Monday, August 25, 2014

Haruki Cool, for The Japan Times

Haruki Murakami’s Cool Japan

I was in New York last week to host a launch event for the English translation of Haruki Murakami’s latest novel, “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.” My good friend and Murakami translator Ted Goossen, professor at York University in Toronto, joined me, as did pianist Eunbi Kim, whose multi-media project, “Murakami Music,” I saw performed at Symphony Space in Manhattan last year.

With all the talk of the Cool Japan campaign, it’s worth remembering that author Haruki Murakami reigns as the nation’s most potent global cultural export.

I wasn’t surprised to find the venue packed when I arrived. Kinokuniya bookstore’s New York branch in midtown comprises two floors and a basement. Events and readings are staged in the center of the ground floor. Audience members filled the seats and spilled into adjacent aisles, many of them peering over bookshelves.

I first met Murakami 15 years ago on a kind of bet.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Thank you Los Angeles, Tokyo, New York City

Summer gigs, 2014 -- thanks to Nobuyuki, Tsuyoshi, Marlan, Ian, Marc in LA; Peter, Nagame, Lars at Embassy of Sweden, Tokyo; Manabu and Lisa at Meiji University, Tokyo; John, Ted, Eunbi and Haruki at Kinokuniya, New York City.

Next up: Ottawa, San Diego, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, San Francisco and Berkeley.

Project Anime / Anime Expo @ Los Angeles

The Embassy of Sweden @ Tokyo

Meiji University @ Tokyo

Kinokuniya Books @ New York City

NHK "Tomorrow" shoot @ Tohoku

Thursday, August 07, 2014

On Haruki Murakami's latest -- Live in NYC, 8/12

Haruki Murakami's Pilgrimage @ Kinokuniya NYC, Tuesday, August 12, 6 p.m.

To celebrate the release of Haruki Murakami's latest novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, join author Roland Kelts, who has known and interviewed Murakami for 15 years, Murakami translator Ted Goossen, and Murakami Music composer Eunbi Kim for an intimate encounter with the author's life, work and personal journey from Japan to the world.

Info here.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

On NHK this week

The NHK documentary, "Tomorrow," focuses on post-tsunami relief efforts in northern Japan. I host this week's program on volunteerism. Broadcast specs on TV and online are here.

(It's a tad personal, since I attended kindergarten in Iwate, and my mother was raised there.)