Category Archives: events

The Goddard Collection

With my $250 mini-grant from the Office of Instructional Development, I have arranged the acquisition of the following twenty Japanese films:

Black Sun (Koreyoshi Kurahara, 1964)
Black Test Car (Masumura Yasuzō, 1962)
Blind Beast (Masumura Yasuzō, 1969)
A Colt is My Passport (Nomura Takashi, 1967)
Cruel Gun Story (Furukawa Takumi, 1964)
Departures (Takita Yōjirō, 2008)
Gate of Flesh (Suzuki Seijun, 1964)
I Am Waiting (Koreyoshi Kurahara, 1959)
I Hate But Love (Koreyoshi Kurahara, 1962)
Intimidation (Koreyoshi Kurahara, 1960)
Nobody Knows (Koreeda Hirokazu, 2004)
The Pornographers (Suzuki Seijun, 1966)
Rusty Knife (Masuda Toshio, 1958)
Still Walking (Koreeda Hirokazu, 2008)
Story of a Prostitute (Suzuki Seijun, 1965)
Take Aim at the Police Van (Suzuki Seijun, 1960)
The Taste of Tea (Ishii Katsuhito, 2004)
Thirst for Love (Koreyoshi Kurahara, 1967)
Vengeance is Mine (Imamura Shōhei, 1979)
The Warped Ones (Koreyoshi Kurahara, 1960)

I will put all of these films on reserve at the Instructional Media Lab in Powell 270 for you to watch at your convenience. We can also arrange group screenings if people are interested in watching something together. I haven’t seen a lot of these films, so I’d be up for watching a few this quarter.

The Criterion Collection has information about many of the films on their website, and you can also glean some details from the IMDb. Contrary to my pronouncement today, not all of these films feature sex and violence, so you can probably find something to suit your tastes.


Mike D’s Transmission LA

17 artists, 17 days. From now until May 6 at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. Full exhibition details, including a schedule of music events, are available here.

To get from UCLA to the Geffen Contemporary by public transportation, I suggest taking Metro Bus #720 from Wilshire and Westwood. Get off at Wilshire and Western, and take the Metro Purple Line to Civic Center. From there, it’s just five-block walk east on 1st St (into Little Tokyo).

Dawn Neill – “Roti Or Ramen: The Behavioral Ecology Of Food Choice Among Rural And Urban Indo-Fijians”

Next Monday, April 30, UCLA’s Center for Behavior, Education, and Culture (BEC) will welcome Dawn Neill, Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, for a talk from 11 AM to 2 PM in Haines 352. Here is Prof. Neill’s abstract:

Urbanization is proceeding rapidly in many developing countries as part of a larger process of development and involves the shift of rural residents to urban cities. The shift from a rural to urban ecology entails changes in patterns of food production and/or purchase, preparation, and consumption. Existing research has consistently demonstrated an association between urbanization and dietary changes linked to increasing rates of overweight and obesity. Rural-urban variation in food cost and availability modifies the individual-level costs and benefits associated with dietary choices. It is suggested that the traditional rural dietary pattern is undergoing modification as urbanization occurs and individual food choice tradeoffs result. Empirically-derived diet clusters are created from 24-hour dietary recalls from 306 urban and rural living Indo-Fijian children. Results suggest the existence of a rural-traditional vegetable-based pattern and an urban-modified pattern. Using an embodied capital framework, mother’s education is shown to be the strongest predictor of diet, along with number of offspring and parents’ childhood ecology; urban ecology does not significantly predict diet.  Mother’s embodied capital is also shown to be significantly associated with higher child BMIs, regardless of diet.


10 AM – 3 PM
Sunday, April 15

More information is available on the official CicLAvia website. A group from UCLA will meet at the Bruin Bear at 9 AM to bike over together, and they’ve posted an event page on Facebook.

626 Night Market

Lunch for April 17–Tuesday

Here’s the menu, or list of available choices, for the Sunny Blue bentō lunch on April 17. They will run about $8–, for 2 onigiri (rice balls w/stuff inside), tsukemono (pickles), and edamame. Please email me and Tug by Friday 3pm if you’d like to join in. Tell me exactly which 2 onigiri you’d like (example: 1 hijiki, one spicy tuna). Full menu is here (click to make the one below bigger).

vegan options are duly noted above...

History and Repetition Today

History and Repetition Today

(from the original post at the UCLA Center for Japanese Studies home page)

A keynote lecture featuring Kojin Karatani as part of a three day Nikkei Bruin conference on “Rethinking the Space and Place of Japan.” Organized by Torquil Duthie, Seiji Lippit, and William Marotti, UCLA.

Thursday, April 05, 2012
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Fowler Museum at UCLA
Lenart Auditorium

How do contemporary events in Japan and the world, including the disasters of March 11 and global protest movements, relate to a structure of historical repetition?

Kojin Karatani is Japan’s most prominent philosopher and cultural critic.  He is the author of numerous influential works, including, in English,Origins of Modern Japanese Literature,Architecture as MetaphorTranscritique, as well as the recently published History and Repetition.  In this talk, Karatani will address the current crisis in Japan following the March 11 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster against the global backdrop of historical repetition.

Lecture from 6PM – 7PM.

Reception to follow from 7PM – 8PM.

For more information on Kojin Karatani please visit:

This event is free and open to the public.  Reservations are recommended, but not required.


