Metropolis Issue 841

May 7, 2010
Aquarius

People often remember that Aquarius is ruled by Uranus, that wild and crazy planet of freedom and revolutionary change. You’re the one who creates the cutting edge, leads technology to new vistas, and joins causes to aid humanity. But while this is going on, who is helping you? Saturn is the previous ruler of Aquarius. ...

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In Other News

Ex-K1 kickboxer Masato, 31, and “gravure” idol Misako Yasuda, 27, are this year’s recipients of the Good Dental and Dietary Education Awards, which are decided by the Japan Dental Association and toothpaste makers… Actress Yuko Takeuchi (Golden Slumber) will appear in three episodes of the American TV series Flash Forward, marking the 30-year-old’s overseas acting ...

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Mediabox

SENSE OF HUMOR OPTIONAL Regarding “No Belt Required” (The Last Word, April 16): What a disgrace. Miyamoto Mushahsi [sic] is turning in his grave. The author obviously fits the description of stupid white foreigner. This article is an insult to sports and to martial arts. Running around hitting kids and adults with a sponge sword ...

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The Negi

Fair, Balanced and Factless

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Features

Fate takes Sahel Rosa from a bombed-out Iranian town to a leading role in Japan’s entertainment world

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Photo of the Day

Pressing the flesh at the annual naki-zumo festival at Sensoji temple. By Christopher Simons.

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Close Ups

Japanese women have been flocking to Korea for spa treatments recently, encouraged as much by the favorable exchange rate as the appeal of a novel approach to wellness. The country’s spas may be famous for their body scrubs (akasuri in Japanese), but jet-setting beauty junkies are plumping for another treatment: mugwort steam saunas (yomogi mushi). ...

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Upfront Extra

What: Paradise Who: Dancer Yumi Yoshimoto, founder of performance group Flowers Where: Nemoto Shipyard, Kawasaki When: May 8-9, 7pm Why: Yoshimoto has been performing Paradise since 2000, roping in different collaborators each time. For the latest version, she’ll be accompanied by avant-garde cellist Hiromichi Sakamoto and percussionist Kosmas Kapitza. The unorthodox location was picked for ...

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Close Ups

With its bubbly texture and thick-furled leaves, salt leaf looks pretty odd, but that hasn’t stopped organic co-op Kunitachi Farms from selling 50,000 packs of the stuff a month. This variety of ice plant, native to South Africa, literally drinks the salt from the soil, giving it a naturally salty flavor. Eaten as-is or in ...

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Scorpio

While being psychic can be more than it’s cracked up to be, there’s still a degree of patience required as you wait for your next evolutionary leap. If you’re wondering why you aren’t quite as interested in what you “should” be doing, remember that the old paradigm is slipping away and the new one isn’t ...

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Autofile

If you’ve ever wondered what the commuter of the future will ride to work, Honda might just have the answer. The company recently unveiled the latest prototype of its EV-neo electric scooter, which it plans to lease to businesses from December. The EV-neo is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with a range of 30km. ...

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The Small Print

Hey, wait a minute… A survey by the BBC and the Yomiuri Shimbun revealed that Germany and Japan are, for the second year in a row, the two most “favorably viewed” nations in the world. Something tells us that a similar poll taken 65 years ago would have yielded significantly different results. It’s believed that ...

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Upfront Extra

Ever find yourself staring longingly at the not-quite-full train bench in front of you? If only the people on either side would scoot over a bit, you’d be able to rest your aching feet. But as it is, the open space is barely big enough for a pint-sized elementary schooler. Here are some tips on ...

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Star Struck

Director Shane Acker thrives on self-destruction, grenades and the end of the world

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Aries

Aries does not like to be held back. No, you do not! Your day to play is just around the corner. That’s when you’ll be jumping over buildings in a single bound, flying around the city, and probably saving it—all at once! So, please, give yourself a break this week and don’t expect to be ...

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Upfront Extra

Petite Japanese women often prefer clothes that make them appear fuller-figured—to the lament of many a foreign gal. But now a lingerie maker is reaching out to the other segment of the population. Last fall, Wacoal surveyed 590 women about what they look for in a bra, and a full 10.9 percent answered: “I want ...

