Soichi Terada (Toco Toco)

It’s as if Toco Toco could read my mind. Earlier this year I discovered and fell in absolute love with the music of Soichi Terada (through the music of Shinichiro Yokota) — his Sounds from the Far East compilation is the record I’ve listened to the most this year (and I’m listening to it right now as I write this). Imagine my very pleasant surprise when I find that the latest episode of Toco Toco — my favorite documentary web series — is all about him. Thank you, Anne.

Toco Toco Summer Special

The summer may be pretty much at its end, but we at least got two new episodes of Toco Toco TV this week, part of its promised “Summer Special” block, as we await the start of the next season. They both focus on filmmakers, Noboru Iguchi and Yoshihiro Nishimura, working in the indie horror genre, and are both fascinating in how frank each creator is about the difficulties of making indie films in Japan these days, with budgets for non-mainstream fare hard to come by and a fraction of what they used to be. It was also quite nostalgic for me to see Iguchi walking around Ikebukuro, the part of Tokyo where I lived for over 13 years.

New Territories

One of my favorite filmmakers, Anne Ferrero (Toco Toco TV, Branching Paths), is part of yet another beautifully produced series of video shorts/documentaries about Japanese culture. Called New Territories, it “aims at shedding more light on Japan’s art scene through the eyes of its local players, including artists, galleries, curators, writers, and more.” The first episode covers the Misako & Rosen gallery.

Tetsuya Mizuguchi

The season 3 finale of Toco Toco TV is a great one, covering video game/media creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi — and it’s fun seeing my buddy Mark MacDonald show up a few times. I also like how the series has updated the audio cues and typography it uses, it’s a welcomed change. I’m sad though that it’s the season finale — who knows when the next season will start — but at least they tease a summer special at the end of the episode. Let me also mention that the previous episode was quite interesting too, featuring musician Ei Wada.