Lifestyle/Entertainment Editor, Asia, Tokyo
Elaine's Feed
Jul 21, 2011

Desire to rewrite history for friend inspires book

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO, July 21 (Reuters Life!) – The hope of being able to
rewrite history for a friend who died unhappy decades after the
shattering of a youthful romance inspired author Tom McNeal to
start his latest book, but completing the tale was far from
easy.

In the end, “To Be Sung Underwater” took the prize-winning
McNeal some seven years to complete, though that was partly due
to him also working on other projects at the same time.

Jul 20, 2011

Evel Knievel: showman, rogue, reality TV Star

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) – U.S. daredevil Evel Knievel, known for his spectacular motorcycle stunts and equally outrageous crashes, was a flamboyant showman, a master salesman, and perhaps even the forerunner of reality TV.

What he wasn’t, says biographer Leigh Montville, was all that likable.

“He was an outrageous character, an interesting guy to figure out. He’d been a thief, he’d been an insurance salesman, he’d been a bad guy,” Montville said in a recent phone interview about “Evel: The High-Flying Life of Evel Knievel: American Showman, Daredevil and Legend.”

Jul 19, 2011

Learning the ropes at top U.S. chef school

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) – Like many people who love to cook, Jonathan Dixon had long dreamed of going to culinary school for training. Unlike many, he actually did it.

“Beaten, Seared and Sauced” is the story of his two years at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and how he went from a passionate, but far from professional cook, to working as an intern in a noted New York restaurant and, finally, to graduation and a foray into cooking for private clients.

Jul 19, 2011

Solar ovens, renewable energy offer hope for Afghanistan

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) – At first, she noticed Afghan children hauling brush. Then, in Afghan family compounds, she noticed women tending small fires and trying to cook over them.

But it wasn’t until U.S. diplomat Patricia McArdle realized how often it was sunny in Afghanistan that she put it together with a youthful memory of cooking with solar ovens and realized this was a low-tech option offering long-term hope to the war-torn nation, which is preparing for a draw-down of U.S. troops.

Jul 18, 2011

Finding out grandfather was an SS officer

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) – Martin Davidson’s German grandfather was a loud, gregarious and difficult man who exuded a coarse, but infectious, bonhomie. He also carried a sense of secret intrigue and forbidden knowledge that he appeared to enjoy.

It wasn’t until after his death, though, that the UK-born Davidson finally learned the reason. His grandfather, the retired dentist, had also been an officer in the SS, the dreaded paramilitary unit that, under Heinrich Himmler, was responsible for numerous war crimes.

Jul 14, 2011

Book Talk: Tess Gerritsen turns to her Asian-American roots

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO, July 14 (Reuters Life!) – For 22 books, through
romances and thrillers and bestsellers, including the hit series
with homicide cop Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles,
Tess Gerritsen hid the fact that she was Asian-American.

But for “The Silent Girl,” released this month, Gerritsen
turned to her Chinese roots, weaving Chinese lore, a mysterious
female wushu grandmaster, and the myth of the Monkey King into a
tale of murder set in Boston’s Chinatown.

Jul 7, 2011

Small acts may have big impact on U.S. poverty, book says

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO, July 7 (Reuters Life!) – Michael Mattocks was a
homeless seven-year-old in Washington D.C., living out of
plastic bags and drifting between shelters with his family when
he met John Prendergast, a 20-year-old volunteer mentor under
the “Big Brother” programme.

Their relationship lasted years and provided crucial support
for Michael, who dealt drugs at one point but gave it up for
steady work and life as a married father of five — typical of
the impact of small acts of volunteerism that are key,
Prendergast said, to keeping more disadvantaged U.S. children
out of poverty and crime today.

Jun 30, 2011

New music support group eyes Grammy-style awards for Asia

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO, June 30 (Reuters Life!) – A Singapore group that aims
to do for Asia what Grammy organisers have done for the U.S.
recording industry was launched on Thursday to promote regional
musicians and highlight musical achievement.

The Asia Academy of Music Arts & Sciences (AAMAS) will
eventually recognise outstanding artists with honours called the
Encore Awards, to be voted upon by their peers, said co-founder
Senn Moses of MusicDNA Pte Ltd, a Singapore joint-venture
company.

Jun 28, 2011

Indian women world’s most stressed – survey

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) – Women around the world feel stressed and pressed for time, but women in emerging markets are more stressed than their sisters in developed nations — and Indian women say they are the most stressed of all, according to a survey published on Tuesday.

But while women in emerging markets may be under more pressure, they are also far more hopeful, with most seeing more financial stability and better chances for education for their daughters, according to the survey of 21 developed and emerging nations by global information and analytics firm Nielsen.

Jun 28, 2011

Indian women world’s most stressed — Nielsen

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO, June 28 (Reuters Life!) – Women around the world feel
stressed and pressed for time, but women in emerging markets are
more stressed than their sisters in developed nations — and
Indian women say they are the most stressed of all, according to
a survey published on Tuesday.

But while women in emerging markets may be under more
pressure, they are also far more hopeful, with most seeing more
financial stability and better chances for education for their
daughters, according to the survey of 21 developed and emerging
nations by global information and analytics firm Nielsen.