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776: Streep talk
775: World of difference
774: Shocks and Bonds
773: Viva La Revolución
772: Jacqui Bayne
768: Beyond the universe
767: Yasuhito Endo
766: Aroon Mahtani
765: Dr. Hidemi Akai
764: Badr Hari
763: Mizuki Kubodera
761: Patrick W. Galbraith
760: Jean-Pierre Felix
759: Philippe Grau
758: Emi Kashiwara & Elekiteru
757: Aura Virginia Chirculescu
756: Aaron Davis
755: Happy days
754: Bryan Au
753: Martin van der Linden
752: Qinggelete
751: Chuck Johnson
750: Mike Applegate (aka Magic Mike)
749: Yukie Kito
748: Steve Kaufmann
746: Samira Zarghami
745: Raising the Bar
744: Pierre-Gilles Delorme
743: David F. Hoenigman
742: Miwa Gardner
741: Kevin Cooney
740: Kyle Cleveland
739: JJ
738: Bruce Stronach
737: Yoichiro Dennis Ide
736: Mike Garrett
735: Hiroki Suehara
734: Rise and Shrine
733: Patrik Washburn
732: Michael Bumgardner
731: Patricia Bader-Johnston
730: Darin Maki
729: Hiroshi Fujimaki
728: Misha Janette
727: Jon Mitchell
725: Hokuto Konishi
724: Rita Lamah Hankach
723: Kisui Nakazawa
722: Angela Jeffs
721: Simon Wood
720: Yasuko Yokoyama
715: Jason Kelly
714: Dominica Serigano
713: Erik Gain
712: Genevieve Maylam
711: Masahiro Gono
710: Eikou Sumura
709: Eikou Sumura
708: Malcolm Thompson
707: Makiko Tsuji
706: Dominic Allen
705: Maria Heitanen
704: Beckie Cassidy
703: Jett Edwards
702: Yoshinobu Furuichi
701: Silvestre Jacobi
700: Jah-Light Sound System
699: Daniel Velazques
698: Lynne Charles
697: Eric Bragg
695: Susan Nichols
694: Anna Kunnecke
693: Kenneth Pechter
692: Kazu Wakui
691: Antonio Inoki
690: Hiroko Noguchi
689: Richard Bysouth
688: Eric Bjorndahl
687: Andrew Shuttleworth
686: Sayuri Suzuki
685: Yurie Hatanaka
684: Miogi Takii
683: Thierry Cohen
682: Ahmed M. Elmardi
681: Aya Kitagawa
680: Suzanne Ng and Yoriko Soma
679: Ricco DeBlank
677: Takenari Shibata
676: Kirk R. Patterson
675: Satoko Yahata
674: Flavia Nishimura
673: Ryo Shoji
672: Chip Eckton
671: Yuko Ito
670: Marja Kullberg
669: Laur Meyrieux
668: Slavomir Stanislaw Kowalewski
667: Ryan McGuire
664: Life force
663: Steve Marshall
662: Jeff Klein
661: Ahn Soon Han
660: Straight shooter
659: Marcello Pietrantonio
658: Glitterball 2006
657: Alison Roberts-Brown
656: Girl on the go
655: Rob Hoey
654: Kahori Ochi
653: Ed Wells
652: Haruka Orth
651: Laura Cook
650: Uleshka Asher
649: Full speed ahead
648: Katsumi Namekata
647: Top talent
646: No heels, no life
645: Joanna Roper
644: Lu Nagata
643: Kirill Konin
642: Gabriele Roberto
641: Carlos Gibbs
640: Blair Falahey
639: The Three Waiters
638: Simon Woodroffe
637: Tony Virili
636: Paul W. Creager
635: Randy Channell
634: Mari Takeuchi
633: Stephanie Schueller
632: Tara Tan Kitaoka
631: Katherine Mok
630: Bob Tobin and Hitoshi Ohashi
629: Tommy Kullberg
628: Toshio Nagashima
627: Eiko Kondo
626: Embrey Ramon Williams
625: Neil Day
624: Mong-Lan
623: Tor Hideki Kashio
622: Elizabeth Heilman Brooke
621: Louis Carlet
620: Theo Panagiotoulias
619: Lionel Gougne
618: Sarajean Rossitto
617: Christian Hassing
616: Kiho Takashima
614-615: David Wagner
613: Heather Stuart
612: Erica Angyal
611: Jack McLean
610: Fumine Yakumo
609: Yasutoshi Hirabayashi
608: Yoko Hijikata
607: Jim Frederick
605: Yuka Murakami
604: Chayne Ellis
603: Marco Antonio Nakata
602: Kicking Back
601: Stand by your man
600: Hero worship
599: The Candy man
598: Heart strings
597: Sweet and sour
596: Subtitle subtleties
595: The right moves
594: Mother’s day
593: The clone ranger
592: A career kicks off
591: Woman of substance
590: Final conflict
589: World Ready for ‘War’
588: Fun in the sun
587: New life for an old hero
586: Fun and games
585: Knockout punch
584: Patrick’s day
583: Marcia marches on
582: Brunch break
581: Kingdom come
580: Gentle as a beast
579: Prime time
578: Devil of a time
577: In first Gere
576: Bright spark
575: Rei of sunshine
574: A star is reborn
573: In search of geisha
572: Marshall law
571: In the Nic of time
570: Holding a grudge
569: Bourne again
568: Soap opera
567: Alexander and friends
566: Oceans apart
565: A night at the opera
564: Just joshing
563: McPain in the neck
561-562: Hanks for everything
560: Reading between the Klines
559: Risqué business
558: Sky highs
557: Korean boom
556: Queen Victoria
555: Glitter Ball
554: Peter Miller
553: Ralph Frehner
552: Dimension K
551: Tokyo Game Show
550: US Embassy
549: I, Robot Premiere
548: Mauve
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

