Hollywood, you really should cancel the apocalypse.

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(Pacific Rim. From Empire Magazine)

Okay, maybe not cancel it entirely but either tone it down or spread it out. I read somewhere that moviegoers are suffering from apocalypse fatigue. I don’t remember who wrote it, but I think it’s the best way to explain the problems so many high-profile, big-budget movies are having this summer. Just last week, my 10-year-old son asked me to find him a movie. I rattled off a list that I thought he’d love–all big, FX- filled actioners. He shook his head and said he wanted to see something funny.

Now I realize this is just one kid on one random day, but I think it speaks volumes about what’s happening at the box office. My son likes COOL movies. He liked Pacific Rim, but it wasn’t his first choice for that night’s movie; it was mine. He loved the Dark Knight movies and the Avengers, and I still couldn’t get him anywhere near Man of Steel. I think he’s just had enough.

I chalk it up to supply and demand. An over supply of summer extravaganzas is taking its toll. On everyone. Even I’m not wowed like I used to be. The FX that used to take my breath away are becoming too common. FX-driven movies are coming out one per week now, and the market just can’t support it. How could it, when the costs to take a family to the movies is through the roof. People need to decide where they’ll spend their money, which means, what?–a couple of movies over the summer. Max?
So what then? What happens to the glut of over-expensive movies competing for a finite audience. It’s no surprise movies that cost over $100 million to make are struggling to break even. I don’t think there’s enough money to go around, and even if there was at one time, today it’s spread to thin.
Maybe that’s why movies released during traditionally down times do so well. The Hunger Games in March, etc. Times have changed since Titanic hit theaters, but James Cameron released Avatar at the same time of the year–Christmas. Naturally, we’re seeing more ‘tent-pole’ movies coming out between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I’ll bet it won’t be long before those releases start to struggle as much as the summer ones.
Supply and demand. Ain’t it a b*tch. The marketer in me says Hollywood should damn conventional wisdom and give me a release date without competition for a week or two on either side. The summer’s more risk than reward.  Those Star Wars days are over, folks. Look at those years and compare the number of films released. Not many big, must-not-fail films. Before you go ahead and hit that comment button, I haven’t forgotten the importance of the films’ quality. That’ll have to wait for another post.
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How well do you know your family history?

Last summer, my brother ventured down to the Smithsonian in Washington, DC to look at documents relating to my grandfather. The Harumichi Yatsuhashi Papers are there, with a fascinating look at my family’s history in the U.S.  Here’s the web version of what he found:

Yatsuhashi Harumichi Family Papers 1907-1976
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Creator: 
Yatsuhashi Harumichi Family
Title: 
Yatsuhashi Harumichi Family Papers 1907-1976
Phy. Description: 
8.25 linear feet
Digital Reference: 
Image Finding Aid
Bio / His Notes: 
Asian art dealer and merchant Yatsuhashi Harumichi (1886- 1982) was born in Tano, Japan, on December 15, 1886. Upon completion of his studies in Osaka, Mr. Yatsuhashi secured employment in the Osaka office of the prestigious Asian antiquities firm, Yamanaka & Company. In 1907 he joined Yamanka & Company’s branch office in Boston, Massachusetts, as its general manager and treasurer of the company’s Asian division. Located at 424 Boylston Street, the store was a center for Chinese art, as well as for Japanese assorted goods. In 1913 Yatsuhashi married Shigeki. They produced two sons (Michio and Masao) and two daughters (Sumiko and Kukiye). (Harumichi Yatsuhashi, Oriental art authority and Brookline resident. (1982 December 3). The Boston Globe, obituaries.) Following the United States’ entrance into World War II, the Alien Property Custodian seized the Yamanaka shops in New York, Boston, and Chicago. The holdings were sold at auction in May and June, 1944. In 1945, Yatsuhashi Harumichi and his son Michio opened their own Asian art dealership at 420 Boylston Street in Boston. Yatsuhashi Harumichi fostered exchange between his native and adopted homeland. He was a member and officer (president in 1931) of the Japan Society of Boston since 1921, an avid supporter of the Boston Marathon, and a founder of the Boston-Kyoto Sister City Foundation. (Boston Globe, 1982 December 4. ) Michio Yatsuhashi, who helped his father open the Yatsuhashi antique shop, died prematurely as a result of cancer in 1981. One year later, Mr. Yatsuhashi died in Boston at the age of 96. He was survived by his daughters, Sumiko and Kikuye and one son, Masao.
Scope and Content: 
The Yatsuhashi Harumichi Family Papers (1906-1976) document the professional and personal lives of a Japanese-American family in Boston during the twentieth century. The patriarch, Yatsuhashi Harumichi (1886-1982), was an influential Asian art dealer and the papers also document the professional experiences of Asian art dealers in the United States during the early and mid 20th century. Mr. Yatsuhashi worked at the antiquities firm of Yamanaka & Company before starting his own Asian antiquities shop in 1945. Included in the papers, portions in Japanese, are correspondence; catalogues relating to the Alien Property Custodian’s 1944 liquidation of Yamanaka & Company’s New York branch’s holdings; photographs depicting art objects and shop interiors, the Yatsuhashi family; Yamanaka & Company, and extended family, friends, and colleagues; and items belonging to Mr. Yatsuhashi’s wife, Shigeki, and some of their children.
Language Note: 
In English and Japanese
Organization: 
This collection is organized into three series. Series 1: Yatsuhashi Harumichi papers, 1912-1965, n.d., series 2: Other family members, 1937, 1966, n.d., series 3: Photographs, 1907-1976, n.d.
Provenance: 
Gift of James Arthur Marinaccio, 1994
Finding aids: 
Electronic finding aid available.
Cite as: 
The Yatsuhashi Harumichi Family Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of James Arthur Marinaccio, 1994.
Restrictions: 
Access is by appointment only, Monday through Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please contact the Archives to make an appointment: AVRreference@si.edu.

