Press Release: Towards the publication of e-books in 12 languages worldwide

Well known for its efforts in multilingual translation, the Sohos Ltd. (location: Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture, representative: Kazushige Morota) has started a crowd funding project to jointly develop and market the clay cat sculptures created by Risa Takahashi on the MotionGallery crowd platform starting January 26. Our aim is to raise ¥1,000,000 starting from March 16. The funding we receive will be spent on expenses incurred in the course of this project. ▼Crowd funding page The book will show step-by-step descriptions of how to make clay cats. A gallery showing her creations will also be displayed. This will be Ms. Takahashi’s third publication and her first publication of an…


Men, too, should wear kimono! Hōkan, an endangered species of entertainer 2/2

In my most recent contribution to this blog, which is now 3 months ago, I wrote about a memorable encounter with a hōkan, Shichiko Sakuragawa. I was impressed with his skills and artistic flair, but the haori he wore that day turned out to be no less a work of art. He showed us that the lining contained a shunga, Japanese erotic art, showing a realistic depiction of a man and a woman entwined. How extravagant and how erotic! To go to the trouble of finding and collecting such pictures on textile and having them attached to the lining of a haori makes him a perfectionist in the pursuit of…

Hokan, male geisha

Hōkan, an Endangered Species of Entertainer – 1/2

As a magazine editor and writer, I sometimes have the opportunity to meet people in unusual professions. For example, “幇間 (Hōkan).” And many of you will probably ask “How do you read that?” The answer is “hokan.” Another name for this profession is “taikomochi.” Hōkan is difficult to translate into English, the best is perhaps “raconteur,” a French word that has come into English. The difference between the two is that a raconteur is mainly a story teller, whereas a hōkan also sings, dances and actively engages his audience in games and word play. Hōkan are entertainers just like geisha or rakugoka (a traditional Japanese story teller), but currently there…

September 2020 Trip – Touring Kyoto and “Sanbi”

On September 19, 2020, in the midst of the raging Corona pandemic my wife and I set out on a trip my wife had made reservations for a few months earlier. After leaving Shinyokohama on a Shinkansen train we arrived in Kyoto about two hours later. A bus from the station took us to Fushimiinari. From there to Kiyomizu-dera Temple only to find out it was partially closed for renovation! We got in, but unfortunately could not get on the butai (stage). Then a walk to Yasaka Shrine, Nanzenji Temple and Ginkakuji Temple – Ginkakuji Temple was terrific and then finally to our hotel Kyokoyado Muromachi Yutone for the night….

KittyLoaf, Sideways Kitty Loaf & Curled Up Kitty

Video on Making Funny Clay Cats – Curled up Cat

We have now posted our fifth video lesson of how to make clay cats. When it is cold, cats curl up like snakes to keep warm. This video will explain how to make a cat in that position. So how do you create a curled up cat? The most important thing is to start with the right shape. Start by forming a lump of clay into a baseball-like shape. Next, use a spatula to remove one fourth of the clay. Use the clay you removed to make the head of the cat. For the rest of the instructions, click the link below to watch our YouTube channel. The close resemblance…


Mastering Season Words – Haiku, a form of Japanese short poetry

I have just become a member of a Haiku society. I have long had a smouldering interest in haiku, but while I could read and understand some, there were others I could not make head or tail of. To me it seemed a hard to understand and unapproachable subject. However, when my mother-in-law no longer was able to attend her haiku society, the organizer suggested that I should take her place. Mustering up courage, I decided to give it a try.“Until our next meeting, please compose three haiku. If you are not able to attend our next meeting, you can submit your haiku by FAX.” the organizer kindly told us….