Metropolis Issue 885

March 11, 2011
The Last Word

Two blockbuster films offer distorted views of Japanese and Western culture

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Libra

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Tarento Watch

Leah Dizon secretly divorced her husband at the end of last year, according to tabloid reports. The 24-year-old singer of French, American, Chinese and Filipino descent debuted in Japan in 2007 as a model and then went on to a career as a pop singer. In August 2008, she announced her pregnancy and marriage to ...

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Aries

This is the big one. Uranus, the feisty planet that insists upon individuality and freedom, moves into your Sign on Friday. Changes galore, and aren’t they fun? You had a taste of this last summer, now it’s for the long haul. Whatever does or doesn’t happen, it will take you to a higher level of ...

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Capricorn

Capricorns thrive on stability and being a steadfast source of assistance to their community. This is becoming harder to do, as Pluto in your Sign continues to “pull the rug out.” However, with each change comes an opportunity to insert a new perspective into your relationships and work. Pallas Athene has just left your Sign ...

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Star Struck

Trapeze artist Yulia Korosteleva soars in Cirque du Soleil’s new show, Kooza

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Leo

Taking care of yourself is the first order of business this week. You have been giving a lot to others, so it only makes sense to give to yourself, too. At the same time, work and health are both going through upgrades. Time may feel compressed. Jupiter has moved into your solar ninth house of ...

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In Other News

The mother of troubled actress Erika Sawajiri says her daughter recently visited the parents of her ex-husband, media producer Tsuyoshi Takashiro, to apologize for the divorce… Mao Kobayashi, the TV personality and wife of disgraced kabuki star Ichikawa Ebizo, is pregnant with the couple’s first child… Model Yu Yamada is doing PR shtick for Schick’s ...

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Taurus

This is a big week for you, astrologically speaking. Uranus, a planet of sudden change that brings spiritual insight, moves into your solar twelfth house on Friday. This happens only once every 84 years, so it’s likely to be a noticeable shift. Because Uranus likes freedom and individuality, your choices make a difference. Accentuating your ...

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Photo of the Day

Frolicking in the snow at the Akan International Crane Center in Kushiro, Hokkaido. By James Sewell.

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Upfront Extra

Japanese corporations are notorious for their hostile attitudes toward working mothers. That’s the stereotype, anyway. A new survey by Luxembourg-based workplace solutions provider Regus tells a different story: Japan beats all other countries when it comes to “Net Appreciation of Part-Time Mothers.” This result is even more impressive when set against the backdrop of the ...

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Scorpio

If someone has been crowding your space, it may be time for a “clear-out.” While you always have the option of using your diplomatic skills, you can insist on action if required. Seeing an effort being made towards happiness may be enough to get you through the week. Remember, Jupiter is in the Sign of ...

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Aquarius

Pallas Athene, the original goddess warrior, has entered your Sign. Using a creative approach, you will find your way past the latest obstacle that’s been put in your path. Aquarians are finishing up a long project that is about to move to a higher plane. This includes everything from the way you are in relationships ...

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Mediabox

PUNK will NEVER DIE? Regarding “Akihiro Namba” (Japan Beat, February 18): Punk recycles itself with each generation. Before Namba, everyone was listening to The Blue Hearts. Hi-Standard was the rave for us ’90s punk kids, and this generation has more of an aggressive punk sound, but it hasn’t changed and punk will never die. —nightflesh** ...

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Virgo

Being careful with finances won’t always allow you to avoid fees this week. Something “external” may seem like it’s conspiring to use up your hard-earned cash! While we are spiritual beings in physical form, there is a balance that is coming to you. It’s a cosmic kind of bank account, where what you put in ...

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Gemini

Uranus, the spiritually focused planet that likes to mix things up, moves into your house of friends and group gatherings on Friday. This can have quite an effect on you, and it should be fun to watch for a long time to come. Hopes, dreams and wishes are included, so use your naturally magnetic personality ...

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The Small Print

This week's required reading

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Upfront Extra

Since its debut in 2004, the Minatomirai line has been popular with day trippers who want to explore Yokohama hotspots like Chinatown, Bashamichi and the MM21 waterfront area. Now, the rail spur—which connects to Shibuya via the Tokyo Toyoko line—is brandishing some serious geek cred as well. For a recently launched promotion dubbed Cannes-Miko: The ...

