. from the subway st. The apt is new building. Minimum 3 mons stay prefer. Email: Female 3LDK APT IN MORINOMIYA Priv rm avail for Jap Fem. Com area share w/ JF fluent in Eng. Fully furn. apt w/ washer/dryer, wifi, fridge, & balcony. No key money. ¥45k/mo+ ¥20k ref. dep. roomsha. Email: CENTRAL OSAKA - ROOM MATE WANTED Central loc in Matsuyamachi. 5 min bike ride to Shinsaibashi & Osaka Castle. 10 min ride to Umeda. Share w/ 2 awesome guys in a furn apt. Relaxed easy going people. Nonsmoking apt. Contact Marty 07066868490. http://liveinosaka. Email: chuppi2011@ 2DK APt IN HIGASHIMIKUNI 39sq meters, immaculate condition, fully furnished, all western style. Large kitchen & balcony w/ storage unit, large bath. 8 mins to Midosuji line, 10 mins to Hankyu. Trendy, upmarket area. ¥85,000/m + dep. No key, no guarantor req. 090-4903-6249 Email: LOOKING FOR ROOMMATES IN KOBE There are 2rooms available

for sharing in a house which has wonderful view of Kobe City from upper side. The house is loc in Kitano Area about 12 mins walk to Sannomiya Sta. I’m a JP guy. Email:

JAPANESE ROOMMATE IN UMEDA! American man seeks a female Jap roommate to share a room in Umeda. We can live like good friends & also exchange lang. The rent is ¥30,000+ utilities. The loc is great & has a nice view. E: HOUSEMATE WANTED Newly renovated classic Jap house in Shimogyoku, Kyoto city. Loc at 1 min walk to Nishiojinanajo bus stop, & 10 mins bike ride to Kyoto stn. for more info & pics, check the URL below, 2903125486.html APtIN KAKO GAWA Owner of nice apt 3LDK w/bath toilet in Kakogawa near JR kakogawa st 16min walk seeks a family or share friends. Decent quiet area convinient for shopping sisght seening old temple shrin mountais park ets. for more ask by mail. Email: momotaropga@ SHARE MATE WANTED! 10mins bike ride to Namba. 5mins walk Ebisucho stn. (Sakaisuji-line ) Fully furn. aircon, internet. 4 bedrooms house. Shared kitchen shower toilet all utilities. Rent: ¥51K/m (inc expence) You need a month deposit (refundable) Passport Tel: 09056436106 E: SHARE MATE WANTED NEAR NAMBA Our house is at 9mins walk to Kintetsu Uehonmachi stn. 10mins bike ride to Namba. Rent ¥47,000/m (less than 6mon+¥4,000) expence ¥8,000/m Furnished. Air-con, net. Room key. A month deposit. ID w/

pic. GATE Co,. LTD. Mayumi 09017768184 E:

SHORT STAY/VAC HOME OSAKA Conveniently loc traditional small house 3 stops from Tennoji Stn, south Osaka City. Furn, clean, cozy! Available for short monthly, weekly & daily stays. 8-min walk from JR Kami or 20-min walk from Hirano Subway Stns. Affordable! Visit our website & send an email! Email: LOOKING FOR FEMALE ROOMMATE We are 3 lady living near subway awaza area by walk about 3mins. Good area, 24H post office, supermarket near by, looking for 1 lady to share together, each have private room w/ key, furniture. Email:

Employment SEEKING NATIVE ENGLISH TEACHERS Seeking native English speakers at public high schools in Osaka prefecture. The contract period is from the middle of May 2012 to February 2013.If you are interested in teaching, enthusiastic, self-motived, hold a valid visa and BA degree, please send your resume Email: WEBMASTER Looking for a parttime freelance webmaster to build & maintain a simple website (mostly in English) for small business. Must be resident in Kobe/Osaka area & work from home. Very flexible. Pay depends on amount of work involved. E: ASSISTENT COOK AND STAFF Italian restaurant in Honmachi

