Sunday, March 31, 2013

(Non) Credo

Depuis mon plus jeune âge je me suis toujours penché sur le sujet des religions (et c'est sans doute pour ça que j'ai depuis un mal de dos chronique). Dès l'âge de sept ou huit ans, j'ai remis en question l'enseignement religieux reçu à l'école et j'étais réticent à aller à l'église. Toutefois, ce n'est que plus tard, dans l'adolescence, que je me suis vraiment intéressé à la philosophie des religions (sans vraiment savoir ce que c'était au départ).

Avant d'en venir à la conclusion que la religion est une question vide de sens produite par notre nature même d'être humain insécure -- mais que c'est toutefois un mal nécessaire et qu'il faut accepter et respecter l'opinion d’autrui tant que celui-ci respecte celle des autres et préserve la dignité humaine -- j'ai longtemps cherché une voie de remplacement.

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Press Review (2013-03-31)

The most boring week spent in the worse way possible: expecting something to happen. Of course, nothing happened! I was hoping to get some results from my little job hunting, but I guess I'll stay in this hell's pit for a little while. At least I've received my income tax returns and got my annual haircut (for that I tried a local italian barber for the first time). Buona Pasqua tutti!

For a little action, check the few links I gathered this week after the jump:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

TV Japan in Montreal at last!

A quick post on Coco Montreal's Facebook page brought to my attention that TV Japan (which offers mostly NHK programming) is now available in Montreal through Bell Fibe TV (although Bell own web page doesn't mention anything about this yet).

TV japan's press release mentioned by Coco Montreal (in Japanese), also point to a free preview available from March 21st to April 18th.

Some of NHK programming (mostly news and documentaries) are already available in English through NHK World, which can be watched here for free online or via an iOS app.

However, more NHK programming (in Japanese) is now available from TV Japan, a channel owned by NHK Cosmomedia America, Inc. It offers “24 hours Japanese broadcasting everywhere in North America.” Their website also says that it “broadcasts many of its live news programs with English translation as a secondary audio service or with English crawl. An additional few select programs are provided in English or with English subtitle”. We also learn that it is “available in North America through DISH Network satellite service (US only), select Cable Systems [Rogers in Ontario, BC and Alberta] and IPTV Systems [Bell Fibe TV in Quebec, BC, AB, MB and ON] as a premium channel [meaning at the hefty price of $20 per month]”.

It offers a great variety of programming: news, drama, documentary, sports and even anime (although it's limited to Anpanman, Chibi Maruko Chan, Doraemon, Detective Conan and One Piece).

It make me wish that I was with Bell Fibe TV, but lets hope that Videotron will have the brilliant idea to add it to its international lineup on their new Illico Digital TV (they did promised more channel as I recall -- although they just added AMC which is already a good news).

Press Review (2013-03-26)

Not much happened in the last couple of weeks: A few activities on the union side (inflating even more my disillusions about democracy), a little job hunting (I'm looking to move to a better position, geographically) and a last hurrah of the winter with a storm that gave us nearly twenty centimetres of snow last week. However, spring is coming out stronger each day.

I just finished reading Hitler, a manga by Shigeru Mizuki, and now I am reading Mari Yamazaki's Thermae Romae (an hilarious manga that was adapted into both an anime and a live-action movie) as well as Je suis vivant et vous êtes morts [I am alive but you're dead] a novelized biography of Philip K. Dick by French author Emmanuel Carrère. All quite interesting and I'll try to comment on them as soon as possible (considering how busy I am, it'll probably take months).

On TV, I just finished watching the (Brit, of course) series Mr Selfridge and Ripper Street. I am currently following (or catching up on) Ben Hur (the 2010 movie for TV remake, ideal viewing choice for the week leading to Easter!), Murdoch Mysteries and Vikings (while still watching the usual Elementary, Hawaiï Five-O, Mentalist, NCIS, Vampire Diaries and Walking Dead -- it's funny to note that those are the only shows with contemporary setting that I watch). Not to forget that Bomb Girls, The Borgia, Continuum, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones and Mad Men will resume imminently. I'm wondering where I find time to sleep.