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Q & A

Founder of Dreampass.jp

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Sagittarius

Sagittarians really are endlessly optimistic. There is always another rainbow about to appear. It’s hard for you to be surrounded by others who can’t see the inspiration around them. While you work to free yourself, remember to thank those who helped show you what you are not. Sagittarians have a destiny aspect in their Sign, ...

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Upfront Extra

What: 80g packet of cut apples Where: A vending machine near exit B1a of Kasumigaseki station How much: ¥190 Who: Distributed by Hyogo-based MVM Corp. When: Debuted January 15 Why: In these harried times, it’s easy to miss out on your recommended daily servings of fruit. MVM Corp. helps to rectify that situation with vending ...

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Upfront Extra

“Don’t let yourself become a 40-something flunky!” exhorts the March 1 issue of Spa! magazine. Inside, the weekly tabloid offers its younger readers tips on how to avoid ending up as a middle-aged loser, starting with a checklist of telltale signs that you’re turning into an office deadweight. “I’m so busy!” is becoming your catchphrase ...

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Cancer

Cancerians have decisions to make, and none of them are easy. For the most part, these choices are about how you spend your time, and where. You’re popular, and people are depending on you more and more. You have an opportunity for career advancement, even greatness. But how can you do everything? Following your heart ...

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Pisces

The intensity of Mars near the Sun in Pisces continues to bring out your courage and vitality. You have the benefit of being taken seriously. Friends and colleagues hear what you have to share. At the same time, Jupiter in your house of income brings you real opportunities. This only happens once every 12 years. ...

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Features

For many Japanese cancer patients, a trip to Tamagawa Onsen offers one final hope

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Tastemaker

Hawaii’s celebrity chef brings some exciting new cuisine to the skies

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Keeping Tabs

Nihonshu is the tipple of choice at Sanpin (1-17-9 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku; 03-3461-0887), an intimate, weeknights-only bar just up the road from Shibuya Mark City. Choose from a range of pasteurized and unpasteurized junmaishu from breweries including Shougen, Tenon and Suginishiki, which start from as little as ¥400 a glass. And though it may be the ...

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Bar Reviews

Fujimamas Mk. 2, anyone?

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Keeping Tabs

The shochu gets dispensed from enormous clay containers at Kamakura Saketen (2-30-14 Nakano, Nakano-ku; 03-5342-9054), a nonsmoking standing bar on the south side of Nakano station. Start with the day’s maewari blend (¥280) if you want to ease yourself into the swing of things, before moving on to the imo- and mugi-jochu from Kagoshima and ...

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Word of Mouth

Billing itself as a “dining café,” Home (5-11-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku; http://cafehome.jp) celebrates the spirit of Italy with imported delicacies like mozzarella cheese, olives and prosciutto. The lunch buffet features a selection of soups, pasta, grilled chicken and more (¥1,300), and at night there’s a full menu of appetizers, main dishes and desserts—everything for under ¥1,400. ...

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Keeping Tabs

Tickets are on sale now for the marvelously named Celebrate the Goddess of Brewing event, a public tasting session held as part of the Japan Asia Beer Cup at Yebisu Garden Place on April 2. Hop heads will get a chance to sample the 100-odd brews entered in this year’s competition, including the 2010 winners. ...

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Word of Mouth

Japan’s recent infatuation with gyu-nabe hotpots means that there’s an increasing availability of premium “A4”- and “A5”-grade Kuroge wagyu. Taking advantage of this surplus is Bistro Ushibenkei (3-6-1 Shimbashi, Minato-ku; http://r.gnavi.co.jp/e620724), which matches an inventive array of beef dishes with several varieties of wines by the glass. Diners can enjoy carpaccio of four types of ...

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Word of Mouth

The owners of Akihabara curry restaurant Party Party Carolina (4-14-1 Soto-kanda, Chiyoda-ku; http://meturl.com/carolina) see themselves as warriors in Tokyo’s culinary battleground. “We covertly entered the Akihabara scene selling bento,” they say. “And now, our bento battalion has finally acquired a home base.” A half-dozen varieties of curry are available, including fresh tomato and avocado (¥880), ...

