24 Nov, 2009

Honokaa boy 


Posted at 15:35 under ART, MOVIES, JAPAN


i watched a lovely japanese movie yesterday, HONOKAA BOY, released in march, directed by Atsushi Sanada.

such a wonderful movie! warm, entertaining, funny, and very intelligent.

as most movies that i like, it's very slow-paced and the characters are portrayed with humour and love. japanese student Leo takes a year off college to go to hawaii to see the "moonbow" (a rainbow with light reflected from the moon).

in the town Honokaa he starts to work in the cinema, and a warm friendship grows between him and the older woman Bee who decides to cook for him every day.

I LOVED THIS MOVIE!!!! it's one of the best i've seen for a very very long time!

here's the trailer. sorry, but i couldn't find one with english subtitles.



watch the movie now!!!!

Official website:
honokaa-boy.jp

=)





21 Nov, 2009

Tokiko Kato 


Posted at 15:26 under MUSIC, JAPAN, OTHERS


weeee, today it's 11 degrees and sunshine, with clear blue skies. Almost like spring.

Yeah, I wish =)

here's a great song by japanese singer/songwriter TOKIKO KATO, "NOW IS THE TIME".

she is perhaps one of the most influential and important japanese artists today, still after a career or more than 40 years of personal and political songs.

the pictures in the video seem to be taken from her work for UN's environmental programme(s). she also seems to be an active peace activist.




the song is included on an UNESCO compilation called "international earth charter/unesco cd":

get from itunes





here's another song, "1968", even though i don't understand all of her lyrics (because it's in japanese hehehe), the music, together with the footage, speaks for itself. there's a lovely violin solo in the middle.




visit her website:
tokiko.com

=)






16 Nov, 2009

Music to still the mind 


Posted at 20:52 under MUSIC


please spend a moment with the japanese trio KOKIN GUMI. i've spent all day listening to this album, called "ZEN GARDEN", released in 2000. the musicians - Masakazu Yoshizawa, Hiromi Hashibe and Tateo Takahashi - are well-known and have played on several movie soundtracks such as "memoirs of a geisha" and "jurassic park".


this is music that soothes the mind and makes the worries dissolve like clouds.



you can listen here to the track "DAYLIGHT":



buy the CD here:
amazon.com/Zen-Garden-Kokin-Gumi/dp/B00004Y2DV

=)





16 Nov, 2009

Universe 


Posted at 00:03 under MUSIC, THOUGHTS


i've been working hard on demo recordings of some new songs, while the winter rain falls outside my stockholm window.

thoughts that fill my mind at this time, are:

1. some days, this world feels sadly large.

2. can the splendour and perfection of the universe be put into a song?


maybe both these thoughts have been provoked by my new song. it's about earth. it's about the sun. it's about being far apart but feeling close. it's about watching stars.

i want the song to have a "feeling of the universe". i want the beauty and perfection to shine through like the sun in the morning.

maybe i'm going crazy, maybe i'm on to something, maybe i'm just disillusioned.

but the key of the universe is "Db" (D flat).

=)





05 Nov, 2009

A creature of light - Clara Nunes 


Posted at 13:24 under MUSIC


found this lovely recording of the song "UM SER DE LUZ" (a creature of light), which JOÃO NOGUEIRA wrote with MAURO DUARTE and PAULO CESAR PINHEIRO, after the premature death of the amazing Brazilian singer CLARA NUNES.

here's a wonderful recording with João himself singing:




CLARA NUNES, one of the best singers from Brazil ever, if you ask me, died at the age of 40.
check this clip with her singing one of her most famous songs "FEIRA DO MANGAIO" (mangaio market), with the amazing SIVUCA playing the accordion. the song was written by sivuca together with his wife GLORIA GADELHA.




please enjoy!!!

=)





31 Oct, 2009

Aid appeal 


Posted at 13:37 under THOUGHTS


typhoon after typhoon hits the philippines, vietnam and eastern asia, a month's worth of rain falling in one day, a huge earthquake in indonesia, 7.6 on the richter scale, etc etc.

hundreds of thousands of people are have fled their homes, towns and streets flooded by rainwater contaminated by bacteria from animal urine......



is the increasing number of disasters due to the climate change, the heating of our planet? is it due to our over-consumption and (environ)mental ignorance?

right now, it doesn't matter. please help these people today.

here's an appeal from the british news channel BBC, please watch it:
news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8293452.stm

and please donate money today (this is the organization mentioned in the BBC clip) to DEC (distasters emergency comittee) already working hard on location. you can donate with your credit card online:
dec.org.uk

just 25 pounds (about 40 dollars?) will feed four families for a month.

=)





26 Oct, 2009

Traffic without red lights 


Posted at 21:20 under THOUGHTS


this weekend i was working on some recordings with my friend RICKARD BEURLING, one of his songs was for a documentary about human trafficking, or illegal trade with people (mainly children and young women) across borders. many time these people end up in forced prostitution, under slavelike circumstances.

every time it strikes my mind, tears well up in my eyes and my stomach fills with a very unpleaseant feeling. it happens every day. two of the main target countries for trafficked humans are USA and Japan, even if it happens everywhere.

women from poor countries or areas are particularly at risk from sex trafficking - heartless criminals exploit the lack of opportunities, they promise good jobs or opportunities for study, and then force the victims to become prostitutes.

somewhere i read that it's the world's THIRD largest criminal industry after weapons and drugs. but as the UNITED NATIONS say, it's a misleading word because it emphasizes on the transit of people, when it's in fact SLAVERY.

and, the most horrible fact is that TODAY there are MORE SLAVES than EVER in HUMAN HISTORY.

you wouldn't believe it. but unfortunately, and sadly its true.

more than 30 million people live as slaves today in the world. some numbers say 37 MILLION!!!

please read more here about what you can do to help, on the website of UN's global initiative to fight human trafficking:
ungift.org/

if you think that this is none of your business, please watch any of these short clips and then let me know if you still can't bother about it.