Not much news-wise either. A new Pope was elected (as if it would change anything) and, for the rest, here's a few links after the jump:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Press Review (2013-03-12)

Domestic log: We've just started Daylight Saving Time. Spring is obviously coming in a week as we are getting warmer temperature and rain to make the snow melt. I'm not complaining. I feel much better that way, although the view of all those bare trees is still depressing. I can't wait to see some green. Last week was the spring break for local elementary and high schools so the library was hellishly busy. Seeing all those poster-children for vasectomy sure makes you rethink your career plans. I am really desperate to move out of this library for a less dysfunctional one in order to save my sanity! I also heard the shocking news of the death of Toren Smith, a manga translation pioneer that played a key role in importing our favourite books this side of the Pacific. I barely knew him, having met only half a dozen times, mostly in the nineties. However my wife knew him much better than me. We've spent a sad evening remembering him as my wife was telling me a few interesting anecdotes about him.

As for the press review, the last couple of weeks were poor in big news. The winners of the Japanese Academy Awards were announced and the Conclave to elect the new Pope has just begun. You will find links to more news (including my favourite library humour) after the jump:

Monday, March 11, 2013

Toren Smith (1960-2013)

This week, I was aghast to learn (via Anime News Network and James Hudnall) that one of the founding pillar of the manga industry in North America had passed away. Toren Smith was probably the first to go to Japan in order to negotiate publishing rights for manga titles, translate them into English (working with his friend David Lewis, later known as Dana Lewis, whom he met in Japan) and team up with American comics companies (like Viz, Eclipse and Dark Horse) to publish them -- for that purpose he created Studio Proteus and thus kickstarted the manga industry in North America. For this we should all be immensely grateful and indebted to him.

I met Toren for the first time in August 1989 at the San Diego Comic Convention, where my friend Alain Dubreuil and I interviewed him for Protoculture Addicts, and I kept seeing him in several other conventions after that. However, my wife knew him quite well. Married twice (mostly to the artist Tomoko Saito), he led a full and interesting life. He was an enthusiastic and multitalented individual, a shrewd businessman (he didn't talked much about it but a good part of his income came from translating hentai manga, most of them published through Fantagraphics' imprint MangErotica) and a great guy. He brought us so many excellent manga, gave us (with Adam Warren) the Dirty Pair comics and even had a cameo appearance in the anime Gunbuster (at first I thought he had seriously pissed off Gainax people, because when someone put you in their animation only to kill you off it's usually not out of love, but I later learned that it was meant as an expression of great respect and friendship).

Toren Smith died on Monday March 4th 2013 at age 52 (way too young) and the cause of his death has not been made public. My wife and I want to express our most sincere condolences to Toren's family, friends and fans. Requiescat in pace Smith Toren!

Many members of the anime and manga community commented on his passing (Japanator, Right Stuf, The Fandom Post, All Day Comics, Gilles Poitras, The Mike Toole Show and I'm sure you can find more on Google), but if you have to read only one piece about Toren I suggest you check the obituary by Jonathan Clements.

For my part, as a tribute to Toren Smith's life and career, I would like to offer you the interview we made with him and published in Protoculture Addicts #7 (pages 21-24) in the Spring 1990. Read the interview after the jump:

Sunday, March 10, 2013

36th Japan Academy Prize Winners

The Japan Academy Prize Association has just announced the Award winners for its 36th edition (for the nomination see our previous blog entry):

