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Paul Gauguin a master of art but damned by critics

Paul Gauguin a master of art but damned by critics

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Paul Gauguin lived a life which many individuals can’t understand and whatever he became it happened because of the world that he witnessed. Like many individuals thrown on the scrap heap of life he desired redemption if only a real break would occur. However, with the clock ticking and family pressure he could no longer dream or clutch at straws because poverty became his reality.

Gauguin stated that “I glimpse poetry “and his strong imagination and creative spirit could turn the mundane into “a spark of high intensity.”  It is clear that he had high intellect and his art form is full of richness and shows the diversity of his life.

Prior to taking up art Gauguin showed no real tendencies of individuality and providing for his family would be a constant worry for him. However, Gauguin was blessed with sublime gifts but he could not “create like our divine Master” because the ravages of life and reality shackled him and pointed a dagger at his heart. 

He knew that family obligations were important but with each new winter it was clear that he had to make a stark choice.  This must have put a terrible burden on Gauguin because he knew his gifts were indeed great but he was trapped like a bird in a cage. 

Finally he broke free from a life of normality and Gauguin desired to generate wealth in order to support his family and to bless the world with exquisite art.  Gauguin stated “without art there is no salvation” and clearly his inner soul saw a political picture which remained aloof from the majority of people.

However, the struggle for survival tore at his heart and the more fellow artists appreciated his talents and the closer he got to the “promise land,” the greater the rejection when poverty was all that remained. Also, Gauguin’s favorite daughter Aline died of pneumonia and Clovis, his son, died from a blood infection.  Therefore, his world was full of darkness and where was the justice that failed to reward such a talented individual?

Instead of “without art there is no salvation” it now felt that with or without art there is no salvation.  The death of Aline, a daughter he cherished and who provided a ray of sunshine, must have hit home at all the futility of this life.

Adrian Searle (The Guardian) in his article called Paul Gauguin: guilty as charged comments that Gauguin never gives us the whole story, probably because there isn’t one. He harks back to a culture that was already destroyed by missionaries and disease long before he arrived on Tahiti. He moves Mary and Joseph’s flight into Egypt to a Polynesian island, and the Calvary and crucifixion to Celtic Brittany. They are the possibilities of stories, rather than illustrations, allegories or history paintings. Their content is as mysterious as their color. He is almost a magic realist before the fact.

Further down in the article Adrian Searle continues by stating that “As Belinda Thomson makes clear in her excellent Tate catalogue essay, in looking at his work, what we have to overcome, first of all, is the embarrassment of Gauguin’s life and personality. Self-promotion and self-invention are inextricable from the art itself. Thomson shows us an artist, both outsider and careerist, who is a little bit dodgy in a way that anyone acquainted with today’s art world would recognize.”

However, you need to overcome nothing because Gauguin often lived in poverty and two of his children died very young.  Added to this was a genius who had so much to give but the cards never fell for him. Therefore, he must have felt abandoned in a cold world which did not cherish beauty but instead cherished materialism, corruption, and social stratification.

Tahiti wasn’t an illusion because all illusions had died in Europe and whatever Gauguin became, he only became this after every deck of cards had gone against him.  After all, Gauguin didn’t abandon his children but instead he tried to do the right thing by his family.

The Christian imagery in some of his work alludes to a mythical world where justice and the Garden of Eden can be reached. Tahiti with its past spirit of purity was being swallowed up and the same purity of Gauguin was equally being swallowed up.

The flesh that Gauguin is reviled for in some quarters may belong to the beholder because Gauguin had stated “I am inclined to a primitive state” and that Tahiti was a place “where material life can be lived without money.”

In life the Garden of Eden couldn’t be found in Europe and clearly Gauguin didn’t fear death. Therefore, “the primitive state” that he refers to was the primitive nature of this world because despite all the colonial presumptions of supremacy the truth was much simpler.

If Gauguin succumbed to “the apple” then he did so because of the reality of an unforgiving world which was based on injustice and trapping so many into the wretchedness of poverty and debt during his lifetime.

However, if he succumbed to “the apple” based on love after fleeing so much hardship and escaping convention, then who are we to judge given the reality of the world that Gauguin belonged – if Gauguin had impure intentions then he would have left his family well behind before this and he would have desired the flesh much earlier.

