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Thursday, Sept. 12, 2002


Words on Apple, more on pets and culture vultures

Last Apple bite

As promised last time, Apple-man Anthony Walter of Caliburn responds to queries about Macintosh computers in Japan.

He says: "In reply to those who doubt that we should be charging a conversion fee, while OSX can be changed from Japanese to English in a few clicks, OS9 or Classic cannot. Caliburn has been able to supply new Macs complete with both OS9 and OSX in English since OSX was launched and OS9 in English for the last two years. We have permission from Apple Japan to make the conversion of both software and keyboards so no imports are involved and all machines come with full 12-month warranties."

More on pets

Lots of responses to Henry Gieven's search for a dog as a family pet.

Chizuko Uriu says there is an organization in Tokyo's Adachi Ward run by Marco Bruno that rescues unwanted cats and dogs and then finds them good foster homes. Check out: www.adachi.ne.jp/users/help/satooya/satooya_index.html

She adds: "I have a dog right now that needs a home -- a 5.5-kg terrier mix, who's about two years old. If Henry or anyone else is interested, please get in touch" (on 042-341 3752).

Also, Harumi Matsumoto would be happy to help you find just the dog or cat you are looking for. Even if you can only look after an unwanted animal whilst in Japan, it helps lighten the load a lot, and will make your stay here that much more homely. Fax Harumi on 03-3291-0910, or write to 1-23 Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0054.

Michelle in Hiroshima says she's heard lots of good things about ARK, an animal rescue center in Kansai. Perhaps they have contacts in Kanto and Kanagawa, she suggests.

Indeed, ARK (founded by Elizabeth Oliver in 1990) is a much respected organization, that did sterling work after the Kobe earthquake, when so many pets were left to fend for themselves. Contact them at: Animal Refuge Kansai, 595 Noma Ohara, Nose-cho, Toyono-gun. Phone 0727-37-1885 (fax: 0727-37-1645), or E-mail arkbark@wombat.or.jp

Culture vulture

Adrian Bennett, who works in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York, was here in April and thought Japan subarashi.

He will be returning in October, this time specifically to see gardens in Kyoto.

"How can I get hold of a schedule for kabuki and bunraku in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto," he asks. "And are there any festivals in or around Kyoto next month?"

Check out Kabuki-za in Tokyo on www.shochiku.co.jp/play/kabukiza/theater/index.html

Right now the October schedule is still being posted in Japanese only, but will be available in translation later in the month. Adrian should know, however, that October will be a very special month, a-not-to be-missed example of toshi-kyogen (playing the whole story right through). He should make reservations online or by phone (in Japan: 03-3541-3131) as quickly as possible from Sept. 15, when tickets go on sale.

This year is the 300th anniversary of the story (based on an historical incident in 1702) of the 47 samurai (Chushingura), and the whole drama will be performed from Oct. 1-25, from 11 a.m.--4.30 p.m. daily. Normally a performance consists of several acts from different stories, so this is a rare happening. Even famed oyama (a male performer of female roles) Bando Tamasaburo will be appearing, but in one scene only.

There is no mainstream kabuki in Osaka in October, though preparations for old-style kabuki (such as was shown for one month in Asakusa earlier this year ) are underway for November.

Bunraku is also off the cultural menu. In September, yes, November, yes. But next month is sadly off-season.

If in Kyoto around National Health & Sports Day (this year it's Oct. 14), check out Mibu-kyogen, performed at Mibu-dera temple. This is 4 1/2 hours of Buddhist miracle plays in pantomime style, and has been staged here for some 700 years.

Due to popular demand shown during the Edo period, they are also now shown in autumn. The Mibu-dera homepage in English (complete with photos and musical effects) is at www.yamanakart.com/egg-p/mibu

There are only 400 seats and no reservations, so be prepared to queue. Tickets are just 800 yen.

Also, there are a good half dozen festivals in or around Kyoto at that time. The Ushi Matsuri (Ox Festival), at Koryu-ji on the 10th, re-enacts a vision of the Indian god Madara attended by four demonic guardians, in a lantern-lit parade.

The best known is the Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages) on Oct. 22.

Starting from the Kyoto Imperial Palace, it features some 2,000 people dressed in historical costumes processing through the streets to the Heian Shrine.

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