Anecdotally, my father regaled us of stories of his family before the war. Sadly, these were too few. The ones we all remember had to do with my grandfather’s work with the Japan Society (he was the Society’s president in 1931). Because of his position, he opened his house to Japanese visitors. The most controversial story had future Japanese Admiral Yamamoto, then a student at Harvard, babysitting my father and his siblings.

Below is one of the few remaining pictures we have. My grandfather is on the right. The man on the left is Admiral Osami Nagano, chief of the Imperial Japanese Naval General Staff in 1941, then fleet Admiral. My father recalled the last conversation my grandfather had with Yamamoto. I don’t remember if it was by phone, telex, or in person. Essentially it was, ‘you will not hear from me again.’

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My aunt, the last surviving member of my father’s immediate family, knows the Yatsuhashi family’s history in Japan. She still tells stories–one puts my family in the Imperial court in Kyoto. Yatsuhashi, she says, comes from the city bridges. Yatsuhashi was the eighth from the palace. Names originating from the seventh down to the first exist, the lower the number, the closer the family was to the Emperor. Below is a picture of the Yatsuhashi Bridge. A path crosses the South Pond via this Yatsuhashi Bridge (zigzag bridge) covered by a wisteria arbor. (hat tip: http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/e-about/shisetsu/oomiya-ph.html)

07ph-42

My favorite story and unprovable–that may grandmother, Shigeki Kawano, had an ancestor who fought Kublai Khan’s invading forces when the typhoon, the Kami Kaze destroyed them in 1281. Is any of this true? I don’t know. Still, it’s fun to think so. Here’s a passage I found on Google from a book called the Mongol Invasion of Japan:

Untitled

My wife isn’t impressed, and my aunt’s claim that my family was once close to the Emperor, was once  Japanese nobility, doesn’t keep me from taking out the garbage. My wife notes that my aunt never came out and said our family was at the Court. She hinted, but then–well–she Japanese. Maybe if I could prove it… A few quick searches revealed a few instances of the name Yatsuhashi in Imperial Japan–one a blind musician, one a courtesan (say it’s not so!)

The point? Take time to get to know your parents and grandparents before it’s too late. What you learn may surprise you.

Review: Kojiki by Keith Yatsuhashi

Possibly the best review yet.

Koeur's Book Reviews

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Publisher: Smith Publicity
Publishing Date: July 2013
ISBN: 4444455889977
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.4/5

Publishers Description: When eighteen-year-old Keiko Yamada’s father dies unexpectedly, he leaves behind a one way ticket to Japan, an unintelligible death poem about powerful Japanese spirits and their gigantic, beast-like Guardians, and the cryptic words: “Go to Japan in my place. Find the Gate. My camera will show you the way.”