seeks kitchen & hall staff. Tel: 06 6266 1577

NON-NATIVE JAP SPEAKER NEEDED Looking for a Beginner/ Intermediate level non-native speaker of Jap. Join practice teaching class in May June for Jap teacher training school in Kyoto. ¥1000/hr. great opprntunity for learning Jap . If you’re interested send me CV on OUTGOING JAP RECEPTIONIST Outgoing friendly receptionist needed to work 5 days a week at a small English school in Otsu 18 min from Kyoto Stn on the Biwako Line. Fluent English is not necessary but some is needed. Very friendly atmosphere. Please inquire by e-mail. E: PART-TIME COOK/BARTENDER Looking for a part-time cook & bartender to work at our int’l restaurant & bar in Tamatsukuri 5:30-10 p.m. Mon-Wed & later on Thurs-Sat. Proper visa req. Send resume w/pic. Email: FASHION WRITERS & PHOTOGR. WANTED Interested in working w/ us for a new Fashion Magazine? Looking for: Translators, Journalists, Photographers, Illustrators, Graphic Designers, Editors & so on. Very int’l team! More info by mail or phone. Tel: 090-1586-6024 Email: FLYERWORK ! We need foreigners to hand out flyers for our English conversation schools located on the HANKYU Kobe line. We work 7-9am weekday mornings paid at ¥2,000 +¥500 travel allowance. Motivated flyer staff will be paid an extra ¥5,000/new student joining our schools. E:

50 CLASSIFIEDS BAR STAFF WANTED Staff wanted for a small newly opened bar in Sannomiya. Must be friendly, energetic & positive. No experience ness. Part time, evening shifts. Flexible schedules. Job description includes flyer work, bartending. Contact for details. CARTOONIST FOR SCHOOL Cartoonist, Web designer, & Marketing Consultant looking to work for a small foreign owned school in or around Kobe. I have a visa & I’m available immediately, so pls contact me if interested. Serious inquiries only. EXPERIENCED W/F ENG TEACHER Experienced TEFL certified White Female English Teacher looking for full or part time work w/children or adults. I have 2 yrs experience w/ all levels of English & have a full visa. I live on the Juso Hankyu line. I’m fun, happy & energetic! 08047009183 Email: LOOKING FOR WORK IN OSAKA Experienced English teacher, female, American, looking for work in & around Osaka. Over 6 yrs experience teaching ESL to kids & adults. Conversational in Jap (JLPT2). Looking for private students or company work. E: TRANSLATION/GRAPHIC DESIGN If you are looking for translation (Jpn-Eng & Eng-Jpn), graphic design, & illustrations for your job or personal use, I will be available for you. If you are interested, pls contact me & I can show you some of my previous works, & we can dicuss how I can help you. Email: fukushima_ JOB/SPONSOR I lived 3 yrs in Tokyo & then I moved back to Europe. Now I want to move again to Japan, so I’m looking for a job or sponsor. I’m a Webdesigner & I can speak Jap, Eng, German & Italian. So if somebody can help me, feel free to contact me anytime. E: EXPERIENCED ENGLISH TEACHER CELTA-qualified teacher w/ 13 yrs experience incl business skills lessons on topics such as presentations, meetings, negotiations & business writing seeks full/part-time position within 1 hr of Kobe by train. Nathan Downing. Ph: 080 3868 9807. E: | may 2012 NEED AN ENGLISH TEACHER ? Experienced American teacher w/ a permanent visa is looking for a parttime or full-time teaching job in Kansai. I have many years experience in teaching Adults & Kids, all levels. 09039294994. Email: dambadam@ DESIGN WORK If you need images & illustrations for your website or print project I can help you. My rates are low & I’m aiming to satisfy clients so that they will recommend me. I run a design blog so check out the link below for examples of my work. Leave a comment there & I’ll contact you. KITCHEN WORK WANTED CHEF COOK!! I am looking for a job working in the kitchen, English guy, I have experience cooking & bar work, I can work long term, I have a spouse visa, contact me E: LOOKING FOR A JOB IN OSAKA I’m 22 yrs old girl from germany. I live in Osaka, Namba. I’m looking for a job near Namba. Kitchen, bars, household or teaching would be nice. I attended a vocational college. I speak german, english & french. My visa is a spouse visa & valid for 3yrs. E: ENGLISH FRENCH TEACHER 28 yrs old french man. Looking for a part time job as english- french teacher. TOEIC 905, fluent in jap. Proper visa. Pls feel free to contact anytime. Email:

For Sale General SAYONARA SALE NEAR OSAKA Furniture, appliances, electronics, & a new mountain bike for sale now. I am going back to America on May 4th but I have to leave my apartment May 1st. http://sayonaranakayamadera. Anthony. E: KDDI PREPAID CELLPHONE Pantech PT002: 3-inch display w/ 0.7-inch OLED sub screen, 2MP camera, IPX5/7 waterproof, microSDHC slot. ¥3000 of call time

expires June 2nd, charger incl. Top up in any convenience store. Yours for ¥6000. E:

