Posts Tagged ‘ Kansai Gaidai ’

To Kill a Mockingbird ( アラバマ物語 ) – On this Day (May 1) in 1961

On May 1, 1961, Alabama author Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird won the Pulitzer Prize.  In Japan To Kill a Mockingbird is called アラバマ物語 (Arabama Monogatari, or “Alabama Story”).  In 1999 Library Journal readers voted it the “Best Novel of the 20th century.”



“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” —
Attorney Atticus Finch (see Gregory Peck above, in the 1962 film) in To Kill a Mockingbird


I didn’t read To Kill a Mockingbird until I was 21, when I happened to be an exchange student at Kansai Gaidai (university) in Japan.

I had found a copy at some campus used book sale for, I don’t know ¥500 or something (then, just a couple of dollars). Lying there late at night in my little room at the Nakae’s (my host family) home in Tsuda, Japan, reading about the fictitious Maycomb, Alabama (my Alabama home town is the very real Slocomb) and the quiet courage of attorney Atticus Finch (my father, was also a courageous attorney from South Alabama) was a strange, but wonderful thing. Reading about the cowardice of the racists, Atticus’ resolve and his instilling the sense of Justice over mob rule to Scout, it made me both alternately ashamed of how my adopted state could be, and so very proud of the kind of people is was capable of producing.



Rock On.

It’s art.  It’s music.  It’s cool.  The videos of 27 year old Kousuke Sugimoto –

Atop the vid it just says “Independent Production – Animation”  The name of the vid is “The TV Show.”


Full Moon Party.”  I think Link Wray would be happy with this.


Here’s the link to Kousuke Sugimoto’s YouTube Channel, which he invites you to subscribe to if you wish.  And here’s the link to Sugimoto-san’s website.  In his own words:

“I have learnt the animation technique by self-study.
And now I am involved in producing music video clips in Japan.”

Kousuke Sugimoto


Hat tip to Stephanie B, founder of “Playing with Hire,” and fellow Kansai Gaidai Alum, for putting me on to this.

Roll Tide. 波が圧延しよう!

For more than 6 months this has been a Japan-oriented blog (with a little venture into India and China, here and there).  Tonight I draw (a little bit) outside the lines (see the Japan tie-in just below) and say, “Roll Tide, Roll!”

I should note that many, many Japanese grads of Chiba-dai, Kansai Gaidai (me, ’84), Nanzan Dai and other Japan-base colleges have attended The University of Alabama.  That JVC (Nihon Victor) has a manufacturing plant in Tuscaloosa, that Honda has a plant in Lincoln/Talladega, Alabama, that Toyota has a plant in Huntsville, Alabama and that Sony is in Dothan.

Alabama Rolls over Florida, 32-13, to win the Southeast Conference Championship and go to the National Title Game in Pasadena, California.


From summer of ’84, a present given to me by a group of Chiba University students with whom I whiled away 6 weeks on the UA campus.  A week after they gave me this flag I was on a plane to Japan, my first overseas trip, to begin my Exchange Student Experience at Kansai Gaidai (a university between Osaka and Kyoto).

Going home gift from Chiba U students. Summer '84.

I got together with these same students, my friends, for a night in Los Angeles (they were spending a week in California on their way back to Japan, I arranged a one-night layover) and, then, a couple of months later I traveled up to Chiba University (just north or Tokyo) to hang out with them for a weekend on their home turf.  Several of them remain dear friends who I see from time-to-time when I’m in Japan, or when they are on business in the U.S.  All brought together through distance and over time via the University of Alabama.