Spy Vibe is often about artists who fire our imaginations and help us to see the world in creative ways. The designers and storytellers we celebrate can be seen as the makers of our modern mythology. They show us our potential and bring human archetypes to light. Their work challenges us to answer the call to adventure we face at various times in our own lives. This is a particularly tough time for many lives in Japan.
I know that many of our readers have been shaped by Japanese culture. From all corners of the human experience, you may have found resonance with the likes of DT Suzuki, Alan Watts, Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu, Miyazawa Kenji, Yoko Ono, Pizzicato Five, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Hayao Miyazki, and Osamu Tezuka. When I began to study Japanese and Japanese culture, there were few resources outside the classic textbooks and films. Frederik Schodt, along with comic creators like Frank Miller, eventually helped to introduce many of us to the world of Japanese comics and animation. From culinary arts to graphic design, Japan has been the source of inspiration to generations. What are your connection points with Japanese culture?
I lived in Japan for many years in and around a northern city called Morioka. Morioka is just north of Sendai in Iwate prefecture. These were formative years for me and I will always see the community that took me in as my family, and the area as the true 'hometown' of my spirit. I am relieved to hear that everyone is safe, even those living in some coastal areas that were swept away.
In the tradition of George Harrison's concert for Bangladesh and John Lennon & Yoko Ono's concerts for the peace movement during the Vietnam & Nixon era, there is a benefit scheduled for Sunday, March 27th 8PM at Miller Theater, Columbia University in New York. The Japan Society lists an April 9th concert as well, so keep an eye on websites for more information and details. From Yoko Ono's website:
"More than a dozen innovative artists at the intersection of indie rock, contemporary jazz, and avant-garde performance will come together at Miller Theatre to present a benefit concert to support recovery efforts in Japan. “The tragedy and devastation is really overwhelming,” says John Zorn, who has organized and will host the evening. “I’ve always felt a strong personal connection to Japan, and I’m just glad to be able to do my part to help. It should be an amazing night.”
The lineup includes feature performances by musician and artist Yoko Ono, and her son Sean Lennon, Japanese-American indie duo Cibo Matto, and the influential band Sonic Youth. Vocalist Mike Patton will appear as a special guest, and Mephista, Marc Ribot, Uri Caine, and John Zorn’s Aleph Trio will also play short sets.
Both the performers and the theater are donating their services, ensuring that 100% of proceeds from ticket sales will go to benefit the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that hit near Sendai on March 11. Funds will be donated to the Japan Society’s Earthquake Relief Fund."
From the Japan Society website: "Japan Society presents a 12 hour concert benefiting organizations that directly help people affected by the earthquake and tsunamis that struck Japan. With dozens of music acts and performances throughout the day, confirmed performers for the 6-8 pm gala block, organized by John Zorn, include Philip Glass & Hal Willner; Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson and Zorn; Ryuichi Sakamoto; and Bill Laswell and gigi band. April 9th."Spy Vibers interested in related projects can see my website for information about upcoming screenings of my experimental film for Yoko Ono.