Instead, Tahiti was the last piece of the jigsaw in Gauguin’s life but it was but one piece belonging to a truly great artist. Therefore, when all the pieces are counted his artistic legacy is indeed great because he was a genius and for most of his artistic life he struggled against massive adversity.   PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO


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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in EUROPE


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Veronica Jullian (PuchysLOVE) is a Stunning Cosplay lady from Mexico

Veronica Jullian (PuchysLOVE) is a Stunning Cosplay lady from Mexico

Michel Le Bon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Veronica Jullian (PuchysLOVE) is a stunning cosplayer from Mexico and her astonishing looks means that this talented lady can play various classy characters with ultimate ease.  Not only this, but Veronica clearly loves Japanese cosplay and international cosplay and this can be seen by her diverse and exquisite images.

Veronica is from Mexico City and this elegant young lady will turn 26 years old on September 19.  However, despite her young age it is apparent that cosplay runs through her veins because Veronica first started doing cosplay eleven years ago.

This charming lady is extremely busy and she is also a cosmaker and does cosplay commission when time permits.  Veronica prefers to wear cosplay in a natural environment rather than enter contests.  This is a blessing in disguise for cosplayers who enter contests because Veronica with her elegance and style would certainly be challenging for number one spot.

Veronica is extremely articulate and her Alice in Wonderland image shows her stunning beauty and this is matched by a beautiful pose which melts the heart.

Mexican magazines have highlighted Veronica and this enabled many people to see a glimpse of her world and clearly her lovely features hit a chord. Veronica who is also a cosmaker is a perfect example of cosplay and how this art form is gracing the world.

Victoria Centeno (Cosplay Girl) was recently highlighted on Modern Tokyo Times and both Victoria and Veronica are a cut above.  This applies to elegance, style, panache and both ladies ooze sophistication and open-up a world where cosplay, modeling, art and class come together.

Veronica is also invited to important cosplay conventions and for more than 5 years this graceful and stunning lady travelled all over Mexico and participated as a guest and luckily for the cosplay world she will continue to bless conventions in the future.

Cosplay appeals to Veronica because she can play and enter the world of her favourite characters. Also, Veronica loves cosplay because it increases self-confidence and natural skills like sewing, crafts, and learning about other cultures, is part of the cosplay world.

Veronica also gets great satisfaction when people recognize her cosplay and appreciate all the hard work put into the costume, make up, visual image, intricate designs and entering the world of the character on show.  This, to Veronica, is much more rewarding than trying to win competitions.

This fact, and the emphasis by Veronica on meeting new friends with similar interests, and being a cosmaker, is ample evidence that this lady is a true cosplayer.

Veronica hopes one day to visit Japan in order to experience the “culture, history, traditions, architecture, beliefs, and legends.” Also, with Veronica’s stunning looks and images which focus on “cuteness” then kawaii culture and fashion in Harajuku would surely interest this elegant lady.

Modelling and photography also appeals to Veronica and clearly both suit this talented lady.  Veronica also describes her style as “cute” because nearly all of her cosplay is based on characters which are cute.

The readership of Modern Tokyo Times will certainly support Veronica when she says her style is “cute” but add a little more by stating “amazingly cute and elegant.”

Hopefully one day this charming lady will grace Tokyo and Japan because “cosplay is in her heart” and her love of knowledge means that Veronica is a special lady. – Please visit Veronica Jullian (PuchysLOVE) Veronica Jullian (PuchysLOVE) Veronica Jullian (PuchysLOVE)

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Posted by on September 17, 2011 in Japan


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Rugby Union 2011 World Cup: New Zealand too strong for Japan

Rugby Union 2011 World Cup: New Zealand too strong for Japan

Jay Doggett and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

New Zealand 83 Japan 7

New Zealand outplayed Japan and the writing was on the wall within four minutes when New Zealand scored an early try and converted to take a 7-0 lead.  Smith scored for New Zealand and he no pressure on him because the Japanese defence was non-existent.

The next ten minutes saw very little apart from New Zealand missing a penalty. However, New Zealand once more broke free and Kahui like Smith found it all too easy but the conversion was missed and within minutes another try was scored by New Zealand.

