Tuesday, March 29, 2011

一日の画像 - Picture of the Day

Koyasan incense prayer offering for the Victims of Japan's combined 2011 Earthquake, Tsunami, & Nuclear Disasters.
Koyasan Betsuin, Little Tokyo -Los Angeles.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

JFAのサッカー Japan’s J-League – So What’s Next?

It’s been well over a week since Japan’s most devastating series of disasters resulting from the magnitude 9 earthquake hit the Sendai area. In response to this national tragedy, Japan’s JFA J-League (Japan Football Association) had suspended all matches since the March 11th earthquake prompting many players to help in the relief efforts. While many of the leagues foreign players have left the country stars like former international and current Kashima Antlers star Mitsuo Ogasawara visited refugee shelters to encourage survivors in Ofunato and Rikuzen, Iwate Prefecture. Ogasawara grew up in Iwate and wanted to help. As described from the Official JFA website this was a “heartbreaking homecoming” for Ogasawara. To quote the Kashima midfielder “I am hoping we can support those who have been forced to evacuate so they can have a more secure life and recover fully.”

Of course, for many people in the disaster zone this will not be possible as there are close to over 9000 people reported dead and still many more missing. Since then, many J-League clubs have called for donations such as Avispa Fukuoka, Urawa Reds, Kawasaki Frontale, Nagoya Grampus, and Jublio Iwata. The J-League plans to resume play on April 23rd but some second division clubs such as Mito Hollyhock may be delayed as some venues have sustained earthquake damage.

In a related move, Japan’s European based players plan to return home for a charity match between Japans’s National Team the Samurai Blue vs. a select J-League squad scheduled for March 29th at Nagai Stadium in Osaka. This match will feature Samurai Blue & CSKA star Keisuke Honda and Utsuto Uchida. This charity event will raise funds for Japan’s disaster victims. We at American Mishima would like to thank the JFA J-League for their respective clubs participation in the ongoing relief efforts. We hope their league can continue to help lift the spirits of those affected by this tragedy.

To find out more about the J-League Please Visit  http://www.jfa.or.jp/eng

Monday, March 21, 2011

ががく Gagaku: The Sacred Court Music of Japan

Gagaku is the Sacred court Music of Japan whose history dates back some 1300 years. It is a cultural treasure that is still with us today as the oldest surviving and rarest continuous orchestral music in existence today. As that being said, this music had been confined to the Imperial Court and had we lived 170 years ago in Japan chances were that unless you were part of the nobility you could not hear these sacred sounds. In fact it wasn’t until 1887 during Meji’s reign that special permission was given to Ryōdo Ono of the Terusaki Shrine to perform for the general public outside the Imperial Court. And even still, such performances would have been rare. Fortunately for us we don’t live in those times and can now have opportunities to appreciate such performances. This last Saturday March 19th, we were treated curtsey of Mr. Shige Higashi of the Cultural News to a special Gagaku performance which was performed in two segments in Costa Mesa California. And what a unique experience this was.

So going back to the performance, the first segment of the Gagaku performance was entitled “The Classical Sounds of Gagaku Music” The second conclusive segment was aptly named “Contemporary Music for Gagaku Instruments.” Performing on stage was master musicians Takeshi Sasamoto on Ryūteki, Hitomi Nakamura on Hichiriki, and Mayumi Miyata on Shō or as translated as the “Phoenix pipe.” Each performer appeared in traditional garments of the Imperial Court for the first segment and instantly mesmerized the audience in attendance with the haunting sounds of the shō. This continued on well into the second segment when the musicians returned in modern clothing to express their free form almost jazz like use of Gagaku instruments in the most unique and entertaining sounds. I must admit I was quite taken by the sounds of the shō. It is impossible to conceive of this keyboard sounding instrument that is a wind blown driven pipe could have existed some 1300 years ago. It is very fitting for Shinto weddings, funerals, and Imperial Installations. But is also something as I will alude to in my last paragarah very relevant to what has been taking place in the wake of Japan's worst disaster in modern history since the end of WWII.

