Every autumn in Japan the leaves change to beautiful shades of red and yellow and vermillion, a spectacle called koyo (紅葉, lit. “crimson leaves”). And just as the leaves are starting to turn, we know we’ll be tempted with a barrage of TV commercials by Japan’s JR train line promoting Kyoto in the fall, showing incredible images of the city with autumn-colored leaves all around, along with the very effective slogan, So da! Kyoto e iko! (“Hey, I’ve got an idea! Let’s go to Kyoto!”). Well, there’s a very famous guest in Kyoto right now: none other than George W. Bush, who is in Japan for a two-day meeting with Prime Minister Koizumi. Last night the two leaders took in Kinkakuji, the famous Golden Pavilion, and today they’re going to be discussing issues ranging from Iraq to U.S. bases to bird flu. The U.S. is also expected to press Japan to resume beef imports, which have been on hold since 2003 over Mad Cow. Mr. Bush will be the first guest in the newly completed Kyoto State Guest House, a sprawling facility constructed to house international events and foreign dignitaries. I wonder if he got to take a Japanese bath and sleep in a real futon? That would be so cool. As far as world leaders go, I can’t think of anyone who needs to be exposed to some outside ideas more than Bush, and maybe he can realize there’s an actual world outside of Texas and Washington in Japan. Fingers crossed that there will be no projectile vomiting on any Japanese Prime Ministers this time around…
Japan has been seized with a bout of “wedding mania” after the happy marriage of Princess Nori, daughter of the current Japanese Emperor Akihito, to an employee of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The ceremony, while beautiful, was remarkable because it was just another Japanese wedding, despite the royal status of the bride. After a very traditional Shinto ceremony at the Meiji Jingu Shrine in which Norinomiya-sama wore a juni-hitoe, a traditional 12-layer kimono dating back to the 10th century, the happy couple had a fairly unremarkable reception at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. The news was all over the story, from interviewing some of the the 6000 people who lined up on the street just so they could wave to the princess as she drove by to giving full report on what was served during the reception. The reception itself followed the well-defined mold of Japanese weddings, starting off with a speech by the groom’s boss (in this case, Tokyo mayor Shintaro Ishihara, who you may remember is the guy who wrote “The Japan That Can Say No” a decade ago) and ending with an emotional speech by the bride, thanking her parents for raising her and promising to find happiness in her new life. Princess Nori’s husband is a sports car collector and loves driving his Lotus Elise, and the newscasters were laughing at the image of a the demure former Japanese princess zooming around at high speeds with her husband.
Over the years, J-List has been honored to bring anime fans from all over the world a direct link to Japan. Because we’re fans of Hayao Miyazaki’s films, we’ve always gone out of our way to bring great Studio Ghibli products to everyone. Today we’re happy to announce the release of Howl’s Moving Castle
on DVD, complete with full optional subtitles in English, French and Japanese, and full dubbed tracks in English and French as well. We’ve got both versions, too, the normal 2-disc set and the super deluxe 4-disc collector’s edition, with making of, interviews with the director and more. Howl’s Moving Castle is the story of a plain girl whose life is touched by the mysterious wizard Howl, and it’s a great story for all fans of Mr. Miyazaki! (The DVDs are zoned for region 2, however, and we recommend the excellent region free DVD players we stock, starting at just $68).