Friday, August 1, 2014


In Tokyo, had a great time with our producing partner Masaru Koibuchi and Yoshimi Fukuzawa. It seems right that we met at the International House about  an international coproduction between Japan and the United States.  A serene time to plan for an exciting 2015.  We got an inspiring start location scouting, rising at 2 am to go to 'Tsukiji'  fish market, and saw the famed Tuna Auction. 

AT THE PUBLIC DOJO near Awachijo, saw an 8-Dan Sensei led practice, with Ishizuka Sensei, and other Senseis from the New York City Kendo Club,  including Kataoka Sensei, who happened to be in town.    

                                        With Kataoka, Fujisawa, Ishizuka, and others. 
I HAD A CHANCE to visit the Osorezan Festival; a three hour bus ride from  Aomori City (assisted by the JNTO and Aomori Global Incubation). The Buddhist ritual is held on a volcanic mountain with sulphur springs bubbling up out of the lava landscape. Offerings and prayers for loved ones 'on the other side' are followed by a voluntary cleanse in the sulphur onsen. 
IN KYOTO, the Gion Festival, an ancient celebration with huge man-powered floats three stories high topped with the Japanese evergreen; the spirit should always remain, like the tree, constant. 
With Shiho Yamada, Kyoto Media Center  -  THE BUTOKUDEN building itself, walled with windows on four sides, is the origin of Budo since 1895. The one hour practice I attend there was impressively simple, the point. Looking forward to practicing there on the next trip!                                                                                                     
     A DREAM-LIKE last night hosted by Tozando at Kibune in the forested mountains north of Kyoto for "Kawadoko"; dining with sake, on a platform just above the river. Delightful company, delicious and truly cinematic. 
With Kimura-san, Yamamoto-san, Donatella Castelli and Yu Bo. - HAVING HAD a chance to renew long term relationships, and spend time with new friends in Japan, back in New York with lots of inspiration about Japanese culture and kendo. The next step for the film is seed money, a location scouting trip to Japan, and some surprise shooting! Thanks for helping make this all happen and, Stay tuned. 

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014


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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Top: Kendo Players (Takahiro Ohde and Amanda Park), New York City Kendo Club.

Middle: Actors Marianne Newhard and Koji Nishiyama.
Film Stills from Teaser: Amy Guggenheim, Director; Jason Beasely, Cinematographer

Bottom: Tanroh Ishida, in the lead role of Toshi.

We had a wonderful shoot for our teaser, now in post production - test scenes of the kendo and dramatic scenes, and a new collaboration with Kataoka Noboru, Sword Choreographer. We shot on location at Ken Zen Institute in Tribeca, and in various interior and exterior locations in Brooklyn, including Jane's Carousel. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

“Zen speaks of the sword of life and the sword of death, and it is the work of a great Zen master to know when and how to wield either of them. Manjusri carries a sword in his right hand and a sutra in his left. This may remind us of the prophet Mohammed, but the sacred sword of Manjusri is not to kill any sentient beings, but our own greed, anger, and folly. It is directed toward ourselves, for when this is done the outside world, which is the reflection of what is within us, becomes also free from greed, anger, and folly." D.H. Suzuki

Location Shots for WNTD Teaser - preparing to shoot February 28th!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

  "Art conceals and reveals at the same time. Part of the concept of the garden is that you never see it all at once. This I got from my understanding of Japanese gardens, that the way to see a garden is by circling it, by walking through it. 
   You don't see the garden as a whole from any point, but you begin to know it by making a tour around it. Then it becomes a garden in the mind, and you become the instrument that defines it, just as you have to create the wholeness of the poem in our mind. Though you learn the meaning of a poem, the sense of a poem, word by word, in the end what you have is a fusion.....
    Poetry is a secret language. It is not the language of the day. It is not the domestic language. It contains within it the secret sources of one's own life energy and life convictions....
    One of the great delights of poetry is that when you're really functioning, you're tapping into the unconscious in a way that is distinct from the ordinary, the customary, use of the mind in daily life. You're somehow cracking the shell separating you from the unknown."         
                                                                                                                       - "The Wild Braid" - Stanley Kunitz c.2005

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The last line of the poem that goes "When your own heart asks," is the secret principle of all the arts. It is said that it is a good censor. - Hagakure

Location Scouting for "When Teaser Shoot" Begins! 

With Cinematographer Jason Beasely, Location Sound & Designer Justin Valls, and Filmmaker Amy Guggenheim 
Glimpses into Kendo - February 2011
In the film, two young people looking for a better way to live, brings them to Kendo practice.

It always starts the same......Walk into another space.....leave behind the day.....Dress, in 'Hakama' [Pleated Pants] and 'Gi' [Cotton Jacket] ....On the ground in 'Seiza', [Seated] set the 'Men' [Helmet] on the 'Kote' [Wrist Guards]....put on the 'Tenegui'[Head Towel], the 'Men' [Helmet] and the 'Bogu' [Torso Guard]....Slide the 'Tsuba' [Guard] on the 'Shinai' [Bamboo sword] and meditate. Rise, 'Men' faces 'Men'........'Hajime'! [Begin!]

"The sword here represents the force of intuitive or instinctual directness, whch, unlike the intellect, does not divide itself, blocking its own passageway." - D.T. Suzuki in Zen and Swordsmanship