Gagaku is as timeless as it a national treasure. It has endured over the centuries under strict adherence to traditions of the Imperial Court. But sometime during the early 1970’s it was realized that these very restrictions meant to preserve the sacred music were endangering Gagaku to extinction. In fact up until the 1960’s it was considered heresy to even think of creating new pieces for Gagaku. It was said then that Gagaku in its rigid preservation could suffer the fate of the butterfly pinned to a collection for safe keeping. This would not be enough to keep the art alive. For this reason a new thinking was employed and gradual experimentation was given to Gagaku performers particularly to Sukeyasu Shiba of the Imperial Household Agency to utilize Gagaku unique instruments in exploratory fashion to keep Gagaku from dying. As a result new pieces have been composed and performed in ways earlier Gagaku musicians could have never dreamed of. Since then, Gagaku has found new interest and is said to be even an elective in schools as a musical course which has resulted in Gagaku clubs forming in and around Tokyo.

This rare Gagaku performance which was presented by the Philharmonic Society in conjunction with JapanOC had been planned months in advance. But with the extraordinary events that culminated in the combined disasters in Japan, the concert took a more somber tone as to reflect on those lives lost and those still missing. This real life drama painted a deeper picture to what was already a transformative performance that is best experienced least described. As with many other Japanese events taking place during this time, a plea for donations for the relief efforts in Japan was called for the audiences generosity. What better music to stir the soul during times of need. We would like to thank JapanOC and the Philharmonic Society for their efforts for the People of Japan.

If you would like to know more about Gagaku here in this country there is an actual Gagaku music curriculum in Columbia University in New York. If possible please attend their next performance. Gagaku is as enriching as it is southing for the soul (particularly in times of great tragedy) and indeed a true Japanese National Treasure to be enjoyed.

一日の画像 - Picture of the Day

Visiting students of Koyasan High School offer prayers for the victims of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami at the Ohigan service, Koyasan Betsuin in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. We are all grateful for their visit particularly during a heavy early spring rainstorm and the LA Marathon that blocked many of the streets leading to the Koyasan Temple.
 ども ありがとう ございまして.

Friday, March 18, 2011

補佐して日本 LA GALAXY Partners to help Japan Disaster Victims

Fresh off their season opening 1-0 win over the Seattle Sounders at Qwest Field in Seattle Washington, the LA GALAXY on the eve of their 2011 home season opener at the Home Depot Center in Carson California have announced today that they have partnered with the American Red Cross to help with the disaster relief efforts in Japan. Here at American Mishima, we are filled with joy to see our favorite MLS team partake in such great humanitarian efforts. We applaud their efforts and ask that the GALAXY and other MLS teams participating continue to do so. ありがとうございます!

Below reads from their official press release sent to me today.

Galaxy Invite Fans to Donate to Relief Efforts at Sunday’s Home Opener Against the New England Revolution at The Home Depot Center

CARSON, Calif. (Friday, March 18, 2011) – The LA Galaxy will partner with the American Red Cross to collect financial donations for the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami relief fund this Sunday prior to kickoff of the club’s home opener against the New England Revolution at 5 p.m. at The Home Depot Center.
The Galaxy are inviting fans to join in those efforts by making a donation to the American Red Cross at one of The Home Depot Center’s entrances prior to kickoff. Additionally, donations can be made at the Galaxy Foundation booth or at the Team LA Store and any of its five Team LA merchandise booths inside the stadium through the end of halftime.

For those not in attendance, donations can also be made online at redcross.org or by texting “redcross” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

A gift to the American Red Cross will support disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and the subsequent tsunami that struck Japan and throughout the Pacific. On those rare occasions when donations exceed American Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters.

For more information, please contact the Galaxy Community Development department at (310) 630-2200 or visit www.lagalaxy.com.