  • Best Picture of the year: The Kirishima Thing (“Kirishima, Bukatsu Yamerutteyo”, dir.: Daihachi Yoshida)
  • Best Director of the year: Daihachi Yoshida (The Kirishima Thing)
  • Best Animation of the year: Wolf Children (“Okami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki”, dir.: Mamoru Hosoda)
  • Best Actor of the year: Hiroshi Abe (Thermae Romae)
  • Best Actress of the year: Kirin Kiki (Chronicle Of My Mother)
  • Best Supporting Actor of the year: Hideji Otaki (Dearest)
  • Best Supporting Actress of the year: Kimiko Yo (Dearest)
  • Best Screenplay of the year: Kenji Uchida (Key Of Life)
  • Best Music of the year: Ikuko Kawai (A Chorus of Angels)
  • Best Cinematography of the year: Daisaku Kimura (A Chorus of Angels)
  • Best Lighting of the year: Takashi Sugimoto (A Chorus of Angels)
  • Best Art Direction of the year: Norihiro Isoda & Nariyuki Kondo (The Floating Castle)
  • Best Sound of the year: Fumio Hashimoto (Admiral Yamamoto)
  • Best Editing of the year: Mototaka Kusakabe (The Kirishima Thing)
  • Best Foreign Language Film of the year: The Intouchables (France)

  • Most Popular Film of the year: The Kirishima Thing
  • Most Popular Actor of the year: Yuko Oshima (a member of AKB48's Team K, for her role in Ushijima the Loan Shark)

Unlike last year, there is no clear winner. However, The Kirishima Thing gets best picture, best director, best editing AND most popular film, while A Chorus of Angels gets three of the “Technical” awards and Dearest gets both supporting role awards. I've already seen Dearest but I'll make sure to add the other two on my list of “to watch” movies.

For more details on the award winners you can check the AsianWiki, Anime News Network and the Japan Academy Prize official site (in Japanese).

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Sunday, March 03, 2013

La maison en petits cubes

Cette semaine j'ai découvert un superbe album illustré pour enfant qui m'a, par le suite, mener vers de nouvelles révélations. Je vous en fait ici une brève introduction afin que vous puissiez le découvrir à votre tour. Comme vous voyez j'ai des lectures des plus éclectiques...

“Dans une ville entièrement immergée, un vieux monsieur résiste encore et toujours à la montée du niveau de la mer. Chaque fois que l’eau atteint son plancher, il est obligé de bâtir une nouvelle maison par-dessus la précédente, si bien qu’au fil du temps son logis a fini par ressembler à une immense pile de petits cubes. Un jour, alors qu’il s’est encore une fois lancé dans la construction d’une nouvelle demeure, ses outils tombent tout au fond de l’eau. Il enfile sa combinaison pour aller les repêcher, et au fur et à mesure qu’il descend à travers ses anciennes maisons, de lointains souvenirs lui reviennent en mémoire…”

“Découvrez le sublime livre créé par les auteurs du film La maison en petits cubes, récompensé dans les festivals du monde entier, notamment par le prestigieux Oscar du meilleur court-métrage d’animation”. [ Texte de la couverture arrière et du site de l'éditeur ]
Continuez après le saut de page >>

Saturday, March 02, 2013

36th Japan Academy Prize Nominees

Last January, the nominees for the 36th Japan Academy Prize (aka the Japanese Academy Awards) were announced on the Japan Academy Prize Association website [ in japanese: 日本アカデミー賞公式サイト ] :

The nominees for Best Picture of the year (2013) are:

The nominees for Best Director of the year (2013) are:
  • Shinji Higuchi & Isshin Inudo (The Floating Castle)
  • Junji Sakamoto (A Chorus of Angels))
  • Masato Harada (Chronicle Of My Mother)
  • Yasuo Furuhata (Dearest)
  • Daihachi Yoshida (The Kirishima Thing)

The nominees for Best Animation of the year (2013) are:

Here we are listing only the categories that are of interest for our blog, but you'll find more details on ALL the nominees on the AsianWiki. You'll find also some information (mostly about the anime category and the anime- & manga-related nominations) on Anime News Network.

The award winners will be announced on March 8, 2013, so stay tuned!

Update (2013-03-10): Award winners have been highlighted in red. You can find the full result on my entry on the “36th Japan Academy Prize Winners” as well as check the AsianWiki and Anime News Network for more details.

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