Masaki Watanabe

Born in Tokyo in 1945. Went to a Japanese primary school, English grammar school (journalist father assigned to London), and American high schools in Rome and Tokyo, graduating from International Christian University in Tokyo in 1966 to join Reuters news agency in London. Worked for Reuters in London, Rome, Washington, D.C., and Paris until 1970. After a period of playing guitar music, joined the English-language daily Singapore Monitor in 1981. Worked for the Monitor, the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation, and the Singapore Economic Development Board, then became the founding editor of the Japanese-language edition of Silver Kris, Singapore Airlines’ inflight magazine. Moved with family to Vancouver in 1997, where he has worked as a translator, language instructor, columnist, and occasional reporter up to now.

Updated February 2015

food en

SADA HOSHIOKA: “I Am Like a Cultural Ambassador,” Says Pioneering, Leading-Edge Sushi Chef

Some of you readers may know him already as Sada-san, the personable owner and chef at the popular sushi restaurant Octopus’ Garden in Vancouver’s Kitsilano area.

But when he was only about four years old, growing up in a seaside town in his native Ehime Prefecture in Shikoku, Japan, Mr. Sada Hoshioka, now age 54, used to sit atop a hill behind the town looking out toward the water horizon, wondering what Osaka City out there might look like. For him back then, Osaka was the “big world out there.”

“Maybe that was the primal experience that eventually brought me …

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media en

Drummer Immersed the World of Jazz – Bernie Arai Is Steadfast in His Pursuit

Is Japanese Canadian Bernie Arai a pioneering jazz drummer? Answering this question during a recent interview, he was quick to say: “I don’t think of myself as a pioneer…I just want to keep working on making music.” As a longtime fan and a “lowly” part-time guitar player, I definitely consider Bernie, if I may so call him, to be a pioneering artist, as I’m sure many musicians and aficionados both in Canada and overseas would agree.

Inasmuch as every first-class musician has his or her “own sound,” I discern the influence of taiko drumming in the way Bernie, age 42, …

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business en

“Mr K” a Pioneer who brought the First “Cool” Japanese Car to North American markets

How long has it been since Japanese Canadians and Americans started driving cars to suit their own tastes, not worrying about whether or not they are made in Japan? Nowadays Nikkei folks are, of course, among drivers of all races and nationalities who happen to drive around in a Toyota Lexus, Honda Accord or Nissan Rogue. But back around the 1960s when Japanese cars first appeared on North American markets, no Nikkei family would be “caught dead” in one.

Some time ago, I mentioned websites on the topic “You are Japanese Canadian/American if you …” One of the comments there …

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media en ja

Our Legendary Asahis —The Movie Version Invaluable Publicity vis-à-vis Japanese People of Today

Travis Takashi Ishikawa of the San Francisco Giants recently made a lot of Japanese North Americans feel proud when he said: “I never give up because my grandfather was interned during the war.” This after he belted a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th against the St. Louis Cardinals to take the Giants to the World Series.

When I first moved here 17 years ago, I heard from some Yonsei guys they only found out about the WWII forced internment of west coast Japanese Canadians in their high school history class because their parents had never told …

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