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TJ Expert

TJ Expert (97)



Chavez and the World

Written by  |  Published in Haitian Culture & Politics

IN October 1999, after only eight months in office, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made a state visit to Japan. I had the honor of meeting him at The Foreign Correspondent’s Club in Tokyo after he gave a speech that remains engraved in my memory. He shared with the diplomatic corps and journalists his discussion with the Emperor of Japan who had asked him how a country as rich in natural resources as Venezuela can have 80% of its population living under the poverty line. Chavez confessed that while he welcomed the Emperor’s concern, he was not expecting such a question from him.

The Emperor pinpointed the dilemma Chavez faced all his life: a huge disparity between the rich and the poor. How can it be that Venezuela’s vast natural resources could only benefit the elite? How can such a trend be reversed after plaguing his country for so long? How could anybody convince the country’s privileged class that it is in their interests that the fundamental rights of all Venezuelans are respected? Is it acceptable that foreign companies control 95% of the petroleum reserves of his country?

Fashion Design by Junko Koshino

Written by  |  Published in Fashion Designer

Tokyo's Fashion Queen and Tony Award-nominee Junko Koshino, renowned for her fashion, costume and uniform design, shares the latest in Tokyo's fashion scene.

Junko Koshino

TJ: Can you tell us about your recent projects?
Koshino: In 2012, I did the costume design for The Art of Japan Drum “Drum Tao” and the launch of the Cashmere 2012 Autumn Winter Total Collection Line. Projects in 2013 include the March costume design for the Yuzuru (Twilight Crane) Opera in Vietnam and a museum exhibition in Sao Paulo in November.

TJ: In recent years, what do you think have been the most significant changes in women’s fashion?
Koshino: I think artistic sensitivity has increasingly been freely expressed in women’s fashion designs.

ファッション・衣装・ユニフォームのデザインで知られ、 トニー賞にもノミネートされた東京のファションクイーン コシノ・ジュンコさんに、 東京のファッション・シーンの最新情報を語っていただきました。

TJ: 最近のお仕事についてお聞かせください。
コシノ: 2012 年の活動としては、和太鼓を使っ たアート・パフォーマンス「ドラム・タオ」の 衣装デザイン、カシミヤのトータルコレクショ ンラインのスタート(2012 年秋冬コレクショ ン)などが挙げられます。2013 年には、ベト ナムでのオペラ「夕鶴」公演の衣装デザイン、 11 月のサンパウロのミュージアムでの展覧会 などを予定しています。

TJ: 近年のウィメンズファッションで、最も大 きな変化だと思われるのは?
コシノ: アーティステックな感性がデザインに 現れ、より自由になったと思います。


Fashion Design by Junko Koshino

Written by  |  Published in Fashion Designer

Tokyo's Fashion Queen and Tony Award Nominee Junko Koshino, renowned for her fashion, costume and uniform design, shares the latest in Tokyo's fashion scene.

Junko Koshino

TJ: How did you first get started in fashion design?
Koshino: My mother owned her own clothing boutique in Osaka. Therefore, from early childhood, I was surrounded by design. My older sister, Hiroko, was supposed to take over my mother’s business so I didn’t have to enter the fashion world, and I tried to become interested in other subjects. Before I entered Art College, Hiroko and I went to the same high school. It was a very prestigious one, and we both chose the same art club. I did oil paintings and my sister did water colors. I then went to Art College, but it turned out that the fashion world was my destiny after all. I liked to paint from early childhood, so for me it is very easy to create pictures of design styles. At one point, after I entered Art College, I decided I actually wanted to be a designer instead of a painter. So, I switched my major and I focused on design. This story of my mother and my sisters (who are all fashion designers) was featured on the NHK (Japanese national broadcasting station) Drama “Carnation” in 2011 and 2012.

TJ: Your sisters Hiroko and Michiko are also renowned fashion designers. How often do you keep in touch and do you ever collaborate?
Koshino: We don’t meet very often, about four times a year. Each year, we meet at a very famous festival in our hometown, which is the Kishiwada area of Osaka and also at the Lumiere Vision Exposition in Paris. We sometimes meet for a ceremony in memory of our mother as well. We collaborated for a show for our mother two times a few years ago, but we haven’t collaborated since she passed away.

Movie Subtitling: Natsuko Toda

Written by  |  Published in Translation & Subtitling

Interview series with Japan’s most renowned translator of foreign films and interpreter for Hollywood stars, Natsuko Toda.

TJ: Can you tell us about how you got started in your career?
Toda: I saw a lot of movies in my school days, and I absolutely loved them. After graduating from Tsuda College, I visited Japanese subtitling pioneer Shunji Shimizu to ask about working in the field of movie subtitling. He said mastering the skill was difficult and there weren’t many opportunities for work in the field. But, I was not discouraged. I chose a non-film industry related job and began working at Dai-Ichi Life Insurance Company in the Hibiya area of Tokyo. However, I didn’t abandon my passion for movies. Pretty soon I quit Dai-Ichi Life and began working part-time jobs as a translator. I did all kinds of translations including industrial manuals, magazine articles and books. Eventually, I began doing movie-related translations and dictation for Shimizu sensei, and through this relationship, I was offered the opportunity to interpret at a press conference. It was almost 10 years after I graduated from college before I had the opportunity to be offered the job of subtitling for a Francois Truffaut movie and I was fortunate to have Shimizu Sensei provide advice during that time in my career.