救済の取り組み Ken Watanabe Helps Lift Spirits in Japan

Actor Ken Watanabe star of many American film & Japanese Samurai productions such as Baian the Assassinn, Year One In the North, and The Last Samurai has joined forces with screenwriter Kundo Koyama to launch a new website KIZUNA311 to encourage solidarity in the aftermath of Japan's combined disasters. When we first read about this we felt it necessary to help spread the word about Watanabe's site both available in English & Nihongo for through this media Kizuna has encouraged other celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio to send messages to uplift spirits of those affected by this disaster. We at American Mishima applaud Ken Watenabe & Kundo Koyama's efforts. It's always nice to know that your big screen movies heroes can be heroes in real life. Please continue to do so ください. =)

Please tell others and visit KIZUNA311 ありがとうございます.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

救助活動 - Sandra Bullock Helps Japan Relief Effort

Oscar winning actress Sandra Bullock has become the first US celebrity to make a sizable donation of one million dollars to the American Red Cross to help the victims of the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. Since the outbreak of this tragedy, Americans have genersously opened their hearts and their pocketbooks to donate over $47 million dollars to the relief efforts in Japan. Many more have made appeals for donations largely through use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter. These funds have been passed onto the Japanese Red Cross which has now taken in over ten million dollars in U.S. donations and will need much more to help rebuild the shattered lives this tragedy has left behind.

Despite all the goodwill for those affected by this tragedy there has been some bitter criticism by some people in the U.S. who for whatever reason harbor resentments against Japan or see this tragedy as merely a Japanese problem. These misguided people are in the minorty. Americans for the most part have great compassion and have time and time again contributed more money to disaster relief efforts than any other country in the world.  The overwhelming American response has once again shown America's generosity and compassion for people in need just as they have done in other recent tragedies such as the ones in New Zealand, Chile, and Haiti.

We at American Mishima would like to thank Sandra Bullock for her contribution to the People of Japan during this crisis. We hope that other people whether famous or not will continue to do all they can to help the Japanese in this time of crisis and ultimately people everywhere in need. It's often said when times are at their worst, people bring out their best. We ask everyone to please continue to do so.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

無私の犠牲 Selfless Sacrifice - The Fukushima 50

Throughout history during times of great crisis and tragedy, countless brave souls have time and time again put their lives out on the line to save others. As the nuclear crisis at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant continues to unfold 50 brave men of unquestionable courage and valor have stepped up to defy the odds to protect all that is dear. We at American Mishima ask our readers to please pray for the Fukushima 50. These brave men who have voluntarily stayed behind at the crippled nuclear power plant in the most desperate of circumstances literally sacrificing their lives to save their country from further nuclear radiation contamination. Like the brave men at Chernobyl who fought to the bitter end to contain the deadly radiation, these brave men at Fukushima know the road that lies ahead of them and know if not them then who would have to take their place. These brave men represent the finest of Japanese traditions and are Japan's last line of defense. For lack of a better comparison we dare say they likely will be remembered and revered as "This Generations 47 Ronin." We at American Mishima look to you with awe and humbly bow to you for your selfless sacrifice and unequivocal courage in this most unprecidented catastrophe.

To those brave men we say がんばって ください!
 Our hearts and prayers are with you.
ども ありがとう ございまして!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

災害救援の努力- MLS W.O.R.K.S. Joins the Disaster Relief Effort

The International response to the Disaster Relief efforts in Japan have been huge. Earlier this week I announced that two Major League Soccer teams in the U.S. (San Jose Earthquakes and the Seattle Sounders) had joined up with the Red Cross to raise funds for the Japan relief effort. As of today, I am happy to announce that after much letter writing and appealls to our local MLS clubs for help, Major League Soccer's community outreach program MLS  W.O.R.K.S. has done the right thing and stepped up to the plate to join in on the relief efforts for the People of Japan. Domo-Arigatou Gozaimashite! I could write further in depth but rather I will provide you with the link so you can read their official press release that just came in my mail only minutes ago. Throughout this crisis, the internet has proven to be a powerful tool for good. By posting and reposting articles and appeals for help using blogs and social media such as facebook and twitter as well as individual emails to people and orginizations, the people of Japan are one step closer to rebuilding their lives and their nation that will continue to need both our love and support. If you can not donate directly please continue to participate in this global effort by spreading the word and encourage people everywhere to help. ども ありがとう ございます!