Making a Difference Today for a Better Tomorrow

On February 6, I attended the film showing of Hitomi Kamanaka’s “Ashes to Honey.” This documentary film explores on global nuclear issue and focuses on Iwaishima, an island off of Seto inland sea, and the sustainable practices of Sweden. For 27 years, the residents of Iwaishima have been fighting against the construction of a nuclear power plant in Kaminoseki. The devotion of their activism on the island comes from their love for their island. For some, such as Takashi Yamato, it is the place where he wants to live and stay forever. Nuclear power plant, however, threatens biodiversity and fresh water surrounding the island. Fishing industry and agriculture especially would be hugely affected from the construction because the power plant warms the seas and changes the temperature.

Takashi growing Japanese medlar in Iwaishima, illustrating that agriculture plays a significant role in providing food to the people of the island.

In this scene, Takashi carefully grows the famous Japanese “biwa” or medlar. It zooms in on the passionate face of Takahashi and the ripe fruit. In the background, you can see the island being surround by the beautiful ocean and trees. In order to grow them, it needs to be under a certain condition and it needs the perfect combination of the conditions of the island. It is solely grown by the sun, with no use of technology. This emphasizes that with the power plant, it takes away the chance of being sustainable. With the agriculture and fishing industries, people on the island can live off with just the cultivation of food on the island. By seeing the practice of sustainability of Sweden, it gives Iwaishima and even Japan, on a larger scale, to slowly drift away from the use of nuclear power to clean “eco-labeled power” source such as solar, wind, and biomass. Instead of spending money to build nuclear power plants and killing the agriculture, power can be constructed without disturbing the produce of food. They can self-sustain with agriculture by raising cows and pigs and reusing leftover scraps from food to feed them. It becomes a positive self-sustaining cycle.

Food is a necessity to all of us human beings in order to live. Thus, our priority should be finding solutions to sustain agriculture and think about the future energy. The problem that the island faces today directly influences us as well. Nuclear power plant could be built anywhere. And if we do not stop now, our life is on risk. The angle of the film is from Kamanaka’s perspective and it is recorded from a traveling camera. It is from the angle of the people of Iwaishima Island, protesting against nuclear power plant. Since it is a travel journey genre, Kamanaka travels to places for hints and ultimately tries to find answers to the problem. Her conclusion? We must learn to live together with nature and find new energy sources that will blend both nature and new technology. If there is the smallest and slightest possibilities and chance, we should never give up. From the interviews and even the selections of the songs, this film expresses her passion and motivation for change. The difference that the small island of Iwaishima make today can make a huge change in the future globally. The fight still continues and this problem has become a transnational problem that must be solved, not later, but soon. As the lyric of the song says, “words we speak, electricity we use, food we eat, they are all energy.” We can make a difference with synergy.

Extra Credit Blog: Food Truck Panel Hosted By Jonathan Gold

Flyer for the Food Truck Panel put on by the Campus Events Commission

On February 15, I attended the Food Truck Panel put on by the Campus Events Commission.  Mediated by the acclaimed food critic Jonathan Gold, the panel consisted of food blogger Cathy Chaplin, Roy Choi, the chef and originator of the food truck Kogi, Erik Cho and Brook Howell of the food truck Frysmith, and Natasha Case and Freya Estreller of the food truck Coolhaus.  During the panel, the panelists answered questions from Jonathan Gold and discussed a variety of topics pertaining to the current food truck movement.

The panel started off with Roy Choi, the man credited with starting the modern Food Truck movement in L.A, explaining how he got the concept and inspiration for his Kogi food truck.  He explained that as soon as he first created the Korean taco that his truck is famous for, something inspired by the Korean barbeques his parents used to put on while he was growing up in East LA, he knew that it was going to be the foundation of something special.  He called himself “overwhelmed” by the feelings inspired by the dish, and said his taco probably would not have become as successful had he analytically thought about what he was creating because the dish would have become too constructed and over-thought.

Jonathan Gold and the other panelists

The other food trucks also explained their backgrounds, with Coolhaus’s owners wanting to bring the field of architecture to the public through the form of ice cream sandwiches and Frysmith’s owners basing their food off of the chef’s childhood and wanting to create something accessible to everyone.  The panelists also discussed the difference between street food in America and street food in other countries, where food stands have been selling the same food on the street for generations.  Cathy Chaplin explained how street food here is so different from street food abroad that she had never really made a connection between the two.  She called food trucks in America much more ambitious than the street food abroad. She also said that because the food truck movement here is so new, it lacks the tradition associated with street food elsewhere and thus is not thriving to the same extent as street food abroad.

Another interesting topic discussed by the panelists was the social aspect of food truck culture, which to the food truck owners is just as significant as the actual food provided by the trucks.  Roy Choi said that the camaraderie of the trucks has become an “integral part of his life”, and that social network mediums such as Twitter have really changed the way food trucks are operated and are followed.  Twitter in particular has become so important to the running of a food truck that Natasha and Freya of Coolhaus said they even hired a social media management consultant to help fully take advantage of the medium.

The talk ended with the panelists discussing how they see the food truck movement evolving in the future, with most panelists saying that they see food trucks going through a “natural selection” process where only food trucks with creative concepts and delicious products survive in what is quickly becoming a difficult industry to be successful in.

Sunny Blue menu, for March 1

Here’s the menu, or list of available choices, for the Sunny Blue bentō lunch on March 1. They will run about $8–, for 2 onigiri (rice balls w/stuff inside), tsukemono (pickles), and edamame. I’ll pass around a signup sheet on Thursday, and you can let me know if you’re interested, and what you’d like. Full menu is here (click to make the one below bigger).

vegan options are duly noted above...