Rimi Natsukawa to tie the knot on New Year’s – Tokyograph

On Sunday, the official website of singer Rimi Natsukawa (35) announced that she is planning to get married on New Year’s Day. Her husband-to-be is percussionist Masaaki Tamaki (41), who has toured with artists such as TUBE and Masayuki Suzuki.

Sankei Sports had scooped the story a day earlier with some details of the couple. They met last autumn when Tamaki played as part of Natsukawa’s band during her concert tour. They began dating this past March, and Tamaki proposed in September.

(Link: Rimi Natsukawa to tie the knot on New Year’s – Tokyograph.)

Wow. This was totally unexpected news but nevertheless, let’s all wish Rimi and her husband-to-be the best!

Weekly Eater features Off the Wall, a new restaurant in Pearl Kai

Being the izakaya kind of dude that I am, I’m happy to read news of a new restaurant called ‘Off the Wall’ that opened in the Pearl Kai Shopping Center. The restaurant’s executive chef happens to also be one of the most well-known musicians of Okinawan music in Hawaii (and around the globe), Grant “Sandaa” Murata. Here’s an excerpt from Nadine Kam’s Weekly Eater article:

There’s confusion by association because Murata’s known in Okinawan circles as a musician, in addition to his past affiliation with the Okinawan restaurant Hanagasa Inn. There are many old-timers who depend on him for traditional local Okinawan fare, while a younger generation expects a lighter hand, free of oil and extracting the bitterness from bittermelon.

He says he’s feeling the pressure from both factions while also trying to please that other faction of newbies who don’t know a single thing about the restaurant and can’t even guess based on its name.

Off the Wall
98-199 Kamehameha Hwy.
Aiea, Hawaii 96701
808-486-9255

Community: Congratulations to Kenton Odo, June Nakama and Calvin Nakama

There’s a nice story by Steve Murray on Midweek.com (‘SHAMISEN’) on the accomplishments of three musicians from Hawaii who are “the first foreigners to earn a master’s certificate in the Okinawan shamisen.” Definitely worth a read. All three musicians will be performing in Hawaii on Tuesday, November 27 as part of the 14th annual TOBE! Uta Sanshin 2007 concert. Read here for more info. Congratulations guys, we’re all very proud of you!

[Updated] Hitoe’s New Move: Yoga

Hitoe’s (26, ex-SPEED) official website from Avex hasn’t seen much action since 2005 now that her music career is on hiatus so I pulled the latest news on this talented artist from an entertainment site. While the other members of the group continue on with music-related careers (me, I’m in the hiro camp), Hitoe has been studying abroad in New York and gained her yoga license after eight months in the Big Apple. She’s currently an instructor teaching out of Shibuya. Yoga’s looking good… 😉

[Update] Vision Factory has links up: info on the yoga DVD over here and info on Hitoe’s yoga classes as well as pricing over here.

Misako Koja and Kazuya Sahara

Misako Koja and Kazuya Sahara

It doesn’t get any better than this folks. Misako Koja (known as a member of the 1st generation Nenes and for the hit song “Warabigami”) is in Hawaii now and let me tell you, she and her husband (composer, arranger) Kazuya Sahara are two of the most down-to-earth people you may ever meet. It’s a given that she sounds even better live than on her CDs but seeing her in person (my second time — first was during her stint with the Nenes) and finding that she’s still so nice in person is well, priceless. Not to mention that she’s a fellow Kadena-nchu, makes it even cooler (for me). Here’s one thing I’ll have to share with you: she has the lowdown on the DS. Well, it shouldn’t be too surprising as she is an obaa and the DS is a pretty big thing in Japan but it was still pretty cool to hear her talk about it. 🙂

I urge all of you Karakui readers to pick-up her CDs — whether online or when you’re in Okinawa (or Japan) — because she just has such a positive outlook on the world (given her rather difficult life makes it even more impressive) and is definitely one of the greatest singers in Okinawa. Visit her official website for more info or feel free to email me at karakuipress[at]gmail[dot]com if you want to learn more about her.