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Posts tagged anime

Takashi Murakami’s “Super Nova” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

takashi murakami super nova san francisco museum of modern art sfmoma

Super Nova
Japanese Manga
Takashi Murakami

I didn’t have my wide-angle lens with me when we went to San Francisco this past Thanksgiving so the photo above doesn’t really show just how large this painting is. The actual painting, only part of it shown here, is over 34 feet in length (and almost 10 feet tall).

takashi murakami super nova description

Castle in the Sky (天空の城ラピュタ) @ Ghibli Museum

mitaka kichijoji tokyo japan

There are plenty of reasons to visit Inokashira Park near Kichijoji. The reason that took us out there a week ago was the Ghibli Museum.

I saw my first Miyazaki (宮崎駿) movie way back in 1989. He was virtually unknown outside of Japan at that point, but I was in Japan. In fact, I was living in the setting of his current movie at the time, My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ), on the edge of Tokorozawa in Saitama Prefecture.

Ellie and Ryan also became big fans, as well as most of the rest of the world, so we have been wanting to check out the museum for a while. Tickets aren’t easy to come by if you want to go on a weekend. With Ryan and Ellie in school on weekdays we finally landed some Saturday tickets by purchasing them within a day of their going on sale more than a month in advance.

Shown above is a picture from the top of the museum. This is one of the robots from Laputa: Castle in the Sky (天空の城ラピュタ).



The line to get into the Tokyo International Anime Fair is absolutely insane. It starts near the train station (300 meters away), continues through monster-sized buildings, and once you turn one corner, when you think you are almost about to enter, the line turns into an amusement park style line, back and forth, back and forth, etc. Turn the corner again and there is more of the same. Some say it took three hours to get in. I wouldn’t know. Both times I have attended we have bypassed the mega line completely and walked straight in via the “Family Entrance” (ファミリー入口), which you can use if you have someone with you who is 11 years old or younger.

The crowd peaks at about 11:30. If you don’t have a kid to bring along and get in via the Family Entrance I recommend arriving between 2 and 3 p.m. There are no entrance lines at this point in the day, and the booths inside are far less crowded than they are between 11 and 1.

Did I mention there are lots of people to deal with while you try to see what you want to see?

Tokyo International Anime Fair

Many posts ago I mentioned that we went to the Tokyo International Anime Fair in 2007, but all of my pictures were lost due to an SD card going bad. For Tokyo International Anime Fair 2010 (東京国際アニメフェア2010) I was more successful as my pictures made it to my computer safely.

The venue was the same place, Tokyo Big Sight (東京ビッグサイト), on Odaiba. The weather was poor, but that didn’t stop tens of thousands from lining up to wait to enter.

Detective Conan (名探偵 コナン and also known as Case Closed in English) is one of Japan’s more famous manga and has been catching on overseas lately too with an English-language translation.

Heroman (ヒーローマン) is a new anime series coming out on Japanese TV in April. They were promoting it by giving away giant bags, big enough to hold all of the other freebies we collected on this day.

After nearly four hours of crowds, anime, manga, and more crowds we headed home. On our way we stopped at Oosaki Station and exited just long enough to eat some ramen. You can see our train through the window in the restaurant.

More photos coming soon…

ATOM アトム Astro Boy

手塚治虫 tezuka osamu “Atom” opens in Japan today. It opens in the US and much of the rest of the world as “Astro Boy” in a couple weeks. I recently read “手塚治虫”, a book about the creator of Astro Boy, Osamu Tezuka. The book is aimed at Japanese kids which makes it very easy for me to read (unlike some of the Japanese novels I read on the train which require frequent usage of my Japanese dictionary).

Outside of Kochi Kame there are few Japanese Manga that I find very interesting. Astro Boy (鉄腕アトム or “Iron Arm Atom” if translated directly) is intriguing to me now simply because he was “born” at Takadanobaba Station, a place I experience almost daily. The Astro Boy song plays when each train departs and there is much Astro Boy art in the neighborhood.

Kochi-Kame (こち亀 or こちかめ)

kanji game for the nintendo dsAbout a month ago, I decided to upgrade my previously mentioned なぞっておぼえる大人の漢字練習 for the Nintendo DS to the new version called Nazotte Oboeru Otona no Kanji Renshuu Kanzenhan (なぞっておぼえる大人の漢字練習完全版). The new version has about 300 more kanji and some other nice new features. For only a few dollars more than what I could sell my old version for on ebay, I figured it was worth it (and have been very happy with that decision since the arrival of the “game”).

kochi kameAnyway, since YesAsia offers free shipping I decided to grab a manga while I was at their site since the only manga I can obtain locally are all in English, and that’s no fun. So I rather randomly selected this Kochi Kame one. (The full title is a mouthful, Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen Mae Hashutsujo or こちら葛飾区亀有公園前派出所.) My selection wasn’t totally random as I figured my kids would like it given the cover (which turns out to be quite different from all of the other Kochi Kame covers).

For under $10 I wasn’t expecting much. To my surprise, it’s almost 200 pages in length. I started reading it this past weekend, and the content has exceeded my expectations as well. I laughed out loud several times. Apparently this series has been running for decades. I didn’t encounter it when I lived in Japan in the 80s, but I didn’t actively read, seek out, or purchase manga then either.

About the only manga I read in the 80s were a few books given to me. One was What’s Michael? (ホワッツ マイケル?). Another was Osamu Tezuka’s (手塚治虫) Buddha (ブッダ). And then I also had one or two Doraemon (ドラえもん) books that I think I found. Kochi Kame is actually the first one I ever purchased.

kochikame ryotsuI was happy to find furigana next to every kanji which made for easy reading. I only had to look up, on average, the meaning for about one word a page. Kochi Kame stars Ryotsu (両津) who, although sometimes in his police uniform, has yet to do anything police related in the four episodes I read this past weekend. Instead, he has some money-making scheme in each that always ends in disaster and/or failure. Although the first few installments began to seem somewhat Scooby Dooish in their predictable outcomes, I can’t imagine becoming bored by them anytime soon, and the fifth episode (that I read today) had a completely different storyline that wasn’t formulaic.

My son finished learning hiragana this past weekend so he was very proud to be able to read real manga in real Japanese for the first time too. Now I just have to help him understand what the sounds coming out of his mouth mean. 😉