Thanks to Japan Society’s Blog, a bunch of neat bits of Japan-related goings-on.
*”Wafrica”, a collaboration between a Cameroonian car designer and a 150-year-old Japanese kimono maker, showed some gorgeous and innovative designs recently at Omotesandô Hills. I think they’re fantastic, but cannot help thinking that if it were white people combining kimono with traditional/historical European fashions, it would be denounced (from at least some corners) as Orientalist. Apparently blacks can’t be Orientalist… or can they?
*Apparently, manga character Professor Munakata (宗像先生) has been going on archaeological-related adventures for many years now, touching upon extremely controversial subjects, such as territorial disputes between Japan and Korea, but has never before been to the West. His latest adventure touches upon the controversy surrounding the Elgin (Parthenon) Marbles, but from what I gather from the article in the Economist, it’s more about some totally crazy schemes to steal the Rosetta Stone, destroy St. Paul’s, and such, that Munakata-sensei has to foil. I wonder how directly they really actually address the controversies.
*Growing up, my father always told me you can find anything in New York if you look hard enough. Well, to a great extent, Okinawan culture has been the exception, so far as I’ve seen. I am not aware of any Okinawan restaurants, certainly no shimauta (live Okinawan folk music) bars, and I’m not even sure if there’s anywhere to study Okinawan language or sanshin except perhaps through private arrangements (by contrast, here in Hawaii, while there’s no real sanshin schools per se that have their own buildings and everything, the University offers classes, and there’s a Hawaii Okinawa Cultural Center that has its own land and buildings and everything). Yet, getting to the point, apparently we do have Junko Fisher, who has started teaching Okinawan dance, and Okinawan history through dance, at libraries throughout Queens. I still don’t know where to go to get my andaagi fix, but it’s a start.
*Meanwhile, the NY Times has finally put out a review of the “Samurai in New York” exhibit still up at the Museum of the City of New York until Nov 7. They write: ‘“Samurai” is one of those small, in-the-hallway exhibitions at the Museum of the City of New York that delivers more than you’d expect,’ and I couldn’t agree more.