Japan Journal

A collection of Norm Ibuki's writings from 1995 to 2004 about his experiences while living in Sendai, Japan. Originally published in the Nikkei Voice (Toronto) newspaper.

culture en ja

Jazz in Sendai with Kei Akagi

I recently met jazz pianist Kei Akagi quite by chance.

My school recently got a distinguished new student, Masao Honma, a Sendai-based classical music composer. He wants to improve his English so he can communicate better with his English-speaking peers. The other teachers said Mr. Honma, despite being middle-aged, was a quick learner. So I wanted to make his acquaintance.

I was impressed by how quickly he picked up new grammar structures. I’d just arrived from a short tour of Tohoku so I recapped it for him; he’s from Aomori, close to Kanagi, novelist Osamu Dazai’s hometown ...

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food en

The Joys of Eating Soba

“Noodle dishes are very popular, as they make a delicious and filling simple meal. It’s all right to make slurping noises while eating them—the extra intake of oxygen is said to add to the taste.”
     —Berlitz-Japanese Phrase Book and Dictionary

“Haiku and soba match the spirit of Tokyo.”
     —Basho (1644-1694)

If there is a time of year when I long for the tastes and smells of my youth it’s around December, amidst the annual onslaught of holidays with my birthday plunged right in the middle. Like most Nikkei, I imagine, I developed an early taste for sashimi ...

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