Thursday, October 9, 2014

And the winner is...

It's that time of year, Murakami doesn't win the Nobel. But it always stirs up a lot of talk.

Asymtote have an interview with Murakami translator Jay Rubin:

The New Yorker has a Murakami short story translated by Ted Goossen:

And Granta have a piece written by Yukiko Motoya, translated by Asa Yoneda:

I've just finished Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, and I've been thinking recently about the lack of critical reviews of translated works. There is usually a single line that mentions 'this is a translation' for good or bad, and nothing more is said. But a decent review of the work as a translation can be hard to do without falling down to nagging about word choice. I was pleased to see translator Philip Gabriel keeping some Japanese specific terms such as kotatsu, but bento was jarringly translated as boxed lunch, and it was also quite strange to see distances measured in miles and not kilometres. But how much do such word choices effect the reading experience for the majority of Murakami readers? Not much. One section of the novel deals with the use of the masculine pronoun ore and how that influences the relationship between Tazaki and Aka. Gabriel did quite well to explain the usage within the context of story. I enjoyed restraint of Colorless TsukuruTazaki much more than the sea of unnecessary text that was 1Q84.

I also recently read All You Need Is Kill, the acclaimed sci-fi novel behind the latest Tom Cruise movie, Edge of Tomorrow. The underlying storyline was quite interesting, but I was quite turned off by the immature characterisation and juvenile conversations. It felt more like Japanese high school 'light novel' drama pulp, unsatisfying as a sci-fi novel. It is rating very well over at Goodreads (4+), but if anyone can tell me why, I'd really like to know.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Special Others - Light

Yes, I'm still alive! Sorry for the lack of updates, I moved back to Australia recently, so there was a lot of down time and general house moving business.

There has been a lot happening in the last few months. I'm excited by the new Special Others album that's coming out October 8th. It's an all acoustic album called Light, and features 6 new tracks as well as 4 classic SPA tracks including Waiting for the Sun, and BEN. If you get in quick it comes with a DVD.

Also, I have a big backlog of manga titles to get through. I've been really enjoying Matsumoto Taiyo's Sunny. Volume 5 came out back in May, but I'm still on volume 3. Inoue Takehiko's Vagabond (37) was out back in July, and it won't be long until the release of Real (14). Space Brothers (24) and Billy Bat (15) were out this week. And best of all, next week sees the long awaited release of Asano Inio's new one, Dead Dead Demons D-D-D-D-Destruction. Crazy title and all.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I Am A Hero #15

Great news with the release of volume 15 of Kengo Hanazawa's (花沢健吾) I Am A Hero, with the movie adaptation announced to hit cinemas in 2015.

It is set to star Yo Oizumi (大泉洋) as struggling manga artist turned hero, Hideo Suzuki (鈴木英雄). I'm not familiar with Oizumi's work at all. He has featured in a huge amount of TV dramas, and variety programs as well as regularly appearing in movies. If you've seen the original Japanese cast version of Spirited Away (千と千尋の神隠し) or Howl's Moving Castle (ハウルの動き城) you would have heard his voice. He was one of the main staff members at the bathhouse in Spirited Away, and also the Prince and Turnip Head in Howl's Moving Castle.

Kasumi Arimura (有村架純) is set to star as school girl Hiromi (比呂美). Kasumi is a young actress who has featured recently in several popular TV dramas, and is looking to establish herself as a movie actress well. Masami Nagasawa (長澤まさみ) is a more established actress taking on the role of Yabu (藪) a.k.a. Tsugumi Oda (小田つぐみ). You might have seen her work if you've seen the film adaptations of Gaku (岳) and Moteki (モテキ), both worth checking out.

The story covered so far is probably too much for one movie, so I can see the Kurusu (来栖) Gang story arc not being included for now. I don't want to give anything away for those that haven't read this yet, but the movie will probably deal with the initial outbreak, and the story from the outlet mall. I'm really looking forward to it, I'll let you know once a trailer or any footage has been released.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

All You Need Is Kill

If we ever met, we'd probably disagree on politics and religion, but I have to give credit to Tom Cruise for choosing interesting roles. His latest sci-fi escapade, Edge of Tomorrow, comes from a Japanese novel titled All You Need is Kill (オール ユー 二ード イズ キル). The movie keeps the original title for the Japanese release.

The original novel was written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka (櫻坂洋) and published in 2004. It was highly regarded upon release and nominated for the Seiun Award. Between January and May this year, a two part manga was released, written by Ryosuke Takeuchi (竹内良輔), and illustrated by Takeshi Obata (小畑健).

You can check out Viz Media's All You Need Is Kill page, they have an English translation of the original novel (translated by Alexander O. Smith), a translation of the recently released manga, and also an American produced graphic novel.

Saint Young Men #10

I'm in the process of moving, so excuse the lack of updates recently. The latest volume of Saint Young Men (聖おにいさん) was released just over a month ago, and I just got around to reading it.

If you haven't read any of the earlier volumes, don't worry, there are some minor running gags, but each episode stands alone, and juxtaposes Japanese culture with Christian and Buddhist theology. The more you know about either of those subjects the more you will get out of it.

The lack of continuity does feel a little jarring, as the comic jumps from a summer barbecue, to Jesus' rivalry with Santa at Christmas, and back to hanami in spring. Although I guess if you are reading the series as it is originally released in Morning Moai, then it might make more sense.

Saint Young Men Official Site:
Saint Young Men on Twitter:
Hikaru Nakamura on Twitter:

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Melt Banana - Lefty Dog (Run Caper Run)

Melt Banana finish up their UK tour in Brighton on Monday night. And they've released a music video for Lefty Dog (Run Caper Run) from their latest album Fetch which was released earlier in the year. The video is as equally manic as their noisy punk pop grindcore goodness.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Momotaro (Episode 1)

Following on from last month new Pepsi Next Zero Momotaro campaign featuring Shun Oguri (小栗旬) is the second install. Check it out here, Episode 1:

Here is Episode 0 for those that haven't seen it yet.

As I said last time, I would have loved to have seen this as a feature length film.