To read the full MLS Press Release please visit: MLS W.O.R.K.S. Japan Relief Campaign

一日の画像 - Picture of the Day

Arsenal's Ryo Miyaichi is shown here revealing his hand written message to Japan reading “I hope that as many people as possible will be saved." In a further show of unity and support for Ryo, Arsenal's players all wore black armbands in a recent FA Cup match in memory of Japan's disaster victims. This is our picture of the Day.

ばか! Sea Shepard Founder Adds Foul to Disaster.

Eco-Terrorist & Founder of the Sea Shepherd Society Paul Watson called Japan's Tsunami disaster that killed hundreds "Divine Punishment." What a serious ばかやろ! I don't care how much you value whales over human life, this is not the time to be should be so callous & cruel. It's uncalled for cold blooded hateful Anti-Japanese statements like these in the wake of such catostrophic loss of life that makes this author want to do the unconscionable and side with the Whalers!

For the record, we have never really agreed with commercial whaling but at the same time we can not endorse the pirate tactics and actions that violate international law and maritime safety endangering lives on the high seas by either the Sea Shepherds crew or it's founder Paul Watson. Regardless how you feel about the whaling debate this is not the time to be casting judgement on innocent civilians who have lost everything that have nothing to do with Japan's whaling industry. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. We just think Paul Watson's opinion on the Tsunami tragedy is not only wrong but utterly inhuman. ばか!

ばか! Aflac Spokesman Quacked!

If there ever was a more appropriate use of the Japanese expression ばか, it is certainly appropriate to describe the reckless and insensitive statements made by actor, comedian, and voice of the Aflac Duck Gilbert Gottfried. Seriously! What was this guy thinking making jokes about missing Japanese girlfriends he obviously does not have. Has this man lost his mind or is he that insensitive to the sufferring of the Japanese People? Whatever the case, Aflac has fired their spokesman and voice of the Aflac Duck of the last ten years and rightfully so. In times of great human tragedy it is never correct to make jokes while people are sufferring. I am sure Mr. Gottfried would not appreciate holocaust jokes on the anniversary of Kristalnacht so it should not be done at all. In a related move and effort to save face, Aflac has donated 100 million Yen to the International Red Cross.

We at American Mishima applaud Aflac's swift action in both firing Gottfried and making a sizable donation to the relief efforts. No amount of money can erase the pain his words may have caused but then again those who are sufferring the most were likely unaware of this incident and have more important things to concern themselves with. We should never endorse this type of humor in the wake of catastrophie. We can only pray for those missing and those struggling to survive.

Monday, March 14, 2011

核危機 Post Disaster Nuclear Crisis in Japan

The recent 8.9 earthquake & tsunami in Japan has dealt the country a series of devastating events in what could be described as the worst crisis since the end of WWII. With the mounting death toll still rising, Japan is now facing one of its worst fears of having to contain a nuclear disaster in the making. With two reported hydrogen explosions having taken place over the weekend, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant is now spewing radiation into the disaster zone hampering relief efforts and exposing an already devestated populace to deadly radiation. Over 1500 people in the Sendai area have been tested for low level radiation. So far no reports of radiation sickness have been reported but time will tell. One helicopter from the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan had been exposed to a radiation plume which resulted in the massive carrier repositioning further off the coast to avoid further radiation exposure. We hope that emergency iodine tablets and contingency supplies reach the survivors in the disaster zone in time. I need not mention what this means to the Japanese people. The subject of nuclear power has always been a sensitive one. Not discounting the people of Chernobyl, this disaster is a reminder of the horrors of the after effects of radiation from the nuclear bombings of WWII. With six reactors shut down and in crisis mode it is our hope that this will be contained so that the rescue and recovery efforts from the resulting tsunami can continue.