star struck

Subtitle subtleties

Natsuko Toda has been writing subtitles for 35 years, and still finds them a challenge

Chris Betros

As a little girl watching Hollywood movies in postwar Japan, Natsuko Toda never dreamed that one day she would be Japan’s most sought-after translator to make subtitles for them, or that she would be called upon to interpret for the stars during their junkets to Japan. Toda has been making subtitles for foreign films since 1970 and currently does around 40 films a year.

Toda was born in Fukuoka, where her father worked for a bank. He died during World War II, so she and her mother moved to Tokyo. At that time, foreign films were banned, but after the war, a generation had their eyes opened to the magic of the movies. “The first movies I saw were Chaplin’s Gold Rush and John Ford’s My Darling Clementine,” recalls Toda. “I kept going to the movies and that motivated my interest in English. When I graduated from college, I wanted to be a subtitle translator because it connected two of my favorite things—movies and English.”

Doing subtitles is a lot tougher than most people think. “You get a finished film, accompanied by a copy, and are given one week to 10 days to work on it. The distributors always hurry us as they want to show the subtitled version to the exhibitors and book better theaters,” Toda explains. But because of a recent rush to open in Japan at the same time as in the US, the “final” versions do not arrive until the very last moment. “In that case, we get preliminary versions on video,” Toda says. “Sometimes, for security reasons, the pictures are blacked out so we cannot see what is happening, or who is talking to whom! Can you imagine how difficult that makes our work?”

The most difficult genre to make subtitles for is comedy, she says. “Jokes never translate well. Try a typical Woody Allen joke on a Japanese audience. You have to explain why it is funny, and in doing so, it loses its impact. With a funny story that has a punchline, you just cannot invent a different story in Japanese for subtitles. It looks forced and false, and turns the audience off.” There are other challenges, too. The maximum number of characters per scene is typically 20. Once, names of cities like San Francisco and New York could be written with just two kanji, but nowadays the government restricts the number of kanji that can be used. “Unfortunately, many younger Japanese are getting weaker at reading kanji; that’s why we use a lot of katakana,” Toda says. Despite such restrictions, some people still criticize the quality of subtitles. “Of course, we make mistakes,” Toda admits. “But critics do not realize we have to be liberal. The translation gets too long to read while the dialogue is spoken. Subtitles would disappear in mid-sentence.”

Basically a shy person, Toda has had to adjust to being in the limelight as an interpreter for all the big stars, including Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and three generations of Fondas. “What kept me at it were those extraordinary opportunities where I could meet all those interesting people and learn about movies,” she says. Strange as it may seem, Toda can watch other movies and switch off her mental subtitle mode—to a point. “I am pretty relaxed when I am not responsible for the translation, although I do notice very good and very bad subtitles sometimes.”



Tak Norris

Real estate pro knows his way around Tokyo

Chris Betros

If you’re looking for an office or residence to lease, Takashi (Tak) Norris is the guy to see. As president of Platinum, he’ll help you with anything to do with real estate.

Where are you from?
I was born in New York City to a Japanese mom and American father.

When did you start Platinum?
In December 2000. It was a risk, but you only live once.

What is Platinum’s strong point?
A lot of foreigners who come to Japan have a hard time finding the right property, communicating and negotiating what they want. My niche is being able to bridge that gap.

What are the hottest areas in Tokyo now?
The Aoyama-Omotesando area. A close second is Ginza.

What do you think of the newly developed areas?
I like them. Japan is so jam-packed. New development can provide for more safety and allows for a concentration of people to come to one area in an organized fashion.

Could you put me a Roppongi Hills penthouse?
If you can afford it and if you’re serious. I can usually tell pretty quickly.

Are you going to be in Tokyo forever?
I’ll be here at least another 5-10 years. I may go to the States or Finland (where my wife is from), but I’ll continue in real estate.

How do you chill out?
I’ve been doing Okinawan Kenpo (a form of karate) for 15 years. It gives me good mental and physical balance.

What’s the weirdest experience you’ve had in Japan?
I dressed up once as a woman for Halloween, with stockings, wig and all, and went to a club, and got my butt pinched by another guy. You should have seen his face when I turned around and asked him, “What do you think you’re doing?” in a baritone voice. www.platinum1000.com CB

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