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Agenda

Japan’s premier venue for the avant-garde dance form butoh, the Setagaya Public Theater, hosts the latest piece from Akaji Maro, leader of the venerable Dairakudakan. Maro calls Ash-man a story of “perishing and rebirth,” while his own life story and heavy tobacco habit provide the backdrop. Founding Dairakudakan in 1972, the 68-year-old Maro is renowned ...

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Art

The NACT takes a short-sighted, Francophone look at an international art movement

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Agenda

The unstoppable Gypsy music juggernaut rolls on, with French outfit La Caravane Passe following bands like Fanfare Ciocarlia and Gogol Bordello to Japan. Founded by Polish-Romanian-Russian-Jewish Frenchman Toma Feterman, the group marries traditional Gypsy and Klezmer sounds to contemporary French rock ’n’ roll. For a preview of their set—to be accompanied by Swiss DJ unit ...

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Agenda

Yoshinori Niwa calls himself a “social intervention artist” who specializes in shedding light on weighty political situations through humor. As part of “Social Dive,” an exhibition of young, socially aware artists born after 1980, Niwa will use video to explain and illustrate his attempt to reassess history by literally tossing present-day heirs to socialism in ...

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Agenda

Tokyo gets a glimpse of the future of classical music as the winners of the International Competition for Young Pianists in Memory of Vladimir Horowitz perform at Yamaha Hall. Named after the legendary 20th-century Ukrainian pianist, the competition was founded in 1994 and serves as a proving ground for up-and-coming talent. Slated to appear are ...

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Agenda

Oft-ignored Zojoji temple near Tokyo Tower was in fact the center of worship for the Tokugawa shogunate’s family during the Edo Period. In addition to housing the graves of six of the 15 shoguns, the temple also contains 19th-century artist Kazunobu Kano’s massive Buddhist-themed Gohyaku Rakan (“Five-Hundred Arhats”) scrolls, now on show in their entirety ...

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Clubbing

Peter Hook’s Madchester circus hits Odaiba, Basement Jaxx in tow

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Music

The metal monster ploughs ahead by putting egos on hold

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Movie News

Up-and-coming actors Junpei Mizobata and Ito Ono (pictured) are set to get even bigger with the release of High School Debut, based on the hit teen manga by Kazune Kawahara. Ono plays a star softball player who is coached on how to attract guys by the coolest boy in school, played by Mizobata. At the ...

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Movie Reviews

This is a somewhat sanitized (but still suitably raunchy) account of the rise and disintegration of the pioneering mid-’70s all-girl rock band noted for launching the career of Joan Jett (played by Kristen Stewart, who can actually act when not working opposite shirtless vampires and werewolves). The main character, however, is not Jett but lead ...

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Movie News

The Independent Spirit Awards, which honors films made without major studio funding, was held on February 26 in Los Angeles. The “Acura Someone to Watch” award went to upcoming director Mike Ott for his film Littlerock, about Japanese siblings who get lost during a road trip through California, but make friends despite the language barrier.

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Movie Reviews

The Japanese media have repeatedly lamented the graying of the country’s population, portraying the trend in a negative light. So it’s refreshing to have a film that celebrates the community of senior citizens. Homecoming stars 64-year-old comedian and TV personality Junji Takada as a recent retiree who returns to his hometown, where the average age ...

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Cinematic Underground

Fans of Taiwanese romantic comedies are in for a treat when the 2010 hit Au revoir Taipei (pictured) plays at Human Trust Cinema Yurakucho on March 12 (2-7-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku ; www.ttcg.jp). The action takes place in the course of a single day, depicting a young man who wants to buy a French textbook so ...

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Movie Reviews

Disney applies its formidable history of watering down traditional fairy tales (they say it’s the last) to the story of Rapunzel, a plucky young lass held captive in a tower by a witch whose youth is preserved by the girl’s magical (and, at 25 meters, plentiful) hair. It is not until Rapunzel’s 18th birthday and ...

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