Luckily, Slade once more missed the conversion despite the kick being relatively easy and clearly he needs to get his game together. After all, in a close match, then Slade can’t afford to be the weak link. Therefore, with Japan being 17-0 down after less than 25 minutes it was abundantly clear that the underdogs needed to focus otherwise the game would run up a cricket score.

However, no change and Japan really looked like minnows and lost against “the real big boys of rugby union.”  This was further witnessed when another try was scored by New Zealand and with the conversion also converted then Japan were trailing 24-0 after 30 minutes.  Yet there would be no respite and Ellis scored the fifth try a few minutes later and with the score being 31-0 then Japan just wanted half time to come in order to refocus.

Slade, who may have had early problems with kicking, had no problem with scoring the sixth try after Ellis made a nice pass to him. To make matters worse New Zealand were now scoring easily under the post and this meant that the conversion was easy.  Therefore, New Zealand was matching the minute scoreboard and the lead now stretched to 38-0 shortly before half-time.

Straight away after the second-half began New Zealand ran at Japan and some sloppy play by Japan followed by a shockingly low pass and a handling error.  New Zealand made early changes and this made sense because the game was already in the bag. 

Within minutes of the change New Zealand scored again with Kahui scoring. Ominously, Slade now had his kicking boots back on and the cricket score was beginning to materialize with the score being 45-0.

Williams then scored under the post and the lead was now 52-0 with New Zealand scoring roughly one point per minute at this point.  The game was no longer because now it was a training game for the All Blacks.

More alarming for Japan, this was the first game where one team had scored more than 50 points and other minnows up until now had played respectably.  All the positives from the game against France were being blown away and another score made it 59-0.

However, the crowd erupted when Japan broke free from a mistake by New Zealand and scored for the first time in the game.  59-7 may not look good, and clearly it isn’t, but the crowd appreciated the score by Japan.

Sadly, the respite did not last long because Hore and Nonu both scored quick tries for New Zealand.  Luckily Slade couldn’t convert either and the score was kept down to 69-7. 

More changes were made by New Zealand and clearly the coach was focused on future games and creating a strong tight unit.  However, all New Zealand players are strong and it made no difference to the game.  Therefore, relentless All Black pressure continued and their shape looked perfect despite all the changes.

Thomson scored try number 12 for the All Blacks after a few minutes of quiet play and with the score reaching 76-7 then the cricket score had materialized. Within minutes another try was scored and the game would finish 83-7.

Overall, the game was too easy for New Zealand and nothing positive came out of the game for Japan. All the good work against France counted for nothing in this game because the All Blacks were a different kettle of fish.



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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in Japan


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Yoshihiko Noda speaks candidly on his blog: Fukushima to Wakayama

Yoshihiko Noda speaks candidly on his blog: Fukushima to Wakayama

Lee Jay Walker 

Modern Tokyo Times  

Typhoon Talas


Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda speaks candidly and openly about his first week in office on his blog and he must be a little spellbound by the speed of events.  This does not only apply to being the new leader of Japan but to the reality of concerns at the moment.

PM Noda visited the disaster areas which were hit by the devastating earthquake and tsunami and the sad legacy of the nuclear crisis which continues in Fukushima. Not only this, he also visited areas hit by the recent typhoon and saw the devastation at first hand.  All of this will have hit home to PM Noda the reality of the ongoing problems that many people face in Japan in areas hit by natural disasters. Also, in the case of Fukushima it is part “man-made” or fully “man-made” depending on your thinking but nature triggered this crisis and human failings added to the nightmare.

Therefore, the new leader of Japan could be forgiven if he thought he was in a war stricken country with so much devastation happening this year in Japan.  However, this is not the case because this is the reality of the potent forces of nature which have killed tens of thousands of people in Japan this year.

The new leader of Japan took office on September 2 and immediately he focused on understanding the “real needs” of people who have suffered so much.  On September 8 he visited Fukushima and this was followed by visiting Mie, Nara, and Wakayama, the following day and on September 10 the new leader of Japan visited Miyagi and Iwate.