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Body & Soul

How thrill-seekers gave an onsen town a new lease of life

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Libra

Librans are super-aware of mental fluctuations in their environment: you can tell when someone is changing their thoughts, and you’re a master at saving situations. Recently, though, have you silently asked yourself if it’s worth your while? If so, you’re getting a chance to catch your breath, with Saturn retrograde out of your Sign. With ...

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Cancer

Snuggling under a duvet, you’re likely to be in a nostalgic mood this week. This is completely reasonable, since life as you know it is about to change. For whatever you find irksome now, you may miss in the near future. It’s all good, though—once you’ve started your spiritual journey (like reading this column), you ...

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Upfront Extra

From PC games to anime and manga, the kawai-sugiru craze—in which straight men fetishize boys dressed as girls—shows no sign of letting up. Now there’s a magazine just for fans of this kinky niche. Debuting April 24, WAai! features interviews, illustrations, “profiles” of cross-dressing otokonoko characters, an original comic serial, and tips for readers to ...

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Gemini

In every way, this will be a pleasant week (if you don’t mind a few changes). Venus, who enjoys beauty, is in Gemini. Asteroid Juno is right there with her, being a wonderful companion and keeping an eye on finances. Your sector of dreams is lit up by the Sun. Mercury retrograde indicates things not ...

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Taurus

As Jupiter, planet of expansion, approaches Uranus in your solar eleventh house, things can be exciting—even magical. Sometimes, the surprise of Uranus overshadows this, until the smoke clears. Then you’re able to see that what you wanted has appeared right before you. Before it goes up in a puff of smoke, why not check with ...

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Tarento Watch

Subaru recently released its new four-seat mini-car, the Lucra, but most of the media attention at the Shinjuku launch was on the two tarento present—Imalu, 20, and Ellie Toyota, 21. The catchy tune heard in the TV commercial for the car is sung by Imalu, while Toyota (no relation to that other unmentionable carmaker) appears ...

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Upfront Extra

Ladies, which of your husband’s mealtime comments are most upsetting? (more than one response allowed) “That’s it?” (32.7%) No comment (29%) “This needs a bit more salt” (19.2%) This doesn’t taste good” (16.3%) “This tastes awful” (11%) “Did you even try this before serving it?” (10.6%) “Did you make a mistake or something?” (7.3%) “I ...

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Leo

Don’t be dismayed by the clarity and insight all around you. Fiery Mars in your Sign has cut a clear path to what is real and true. Venus in your house of friendships may have a gleam in her eye, with social invitations, laughter and love beckoning around each corner. Married Leos will be recuperating ...

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Q & A

Film producer and photographer & Film producer and writer

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Capricorn

Capricorns are the power players of the day, even if red dwarf Pluto may be deconstructing the stairs just as you step from them! Interestingly, Ceres is just a degree away from Pluto in your Sign, and both are retrograde. She’s a red dwarf, too, bringing nurturing if you balance your yang with your yin ...

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Pisces

It’s a funny thing, this quality of “knowing” that you have, the ability to sense things ahead of time. It’s one of Pisces’ fortes, and never fails to impress. And yet, it can take its toll on you in a myriad of ways. You’re in your cups, as they say, as the Moon traverses your ...

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Upfront Extra

Flip on C-span or NHK and you’re bound to see lawmakers, brows furrowed in concentration, scribbling furiously in their notepads. Ever wonder what they’re writing about? Well, if the politician in question is European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, the answer is likely to be haiku. The former Belgian PM, a well-known fan of the ...

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Sagittarius

It’s been a while since you’ve had to deal with Pluto urging you to start over. So why does the future seem so… diffuse, to say the least? Your ruling planet, Jupiter, is in Pisces—which, like the ebb and tide of the sea, needs constant change. While you’re an original and definitely need to march ...