The scope of this disaster has reached unprecedented levels. It had been truly heartbreaking to watch from a world away. We wish we could be there to help search for survivors. It hits hard to see the people we love suffer through so much grief, hunger, and the stinging cold. And yet our feelings toward the crisis do not begin to compare to the ongoing agony of people both here and abroad who have yet to reach family or friends that are still among the missing. All we can do is pray and use the power of the internet to spread the word so people know that people are suffering and continue to need our help. Our hearts continue to go out to the People of Japan. We may be an ocean away but our hearts are with you.
If you would like to help, please donate to the Red Cross for Japan’s victims in this ongoing crisis.
Please continue to show your love and support the People of Japan in their most desperate hour.
ども ありがとう ございます.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

日本における災害 MLS Star Kosuke Kimura Reflects on the Disaster in Japan.

Kosuke Kimura is the only Japanese player from Japan in the MLS who plays for the Colorado Rapids. Originally rejected by Japan’s J-League, he has since become a huge star in his native country of Japan after helping the Colorado Rapids win the 2010 MLS Cup in Toronto Canada. It is reported that his family in Japan is ok but none the less is understandably concerned for his countrymen. Kimura was in Seattle when the 8.9 quake hit Japan. Kimura spoke on camera while in Seattle to reflect on this most recent tragedy. Please watch.

災害救援 MLS Teams Pledge Aid to Japan Disaster Victims

The tragic events following Japan’s most devastating earthquake has found an ironically named sports franchise to come to their aid. The San Jose “Earthquakes” have stepped up to the plate to be the first sports franchise in the United States and in the MLS to come to the aid of Japan’s many disaster victims. The San Jose Major League Soccer franchise  announced today that they would donate part of their proceeds of their 2011 Season Opening game at Buckshaw Stadium in San Jose on March 19th 7:30PM PST.
In addition to this announcement, the SJ Earthquakes have partnered with the American Red Cross to set up donation bins so fans may contribute to the growing relief effort. The team also plans to donate $50.00 USD for every goal defended by their goal keeper for the entire year. Considering they saved some 119 goals this could add up. Every little bit helps.
As quoted from the San Jose Earthquakes website “We were deeply saddened by the events that transpired in Japan on Thursday,” said Earthquakes President David Kaval. “As an organization, it’s our mission to be a leader in the community. We recognize that there are thousands of families in the Bay Area who were affected by this tragedy and I would like to personally encourage all of our fans to make a donation to the relief effort.”
As admirable as San Jose MLS franchise efforts they are not to be the only American Soccer team in this effort. The Seattle Sounders have also partnered with the American Red Cross to join in on the relief effort. The Seattle Sounders have invited fans to donate to the relief fund for Japan in their 2011 MLS Season Opener against the LA Galaxy this March 15th at Qwest Field. Seattle has a large Japanese community with strong ties to Japan. Both teams and players have expressed compassion for the victims and seek to involve their fans in the relief efforts. Turnouts are expected to be large and we at American Mishima encourage all soccer fans to please come and donate to the Red Cross.

It is often in moments of tragedy that people come together and express both their compassion for their fellow man as well as their generosity. We applaud San Jose and Seattle for their help for the People of Japan. It is our hope at American Mishima that other MLS teams will join the relief effort as well as other sports franchises. Should more MLS teams join in we will write about them here.

May all your family and friends be safe. Our hearts and prayers go out to the People of Japan.

Please visit Redcross.org or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone to support
The American Red Cross emergency and disaster relief efforts.
ども ありがとう ございます.

Friday, March 11, 2011

津波の悲劇 - Tsunami Tragedy 2011

No words can begin to descibe the unfolding tragedy caused by the devestating series of Tsunamis in the wake of a most terrifying earthquake near Sendai Japan. We at American Mishima offer our prayers and norito to the People of Japan. It breaks our hearts to see this tragedy unfold before our tearfull eyes live on television. If there is anything we can do to help the People of Japan we would gladly offer our assistance. Please pray for the People of Japan and for those lost and those still searching for loved ones yet unaccounted for.