During his visit to Fukushima he inspected TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and the protective clothing will have brought home to him how brave the workers are and how loyal they are.  PM Noda commented that “The devoted efforts of the workers at the site are supporting this country.  With these feelings of appreciation, I encouraged the persons involved to the fullest extent of my power.”

PM Noda also witnessed how locals in Date are trying to decontaminate radioactive materials and on September 9 further funds were promised with the announcement of a 220 billion yen budget aimed at the decontamination of radioactivity. He also stressed the need for the central government to cooperate with local municipalities and to target this funding on areas which had been designated for evacuation.    

PM Noda also told the Governor of Fukushima, Yuhei Sato, that “Without the revival of Fukushima, there can be no revitalization of a vibrant Japan.” Yuhei Sato relayed important information and requests were stated in order to restore faith in Fukushima. It is also important for the central government to relate to local politicians and people who have been hit by this tragedy and this meeting was a good way to show the sincerity of the new Cabinet.

The visit to Mie, Nara, and Wakayama, on September 9 applies to the devastation and loss of life caused by Typhoon Talas. PM Noda commented that “I felt very poignantly the depth of the traces of the damage from Typhoon 12 and the horror of the concentrated heavy rain and landslides.  I instructed that, with lifesaving as the foremost priority, all-out efforts are to be made towards emergency countermeasures for this disaster, including the relief and rescue of the victims, that it is imperative to strive to grasp the situation of damage in a rapid and accurate manner, and that efforts are to be made with a sense of urgency, in cooperation with the related prefectural offices and local authorities.”

The prime minister also met Mayor Teramoto of Nachikatsuura who lost his daughter to the destructive typhoon and on September 9 his wife had still not been found. PM Noda was deeply impressed by Mayor Teramoto because while politicians are often lambasted you also see the human face and real bravery of individuals like Mayor Teramoto.

The following day took the prime minister to Iwate and Miyagi and in Rikuzentakata (Iwate) the leader of Japan saw the utter devastation that was created by the tsunami. In the fishing port of Kesennuma a more optimistic note was seen because the fishing sector is starting again and PM Noda commented that he “…could feel vitality towards reconstruction” and that “the critical issues for my Cabinet are recovery and reconstruction from the earthquake and tsunami disaster, including bringing the situation at the nuclear plant under stable control.”  

The new leader of Japan is under no illusions about the problems that he and his Cabinet faces and he also appears to be more determined to focus on the debt issue.  The mass media in Japan is mainly unforgiving but the early steps by the new leader of Japan show compassion, sincerity, the need to listen to people on the ground and a call to collective responsibility.  – Prime Minister of Japan – Yoshihiko Noda’s blog

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Posted by on September 15, 2011 in Japan


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Tokyo fashion: Jiyugaoka is trendy and a great place to relax

Tokyo fashion: Jiyugaoka is trendy and a great place to relax

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times


Tokyo is a state of the art mega-city and for fashion lovers you are spoilt for choice and outside the main names like Aoyama, Ginza, Harajuku, Omotesando and Shibuya, you have several quaint and stylish neighborhoods. This certainly applies to Jiyugaoka therefore in Tokyo this suburb is highly desirable for living or visiting for refined shopping and finding hidden gems. 

The atmosphere of Jiyugaoka is exquisite and it appeals to people of all ages because despite being busy, it is still much smaller than the well-known areas of Tokyo. Also, the buzz for people who adore fashion is that you can find gems while leisurely walking around.

In recent surveys for the best place to reside in Tokyo it is more than apparent that Jiyugaoka is high on the list and is either placed in top spot or in the top three depending on respective surveys.  Therefore, the reputation is very high and it is well deserved.

Fashion and shopping for other products is a joy in Jiyugaoka and you have roughly 1,000 shops in this leafy suburb.  Students and the younger generation are attracted because of this factor and the serene nature is where youth can forget about all the mundane problems of life. 

Also, this part of Tokyo is well-known for sweets and you have a plethora of places to eat and enjoy delicious cakes. The Jiyugaoka Roll Ya cake shop and Dalloyau are just two names that spring to mind and the Gataeu Opera at the latter named shop is scrumptious.

Another famous place is Sweets Forest and in this store you have so many dessert shops to pick from that you are simply spoilt for choice. Indeed, it is the variety and choice which makes this place so popular.