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Cars & Bikes

The reigning Formula Nippon champ returns to Le Mans—this time to win

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Virgo

Virgos are truly about to rise and shine. Sure, Saturn may be retrograde in your Sign for the moment, and Saturn opposite Uranus has made things, er, more than a bit wobbly. But innovative ideas and inventions (for which Virgo is famous) can now sparkle in your field of vision. You may be right on ...

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Local Flavors

Rising culinary stars have their day at the Hilton Tokyo

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Word of Mouth

The Kabukicho red light district is noted for many things—hostess bars and cheap restaurants, to name just two. Now you can combine these pleasures at newly opened Komachi (2-3F, 1-13-10 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku; http://meturl.com/komachi). Dubbed a “sexy izakaya,” this 60-seat pub is staffed by fetchingly attired young women who aim to give worn-out salarymen a soothing ...

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Bar Reviews

International brews save the day at this Takanawa pub

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Word of Mouth

Lunchtime at Metropolis HQ has taken on a South-of-the-Border flavor ever since La Fiesta restaurant (www.lafiesta-tokyo.com) began its new delivery service. Available in Roppongi, Aoyama and Nishi-Azabu, the delivery requires a minimum of five orders. Selections include standard Tex-Mex fare like burritos, chimichangas, enchiladas, tacos, fajitas and quesadillas, and if you want the cooks to ...

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Keeping Tabs

Enjoy quality European cuisine while taking in a 180-degree view of classy Azabu-Juban at Asile Jaune (9F, 2-8-10 Azabu-Juban, Minato-ku; www.asile-jaune.jp). This newly opened brasserie aims for a comfy, romantic atmosphere and an artsy Montmartre vibe. The lunch menu features the likes of chicken confit and braised pork, while à la carte fare includes what ...

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Restaurant Reviews

Hawaii’s best breakfast gets a downgrade in Harajuku

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Keeping Tabs

If grilled meat and ice-cold pints sounds like your idea of a perfect evening, stop by the new Backstreet Brewery in Hamamatsucho (2-5-1 Hamamatsucho, Minato-ku; http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g600184). This “brewery” might not actually make its own beer, but customers can enjoy the likes of Kirin, Heineken, Kilkenny and Guinness on tap (¥700-¥980 per pint), plus Budweiser, Bass ...

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Word of Mouth

An upcoming wine dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so (www.fourseasons.com/tokyo; 03-3943-2222) promises to be the culinary event of the season. Vintners from 19 of Napa Valley’s premier wineries will be on hand for the festivities on Wednesday, May 19, which also feature a silent auction to benefit Tokyo-based volunteer organization Hands On ...

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Dining Diary

After an exhausting afternoon trawling the record shops and used clothing stores of Shimokitazawa, Deli & Baking, Co provides a welcome respite—not to mention tasty food. With vast windows, a white, silver and pine interior, and a quaint wooden veranda out back, this spacious New York-style café attracts a young clientele and gently bustles with ...

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Keeping Tabs

Even if you don’t fancy Japan’s chances in the upcoming World Cup, you can cheer the locals on in style at Nakata.net Café (1-22-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku; http://nakata.net/jp/cafe). Named after and operated by soccer legend Hidetoshi Nakata, the café will screen all 64 games of the tournament on giant screens. While checking out all the action, ...

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CDs & DVDs

Place to Fall

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CDs & DVDs

Port Entropy

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Agenda

Almost 100 years after its debut, Stravinsky’s revolutionary, pagan-inspired The Rite of Spring gets a new choreographic treatment at the hands of “hardcore” contemporary troupe Kakuya Ohashi and Dancers. With a reputation for iconoclastic works that explore psychological and sexual abuse, the company draws on Ohashi’s experience in film and the expressive methods of butoh. ...

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Japan Beat

The diminutive Gunma native might just be Japan’s next big electropop export

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Agenda

Afrobeat—the African pop style informed by jazz and R&B—has recently cropped up on the Western music scene. Now it arrives in Japan in the form of Funkist, an Afrobeat-influenced collective that brings its “Typhoon Condition One” tour to Shinjuku next week. Fronted by Saigo Someya—the son of a Japanese flamenco guitarist and South African ballet ...

