Posts Tagged ‘film’

Pulsations (08.04.12)

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Here are the latest Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers, and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order, they are . . .

Reconditioned Bicycles: The Two-Wheeled Wonders & Where To Find Them (from Tokyo Cheapo): Fixie, schmixie, we’ll take a refurbished mama-chari to go, please.

 A Day in Tokyo (from Pechakucha.org): Sometimes it’s good to see the city you live in with fresh eyes.

Dynamite and Godzilla’s eggs: peak summer is upon us (from Tokyo Food File): Two from the pantheon of super melons.

Japan’s OTHER Languages (from Tofugu): Did you know there were eight languages unique to Japan? Neither did we.

Empty Ramen Bowl Tour (from Vimeo): Enough said. But hang on, if you like emptying ramen bowls, we might have a job for you . . . 

Visual pulse:

This week the classic “Tokyo Story” jumped up two spots to the top of Sight & Sound’s director’s poll. If you need a primer in the brilliance of director Yasujiro Ozo, here’s a quickie.

 

Pulsations (07.20.12)

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Here are the latest Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers, and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order, they are . . .

  • On Japan’s excessive use of cones  (from Shoot Tokyo): Tokyo based photo-blogger Dave Powell, otherwise known as Shoot Tokyo, takes us on a visual tour of a land where the cone is king. Be sure to take a look at some of Dave’s other entertaining posts with stunning photography from Japan and abroad.
  • Former yakuza busted in nationwide sting (from Tokyo Reporter): A story with all the makings of a mob classic, but this time it’s for real. Kenichiro Nakao, a former member of the Dojin-kai criminal organization, claims he had nothing to do with the fraudulent activity he’s been arrested for — big surprise there. The more you read, the more “former gangster” sounds like an oxymoron.
  • Homemade hayashi chuuka bento (from Being A Broad): Hiyashi chuuka is a healthy dish perfect for taking to school or the office. Here is a simple recipe with different combinations of meat and vegetables as well as detailed instructions on how to prepare it. Simple, delicious and inexpensive.
  • The life of director Ichikawa Kon (from Japan Navigator): Japanese culture blog Japan Navigator profiles the long life and career of film director Ichikawa Kon, active in the industry from 1936 until his death in 2008. Within his extensive filmography he is best known for “The Burmese Harp” (1956), “Alone in the Pacific” (1963), and “The Tokyo Olympiad” (1965). A must-read for fans of Japanese cinema.

Visual pulse:

J-vlogger Ciaela and her friends translated Adele’s hit “Someone Like You” into Japanese. The result is completely professional — and just as likely as the original to get stuck in your head.

Going choo choo for Japanese railways

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

The numbers of railway enthusiasts in Japan are increasing. According to NHK journalist Takeshige Morimoto, there are now over 2 million train fans in Japan today. Their numbers are not just limited to geeky trainspotters (tori tetsu), tetsu (rail) fans include: people who enjoy taking trips on Japans various local lines (nori tetsu), mothers who’ve caught the bug from their kids (mama tetsu) and more recently young women (tetsu chan).

The railboom trend was the subject of Morimoto’s “Railway Boom Spans Generations” program which was aired on 20 Jan. Morimoto, who presented the show, believes that in a digital world where people are feeling more and more disengaged from one another, railways provide a sense of connection to other humans.

Businesses are clearly picking up on this new wave of enthusiasm for railways. According to Nikkei Trendy, from October to December 2010, four new rail-themed stores opened up in Tokyo Station. Nippon Shokudo is our favorite: Modeled on the Cassiopea (Japan’s equivalent of the Orient express, which runs overnight from Ueno to Sapporo), the restaurant is a super-swanky replica of the train’s original dining car.

Packed lunch boxes that are sold at trains stations (ekiben) are also experiencing a surge in popularity. The varieties available have been proliferating, according to Yomiuri Online, and special care is given to utilizing local ingredients that will reflect the area where it was bought. A nationwide ekiben competition just got underway at Osaka’s Hanshin department store. On until the Feb. 1, 260 different packed lunches will be competing for the crown of Japan’s best ekiben. Due to a marketing collaboration with the manga “Ekiben Hitori Tabi” (Solo Packed Lunch Journey), this year’s competition is expected to be even more popular than previous years. The manga is the story of one man who tours the country trying out ekiben in his quest to discover the secret of making delicious ekiben.

