The Small Print
Faces & Places
The Goods
Tech Know
Cars & Bikes
Arts & Entertainment
Japan Beat
The Agenda
Dining Out
Table Talk
Local Flavors
International Dining
Restaurant Review
Bar Review
The Last Word
Photo of the Week
About Us
Distribution Points




776: Streep talk
775: World of difference
774: Shocks and Bonds
773: Viva La Revolución
772: Jacqui Bayne
768: Beyond the universe
767: Yasuhito Endo
766: Aroon Mahtani
765: Dr. Hidemi Akai
764: Badr Hari
763: Mizuki Kubodera
761: Patrick W. Galbraith
760: Jean-Pierre Felix
759: Philippe Grau
758: Emi Kashiwara & Elekiteru
757: Aura Virginia Chirculescu
756: Aaron Davis
755: Happy days
754: Bryan Au
753: Martin van der Linden
752: Qinggelete
751: Chuck Johnson
750: Mike Applegate (aka Magic Mike)
749: Yukie Kito
748: Steve Kaufmann
746: Samira Zarghami
745: Raising the Bar
744: Pierre-Gilles Delorme
743: David F. Hoenigman
742: Miwa Gardner
741: Kevin Cooney
740: Kyle Cleveland
739: JJ
738: Bruce Stronach
737: Yoichiro Dennis Ide
736: Mike Garrett
735: Hiroki Suehara
734: Rise and Shrine
733: Patrik Washburn
732: Michael Bumgardner
731: Patricia Bader-Johnston
730: Darin Maki
729: Hiroshi Fujimaki
728: Misha Janette
727: Jon Mitchell
725: Hokuto Konishi
724: Rita Lamah Hankach
723: Kisui Nakazawa
722: Angela Jeffs
721: Simon Wood
720: Yasuko Yokoyama
715: Jason Kelly
714: Dominica Serigano
713: Erik Gain
712: Genevieve Maylam
711: Masahiro Gono
710: Eikou Sumura
709: Eikou Sumura
708: Malcolm Thompson
707: Makiko Tsuji
706: Dominic Allen
705: Maria Heitanen
704: Beckie Cassidy
703: Jett Edwards
702: Yoshinobu Furuichi
701: Silvestre Jacobi
700: Jah-Light Sound System
699: Daniel Velazques
698: Lynne Charles
697: Eric Bragg
695: Susan Nichols
694: Anna Kunnecke
693: Kenneth Pechter
692: Kazu Wakui
691: Antonio Inoki
690: Hiroko Noguchi
689: Richard Bysouth
688: Eric Bjorndahl
687: Andrew Shuttleworth
686: Sayuri Suzuki
685: Yurie Hatanaka
684: Miogi Takii
683: Thierry Cohen
682: Ahmed M. Elmardi
681: Aya Kitagawa
680: Suzanne Ng and Yoriko Soma
679: Ricco DeBlank
677: Takenari Shibata
676: Kirk R. Patterson
675: Satoko Yahata
674: Flavia Nishimura
673: Ryo Shoji
672: Chip Eckton
671: Yuko Ito
670: Marja Kullberg
669: Laur Meyrieux
668: Slavomir Stanislaw Kowalewski
667: Ryan McGuire
664: Life force
663: Steve Marshall
662: Jeff Klein
661: Ahn Soon Han
660: Straight shooter
659: Marcello Pietrantonio
658: Glitterball 2006
657: Alison Roberts-Brown
656: Girl on the go
655: Rob Hoey
654: Kahori Ochi
653: Ed Wells
652: Haruka Orth
651: Laura Cook
650: Uleshka Asher
649: Full speed ahead
648: Katsumi Namekata
647: Top talent
646: No heels, no life
645: Joanna Roper
644: Lu Nagata
643: Kirill Konin
642: Gabriele Roberto
641: Carlos Gibbs
640: Blair Falahey
639: The Three Waiters
638: Simon Woodroffe
637: Tony Virili
636: Paul W. Creager
635: Randy Channell
634: Mari Takeuchi
633: Stephanie Schueller
632: Tara Tan Kitaoka
631: Katherine Mok
630: Bob Tobin and Hitoshi Ohashi
629: Tommy Kullberg
628: Toshio Nagashima
627: Eiko Kondo
626: Embrey Ramon Williams
625: Neil Day
624: Mong-Lan
623: Tor Hideki Kashio
622: Elizabeth Heilman Brooke
621: Louis Carlet
620: Theo Panagiotoulias
619: Lionel Gougne
618: Sarajean Rossitto
617: Christian Hassing
616: Kiho Takashima
614-615: David Wagner
613: Heather Stuart
612: Erica Angyal
611: Jack McLean
610: Fumine Yakumo
609: Yasutoshi Hirabayashi
608: Yoko Hijikata
607: Jim Frederick
605: Yuka Murakami
604: Chayne Ellis
603: Marco Antonio Nakata
602: Kicking Back
601: Stand by your man
600: Hero worship
599: The Candy man
598: Heart strings
597: Sweet and sour
596: Subtitle subtleties
595: The right moves
594: Mother’s day
593: The clone ranger
592: A career kicks off
591: Woman of substance
590: Final conflict
589: World Ready for ‘War’
588: Fun in the sun
587: New life for an old hero
586: Fun and games
585: Knockout punch
584: Patrick’s day
583: Marcia marches on
582: Brunch break
581: Kingdom come
580: Gentle as a beast
579: Prime time
578: Devil of a time
577: In first Gere
576: Bright spark
575: Rei of sunshine
574: A star is reborn
573: In search of geisha
572: Marshall law
571: In the Nic of time
570: Holding a grudge
569: Bourne again
568: Soap opera
567: Alexander and friends
566: Oceans apart
565: A night at the opera
564: Just joshing
563: McPain in the neck
561-562: Hanks for everything
560: Reading between the Klines
559: Risqué business
558: Sky highs
557: Korean boom
556: Queen Victoria
555: Glitter Ball
554: Peter Miller
553: Ralph Frehner
552: Dimension K
551: Tokyo Game Show
550: US Embassy
549: I, Robot Premiere
548: Mauve
547: Xterra Japan
546: Earth Celebration
545: Idée R-bar
544: Laforet Museum
543: Hara Museum
542: Fuji Rock Festival’04
541: Bunkamura Museum of Art

