Blog and Book Reviews

苦役列車  西村賢太   新潮社 5/25/16

May 24, 2016

ななんと、私小説。この言葉自体に、ノスタルジーを感じるのは、私だけか。。不思議な世界といえば良いけれど、ここまでぶっちゃらけ感に侵されなくてもなあ。。というのが、感想かなあ?でも、何故か、どこどこ読んでしまった。こういう作家の、新しい方向性というのが見たいですね。自分さらけ出すだけでない、物語りを紡ぎだしたところが、読んでみたい!

邪魔 奥田英朗  講談社文庫 5/13/16

May 13, 2016

引っ張られる小説。とにかくやめられない。いくつものシーンが、最初全くかけ離れているのだけど、次第に絡み合い、最後に向けて音量とスピードが加速していく。そう、幸せの定義にむけて。ジョン・レノンの言葉を思い出した。それはこういうもの。”When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy”. They told me I did not understand the assignment, and I told them they did not understand.

Louis Andriessen “Theatre of the World” at LA Phil Concert 5/9/16

May 9, 2016

I played a piano for Andriessen’s piece at the Minimalist Jukebox festival in 2004 at LA Phil,. and I was expecting this opera to be somewhat I played for the festival. It is completely different! The festival was great success and I truly liked his piece. Again I enjoyed the music in the opera. I grew up listening Emerson Lake and Palmer, and Yes (I am a child of progressive rock!) and I could taste the hint of progressive rock and Kurt Weill in the music. The atmosphere is totally 70s, movies like “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Listmania”. Everything fits into my favorite! The singers and actors are fantastic. The story is about the German scholar and author Athanasius Kircher (1601-1680). His genius mind, his crazy mind, his eccentric mind.. The staging is beautiful with creative video. There are so many things going on the stage, singers (not in the same place), orchestra, video, and subtitle. I had a hard time paying attention to everything. That is the only negative side of the show! I hope this production will be played at many venues in the world. It is “Theatre of the World”!

The Izakaya “Kinjiro” in Little Tokyo, LA 5/9/16

May 9, 2016

I have been trying to go to this restaurant for a long time. It is not easy to make a reservation. Finally I got it, and so my Dream Came True! I am still thinking about what we ate that night. Every dish was just fantastic. They surprised me with unique combination of taste. For instance Wasabi Potato Salad! It was so gentle and tender taste, but there is a hint of wasabi kick! The different taste does not fight, they melt each other and make a deep taste. Thick-cut Prime Beef Tongue with sea salt is grilled, and it has an amazing taste. This dish completely changed my imagination of tongue..  It is tender and juicy! Agedashi-Tofu is a very traditional Japanese Izakaya menu food and I am sure I have eaten over 500 agedashi-tofu in my life. Kinjiro totally surprised me again! It came with a round big dish. The tofu is also round sitting in the middle surrounded by the mushroom sauce. It was so tasty :) I am sure I was smiling all the time. We had total of 6 dishes and every one got A++++! They have a good sake menu which I love too. Kinjiro became my most favorite restaurant in LA! I can’t wait to go back.

A Movie “The Family Fang” 5/9/16

May 9, 2016

Nicole Kidman is interested in “Messy”. She is the producer of the movie and she hand picked Jason Bateman to direct the movie. They are siblings in the movie. The Family Fang is about maximum (!) performance artists (Christopher Walken and Maryann Plunkett), who included their two children, Annie (Kidman) and Buster (Bateman), in anarchist flash mob pranks. I just LOVE this movie. It is truthful. They live in “Present”. But it is interesting that they record their pranks diligently. The recorded action is OLD,m right ?? Anyway it is a great comedy, and as I said it is truthful. You must see it.