The railway boom is also reverberating in the movie industry. In May last year a movie titled “Railways” was released. It’s the story of a 49-year-old elite businessman who quits his job when his mother becomes ill and his colleague dies. The lead, played by Kiichi Nakai, goes back to his hometown and finds solace and redemption by becoming a train driver.

If you want to see just how passionate Japan’s railroad fans get, check out the video of a hardcore tetsu mama above.

3D bunnies kick butt on Youtube

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Cat Shit One, not coming to a theater near you yet

Cat Shit One, not coming to a theater near you yet

Fans of 3D CG are being treated to a free 20-minute episode of military action drama “Cat Shit One” before it hits Japan’s cinemas. The episode, which details the exploits of a pair of commando bunnies who attempt to spring hostages from a Middle Eastern jail, can be viewed on YouTube until Sept. 20.

Adapted from the original “Cat Shit One” (“Apocalypse Meow” in the States) manga created by Motofumi Kobayashi, the 3D version moves the action away from the Vietnam War to a more modern setting. As with the original, all the characters are animals, with the Arabic enemy being depicted as bumbling camels – the reason our heroes, plucky Packy and panicky Botasky, of the Cat Shit One team are rabbits is because the Japanese word for rabbit, usagi, when written in the roman alphabet becomes USA GI (geddit?).

The 3D graphics are flawless and in scenes that don’t contain anthropomorphic animals with machine guns, it almost feels as if you’re watching real footage of the desert. Director Kazuya Sasahara put in some comical touches that made me giggle: When Packy and Botasky are lying on a knoll staking out the prison, their little fluffy tails twitch cutely while they plan out how to take care of the enemy. Military buffs will eat up the action sequences which, while not bloody, have quite a raw feel to them.

This isn’t the first time an animation has been released for free on the web before its theatrical release. “Eve no Jikan (Time of Eve),” an animation movie by Yasuhiro Yoshiura about a café for robots, was broken up into episodes and made available for free on Yahoo!, stirring up lots of interest and garnering numerous fans before it hit the cinemas in March this year.

The merch of May

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Read the comic? Saw the the movie? Ready to buy some awesome, one-of-a-kind merchandise to show your loyalty? Well, obviously someone knows what you like.

Today Softbank revealed a Gundam-themed cell phone. The 945SH G Ver.GP30th comes complete with a super-cool charger stand on which stands a iconic RX-78-2 Gundam figure. Even more exciting, while it charges, a special movie will be shown on the phone’s screen. Each one can be individually decorated by the user with Gundam stickers so that no two are the same. Makes you go all tingly, doesn’t it?

The Gundam phone is waterproof, has a touch-panel display and other features include GPS and WiFi. While the phone won’t available till mid-December, Softbank will start taking pre-orders from tomorrow at their online shop.

Also on pre-sale are these funky One Piece sneakers. Of the four available designs, three come in a checkered pattern with skull motif, and the the fourth displays a print of the One Piece comic strip. Designed by Baroque Works, the sole is embossed with the One Piece logo, so budding Pirates can leave their mark when exploring uncharted lands. They cost ¥6,825 and pre-sales close on June 21; unfortunately, you won’t actually be able to put them on until after Aug. 1, when they’re scheduled to ship.

To celebrate the launch of Takashi Miike’s “Zebraman 2: Zebraman Strikes Back,” Arinco are serving up a Zebraman-themed Swiss roll cake named after Zebraman’s catchphrase: “Shiro Kuro Tsukeruze Roll” (Let’s turn on the black-and-white Swiss roll). The black stripes are achieved by rolling in cocoa to the white sponge. Those buying the cake will receive a free Zebraman tote bag along with their cake. Costing ¥2,100, the cake will be on sale at Patisserie de Paradis until May 31.

Will Japan drink old wine in a new bottle?

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

main_2 [Desktop Resolution]In recent years we’ve seen Hollywood remakes of Japanese cinema experiencing varying degrees of success, from horror movies, such as “The Grudge” and “Ring,” to feel-good comedies like “Shall We Dance?”

So we’re a bit surprised to hear that a Japanese version of “Sideways” is to be released by Fox Japan on Oct. 31. While the title and plot line remain the same, according wine blogger W Blake Gray of The Gray Market Report, there are some notable differences.  Extra humor is injected into the story with Rinko Kikuchi playing the spurned lover who speaks comically bad Japanese and the ending is also reportedly different to the original version. Still set in California, the movie has a Japanese cast and basically remains a buddy movie about the difficulties and disappointments of life.

Read more about remakes →

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