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“I’ve always had a deep respect and strong feeling for the Japanese culture and people,” says Tom Cruise, apropos of cashing a $20 million check for his starring role in The Last Samurai. But even when Cruise isn’t around, samurais are cool. I used to have a samurai sword—well, it was probably made in Michigan in the ’80s, but it sure looked real. And wielding it, even incompetently, granted me an undeniable sense of power. Many were the nights when, prompted by a curious midnight sound, out would come the blade as I crept, ninjalike in my fuzzy slippers, to peer through the blinds at imaginary danger. Perhaps Samurai director Edward Zwick and producer Marshall Herskovitz can relate. Ask about the pajama-warrior connection when the pair host a discussion about the upcoming film, followed by a demonstration by martial artist Mike Chaturantabut. Do not dishonor yourself. Be there or—seppuku! The program starts at 7 p.m. at the Freer Gallery of Art’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th Street and Jefferson Drive SW. $23. (202) 357-3030. (Dave Nuttycombe)