Or if you prefer a more Japanese theme then Kosoan is a place to visit and enjoy afternoon tea. The lovely Japanese garden at Kosoan makes your stay a joy and it is a lovely place to drink delicious tea and enjoy a nice afternoon lunch.  The Japanese garden is the icing on the cake and this is what is so nice about Jiyugaoka.

Alongside the stylish fashion boutiques you are spoilt for choice if beauty and care is an important priority.  This applies to Jiyugaoka providing many outlets which cater for beauty and you have a plethora of top notch hair salons, massage places, nail salons, esthetic salons and other shops related to beauty and health.

The boutiques are plentiful and the nature of the layout means that often you will find a new place that you missed the time before. Also, the independent nature of the shops is a pleasure and while browsing around you can soak up the atmosphere.

Jumpin’ Kiki and Beach Walk shops also remind you that this part of Tokyo is a family based area and these and other shops cater for children.  Therefore, all generations can enjoy the atmosphere, the nature of the shopping, independent boutiques, exquisite cake shops and the natural buzz of this sophisticated part of Tokyo.

Another major plus is that you have many nice bars and cafes whereby you can sit out in the fresh air and watch the world go by. In Tokyo this is a huge plus and adds to the ambience of Jiyugaoka. 

Therefore, irrespective if you are a Tokyoite or you are visiting Japan on holiday or staying for a short break. Jiyugaoka is well-worth a visit because of the elegant fashion, cake shops, café bars, beauticians, restaurants and quaint shops in this lovely suburb.

In Jiyugaoka you see the best of Tokyo and you have a suburb which appeals to different generations. Also, for people who adore fashion then you can enjoy browsing around and visiting independent stores which cater for many different tastes. /

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Posted by on September 14, 2011 in Japan


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Libya: killing black Africans in the name of the revolution and democracy

Libya: killing black Africans in the name of the revolution and democracy

Boutros Hussein and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Reports for many months have stated that Libyan rebels have been killing and persecuting black Africans in Libya once areas came under their control.  The number of reports highlighting this continues to grow and many images have been shown which show Africans being mutilated and having their bodies abused and mocked by non-black African Libyans.  This disturbing fact mocks the notion of “good” versus “evil” because both sides have committed atrocities but for black Africans it is the rebels who they fear.

It is clear that some rebels accuse Africans of being mercenaries for the Gaddafi regime and they believe that he was favorable towards them during his rule over Libya.  However, it is obvious that the vast majority of non-African Libyans based in Libya were normal workers who just desired employment.

Also, reports have stated that African Libyans are also being victimized and suffering persecution.  Therefore, since large areas have fell to the National Transitional Council (NTC) both non-African Libyans and African Libyans fear for their safety. 

It is factual that many African mercenaries did fight alongside loyal Gaddafi forces and propaganda on both sides is being stated to the media. After all, you have anti-Western individuals who want to use Libya against some European powers and America for supporting the NTC.

Also, loyalist who still support Gaddafi desire to show that rebels are not democrats and that they have also committed atrocities. This means that the fog of war is also being played by many political elements and the propaganda war makes the issue more complex.

Alternatively, pro-rebel forces and Western governments who have supported the rebels have also pinned countless atrocities on Gaddafi. According to the rebels and Western governments who support the NTC, the Gaddafi regime was preparing to slaughter tens of thousands of individuals in rebel held areas before military intervention and arming the rebels took place. 

However, it is apparent that non-African Libyans and African Libyans are residing in fear and many Africans have been killed who were not mercenaries. Nigerians who were caught up in the mayhem have heavily rebuked Libya’s NTC and Western powers who supported the rebels against Gaddafi. They have not done this on the grounds of supporting the Gaddafi regime but because of how they have been treated by the rebels.

Karlos Zurutuza, writer for Deutsche Welle, reports in his article titled Racist violence overshadows Libya’s revolution, that many Africans are suffering and being persecuted. He quotes a local rebel council officer called Abdulhamid Abdulhakim who states “None of them are Libyans. Those guys we keep inside are all foreigners paid by Gadhafi to kill our people, what are we expected to do with them? They are mercenaries, you know?”

