Tokyo-born, half Japanese American rapper Lyrics Born, who’s real name is Tom Shimura, has a new album out called Everywhere At Once. The San Francisco-based rapper mixes jazz, funk r&b, rock and a large vocabulary in his new, personal album. Here he is talking to Farai Chideya on National Public Radio about, among other things, race in hip hop.
Furman Bisher of the Atlanta Journal Constitution does not like interleague play in Major League Baseball. Still, he does like Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki: “Our fans must have been hungry to get a glimpse of Ichiro, the Japanese import who sprays base hits around like an Asian version of Johnny Appleseed. He’s a threat to tie a record sacred to the major leagues, all the way back to Wee Willie Keeler, who managed more than 200 hits eight seasons in a row.”
David Hochman of The New York Times profiles a new “meido kafue,” or maid cafe, in Culver City, Calif. The cafe’s theme is influenced from spots in Tokyo where servers are dressed as English maids. Interestingly enough, Hochman points out that those Tokyo restaurants were influenced by the outfits of Hawaii’s own Anna Miller’s. Writes Hochman: “The first Japanese-style ‘meido kafue,’ or maid cafe, to open in the United States is an odd hybrid of cultural influences, but its roots are specific. The idea came from Japanese video games where the main characters worked as maids in a restaurant. That spun off in 2002 as a Tokyo cafe where hardcore gamers and anime fans, known as ‘otaku,’ or nerds, were doted upon by maids who called customers ‘master’ and would even blow on food to cool it off. Soon, the Akihabara shopping district in Tokyo, where computer and comic-book stores proliferate, was awash in maid cafes, maid hair salons, even maid ear-cleaning.” While the store’s waitresses dress as maids and the walls feature art from Japanese artists, the new owner points out, however, that customers will not be called “master.”
Photo: Lyrics Born performs.