Japanese Klezmer



When Koharu was fourteen years old, she was exposed to an instrumental version of Hava Nagila and was instantly drawn to its unique melody. Eventually, her and Momo formed Charan-Po-Rantan – a Japanese expression which means “unreliable, careless or apathetic.” In an interview with The CJN (despite the language barrier), the sisters explain how their love affair with klezmer began. In Japan, the genre appeals to the nostalgia-seeking “older generation,” Koharu explains, but for youth, “it’s a fresh style of music.”

(Source CJN)

Katakana for Each Identity

Picking up the ol’ Pentel brush and paper to jot down some quick characters. After primarily working as an iPad painter it feels good to put a real brush to real paper! I definitely know there are flaws here but am working from memory. You can tell that I’m more fluid than if I tried to painstakingly carve out each letter.

This is my first name in English, my Hebrew name, and Katakana (Japanese phonetic) versions of each. Enjoy.


Israel Woos Japanese Tourists With Ultra-Weird Anime Series

いいね!イスラエル, or “Israel, Like!” is the Israeli Embassy In Japan’s new anime series, created to attract Japanese tourists to Israel through the adventures of animated sisters Saki and Noriko as they bop around the holy land. The sisters are occasionally joined by “Shalom Chan,” a weird bird-egg (egg-bird? Horrible mutant?) character introduced last year by the Embassy. (HEEB)


My Dinner with the Ambassador from Japan

by Elke Reva Sudin


There is a certain magic that happens with this project. One minute, I am explaining this idea I have about conceptualizing the future of Asian-Jewish crossover, the next minute, I get an invitation to the private residence of the Consul-General of Japan in New York! The event was a private dinner and discussion hosted by the Global Round Table, a group of Jewish professionals whose goal is to put a human face on global affairs with round table discussions and meetings such as this.
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Shalom Japan: A Jewish-Japanese Love Story

By Lucy Cohen Blatter

Chickpea Tofu

Jewish and Japanese food might not be the most obvious pairing, but two accomplished New York City chefs are banking on the fact that the two seemingly disparate cuisines will complement one another — just as they have.

Shalom Japan, an eatery set to open in South Williamsburg at the end of July, is a collaboration between chefs and real-life couple Aaron Israel (of Mile End Deli and Torrisi Italian Specialties fame) and Sawako Okochi (formerly of Annisa and The Good Fork. Micaela Grossman who Israel knows from Torrisi will be in charge of the space outside the kitchen — overseeing the front-of-house, service, and Shalom Japan’s cocktail and wine list.

U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Gets Acronym For ‘Jewish-American Princess’ Pulled From Bravo

By Alyssa Rosenberg

In a fascinating bit of cross-cultural misalignment, Michael Yaki, a former San Francisco supervisor and now a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, got Bravo to cut the use of the acronym “JAP,” which is colloquially used, often in a self-referential way, to stand for “Jewish-American Princess,” from its promos for and episodes of a new show, Princesses: Long Island, about privilege young women from the New York area. The San Francisco Chronicle explains:

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Why are Jews so smart, ponders retired Chinese official


Jews, why are they so smart? Why are those people, those Jew people, so damned smart? What particularly is it about them, apart from their Jew-ness, that makes them smart? Answers to these questions and more can be found in former top Chinese official Wu Guanzheng’s new book.

Wu’s book, thrillingly titled ‘A Collection of Works Written During Leisure Time’, contains a series of reminiscences on his time in office – as China’s top anti-corruption official from 2002 to 2007 – including one on a trip he took to Israel. Isaac Stone Fish explains:

Wu notes how Jews “attach extreme importance to study” and how they see scholars “as their spiritual leaders.” Somewhat ironically for the man who was once the seventh-highest-ranking figure in an authoritarian system, Wu also praises Jews’ ability to “speak truth to power” and “freely express different opinions.”Chinese are notoriously philo-Semitic. Jewish visitors are often greeted with the platitude, “Ah, Jews, you so easily make money” (no joke), and there are dozens of Chinese-language books promising insight into Jewish secrets like raising smart children, succeeding in business, or unlocking the moneymaking secrets of the Talmud.

Read the full post in the Shanghiist

Asian-Jewish Food Fusion: Malaysian Matzo Ball Chicken Curry

From the blog Shanghi Shiok!

“Here, Ma,” I said, passing my mother the box of matzo ball mix. “From A.J.’s family in Minnesota.” She stared at it. “Matzo ball?” she said, though it sounded like “moth ball” in her Malaysian accent. “Yeah. Really tasty and easy to make. Eat with chicken soup.”
“Chicken soup?” she repeated, making a face. “So boring lah. Can put in curry ah?”

And that’s how we got delicious matzo ball chicken curry.

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