Zeinab Muhamed repudiates this logic by stating that “They say we’re not Libyans but that’s not true. I was born in Chad but we moved to Sebah – 900 kilometers (560 miles) south of Tripoli – 20 years ago. We have had Libyan passports almost since the day we moved.”

Under Gaddafi he allowed vast numbers of African migrants to move to Libya because of the sheer size of Libya and natural resources. This, alongside the small population in Libya meant that outside workers were needed for menial jobs. However, the crisis of today is partly based on many Africans being recruited by the Gaddafi regime.

Many Libyans are also black Africans and they are also being persecuted and like stated earlier, it is obvious that the vast majority of African migrants were workers who had been welcomed by the Gaddafi regime.

Therefore, rebels and anti-Gaddafi individuals are exploiting the situation in order to clampdown against innocent Africans in Libya. This can be seen by many make-shift prisons which have sprouted up in areas controlled by the NTC.

Before local officials prevented African prisoners from speaking to Deutsche Well one prisoner from Ghana spoke.  Abiki Martens stated “I came from Ghana last year because my brother told me it was easy to find a job as a street cleaner. It seems that all of them are black. I swear I’ve never ever held a weapon in this country.”

Rebels counter accusations of racism and killings of Africans by stating that people killed or being held in make-shift prisons were found with military arms and had war wounds.  Therefore, implying that they were only holding Africans who are deemed to be mercenaries and that Africans who were killed had fought against rebel forces.

Human Rights Watch issued a statement calling on the need to stop “arbitrary arrests and abuse of African migrant workers and black Libyans assumed to be mercenaries (and that) …widespread arbitrary arrests and frequent abuse have created a grave sense of fear among the city’s African population.”

Sarah Leah Whitson who works for Human Rights Watch issued a chilling comment because she stated that “It’s a dangerous time to be dark-skinned in Tripoli.”  

Reporters on the ground like Karlos Zurutuza and many others are stating similar things. Therefore, images of persecution and arbitrary killings during the height of the fighting is leading to an uneasy feel for the majority of Africans throughout Libya and something needs to be done to protect the innocent.,,15366254,00.html – Karlos Zurutuza and Racist violence overshadows Libya’s revolution – Plight of sub-Saharan Africans in Libya – UNHCR


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Victoria Centeno (Cosplay Girl) the Queen of Cosplay

Victoria Centeno (Cosplay Girl) the Queen of Cosplay

Michel Le Bon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Victoria Centeno is a cosplayer from America and this articulate young lady is clearly going places. Her looks are elegant, stylish and interactive and her charm is working wonders because Victoria is in demand. 

Axiom magazine named Victoria “The Queen of Cosplay” and she was also named the 28th “Most Famous American Cosplay Model” by and surely she will continue to rise.  Victoria was also highlighted by Entertainment Weekly in the article titled “Slave Leia: Some Assembly Required.”

The Slave Leia theme is certainly blossoming and Victoria with her stunning features, elegance and panache, became the official Slave Leia model for Gentle Giant studios. Japanese cosplay fans and international fans of Hatsune Miku would surely love to see Victoria in costumes showing this powerful image.

Victoria is also a model for the comic book “Terminal Alice” by Big City Comics and because of her versatility she can pull off countless numbers of different characters. Latina Magazine also featured Victoria and the same applies to being featured on Rolling Stone, MTV, Esquire, The Hollywood Reporter and G4TV.

Dark Horse Comics also recognized the sparkle and sultry looks of Victoria because she was Buffy the Vampire Slayer in a national advert for this company. Victoria is also a model for the Preston and Steve show and her interviews include Newsarama, Supergirl Forever, Major Spoilers and Impulse Gamer.

Victoria in her free time loves to study Ancient Egyptian history and her hobbies include doll collecting, writing, video games and meditation. Therefore, the lady who can play so many characters is also extremely articulate and her horizons are deep.

The meditation angle and love of ancient Egyptian history adds to her charm and sophistication. Therefore, in the cosplay world Victoria stands out and this is why she is in such demand.  Also, I hasten to add that images of Victoria posing like Cleopatra suit this sultry lady because of her sublime looks and mysterious nature.

