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 PAST ISSUES
776: Streep talk
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774: Shocks and Bonds
773: Viva La Revolución
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768: Beyond the universe
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645: Joanna Roper
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547: Xterra Japan
546: Earth Celebration
545: Idée R-bar
544: Laforet Museum
543: Hara Museum
542: Fuji Rock Festival’04
541: Bunkamura Museum of Art

q&a


Peter Miller

Bringing Major League baseball games to Japan takes a lot of organization and planning, as Peter Miller would tell you. Miller is the Japan and East Asia representative of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) and he assists in organizing international baseball events such as this weekend's Aeon Major League Baseball All-Star Series at Tokyo Dome, as well as negotiating fees, schedules, and other contractual conditions, and keeping good relations among the many organizations whose cooperation is necessary for these events to take place. Miller, who is based in Kamakura, has lived in Japan for 23 years, but there is more to his life than baseball.

What's so good about being based in Kamakura?
Fresh air, hiking trails, the ocean, and it's only an hour from Tokyo, so meetings here or there are convenient.

What brought you to Japan?
I came to Japan as a consultant for Honda.

And the MLPBA?
The MLBPA needed its own presence in Japan, to look after players' interests, so in 1990, the current MLBPA Executive Director, Don Fehr, asked me to help and of course I agreed.

Did you play baseball when you were younger?
Enough to acquire a great respect for anyone who can hit or throw a 140km/hour fastball.

Will we see more international baseball events in Japan?
That depends on the fans, the players, owners and sponsors. Japanese players have strengthened and diversified Major League baseball, creating a great deal of interest in MLB among fans here in Japan.

What do you think of Japanese baseball as a business?
Traditionally it has been more of an advertising ornament than an independent business. Perhaps the economic difficulties of Kintetsu and Orix will stimulate thought about how such enterprises can operate successfully on their own.

What else do you do besides your MLPBA work?
I teach a course in American Culture at Ferris University in Yokohama and I have a photogravure etching workshop, known as The Kamakura Print Collection. It's the only one of its kind in Japan specializing in this nearly lost 19th-century art form. SK

Photo credit: Sachie Kanda

 

 

 


star struck

Night visions

In Collateral, director Michael Mann returns to his favorite location-the urban jungle

By Chris Betros

Whenever Michael Mann goes to Los Angeles to make a movie, the municipal authorities know he's going to ask big favors. When he made Heat in 1995, they closed off a few blocks for him in downtown LA for a famous bank shootout scene. This time, he wanted to close down some blocks and part of the rail system for night scenes in his urban drama Collateral. "It's difficult, but we get it done," said the director, who is known for painstakingly shooting scenes over and over again. "In Chicago, where I'm from, they let you do anything. In LA, the hardest thing to get permission for is to film on freeways."

Taking place in the course of one night, Collateral tells the story of a contract killer (Tom Cruise) who forces a taxi driver (Jamie Foxx) to drive him around town while he carries out a series of hits. Mann used specially developed high-resolution digital video cameras to bring the night alive during ten hours of shootouts, high-speed car chases and other mayhem. "Night in the big city has a lot of emotion and poetry if you know how to see it," he said.

Mann's biggest challenge occurred before filming even began-convincing Cruise to make a major career shift by playing a villain for the first time. "We spoke about it on the phone. Tom was doubtful about whether he should play a villain," said Mann. "I told him that Al Pacino, De Niro, McQueen had all done it and it was his turn now. He's 42, so if he didn't do it now, when would he? The good thing about Tom is that he is artistically very ambitious, as am I. So we created a whole life for his character of Vincent to show how he might have ended up the way he did. In the end, I think Tom's work was extraordinary. He does things fearlessly without any self-consciousness."

Living up to his meticulous reputation, Mann put his actors through their paces time and time again. Cruise used up 15 suits and several taxis were wrecked. "I take what I do very seriously, but that doesn't mean I'm no fun," said Mann, who got his start writing scripts for '70s TV shows such as Starsky & Hutch and Vegas. After directing a TV movie in 1979, he helmed his first big-screen feature, Thief, in 1981, then spent 1984-90 as executive producer of the TV series Miami Vice. In the '90s, Mann churned out a series of hits such as The Last of the Mohicans, Heat, The Insider and Ali. "I'm not sure what's next," he said, "except that it has to be something I have never done before."

Photo credit: Chris Betros

 

 


The Scene

Tokyo Designers Block

International creators and innovators paint the town red during the annual design extravaganza

Clockwise from top left: the bad boys of designersblockUK; TDB founder Teruo Kurosaki with designers Silas Hickey and Marc Newson; a performance by butoh troupe Dairakudakan; Jerszy Seymour, Michael Young and Harry Allen; and the Havaianas Swell installation at Spiral

Photos courtesy of Tokyo Designers Block

Would you like to comment on this article? Send a letter to the editor at letters@metropolis.co.jp.

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