One year ago today, on March 8, 2016, I arrived in Japan for a four-week stay, a dream trip that I’d waited until my retirement to take. I’ve written about the trip in seven previous installments in the Japan Journal series, mostly from a film and pop culture orientation, but I had so much more material to cover that I decided to put together an album for the one-year anniversary using mostly previously unpublished photos covering the full span of my trip. I spent three weeks in Tokyo and one week in Osaka, with day trips from there to Kyoto and Nara. I took thousands of photos and had to spend a couple of days going through them. I’ve devised some broad categories with which to group them.
On March 9, 2013, I went to the New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF) to see a new animated film, WOLF CHILDREN (2012), by Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda, who appeared after the screening for a Q&A with the audience. I had seen Mr. Hosoda’s previous animated film, SUMMER WARS (2009), when it had premiered at the NYICFF on the night of a blizzard in February 2010 and Mr. Hosoda had appeared and done a Q&A there also. Before these two films, Hosoda had directed THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME (2006) and the first two movies spun off from the Digimon animated series, DIGIMON ADVENTURE: BORN OF KOROMON (1999) and DIGIMON ADVENTURE: OUR WAR GAME (2000).