Victoria told the Modern Tokyo Times that she loves cosplay because of its creativity and artistic nature.  She stated that “I enjoy breathing life into characters that I love and respect. Cosplay is a form of self and artistic expression. I love the process and being creative.”

This comment by Victoria sums her up well because clearly this cosplayer and model is not only charming and sophisticated, but more important, her passion and energy stands out.

In Japan many cosplay fans will hope to see Victoria in many Hatsune Miku poses because this image is extremely potent in the land of the rising sun.

Irrespective of the character that Victoria plays or if she turns to modeling more, the simple truth is that her fan base will be waiting and encouraging her. 

Victoria is a lady with passion in abundance and the lady of today will be extremely different from the individual who took her first steps into the cosplay world.  However, the passion that enabled her to take this path is firmly entrenched within her soul and her fan base will wish her every success in the future.  Victoria Centeno  Victoria Centeno

All images provided by Victoria Centeno and please check her website for more information from this stunning cosplayer and model.  Her contact details is on her website.

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Posted by on September 6, 2011 in NORTH AMERICA


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Korean Pop Music continues to hit the heights in Japan

Korean Pop Music continues to hit the heights in Japan

Michel Le Bon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times


South Korean sexuality is being fused within K-pop (Korean pop music) in order to make further inroads into the Japanese market.  This is a sure-fire winner in Japan and a very obvious market ploy. Alongside this traditional route you have catchy tunes and a more mature outlook with pouting looks and sexy outfits to appeal to many fashion conscious youngsters of both sexes in Japan.

The South Korean girl group Shoujo Jidai (SNSD – Shojo Jidai) or Girls’ Generation, continue to prosper and grow in Japan because of catchy tunes, easy on the eye dancing, sexy and fashionable clothing and extremely good marketing.  Therefore, Girl’s Generation is showing the pulling power of K-pop. The same applies to Kara and the male group Toho Shinki who were the forerunners of making K-pop so popular despite not being the first K-pop group to hit Japan.

Girls’ Generation is a group which is easy on the ear and eye because of sweet voices, sultry looks, nice movement, look petite, and dress stunningly.  Even if pop music is not your flavor you can still appreciate and understand why this group is making inroads in Japan and other nations outside of South Korea. 

Also, given the size of the music market in Japan then it makes good business sense for J-pop groups to target Japan because the South Korean music market is much smaller. Not only this, the size of the Japanese music market internationally is one of the biggest in the world and fashion is very potent in Japan.


Girls’ Generation consist of nine exquisite and beautiful members and Taeyeon, Tiffany, Yuri, Jessica, Hyoyeon, Sunny, Sooyoung, Seohyun and Yoona, all appear to be not only in love with their trade but more important, it appears that they are genuinely close and this adds to the energy of their performances and videos.

K-pop will continue to develop and J-pop groups will notice the more mature outlook and this may alter aspects of the J-pop music scene.  Also, it is great to see South Korean culture growing in influence in Japan and the same applies to Japanese culture influencing the younger generation in South Korea.

Therefore, South Korean dramas, Harajuku fashion in Tokyo, modern technology, social networking, K-pop, J-pop, growing cultural ties, and other major aspects of cultural and business exchanges, are all helping to change the image of both nations in each society respectively.    

Turning back to the music of Girls’ Generation, then “Mr. Taxi” sums up the catchy and sultry nature of this K-pop group because this record track is full of energy.  The record “Mr. Taxi” shows a group which is energetic, vibrant, blessed with lovely rhythm, and a tune which enables their collective dancing skills to show their stunning features and beckoning call to buy the end product.

Kara is another South Korean group which is hitting the headlines and the album Girl’s Talk was a great success. The music tracks called “Sweet Days,” “Love is” and “Binks” gave the album Girl’s Talk a firm foundation and other tunes caught the imagination.

“Jet Coaster Love” by Kara was a huge success this year and because of the earthquake and tsunami which hit Japan badly and killed so many.  Kara donated all their profits from “Jet Coaster Love” and Gu Ha Ra stated “It breaks my heart to think about the pain of the Japanese people, who showed us so much love.”

Girls’ Generation also donated heavily from their hit single and just like Kara these elegant ladies show that they have deep hearts. 