star struck

Korean boom
Lee Byung-hun and Choi Ji-woo ride the crest of a Korean wave into Japan
By Chris Betros and Mayumi Higashioka

Lee Byung-hun (left) and Choi Ji-woo

There's no doubt who the biggest foreign celebrities are in Japan right now-South Koreans. When Lee Byung-hun and Choi Ji-woo visited these shores recently, nearly 1,500 screaming fans showed up at Narita airport to greet them. That was followed by an almost hysterical reception at the Tokyo International Film festival, where 300 photographers and 800 reporters crammed into their press conference to hear about their new romantic comedy Everybody Has Secrets.

The couple, along with Bae Yong-joon, have swept through Japan this year like a fever. Choi first starred with Bae in NHK's phenomenally popular Winter Sonata. Now she and Lee are appearing in the Saturday night NHK drama Beautiful Days. "Every time I come to Japan, the number of people who come to my press conferences seems to increase," mused the 34-year-old Lee, known in South Korea for his killer smile.

The elegant 29-year-old Choi, who looked like she had stepped from the pages of a fashion magazine, said she found it gratifying to have so many fans in Japan. Born in Pusan, she majored in aerobics at Pusan Women's Professional College before beginning her acting career. During her visit, she made a ¥1 million donation to victims of the Niigata earthquake. Lee added that he hopes their new film will bring a smile to the faces of the people of Niigata.

Directed by Chang Hyun-soo, Everybody Has Secrets is the story of three sisters who are completely smitten with a mysterious young businessman whose seductive power they cannot resist. All three try to keep their relationship with him secret from the others. Then he's invited to their mother's birthday party and the fun and games start.

"Romantic comedy is a new field for me," said Lee. "It was difficult because it's not realism. I had to be careful not to overact, so it was a challenge."

Choi said that when she read the script, she was worried at first. "I've done many love stories and I do want to challenge a new genre. Still, it was great working with Lee. I think any woman who sees him in this movie will simply melt on the spot."

Both Lee and Choi are hoping to expand their careers beyond their homeland. Choi is taking English lessons with an eye to Hollywood. She doesn't discount making a movie in Japan, either.

"I love Japanese movies too. If I can break the language barrier, I would love to be in a Japanese movie," she said.

Lee said he gets asked that question all the time. "My mind is open on the subject. I basically don't care in which country I make a movie, as long as I can work with good directors."

Photo credit: Image.net




the scene

Georgia & Steve

Metropolis staffers past and present gather in New York for the wedding of one of their own

Clockwise from top to left: Dan Grunebaum, Aeve Baldwin, John McGee, Mary Devlin, Ryoji Kojima, Georgia Jacobs, Tama Miyake Lung, Matt Wilce, Meg Nagahama, Marta Teixeira and Sarah Hurn; Georgia Jacobs and Steve Hofmann; Ryoji, Tama and Phil Lung, Meg; the happy couple




Sakura Hirota

Sakura Hirota, 26, is one of Japan’s most popular female wrestlers, making her debut in 1996 at the Nippon Budokan with wrestling legend Chigusa Nagayo. The Aichi Prefecture native’s most powerful moves are the handstand and the “tokimeki memorial,” but Hirota is perhaps best known for her lavish, psychedelic pre-match costumes. Unlike many of her peers, the onetime zookeeper seemed an unlikely prospect due to a preliminary practical skills test that ranked her at the bottom of the class. But Hirota’s performance in the ring sparkled, and ultimately provided her ticket to stardom.

What made you think about becoming a professional wrestler?
I didn’t know about women’s professional wrestling until I saw it on television, by chance. I thought to myself, “I’d like to perform such amazing moves, and have such moves made on me.” But I believe the underlying reason was that I needed something to spend all my time and energy on.

What would you have done if you hadn’t become a professional wrestler?
I think I would have been doing a job involving acting or performing.

What’s your favorite movie?
My favorite Western movies are True Romance and the Indiana Jones trilogy. My preferred Japanese film is Ijintachi to no Natsu.

Your favorite actor?
Koichi Sato.

How’s your English?
I’m still studying it. I use a lot of English in the ring, but it’s deliberately made to sound weird so that the audience finds it funny.

What do you do on your days off?
I watch movies to get ideas for costume play and wrestling matches. I also go out to buy or look for costumes.

If you were to be in a movie or television drama, what sort of character would best suit you?
I’m striving to become not a lead actress, but a supporting actress playing a mysterious role.

How do you see women’s wrestling changing in the future?
I think individual events and performances will increase, going beyond the framework of the various organizations in women’s professional wrestling.
Would you consider wrestling in the US?
I’d be interested to see if my style works over there, but I haven’t thought about it. CN

Photo credit: Courtesy of GAEA Japan

Would you like to comment on this article? Send a letter to the editor at letters@metropolis.co.jp.