MET Column

Rakugo has been pretty consistent for the last 400 years but it’s not as static as we might think. It’s changing and evolving to reflect the world around us.

日本語 Written by: Daniel Penso Columnist/Proofreader/Translator   As an avid rakugo fan, I enjoyed Kristine Ohkubo’s Talking About RAKUGO 1: The Japanese Art of Storytelling, a wonderful source for learning about the history of the art and those who have and currently participate in rakugo. In this interview, we talk with Kristine Ohkubo about that book and her thoughts about rakugo and what makes it such an interesting comedy form.   Please introduce yourself. My name is Kristine Ohkubo. I’m an author based in Los Angeles, CA. I officially began writing over a decade ago. I’ve published eight books to


Why do you like your country? – Tell me, Japanese people! Vol. 24

Produced by Isao Tokuhashi Edited by Jennifer A. Hoff Mail to:   Hamarikyu Gardens, Chuo-ku Located at the mouth of the Sumida River, it was opened to the public April 1st, 1946. The park is surrounded by a seawater moat filled by Tokyo Bay. It was remodeled as a public garden park on the site of a villa of the Shogun Tokugawa family in the 17th century. *Hamarikyu Gardens. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved January 27, 2019, from 日本語   Man from Australia This is my first trip to Japan. There are seven of us on our trip and


I want to provide Japan “much more value for functionality”.

Interviewed by Isao Tokuhashi Mail to:   Corey Lee (United States) Creative Director / Designer When you hear the word “designer,” you probably associate them with very creative people, but when do you interact with them? In many cases, you probably ask them to work on something that you can’t draw or create. But Corey Lee, a young American creative director/designer, says, “Those days are over.” Until now, designers have mainly gotten orders for design work from planners and developers. However, the future designer should be “A leader who joins the planning stage and takes the lead in concept


Why do Japanese people like natto? – Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.23

Produced by Isao Tokuhashi Edited by Jennifer A. Hoff Mail to:   Rikugi-en Garden, Bunkyo-ku Rikugi-en (六義園) is one of the Tokyo metropolitan parks. The name Rikugi-en means Garden of the Six Principles of Poetry (六義) which comes from the idea of the six elements in waka (和歌, a type of poetry in classical Japanese literature), while en (園) means garden or park. The construction of the park took place between 1695 and 1702. The founder of Mitsubishi, Iwasaki Yatarō bought the garden in 1878 and restored it. It was donated to the Tokyo City government in 1938. *Rikugi-en.


Isn’t it difficult to abide by social etiquette from a young age? – Tell me, Japanese people! Vol. 22

Produced by Isao Tokuhashi Edited by Jennifer A. Hoff Mail to:   Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture Located approximately 30 kilometers from downtown Tokyo. The city is known locally as “Little Edo” (小江戸 Koedo) after the old name for Tokyo, due to its many historic buildings. *Kawagoe. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved November 18, 2018, from,_Saitama *Related article: Tokyo Getaways #3 Kawagoe ‘Ancient Edo’ Walking Tour 日本語   Man from Australia I’m originally from Sydney but have been living in San Francisco for the last two years. The reason I came to Kawagoe is that my wife’s host suggested it to


Why do you want to learn English? – Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.21

Produced by Isao Tokuhashi Edited by Daniel Penso Mail to:   Haneda Airport Located 14 kilometers (8.7 mi) south of Tokyo Station, it was the third-busiest airport in Asia and the fourth-busiest in the world in 2017, after Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Beijing Capital International Airport (Asia’s busiest), and Dubai International Airport. Haneda and Narita combined make Tokyo the third-busiest city airport system in the world, following London and New York City. *Haneda Airport. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved September 6, 2018, from 日本語   Man from Indonesia I’m a medical doctor back home. This is our first trip


Tell me, Japanese people! @ Company Vol.2

Interviewed by Isao Tokuhashi Mail to:   We’ve started with a new series of interviews that highlights foreign staff working at Japanese companies in 2017 to learn about their unique perspectives on Japan and its corporate culture. Our second interview was conducted with one Japanese startup company called Table Cross. The company was founded in 2014. Kaoru Joho, founder and CEO of Table Cross, was just a 21-year old college girl when she released the app (also named Table Cross), which would enable people to give school meals to children in developing countries by booking seats at restaurants, bars,


Why are your shoes one size too big? – Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.20

Produced by Isao Tokuhashi Edited by Daniel Penso Mail to:   Yanesen This word is formed with the initials of three neighborhoods: Yanaka (谷中), Nezu (根津) and Sendagi (千駄木) in Bunkyo-ku and Taito-ku, the northeastern area of Tokyo. It’s a non-commercial residential area known as “Shitamachi” (下町, old downtown) where there is a significant nostalgic and retro local atmosphere remaining. 日本語   Yanaka Located north of Ueno, there are around 70 small, privately owned stores in the area. Also, it is a district where more than 60 small Buddhist temples are situated. Couple from the US “We are from


I want to make Japan a better place with my idol group.

Interviewed by Kelly Sun Written by Isao Tokuhashi Mail to:   James Collins (United States) Producer There are many idol groups in Japan. Male groups belonging to Johnny & Associates are popular, not only within Japan but also abroad, with other Asian countries making up the lion’s share of the market. Female groups too, such as AKB48 and their peers, receive widespread support across all age groups. Idol members are typically Japanese citizens. While there are some who have roots in foreign countries, they remain minorities. However, an American man is causing quite a stir in the supposedly “homogenous”


Why do you have the senior-junior relationship system? – Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.19

Produced by Isao Tokuhashi Edited by Jennifer A. Hoff Mail to:   Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden One of the most popular destinations for cherry blossom viewing in Tokyo, which has approximately 1,500 cherry trees which bloom from late March (Shidare or Weeping Cherry), to early April (Somei or Tokyo Cherry), and into late April (Kanzan Cherry). *Shinjuku Gyoen. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved April 29, 2018, from *Another interview session at Shinjuku Gyoen: See this page. 日本語   Family and their friends from Norway We’re from Oslo, the capital city of Norway, and Bergen, a city on the west