Musically, Girls’ Generation, Kara, and other K-pop groups, have so much to offer and they are blessing Japan with their talent and other new bands will follow in their footsteps in the future. (Gu Ha Ra from Kara)   Girls’ Generation – Mr. Taxi KARA – Honey  Girls’ Generation  KARA

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Posted by on September 3, 2011 in Japan


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Japanese Green Tea Ceremony and culture

Japanese Green Tea Ceremony and culture

James Jomo and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese green tea ceremony dates back to the ninth century but modifications and reasons behind its popularity have changed.  Matcha, powdered green tea, is served based on certain rites and the ritual nature is a vital element alongside simplicity, silence, and a spiritual feel.  The spiritual angle comes from Zen Buddhism which influenced the tea ceremony.

Otemae is the performance name for this ritual and today it is a popular pastime where many individuals learn the skills of ritual, elegance and to perfect the way of this cultural aspect of Japanese culture.  The ceremony itself is called chanoyu or chado (also pronounced sado) and in the early period Zen Buddhism would have enabled a strong inner feeling while enjoying the taste.

Chakai and chaji are the two different classifications for tea gatherings. Chakai is more common because it is used for hospitality and some Japanese gardens perform this for visitors.  For example, in Rikugien Garden in Komagome in Tokyo you have a small resting place by the pond and tourists and visitors to the garden can enjoy Chakai.

The green tea in Rikugien Garden in Komagome tastes delicious and a small Japanese sweet is served with the green tea. However, because of the splendid nature of this garden you can feel the spiritual connection and this simplistic pleasure fuses well with the senses. 

Chaji is very different and can take around four hours or more because this is based on kaiseki which is a full –course meal. If you have never experienced this then it is well worth it because the mixture of elegance, food preparation, motion, taste, thick tea, thin tea, and the ethical side of this all fuses together. 

In Chinzan-so, located in Tokyo, this majestic garden also highlights not only the beauty of this stunning and sophisticated garden but the religious angle is also very important.  Within this garden you have many places to enjoy scrumptious food and you can also experience kaiseki at its very best.

This applies to nature, food, culture, ritual, and a stunning backdrop because of the scenery coming together. “Kinsui” is a traditional restaurant and is located in a delightful area and the kaiseki cuisine is sure to please alongside other genuine and delicious Japanese dishes.  Also, you have a casual dining area located in “Kinsui” called “Hanaguruma” and this restaurant is also a great place to eat and relax.

Ledia Runnels comments that “In the 9th century, Chinese author Lu Yu wrote The Classic of Tea, that focused on the cultivation and preparation of tea. Lu Yu’s life was influenced by the Zen Buddhism school of Zen–Chán. Needless to say, his ideas had a strong influence in the development of the Japanese tea ceremony.”

“In the 9th century, tea was brought to Japan by the Buddhist monk Eichū, who had visited China and brought tea seeds back with him…..It was near the 12th century when the style of tea preparation called “tencha” became popular. In this ceremony, matcha was placed in a bowl with hot water poured over it. The water and ground tea were then whipped together.”

“By the 13th century, the Kamakura Shogunate, the ruling class of samurai warriors, used tea as a kind of status symbol…..During the Muromachi Period, that centered around the gorgeous cultural world of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the formation of what was to become the traditional Japanese culture of today came to be, where the Japanese tea ceremony evolves to aesthetic practice of “Wabi-sabi.” “Wabi” represents the inner, or spiritual, experiences. “Sabi” represents the outer, or material of life. By the 16th century, tea drinking had spread to all levels of society in Japan.”

Therefore, today in modern Japan the tea ceremony is used for a variety of situations but the old deeper meaning still exists within special environments.  Also, just like the Kamakura period the tea ceremony does belong within high culture. This applies to special settings where the inner values of the tea ceremony and the ritual nature of this are still very powerful.

The simplistic form of chakai is more common and tourists to Japan will often experience this. In special places in Tokyo, like Rikugien Garden in Komagome, even chakai feels spiritual and cultural because of the scenery in this exquisite garden.

Please visit Mysterious Japan at  and read fascinating articles by Ledia Runnels (please visit)



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Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Japan


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