On Tour with Bob Gruen

Written by  |  Published in Music Gallery

Go on tour with legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen, who is one of the most well known and respected photographers in Rock and Roll.

HELLO Japan! I am very happy to have been asked to make a regular feature column for the Tokyo Journal! I thought I would start with a few pictures that show where my career began.

Growing up in the 1950s, I heard rock and roll when it was first played on the radio and I was an immediate fan. After High School in the late sixties, I was living with a rock band and started my career by taking pictures of them. When they were discovered, their record company used my photos and hired me to photograph more groups.

Soon I was working for many record companies and in 1972 I was included in ‘The Photography of Rock’, the first book of rock music photos. The writer, who interviewed me for the book, liked my photos and the following week brought me to his magazine interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. John & Yoko liked the photos I took and used one in the package for their next record album. And I’ve been very busy ever since.


Written by  |  Published in Strategist & Nuclear Expert


Nuclear expert, philosopher, strategist, social entrepreneur and former advisor to Prime Minister Kan, Dr Hiroshi Tasaka shares his views on Japan.

TJ: What role have you played in serving as an Advisor to Prime Ministers?
Tasaka: On March 29, 2011, shortly after the March 11 Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident, I was appointed by the Prime Minister of Japan Naoto Kan as his Special Advisor to serve him as an expert of nuclear engineering in an effort to cope with the accident. My role as a Special Advisor to the Prime Minister shifted from devising a way to stop the accident to proposing ways to reform nuclear regulations and nuclear industries, as well as investigating ways to change national energy policy.
I resigned from the position on September 2, 2011, when the cabinet changed. I had served as an advisor for five months and five days during the most critical period after the accident.

Hiroyuki Suzuki Photo Exhibit Interview #1

Written by  |  Published in Tokyo Photography

Hiroyuki Suzuki's camera lens has taken him to construction sites around the world in an ambition to capture the instability, energy, beauty and hope – he sees as intrinsic within these sites.

Hiroyuki Suzuki

TJ: How did you first get interested in photography?
Suzuki: I first became interested in photography 50 years ago when I was in the 5th grade of elementary school and was given a Konica Camera as a present. At the time I was also interested in painting. I was in Yaizu in Shizuoka Prefecture, which is a port city, so I often painted boats. Normally, people paint a boat in the center of a picture, but from the beginning I would use a non-standard composition. I might paint 2 boats in the painting, but for example, only part of one boat would be on left side of the painting and part of the other boat would appear on the right side of the painting, with a gap between the boats. It was not the usual focal point for a picture. I often use this same approach in my photos.

TJ: How would you describe your style of photography?
Suzuki: I wouldn’t say I have a specific style. I like to capture the moment. I play soccer, and I learned that if you want to score, you need to seize opportunities, and that’s what I do in my photography. In black and white photos, composition and light are important. I don’t need any colors. In my photos, the composition of my pictures is like my original style of paintings, and is not like that of other photographers.


Written by  |  Published in Yoga Lifestyle

A regular visitor to Tokyo, New York City-based Yoga Instructor and Interculturalist Judit Torok shares her techniques for alleviating big city stress.

Yoga for Everyone

I recently read an article about parents of elementary school children in California who were outraged about their children practicing Ashtangastyle yoga at school as part of their physical education program. They claimed that yoga is inappropriate and dangerous for kids because they believe their children are being indoctrinated into the Hindu religion in a public school. I couldn’t disagree with them more. These parents, and unfortunately many other people, hold inaccurate notions of this ancient practice.


 |  Published in Japanese Business Expert

Former Accenture Chairman Masakatsu Mori, shares his 30 years experience of advising many of Japan's leading corporations as well as foreign corporations doing business in Japan and beyond.

TJ: Companies in Japan are revolutionizing the meaning of globalization by making English the official language of their headquarters, even while others are remaining domestic- minded by not promoting English in the workplace. What are your thoughts on these approaches, and which approach do you think is needed for Japan? On another note, why do you think Japan has been struggling with competition from companies in China and South Korea, and what can Japan do to remain competitive?

Mori: Japanese corporations have accumulated a wealth of capital and technology, with the total in accumulated cash at US$2.5 trillion. Japanese companies hold the top five spots for highest patent values in the world. Even so, the number of business leaders able to do business in the global market lags behind other major countries. The development of executives who can harness Japan’s huge capital and technological resources for doing business in the global market is a national priority. Two young companies are leading this charge: Fast Retailing and Rakuten. They are challenging Japanese corporations by aggressively transforming into global players with sustainable growth. This is leaving its mark on traditional companies, albeit gradually. More companies are starting to consider at least minimum TOIEC scores before hiring new employees and promoting others to management positions. Being able to speak English and understand different cultures and business habits are now seen as keys for success in the global marketplace.


Written by  |  Published in Language & Education

World-acclaimed linguist and language educator Dr. David Nunan shares his own personal learning experiences from his 30 years in the classroom.

Only connect

ONE of the joys of being an English language teacher for non-native English speakers is the opportunity to meet a diversity of individuals from different cultures and walks of life. Over the years, I have taught (and learned from) thousands of students of all ages and backgrounds. Occasionally I bump into former students and listen eagerly to the stories they tell me about their lives, from their successes and failures to their triumphs and tragedies. Once or twice at the end of a conversation, a former student has said, “Thank you for teaching me. You changed my life.” Hyperbole, perhaps, but for a teacher nothing is more rewarding than that from a former student.

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