Sukeyasu Shiba's expansive inspiration

Imagine plucking a lute slowly and deliberately.  The impulse could arise from emotions within yourself.  But possibilities for inspiration other than the self also exist.  Sukeyasu Shiba’s Gagaku Universe, performed this past Wednesday evening by the Reigakusha Gagaku Ensemble at the Freer Gallery, drew inspiration from within and from without, from relations with objects and … Continue reading Sukeyasu Shiba's expansive inspiration

moving pictures before television

From the 1920s through the 1950s, many persons earned a living performing stories (“kamishibai”) for free on the streets of Japan.  The kamishibai performers moved image cards through a wooden picture frame to provide a visual complement to their verbal narratives.  They sought to build a regular audience by performing stories that continued across days.  … Continue reading moving pictures before television

puppet and puppeteer

Alone in bed, her black hair untied across her pillow, she laments the white snow piling up in it. The open-faced puppeteer moves with her, their gestures double, her loneliness is his loneliness. In many forms of puppetry, the puppeteer isn’t visible. In Bunraku, a famous Japanese style of puppetry, three puppeteers visible on stage … Continue reading puppet and puppeteer

ubiquitous fiber network in Japan

Homes in Japan are rapidly being connected to optical fiber communications networks. Japan’s incumbent communications company, NTT, had 6.08 million subscribers to its fiber network at the end of March, 2007. That figure indicates an increase of 2.66 million subscribers from March, 2006.[1] NTT’s share of fiber network subscribers in Sept., 2006, was 66%.[2] If … Continue reading ubiquitous fiber network in Japan

Japanese bandwidth prices in comparative perspective

In an infoworld article entitled “Government policies add to Japan’s broadband success,” Grant Gross led with this news: A wide-ranging government policy on broadband and healthy competition among providers gives Japanese customers greater speeds at a much cheaper price than U.S. customers pay, a Japanese telecom executive said Wednesday. Japanese customers pay about US$0.70 for … Continue reading Japanese bandwidth prices in comparative perspective

growth of Internet traffic in Japan

Good, large-sample data on Internet traffic is hard to find. However, an excellent study of Internet traffic in Japan [Cho et. al. (2006)] describes 42% of Japanese (public) Internet traffic for six one-month observations spanning Sept. 2004 to May 2006. This study reports many important facts. The ratio of bytes sent to residential customers to … Continue reading growth of Internet traffic in Japan