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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

In search of geisha
With three Chinese leads, Memoirs of a Geisha is bound to create a stir
By Chris Betros

From left, director Rob Marshall, Gong Li, Kaori Momoi, Michelle Yeoh, Ken Watanabe, Koji Yakusho and Yuki Kudoh
Photos by Chris Betros

Ever since Memoirs of a Geisha finished filming in Japan in late January, the media focus has been on why producer Steven Spielberg and director Rob Marshall (of Chicago fame) cast three Chinese actresses—Ziyi Zhang, Gong Li and Michelle Yeoh—in the lead roles of three geisha. In a video message to Japanese media, Spielberg avoided the topic, but said he thought Arthur Golden’s book was one of the most culturally appealing stories he had ever read and expressed confidence it would appeal to audiences in any country. Besides the three leads, the Japanese cast includes Ken Watanabe, Koji Yakusho, Kaori Momoi and Yuki Kudoh.

Set in 1920s Japan, Memoirs tells the story of Nitta Sayuri, who is taken from her home at the age of 9 to undergo training to become a geisha. She learns dance, music, the art of wearing kimono, how to elaborately do makeup and hair, eventually attracting the amorous attentions of two suitors (Watanabe and Yakusho).

Marshall said it was an exquisite journey making Memoirs, which will be released in Japan in December with the title Sayuri. “We had to film most of it in LA because we couldn’t find any places here that still looked like 1920s and 1930s Japan. We ended up building a little Japan in Ventura, Calif. For the final scenes, we filmed in Kyoto temples that had never allowed filming before.”

Yeoh and Gong were initially intimidated when Marshall asked them to play geisha, as was Ziyi who plays Sayuri. “It was like a fantasy world to me,” said Hong Kong star Yeoh, adding that she felt audiences would pay no attention to the stars’ nationalities.

Watanabe and Momoi were both cautious. “I talked with Rob about whether this would be a culturally accurate film or a concept film,” Watanabe said. “Since it is a fantasy world, the details were not as important as they would have been in something like The Last Samurai.”

Momoi was shocked when she learned the leads wouldn’t be Japanese. She also felt the film would have been better in Japanese. “Then I realized the book is told through the eyes of an American and for the film, further filtered through an American director’s lens,” she said. “There were some incorrect details, such as the makeup being not thick enough on the geisha, but I think it will appeal to younger audiences.”

“It is beautiful and mysterious,” Marshall said of the geisha world. “A lot of people still don’t know what geisha really are. Golden wanted to lift that veil in his book, and in our movie we honor a world that has beauty, joy and heartbreak.”



the scene

Miss Universe Japan Final
2005 winner is crowned at Tokyo International Forum

Clockwise from top left: the 15 finalists appear on the stage; hosts Junichiro Ishida and Lilico; 21-year-old Aichi model Yukari Kuzuya is crowned Miss Universe Japan; British group Diva performs




Garth Roberts
Photographer turned pub landlord

Expats and Japanese in Meguro looking for a taste of England can always be found at the Meguro Tavern, established seven years ago by former professional photographer Garth Roberts, 48. With seating for 100 people, a food menu of British and European dishes, six draft beers and over 100 cocktails—along with a large selection of Scotch, Irish and other premium whiskies—the Meguro Tavern is a fun watering hole.

What first brought you to Japan?
I came in the late 1970s as a photographer. I ended up co-producing a large language school that was a residential program in Meguro.

Why did you open this pub?
There were no pubs like this around in the early days. While I was doing the residential program, I really needed this kind of establishment for my teachers and students.

Who are your clientele?
Now, 60 percent Japanese, 40 percent foreign.

What’s the best thing about the Meguro Tavern?
The furnishings, food and quality. We employ serious bartenders who know how to do their thing. And our fish and chips are the best in Tokyo.

How do you market the pub?
Advertising and flyers. I have been out sometimes in a British bobby’s uniform handing out flyers at Meguro Station before the Japanese police moved me along. That must have been a sight. Not as much as when I rented a Grenadier’s uniform like the red guards at Buckingham Palace.

What’s your daily schedule like?
I get up about 10am. At noon I’m on the computer doing e-mails, marketing, designing menus, editing photos until about 3 or 4pm. Then I come here.

What do you drink at night?
Gin and tonics or Guinness. I’m always sober when I go home around 3am. What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in Japan? Probably skiing down a slope while wearing a Frankenstein mask.

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