This novel was well received by most reviewers on Goodreads. Pretty trippin’ fantasy novel with an Asian theme. Dragons, guardians, elemental Gods, etc. round out a great story-line and well crafted character development. In a short span of reading, your drawn in through the action and sympathetic to the characters.

While some reviewers thought the subject matter was “too heavy” (as opposed to too light?), what they may have meant was that there may have been too many tangents to the main story line. The author…

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Kojiki by Keith Yatsuhashi: How My History in Anime Got Me to Love This Book

Another great review for Kojiki! This one is specifically aimed at anime fans!

RealityLapse

When eighteen-year-old Keiko Yamada’s father dies unexpectedly, he leaves behind a one way ticket to Japan, an unintelligible death poem about powerful Japanese spirits and their gigantic, beast-like Guardians, and the cryptic words: “Go to Japan in my place. Find the Gate. My camera will show you the way.”

Alone and afraid, Keiko travels to Tokyo, determined to fulfill her father’s dying wish. There, beneath glittering neon signs, her father’s death poem comes to life. Ancient spirits spring from the shadows. Chaos envelops the city, and as Keiko flees its burning streets, her guide, the beautiful Yui Akiko, makes a stunning confession–that she, Yui, is one of a handful of spirits left behind to defend the world against the most powerful among them: a once noble spirit now insane. Keiko must decide if she will honor her father’s heritage and take her rightful place among the gods.

Let me just…

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An Interview with Keith Yatsuhashi, Author of the Epic Fantasy Novel – Kojiki

Thanks to Shannon for the interview!

These are but Shadows

Kojiki Keith Yatsuhashi

For those of you who have yet to read Kojiki, can I just say…
Buy it now! It is worth the read, and even a re-read!

After reading and reviewing Kojiki, author Keith Yatsuhashi contacted me to thank me for my review. While we emailed, I found I couldn’t stop asking him questions about Kojiki and his experience writing it. So I asked if I could interview him. To my great delight, he consented.

Read on for the chance to get to know Keith Yatsuhashi! And learn more about his amazing debut novel, KOJIKI !

1. Where about do you live?

I’m a Massachusetts native.

2. What’s your favorite place to go in the entire world? (Or where do you most want to visit?)

I love Disney World in Orlando. Perfect weather (most of the time) and endless entertainment. And golf. I LOVE golf.

3. Is writing currently your full…

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Kojiki by Keith Yatsuhashi

Another four-star review for Kojiki. Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the book. And yes, I thought the dragons were pretty awesome too.

These are but Shadows

Kojiki Keith Yatsuhashi

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

When eighteen-year-old Keiko Yamada’s father dies unexpectedly, he leaves behind a one way ticket to Japan, an unintelligible death poem about powerful Japanese spirits and their gigantic, beast-like Guardians, and the cryptic words: “Go to Japan in my place. Find the Gate. My camera will show you the way.”

Alone and afraid, Keiko travels to Tokyo, determined to fulfill her father’s dying wish. There, beneath glittering neon signs, her father’s death poem comes to life. Ancient spirits spring from the shadows. Chaos envelops the city, and as Keiko flees its burning streets, her guide, the beautiful Yui Akiko, makes a stunning confession–that she, Yui, is one of a handful of spirits left behind to defend the world against the most powerful among them: a once noble spirit now insane. Keiko must decide if she will honor her father’s heritage and take her rightful place among the…

View original post 769 more words

Review – Suisei no Gargantia

I haven’t finished this yet, but it is very good. Short, though. I really wish it ran for more episodes.

Mahou Tofu

Introduction:

I am immediately going to spoil this review. Suisei no Gargantia was my favorite series from the Spring 2013 anime season. It is a science fiction series from Production I.G that takes place in the distant future. Have you ever watched Pocahontas, Dances with Wolves, or Avatar? If you have, then the basic elements of this anime will seem familiar. That is in no way a bad thing, but it should be mentioned. There is nothing crazy that I think people should know about this series going in. Nothing overly sexual or incredibly offensive was present in this series. I will warn you that the script writer for this series is Gen Urobuchi. Anyone that is familiar with his work can tell you that him being a part of this is a bit of a red flag. The guy did Psycho-Pass, Fate/Zero, and Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. That is…

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