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Agenda

British trio The XX’s eponymous debut was one of the most widely praised albums of 2009, an unlikely blend of The Cure, electro-pop and contemporary R&B. Barely into their 20s, the group’s members have been friends since preschool, and bring a genuine sense of intimacy to their hushed songs of love and loneliness. Having spent ...

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Clubbing

The UK duo deliver a healthy slice of London fun to Tokyo

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CDs & DVDs

One One

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Agenda

For more than 20 years, Doug Campbell has scripted and directed film features and TV shows for the likes of HBO and CBS, earning a reputation as a talented writer and one of the most efficient directors in the business. Aspiring filmmakers now have the chance to get insider’s tips from the man himself at ...

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Stage

London’s International Theatre Company returns with a new take on the Bard’s most compact tragedy

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Books

What does it say for an author when her most widely translated work is also her most sexually explicit? In Japan, Yoko Ogawa is best remembered for 2003’s The Housekeeper and the Professor, the gentle, ambling story of an amnesiac mathematician and the single mother who works as his helper. But to readers in Portugal ...

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Agenda

Combining the words “crayon” and “pastel,” the kurepasu is a humble drawing implement that’s been in wide use in Japanese schools since the ’20s. Yet thanks to its durability and ease of use, the kurepasu has, for many fine artists, become a favorite alternative to oils and watercolors. This show in Saitama presents 168 works, ...

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CDs & DVDs

We’ve Got To Talk

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Artifacts

In certain walks of life, fame is a concept-driven thing—the more offbeat and unforgettable your concepts are, the more chance you have of standing out from the crowd. But in the world of fashion, where everybody has the same idea, this is not as easy as it sounds. One designer who has managed to take ...

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Movie Reviews

A financially struggling young couple (Cameron Diaz and James Marsden) is presented with a mysterious box by a dignified, horribly disfigured (struck by lightning) and clearly very rich man (Frank Langella), and told that if they simply push the little red button on the top of the box within 24 hours, they will receive, tax-free, ...

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Movie News

Takeshi Kitano’s latest movie, Outrage, has been selected for the competition portion at this year’s Cannes International Film Festival. Kitano, who enjoys huge popularity in Europe, was recently presented with France’s top honor for the arts. Outrage will be the second of his movies to be entered at Cannes, following Kikujiro no Natsu in 1999. ...

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Movie Reviews
9

Post-apocalyptic puppet show for pre-teens (too dark for little kids) about nine little rag-doll robots on a no-more-humans Earth doing battle against a larger and more menacing robot that wants their souls. Souls? It’s visually creative—techno and fantasy fans will love it—but the emphasis is on action, and opportunities to explore the intriguing, hinted-at philosophical ...

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Eiga

This high school drama, based on a manga of the same name by Tetsuya Honda, is a re-imaging of the old samurai chambara film genre for the Hello Kitty crowd. Sixteen-year-old kendo champion Kaori (the quite cute Riko Narumi) has been trained by her sensei father since childhood, but when classmate and neophyte kendo student ...

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Movie News

Jeff Bridges is still collecting awards for his Oscar-winning turn as a booze-soaked country singer in Crazy Heart. Bridges, co-star Maggie Gyllenhaal and the film itself were among the winners of the 14th annual Prism Awards, which recognize actors, movies and TV shows that accurately depict substance abuse and mental health issues. Winners are chosen ...

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Cinematic Underground

Takadanobaba cinema Waseda Shochiku (1-5-16 Takadanobaba; www.wasedashochiku.co.jp) will screen four films by late Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski from May 15-28. The Double Life of Véronique (1991; pictured) is a creepy tale of two nearly identical women leading parallel lives in Krakow and Paris. The films in The Three Colors Trilogy (1993-1994) are loosely based on ...

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Movie Reviews

The annual Homeless World Cup in Cape Town is an event that fairly cries out for a documentary. This perfunctory effort focuses on a half dozen individuals with troubled backgrounds from Ireland, Spain, Russia, Kenya, Afghanistan and the US of A. It follows them through team selection and training, and listens as they tell how ...

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