tue 27/07/2021

Japan

10 Questions for novelist Mieko Kawakami

Mieko Kawakami sits firmly amongst the Japanese literati for her sharp and pensive depictions of life in contemporary Japan. Since the translation of Breasts and Eggs (2020), she has also become somewhat of an indie fiction icon in the UK, with her...

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Carlos Ghosn: The Last Flight - Storyville, BBC Four review - the tycoon who fell to earth

The extraordinary story of motor industry executive Carlos Ghosn is a heady combination of power, money, corruption and international politics, with a Mission: Impossible-style ending that carries it over the finishing tape in dramatic style. It...

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After Life, National Theatre review - thanks for the memories

Limbo, in Jack Thorne’s latest play, is a room lined ceiling-high with drawers, a sort of morgue rebooted as a vast filing system. It apparently provides comfy accommodation for the souls waiting to pass over, and its activities are run in tight...

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Album: Scotch Rolex - TEWARI

Ask someone in the early 2000s to predict which cities were going to be influential in electronic music in coming years, and it’s unlikely many would have picked Kampala, Uganda. But here we are. Across African countries, vernacular electronic forms...

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True Mothers review - how many people does it take to raise a child?

On the 30th floor of a Tokyo apartment building, a charming little boy brushes his teeth, watched over by his smiling mother who sings to him gently. He’s full of joy - today his dad’s coming with them on the walk to nursery school. The little...

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Polly Barton: Fifty Sounds review - what is lost in translation

Fifty Sounds is translator Polly Barton’s first novel, conceived as part of Fitzcarraldo’s annual essay prize. The book begins with listed Japanese words or phrases (katekanas), translated into poetic English, setting the reader up for the central...

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First Person: violinist Abigail Young on getting back to her Japanese orchestra in Covid year

February 2020: an item a long way down the agenda of the nightly news caused me to remark, fairly casually, “I wonder if that will affect me”. I had already heard about Covid-19, the new virus emerging from China; now it was spreading...

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Blu-ray: Tokyo Story / The Flavour of Green Tea Over Rice

Yasujirō Ozu’s The Flavour of Green Tea Over Rice and Tokyo Story were released in 1952 and 1953 respectively. Tokyo Story regularly features in critics' Top 10 lists and was voted Best Film of all time in a 2012 poll of film directors in Sight...

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Family Romance, LLC review - the chameleon blues

Werner Herzog’s appearance in The Mandalorian paid for this deadpan, documentary-like slice of extreme Japanese life, suggesting how the director’s amusingly doomy Teutonic persona now dominates his own cinema.Family Romance is a real company which...

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Keiichiro Hirano: A Man review - the best kind of thriller

Keiichiro Hirano’s A Man has all the trappings of a gripping detective story: a bereaved wife, a dead man whose name belongs to someone else, mysterious coded letters, a lawyer intent on uncovering the truth. Together with a wilfully understated...

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Blu-ray: Funeral Parade of Roses

There is a memorable scene in Toshio Matsumoto’s Funeral Parade of Roses (1969), in which a group of stoned hippies and cross-dressers force each other, one-by-one, to walk the length of a line of tape that runs along the floor. Those who...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Bach, Handel, Pärt

 Bach: St Matthew Passion The Choir of King’s College Cambridge, Academy of Ancient Music/Sir Stephen Cleobury (King’s College Cambridge)Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki (BIS)Both Masaaki Suzuki and the late lamented Sir Stephen Cleobury...

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