PS3 GAMES Selling the following PS3 games, all Eng lang in excellent cond. Catherine (¥3000) Portal 2 (¥2500) Killzone 2 (¥2000) Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition (¥1500) Email: SAYONARA SALE Washing machine, fridge, book shelves, drawers, table, coffee table, computer table, hotpot, dishes, dining table /chairs, computer chair. Need to pickup near Hankyu Nishinomiya Kitaguchi. Email: KOTATSU/LIVING ROOM TABLE Jap heated living room table size: 118cm x 80cm x 41cm. It’s big enough for two people to sit side-by-side! Can be used as a normal table as well, of course. I paid ¥13,000 for kotatsu & ¥4,000 for futon Selling both for ¥3,500 OBO. Email: LUMINOUS™ METAL SHELVES Adjustable all-purpose metal shelves! A standard piece for any Jap apt. I bought them new 1.5 years ago. Big one: 74cm x 34cm x 122cm Small one: 45 cm x 20cm x 91cm Selling the big one for ¥1,000; small one for ¥500; both for ¥1,200! Email: AIR COOLER Summer is coming & I have a CORONA air cooler for sale. 8 mons old. Plugs into a normal power socket. Air cooler (CORONA) Remote. Window mountable (sits inside you window ¥20,000 will deliver within Osaka. Price neg Pls call Bryn on 090-5255-5818 AIR CONDITIONER Spare air con to sell. CORONA Pure Wind. Medium size (H750mm, W350mm, D250mm) incl. mountable device for a window sill or at any open window. 10mos old, still under warranty for 2mos. Will deliver anywhere in the Osaka area. ¥22,000. Price neg. Email: DUMBBELL WEIGHTS & MATS Pairs of hand weights (dumbbells): 10 kilos x 2 ¥2,000. 8 kilos x 2 ¥1,500. 5 kilos x 2 - ¥1,000. 3 kilos x 2 - ¥500. 2 kilos x 2 -¥50o or all 10 weights for ¥4,000. Also, two yoga mats ¥1,000/ ea. Available for pick up in Nada

ward, Kobe. Email: sara.biondi@

SAKAI CITY FURNITURE SALE 2 Wooden frame single beds & mattresses ¥20,000 each or best offer. Both beds have storage drawers. 1 Baby bed ¥5,000, I shoe box ¥5000 Fax Cabinet ¥5000. Buyer is responsible for pick up. For more info. Email: SOFTBANK PREPAID PHONE FOR SELL White Panasonic 740SC Softbank prepaid phone for ¥4000, in Kyoto. Bought about 10 days ago, comes w/ adapter (normally sold for ¥1500), the prepaid contract, box, about 3 weeks left of unlimited sms/mms & money for calls too. Works perfectly, like new. Email: OSAKA CITY SALE I’m clearing out a few items to make space. Items incl: bookshelves, table & chairs, electric hot plate. For more info look at the following link: 102951421614401091707/SaleOsaka Email: WORD PROCESSOR Sharp word processor w/printer, “Shoin Processor” WD-Y340, asking for ¥980 obo E-mail: SURFBOARDS FOR SALE Cheap used & new surfboards for sale. Email for pics & prices. E: AndyDunstan@ SAYONARA SALE Women’s Clothing, Footwear, Books, Many household items must go asap! Very cheap almost free. Email: cangirl_1@ SALES FOR SPACE I have a baby car (almost like new, black), a Hitachi vacuum (very good cond, green) to sell to free some space. I can send you their pics on request. Email: BEER/DRINK COOLERS Keep candrinks cold w/ these high-quality, neoprene drink/beer holders. ¥500 for one less for larger orders. Email: AMP FOR SALE Fender guitar studio amp for sale. For pics & info www. Email:


may 2012 |

Computers ASPIRE ONE D250 10” Display, Atom N280 CPU, 2GB RAM, 320 GB HDD, Battery capacity still about 70%. Boxed/reasonable con - power cord slightly chewed! Windows 7 Ultimate (Eng) clean install. Ubuntu works out-of-the-box, too. ¥10,000 Email: PENTIUM4 FOR SALE P4 w/ 80GB HDD, 2GB RAM working well w/ WinXP or Linux in engh. Have a keyboard & mouse. Asking ¥10,000 or best offer. Email: IPAD FIRST MODEL -LITTLE USED Want to sell as I don’t use it. Sensible offers pls to yesidowealth@gmail. com MAC POWERBOOK W/SOFTWARE Mac Powerbook Excellent cond battery still keeps good charge. Running osX 10.5.8. 60g HD. Will inc Microsoft Office, iWork ¥23,000 firm. Email: roadracer_always@ SONY VAIO F SERIES (VGNFW94FS) Sony Vaio F Series 16.4” Full HD screen. Core2Duo P8700 (2.53 Ghz) + 4GB RAM. 320GB HDD, Blu-ray dvd burner combo, ATI HD4650 1GB graphics. Original soft case & bluetooth mouse. Extended warranty until this Dec 2012. Really good cond. ¥65,000 OBO Email:

Vehicles SUZUKI AZ 50 Suzuki AZ50 Scooter good little local commuter scooter. I’ve ridden this daily to go to a part time job & to get around. Runs good it is a 2 stroke and has a 5.5 liter tank comes w/ a 1/2 shell helmet ¥25,000. Email: roadracer_always@ 21 SPEED MTB MARIN COUNTY I bought about 10 yrs ago, rode for 4 yrs & been in storage since. Just overhauled & adjusted. Re-oiled & greased, new chain & gel seat cover. Asking ¥20,000. ready to go, I live in Nara city. Jim 090-7118-3762 Email:

Others WTB HOME BEER BREWING MATERIALS! I’d love to make some of my own beer this summer. I’m

looking for the materials necessary. Don’t want to pay a ton on shipping important them. If you have them, I’d love to buy them off you. Or if you know somewhere local I can buy them for a good price, let me know! E:

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN BOOKS Looking for HOUGHTON MIFFIN science, math books & also some other subjects to buy for 1st & 2nd grade. My son is in the first grade. Email:

Pets KITTEN FOR ADOPTION Around 4mo old. Very sweet, feisty brown tabby calico female. Will come vaccinated & tested for disease, but not spayed. Litter box trained. Small adoption fee. Pls contact for more info & pics! Email: ADOPT/FOSTER A CAT OR A DOG Japan Cat Network has cats/dogs rescued w/ great responsibility from Tohoku & other areas of Japan. We are looking for loving-responsible foster/adoptive homes. Contact us to find a “fur-friend” and save a life! Inquiry or ask for help if you want to do rescue work in your community. Email:

Travel USA CROSS DRIVE Looking for a partner to drive from Miami to Vancouver. Looking for non smoker, social drinker, educated, individual, worldly person, open minded etc, clean, intellectual, friendly , driver to share expenses of gas, accommodation in the way. Expected travel between May- June Email:

Announcements COME TOGETHER This is a call to all those who love the beautiful rock music of the past as much as I do and have some sort of musical talent w/ a hope to use it. Why not start a band? Together we could start something amazing. If you’re interested at all, don’t be shy & send me an email. E:

WANT TO PLAY AFL? Osaka Dingoes AFL club are looking for players, supporters & umpires. Come & join us. Email: ELVIS TRIBUTE ARTIST FOR HIRE Do you have an event coming up & need some fun entertainment? Consider hiring ELVIS liven up your guests! For more info contact James at 090-9117-3901 or send and email! Email: TWO PERSON SHOW ‘The Grain of Nature’ Christine Flint Sato & Hiro Sato. Christine Flint Sato shows abstract sumi ink paintings on scrolls. Hiro Sato shows photos using 19th Century wet plate collodion technique. May 23rd-28th 11-7. Gofusha Gallery, Nara 0742 22 8162. gallery.html EATING TOUR IN OSAKA I organise an eating tour in juso in osaka. We are visiting, tring to find many tasty restaurants w/ incredible cheap price. Pls contact me if you would like to join. Email: matsuurahideo@ OSAKA BOOK GROUP’S MEETING We will hold our next meeting on May 6th. “News of a Kidnapping” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez will be discussed at a cafe near Shinsaibashi. Let’s share a nice & book-themed Sunday afternoon. Pls contact for more info. E: PIANO MAN Pianist, living in Osaka, available for gigs every single day after 6 pm. Any private parties, gigs or cocktails. Email: pianoosaka@ KANSAI BULLDOGS CRICKET CLUB We are currently looking for players for the new season. Playing regular matches around Osaka/Kobe area. All equipment provided. Players of all levels welcome. Email us or call Jason on 09039957908. Email:

Friendship AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL IN OSAKA We are looking for new players & supporters. If you are interested in practicing Eng whilst getting fit & making new friends at the same time, you should come along! We cater to people of all abilities & draw

players from the entire Kansai region. Email:

BADMINTON! I am looking for someone love playing badminton. Let’s play badminton together! Email: SOMEONE TO ENJOY LIFE I enjoy living in Japan, wouldn’t it be nicer to share it w/ someone else? Me, yasashi & warmhearted WM is looking for a relationship wi/ a JF living around Osaka. If you search for the same, why not give it a try? E: WF LOOKING FOR JM Sweet, smart, laid-back, sexy, single white F looking for JM for a casual or long-term relationship. If things go along well, we can move on further. If you’re caring, sincere, fit, fun-loving, write me back. E: LOOKING FOR EMI We met a few years before. I would like to meet you again. French guy. Email: BRITISHMAN SEEKS JF Britishman 36, Visiting Kyoto city from 28th April to May 2nd. Looking to meet someone to chat, eat & drink w/, maybe more. Friendly & down to earth. If you have nothing to do in Golden week, pls send me a mail we could meet. Email: stellanoia@ MEET IN OKAYAMA PREF. Or Fukuyama. I’m a Jap woman, 35yrs/o, seeking my soul mate. If you’re a native English speaker, or Jap man who is interested in foreign countries, pls contact me. Email: DISCREET RELATIONSHIP Nice & kind man on his 33’s looking for a lady (single/married) for a discreet relationship. Lets have fun! Email: WHITE MAN SEEKING BLACK WOMAN USA white man looking for nice kind fun loving black woman for friendship & possible relationship or fun. Me 40yrs old, single & in good shape. Enjoy art, travel, exploring, having a drink & so on. E: ATTRACTIVE M IS LOOKING FOR F I’m searching a nice partner in Kansai. I’m from Europe & teaching here lang & social subjects Interested

52 CLASSIFIEDS in cooking, art, Karaoke, writing & joking. Email:

LOOKING FOR A CROSSDRESSER OR TS I’m in Osaka & looking for a transexual or crossdresser for some mutual no strings attached fun. Toss me an email and we can chat some more together. E: wantingfunzpls@ LOOK FOR FRIENDS Late 30’s JF look for friends to find new world. Had lots of foreign friends but most of them left Japan, hope to meet new people. Email: tulipyear@ RELATIONSHIP WANTED Lonely single WM 40’s is looking for a long term relationship w/ a kind JF. I’m friendly, caring & have lot of humor. If you are out there, pls don’t hesitate. But pls, no casual dating interested people. Email: WESTERN MEN MEET JAP WOMEN For dating, romance, marriage. TMA is an inexpensive, confidential, effective matchmaking service. For profiles & pic of current members & free pamphlet in Jap or English call Tel: 0120-937-909 TMA Email: LOOKING FOR A FEMALE FRIEND. A friendly American man is looking for a female friend to go out for a chat & tea, festivals, events, lang exchange, eating out, & just be good friends & enjoy life together. Email: SCUBA DIVING MATE Shall we go scubadiving to wakayama this summer? Email: matsuurahideo@ HI CATHEY We met in juso 2010 may. I want to see you again dear. Pls reply me if you see this. I’m j-guy. Email: SEEKING JF COMING TO AUS! Aussie guy 36 yrs old looking for JF coming to Australia. Currently living in Surfers Paradise, thinking to visit? Lets chat first, see how it goes & take it from there. Drop me an email if you are interested. Email: LOOKING FOR FRIEND I live also in osaka since a fews years if you are a time during your day off we can spend time around osaka drink | may 2012 coffee I do also photography Im french guy 39 y/o good looking blond blue eyes & good education speak english & jap. Email:

LOOKING FOR A TRANSVESTITE Looking for a transvestite friend to enjoy chat & good time. Email: SMART NICE HUMOR WF IS SOUGHT Nice, sweet, easygoing, smart, funny sci-minded bilingual JM seeks a sweet non-Jap woman for friend & more to enjoy life, good times. The more she be smart, openminded, smart, the better for us to get along well; for harmonious relationship & longer; commitment. Won’t cheat. Email: LOOKING FOR FRIENDS! I’m JF & living in Nishinomiya city, Hyogo prefecture. I’m looking for native Eng speakers to expand my vision in the world. I’d like to have long relationship. Email: audrey.u.k@ ONCE A MONTH GIRLFRIEND My name is Paul & I live in Kyoto alone. I teach are sometimes & want to meet a mature, adult real woman for laughter, & enjoyment. Im a good cook. Meeting once a month to have good conversations, food & wine & more. Stimulation an objective. Email: LOOKING FOR A SWEET LADY Canadian Male, early 30es, looking for a pretty & good quality JF (under 38). Said to be sexy, handsome, fit, knowledgeable, quite warm hearted, respectful. I’m into reg. training, I hope to give my remaining E to my sweet one. DISCREET DATING.Handsome man on his 40’s looking for a lady (single or not) for a discreet relationship from 27-45 years old. Possibly more.| Email: LOOKING FOR FOREIGNIER WOMAN Im a boy under 40 also from europe (caucassian type) good looking & presentation Im looking for gilfriend between 35/45 (only europeen type please not jap) for discret & serious relation I live in japan since fews years. Email: FRIENDSHIP! One Canadian & one Australian guy looking for two girls to join us for drinks. Just friendship

& drinking, nothing more! Hoping to find some nice girls who like talking over a few beers! Email:

If you have any interest in it, pls do contact me. I will be happy to study Jap w/ you in Umeda. Email:

FRIENDS W/ SIMILAR INTERESTS I’m a 31 yo male & I’d like to meet more Jap people of similar interests. I’m studying Jap and I’d love to help you w/ English. Email me & let’s see if we have anything it common & let’s meet up! Email:

ITALIAN & JAP I’m 21 yrs old from Italy, I live in Kobe & I wanna make a friend (female) who lives nearby Kobe & exchange our lang. I wanna learn Jap, let’s do it. I will teach you Italian, we can meet in cafè shops, If interested e-mail me Email: ENG-JAP IN UMEDA-KOBE ! American teacher is looking for a Jap friend for lang exchange & friendship in Umeda & sometimes in Kobe. I hope to practice my Jap & help you w/ your Eng. E: AUSSIES KIWIS IN KANSAI A Jap Overseas-Korean male living in Higashi Osaka seeks a lot of Aussies Kiwis for friendship, lang exchange in Strine. True-blue strine reminds me of staying in Brisbane, Australia. E: JAPANESE CLASS & LANGUAGE Osaka on Mon night! Volunteers help your study for Jap class. We have a lang exchange program at the same class. We can accept any level. ¥400/J.class, ¥200/ Join us! Email: SPANISH - JAP IN OSAKA A 30 yo JF who posted an ad already but my e-mail add was wrong. This is my correct one. Hope to find a study buddy. E: LANGUAGE EXCHANGE Hello, I am looking for language exchange friends who would like join Language Exchange party. M/F anyone. Please send me a friends request on facebook. Email: kansaifriends HOW ABOUT LEARNING TOEIC How about taking a free sample lesson about TOEIC? I can help you w/ good score in Kyoto. Pls keep in touch w/ me. Email:

Lang. Exchange I’AM A JAP GUY Nnow I’m in Mandarin garden, as a tutor, now, I wanna exchange lang! Email: ENGLISH FOR YAKITORI I teach you English & you let me work at your yakitori shop in Kobe. Anyone? Email: ENGLISH Im Jap guy. I’m into studying english now. Living in Osaka. Looking 4 a exchange partner. E: JAP/ENG EXCHANGE I must improve my Jap lang skills! I’m a female Canadian teacher looking for a weekly lang exchange partner. I have some basic skills already. Female only pls. Week nights anywhere between Kawaramachi/ Umeda Hankyu line is fine. Email: AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL IN OSAKA We are looking for new players & supporters. If you are interested in practicing Eng whilst getting fit & making new friends at the same time, you should come along! We cater to people of all abilities & draw players from the entire Kansai region. Email: LANG. EXCHANGE & FRIENDSHIP English guy who is sincere & very patient would like one lady who is kind & can help me improve my poor Jap, we can enjoy the beautiful spring time now helping each other in two interesting worlds im free sometimes SUN MON Email: LET’S CHALLENGE SOMETHING NEW Why don’t you take advantage of your time to improve Jap abilities?

More KS classifieds online! Because of space, we are unable to print all classified ads. Visit www. for more ads and to place your own.

Kansai Scene #144 May 2012  

Getting Japan wrong / Diving in Japan / Fukushima fallout

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