A Movie “Our Last Tango” 5/1/16

May 2, 2016

I have been performing Tango music for a while, and I am always very fascinated by the culture behind the music. I have gone to Buenos Aires for 3 times, and I love that city too. This movie is a documentary film featuring Tango legends, Maria Nieves Rego and Juan Carlos Copes, and following their lives and love story going with the progress of Tango culture.  They met as teenagers and danced together for nearly fifty years until a painful separation tore them apart. They were lovers, dance partners and two of the artists who did the most to take tango from the streets of Buenos Aires to Broadway and beyond, even to Japan. But Maria and Juan endured as much backstage drama as we imagine, dancing together for years after they were divorced and hardly speaking to each other. The film is combined their interviews with the young Tango dancers acting as Maria and Juan, following their steps from youth to now, joy and pain, love and hate.. Of course Maria and Juan don’t talk everything, but we can feel their emotions closely. Maria talks most of time, from her side being abandoned, and being alone. Juan has kept dancing on the stage after he separated from Maria even on the stage. He has danced with many young dancers and got married and have 2 children. As I was watching the movie I realized I saw Juan Carlos Copes dancing on the stage in Buenos Aires! I went to the Tango show at Tango Argentina in Buenos Aires one night. I clearly remember the older male dancer came toward the end of the show and danced with the young beautiful dancer. It was not technical, but they showed the great emotion. They were poised. It is a beautiful movie to watch.

九月が永遠に続けば  沼田まほかる   新潮文庫 5/1/16

May 2, 2016

この作者、50代になって小説家になったという、遅咲き、だけど、とんでもない才能の持ち主だ。この一冊に、宇宙のすべてが凝縮されているともいえる、人間の根幹を描いた本。最初、ホラーサスペンス大賞を受賞したものの、余り売れず、しかし他に書いた本が注目を浴びると、この本にも関心が集まり、ついに文庫本60万部を突破したとか。東京の電車の中で、どれだけの文庫本が読まれたかと想像すると、それだけで、ホラーな感じがする。「読者界を震撼させた。。」とあるが、文章の構築性、心地良いテンポ、人間関係の複雑かつシンプルな空気感、そして一番大事な、「愛」を、一冊に閉じ込め、いろいろな意味でぞくぞくさせる、この本。題名から想像すると、青春の1ページを描いた感だが(それも多分にあるけど)、永遠のテーマの「人間とはなんぞや?」に迫る、すごい本だ。是非お読み下さい。

Respighi: The Pines of Rome at LA Phil Concert 4/25/16

April 25, 2016

This piece has been my favorite since my youth. I know it is Classic Music 101 kind, but whenever I hear this piece my heart trembles. And again I enjoyed it at LA Phil concert on Thursday April 14th. I heard The Pines of Rome first time at the concert when Boston Symphony and my conservatory orchestra performed together in Tokyo. I was very young, and I thought it was just great. I was almost shocked to hear something so fantastic. On that concert they played Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings. Of course it became my favorite instantly. I still clearly remember that night. And I still play music daily. It has been a long music journey, and I hope my music journey will last for many more years.

下北サンダーズ  石田衣良  幻冬舎  4/25/16

April 25, 2016

これも、いけいけの青春ものだ。下北沢は、青春時代、私の遊び場でもあったので、共感できるところは、いっぱいある。と言っても、昔の面影はないかもしれないけどね。今度日本に帰国したら、是非行ってみよう、っと。下北の小劇団のお話しで、茶沢通りが、背景に出てくる。とっても懐かしい。本当にばか、やったものだ。ある意味、若いってことは、バカをやる特権のようなものだから、そういう意味、私は青春を謳歌した訳ですね。ご迷惑をかけた方々には、この場を借りてお詫びします。「下北サンダーズ」は、ちょっとカッコ良すぎるかもしれない。だって、どんどんと出世しちゃうから。でも、人間関係の、ハチャメチャさは、とっても素敵。ノスタルジーに浸った本でした。昔を懐かしむようになったら、おしまいだ。。。。

神去 なあなあ 夜話 三浦しをん  徳間書店 4/25/16

April 25, 2016

平野勇気の日記、第二話。「神去 なあなあ 日常」からの続編だ。勇気は、すっかり村の生活にも慣れ、車の運転も出来るようになった。山道だって、平気だ。村で唯一の若い女性への、アタックもする。どんどん、強くそして、生き生きとする勇気。読んでいる私も、ひっかき傷作りながら、山仕事に励んでいるような気分になった。とっても、素敵な青春物語。幻想的な村の神話も、信じられないようなものだから、反ってカッコよい。勇気がんばれ!