Friday, December 20, 2013

Travel and Fear -- my latest column for Paper Sky magazine


At the start of July, I called my sister in New York from Tokyo.  She was driving north in a rented car with her new puppy to visit our father, who was alone for the weekend in Boston while our mother took a brief vacation tour of Northeastern Canada. 

Our father had undergone open heart surgery in the spring of 2012.  At the end of 2012, he had reconstructive surgery on one of his knees.  Earlier this year, a doctor removed a cataract from his right eye via surgery.

Surgery equals risk, but he seemed okay until June, when he was hospitalized for two weeks with a bacterial infection.  He continued antibiotic treatments at home.  He seemed okay again.

But I called my sister at the start of July because I couldn’t call my father – or, rather, I called him, alone at home, and no one answered.  She called, too.  Nothing.  Even our parents’ answering machine was absent.  The disembodied digital voice was disengaged.

My sister called the police, the police broke into the house and found our father slumped on a sofa.  He was mumbling incoherently.  It was a hot day, but he hadn’t turned on the air conditioner.  He had a fever of 41 degrees C/106 F.

He was rushed to a nearby hospital where my sister found him that evening.  In gentle language, the nurse told my sister that he had nearly died.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Latest on manga's big year abroad for The Japan Times

Banner year for manga


One week before Thanksgiving on Nov. 28, readers of  The New York Times were greeted by a spiky-haired, wild-eyed manga character named Monkey D. Luffy, his fists clenched and chest bare, charging forward as if the newsprint could barely contain him. Behind him in massive text screamed the words: “Hey world, this is the manga!!” above a smaller query, “Are there real adventures in this country?”

Most NYT readers over the age of 40 probably had no idea who he was or why he was bringing it on. But millions of others do — 345 million worldwide, to be specific, according to Japanese publisher Shueisha, and U.S. distributor Viz Media — making Luffy the wily and mischievous pirate hero of what is now the most popular manga series in the world: Eiichiro Oda’s “One Piece.”

Monday, December 02, 2013

The Chernin Group buys into anime (via Crunchyroll)


THE CHERNIN GROUP ACQUIRES MAJORITY STAKE IN CRUNCHYROLL
LOS ANGELES, CA – December 2, 2013 – The Chernin Group (“TCG”), which manages and invests in businesses in the media, entertainment and technology sectors globally, today announced it has acquired a majority stake in Crunchyroll, Inc., the leading global video streaming service for anime content.  The Company’s senior management will maintain a significant stake in the Company along with existing investor TV TOKYO. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2007 and based in San Francisco, CA, with an office in Tokyo, Japan, Crunchyroll has built the world’s premier over-the-top video service for Japanese anime content and one of the leading OTT and SVOD platforms online.  Crunchyroll features both a free, ad-supported online video offering as well as a subscription online video service to a targeted and passionate fan base in more than 160 countries.