Kitaoji Kinya

Softbank is bringing fun back to family

Softbank, one of Japan’s large mobile telephone companies, has a long-running ad series with an unusual family: an elegant mother, her husband who is a white dog (with the voice of Kitaoji Kinya), and two children, one of whom is African American.

The best thing about this series is that no explanation is given for the inter-species and inter-racial nature of the family.

Thanks to Kathryn of Project Me I learned about the latest ad in which kimono-clad grandma, the mother of the white dog, introduces her new husband, a very handsome and very young man, also wearing kimono. He’s played by Shota Matsuda.

Fall folliage at Rikugien

Rikugien Fall Folliage Light-Up

Fall folliage is particularly spectacular this week in Tokyo, including the giant yellow ginkos lining our street. It seems fall is longer and later in Japan than in the US. Yesterday, the husband, sister-in-law Y and I went to Rikugien park to see the special evening “light-up” event.

The Japanese maples were amazing in bright yellow and deep red– some trees pruned to be flat planes made up of hundreds of leaves, others lining a reflecting pond and layered along a small stream. Also lit up were bamboo and gorgeous pine trees.

Alas, we didn’t see Kitaoji Kinya this time.

Rikugien Fall Folliage Light-Up


泣かないてください。今日はお父の日ですね。何をすればうれしくなりますか? 喜びの涙がだけにしましょう。おめでとう。

Happy Father’s Day. Please do not cry. Today is Father’s Day. What activities make dad happy? Let’s have only tears of joy. Best wishes.

きたおうじきんや at Rikugien Garden

Walter, Luis’ Peruvian friend living in Tokyo, took me to an amazing 300 year old garden in Tokyo called Rikugien Garden (六義園). We stumbled upon a large film production, and a friendly visitor confided that the actor was an incredibly famous samurai actor named きたおうじきんや. Shu later told me he became much loved by gays in decades past for the frequency with which he showed off his body on film. The park is small and fantastically designed and maintained.

In addition to its dozens of literary allusions and historic preservation, I like how there’s even an elegant spot to park your bike by the entrance.

It was fun to meet Walter, go on a long walk and speak Spanish for hours. I wish my Japanese were half as good.

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