SHORT INFORMATION CLIP:


from BANGLADESH:


from CAMBODIA:




from the USA:


from INDIA:


from MALAYSIA:


from the PHILIPPINES:


and when you've got some time, please watch the movie LILJA 4-EVER by swedish director lukas moodyson, about a girl from previous soviet union (russia). its available in its full at google videos. warning. it's a VERY STRONG movie. it's not a documentary, but is based on a true story:
google.com/videoplay?docid=-2818582001271029300&ei=AAnmSqOuAt-5lQflrrgZ&q=lilja+4-ever&hl=en


=(

who funds it? we do. we ask for cheap clothes, cheap computers, cheap coffee, cheap sex.

millions of children and women are waiting. start here to make a difference:
ungift.org/





20 Oct, 2009

Teachers 


Posted at 17:23 under MUSIC, THOUGHTS


i met a woman long ago
her hair the black that black can go
"are you a teacher of the heart?"
soft she answered "no."

i met a girl across the sea
her hair the gold that gold can be
"are you a teacher of the heart?"
"yes, but not for thee."


the words are from the song "TEACHERS" by LEONARD COHEN, released in 1968. when i first started to listen to his music, in the early 1990's, i didn't know anything about his interest in (zen) buddhism, and that he occasionally lived in monastaries. my interest was born when i read "SIDDHARTHA" by HERMANN HESSE, and later i also understood that mr.COHEN have a deep interest in zen buddhism.

so it's not so surprising that the lyrics of the song above, performed to the accompaniment of an intense acoustic guitar, has 13 (?) verses lined up like zen koans, seemingly contradictory in their poetry.

i'll focus on the answer of the girl in verse two: yes i am a teacher of the heart, but not for you.

once we see that everything in the world is linked, we also start to see that different persons come into our life to teach us something. but it's not so easy that we can just say He came into my life to teach me to Respect others, or She came into my life to teach me to Forgive.

we are ALL teachers.

maybe we're often the teacher for someone else, at a time when none of us understand it. months, or even years later, we can look back and think: well, i didn't like the way that person treated me, but my reaction to the treatment made me grow as a person, and now i can say that i've learned something from it.

the person may have continued out of your life, for you to never meet again, but we carry with us the teaching in our hearts forever.

that is, if we learned the lesson. if we didn't, we will meet a similar teacher again, to treat us the same way, until we listen to the teacher, and learn what we are supposed to learn.

we are all teachers for eachother, we are all linked together. often when we are supposed to learn something, we respond to the situation with anger, maybe because we don't understand the teaching itself, or because we want to deny the importance of the teaching.

and when are our lessons done? when can we lean back and say to ourselves: "now i'm done learning"?

i don't say that i know the answer, but i let the words of COHEN end this post, with the last verse from the same song, where the singer asks exactly the same question. and the answer from the masters, or teachers, is like a wonderful mysterious koan, asking the same question back, implying that a person who asks that question, is far from done learning.

"oh teachers, are my lessons done?
i cannot do another one!"
they laughed and laughed and said:
"well child, are your lessons done?"



here's the song in an early live version (i prefer the album version):



=)





18 Oct, 2009

Watching the mud settle 


Posted at 11:23 under THOUGHTS


"do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear?
can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?"

these lines are from TAO TE CHING, written in china about 2600 years ago.

2600 years later, most of us are spending a lifetime trying to understand patience. instead, we try to force our will and wishes, regardless of the circumstances. i think it's like swimming upstream. it won't take us anywhere at all, except to the riverside of exhaustion.

in general, i think people are more patient in eastern asia, maybe because of their history of taoism, buddhism, and the non-selfcentered culture.

i recently read a book called "Japanese business culture and practices: a guide to twenty-first century" by Jon P. Alston and Isao Takei, and it mentions exactly how companies in japan take more time to make business decisions than companies in the USA (or in europe). they do more research, take their time, wait for the right moment to make a good deal. would you try to rush them? so, you would miss the deal.

a highly recommended book for people interested in having japanese culture and traditions explained in an entertaining and easy-to-read way.

there really is a time and place for everything. it can't be forced, it can't be stressed. if we have patience to wait for the tide, the water can take us anywhere we've dreamed of. but if we try to rush it, maybe we'll get stuck in the mud while trying to follow the voice of our ego.

the right time and place will come by itself. but until it does, we have to have faith and patience that there's being work done on our behalf behind the scenes.

nothing is impossible and patience pays off. big big time.

no, i'm not talking about money.

=)

googlebooks has the book for reading online:
books.google.com/books?id=6lJTqe_IwdsC






14 Oct, 2009

Green tea filmjlk? 


Posted at 21:09 under ART, JAPAN, OTHERS


"a taste of japan and sweden, at the same time"...

filmjlk with the taste of green tea, i must admit it sounded lovely! i'm not a very big fan of filmjlk (a swedish kind of yoghurt, but less sour and less thick), but i decided to give it a try.



my one question is: exactly WHERE is the taste of green tea?

it was not in the package i bought.

or, WHAT exactly was the green/yellow hot drink that i've learned to love on my visits to japan, called green tea (macha/sencha)?

i must admit though, that i love the calligraphy on the package, by japanese master ERI TAKASE.

takase.com/GraphicDesign/GraphicDesign.htm

=)






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