Good Japanese Movie: “Dance With Me” One of the Best Yaguchi Movie Ever

When you try to talk about the genre of Japanese movies, the key phrase you would hit upon is maybe “depressing” or “not funny”. This is my personal reaction to most of the Japanese movies though, I assume not a few Japanese would agree with me. As a Japanese, I have seldom met people whose favorite film is a Japanese movie but a Japanese animation or some Hollywood or English movies. Speaking of the film ranking for the best selling so far in Japan, more than half would be Japanese animations, and needless to say, the No. 1 is always the battle of animation movies.

Life seems to be much much funnier if you could dance every day.

However, fortunately, there are some rare directors who can make not depressed but funny for not only Japanese but European and American people. Moreover, the world described in the movie has deep metaphorical meanings or symbolic attitudes, but still, the movie can be thought of as a funny one.

The name of the director is Yaguchi Yasushi. He is famous for his movies of “Water Boys”, “Swing Girls” and “Happy Flight”. He captures the very ordinary funny things we could often see in our daily scenes, so we laugh a lot and can feel sympathy with the characters in the movie. When the Japanese directors try to describe the Japanese society with reality, they would often tend to be very serious and heavy. However, only his movie can overcome such serious and heavy pressure and provide just funny and real Japanese scenes.

His latest film “Dance With Me” is a movie about a typical office worker in her 30s. But, Yaguchi always put something different spice in his movie. Like he described high school boys who try to do synchronized swimming or high school girls who try to play Jazz. In this film, the woman is accidentally hypnotized by a strange hypnotist, and whenever she hears any music, she immediately can’t stop dancing or singing along with the music. It is a bit unreal setting, but you can somehow understand the situation thanks to his comic stunts or lines.

And at last, when you see the ending, you would realize this movie is all about a dream what we should pursue, and how to do so. We sometimes forget how to pursue our dream and even what was our dream. Through this movie, I could totally remember the way we dance with our lives. What a wonderful, and thoughtful movie. In my opinion, the message was pretty close to the masterpiece movie “The Groundhog Day”. If you had a chance to see this movie, I would highly recommend it to you.

Thank you very much for reading. And have a wonderful weekend.

Thank you very much for reading the article. I would prefer your comments or some other topic requests for me to write. Please write a comment or give me an email through contact page.

Real Good Japanese Pop Music

Or I should say, the real good J-pop Music video. It’s “Zankyo-Sanka” by Aimer.

What a beautiful world of VFX

“Damon Slayer” has become one of the best known or popular animation in Japan which is currently on the air. The movie of this became a No.1 blockbuster in Japanese movie history even under the pandemic year of 2020. To the most of Japanese, year 2020 will not be remembered as an Olympic Year, but the begging of the legend of Damon Slayer series.

Unlike those of the “Ghibli” movie, one of the biggest difference of Damon Slayer movie is that it is not a solo title but a chapter of its whole story. In short, basically you need to watch the previous series to fully understand the movie content unlike to Ghibli movies. However, the movie became the historical huge hit, and reversed the notion of animation film.

Anyway, the Damon Slayer series are known for its great theme songs sung by new type artists. The next chapter following to the movie is now on the air, and the theme song is the clip, which is “Zankyo-Sanka”. I don’t quite understand the meaning of this title, but by reading lines, I assume the song has a meaning of shake it off ish things.

What I should highlight in this article is that the beauty of this music video. I was amazed the quality of this VFX or Computer Graphic technologies. The atmosphere of the world is kind of Neo Edo looking, and a girl is running from Damons in the too bright world of Neo Shibuya or like that. The music video is so metaphorical and symbolic that I can’t stop watching after many times watching.

The content is very dramatic, and I’m sure you would enjoy it. Song and Video have a splendid quality at the same time and in terms of that I should say that it’s a kind of rare case. Damon Slayer is Japanese’s new myth after the cursed Olympic one. The anime and the songs has been proving that.

Visiting Urban Area Makes You A Bit Updated

Living in the northern part of Japan, which is called Hokkaido prefecture, the most frequently asked question for you is “Do you live in Sapporo?”. Holy crap. Hokkaido is the biggest in Japan out of 47 prefectures. Therefore, Hokkaido has the land as large as three ordinary prefectures. Sapporo is recognized as the capital of Hokkaido, but it doesn’t mean everyone from Hokkaido lives near around Hokkaido. Like me, I live in a very country side of Hokkaido and it takes about 5 hours drive to access Sapporo (30 min. flying from the nearest airport).

So, everyone asks me about Sapporo but actually, I don’t know much about Sapporo. I was once very surprised that some of my Tokyoite friends had never been to some very Tokyo symbolic places. I said “Why you don’t go there? So many TV shows featured the spot!” Then he or she just says, “I don’t know but it seems very crowded and am too lazy to go there” or like that. Now I can understand them if I think about Sapporo.

The reason why I’m writing about Sapporo tonight is because I came to Sapporo with my family as a winter holiday trip (and to celebrate my mother’s happy retirement, which should have done in 2021). People are wearing masks as my living place, but there are simply more people, more diverse people there. Every shop staffs seems more polite and kind compared with my neighbor shops, tastes of restaurant or stands are felt sophisticated. So, every time I came to this kind of urban area, I could feel a bit updated. You can see a lot of things different from your ordinary days. Take a look at curry rice for example. Do you see which is urban curry rice?

You see? The latter one is Sapporo’s. Even my way of taking photographs seems so sophisticated. These are the very symbolic photos which shows the difference between urban and country so clearly. You know? The difference is such an apparent.

But I don’t care which you prefer or not. I love both of curry, and I feel we are living in the age of hybrid, meaning you don’t have to choose just one side, but you should enjoy both and respect each other’s good sides. Hybrid is not just about Prius but us.

We Got Fight

Country music once inspired me a lot before, but not hearing that much these days. Today, a movie I watched, which is “The Ice Road” which reminds me of what is American Symbolic beauty or notions. The ending song of the movie was especially the most symbolic in entire this movie. The lyric was so energetic that I’d like to share this song for you who awaits your own fights.

We Got Fight LYRICS by Gary LeVox

We ain’t got much where I come from
We all work hard don’t bet on good luck
Ain’t no easy street just some gravel and a blacktop
And we hold on to oh everything we got

We got grit, we got guts
We got pride , we got tough
Aint no givin’ up runnin’ through our veins
Backs to the wall we’ll find a way
Never say quit never say die
Play a little rough
You’re daggone right
Oh knock us down
We’ll come back everytime
Yeah, we got fight

We don’t bark much We just hang tight
Sometimes the underdogs got the baddest bite
Its how we were born how we were raised
From our boots to our last names

Oh fire us up don’t count us out
‘cause we got fight
Dust of your hats for one more round
Yeah, we got fight

Admiring Jason Statham

First of all, he is 54, and I’ve been thinking he is in 40s from 20 years ago to this day I found his real age on Wikipedia. There seems no visual proof that shows he is in 50s. I simply can’t believe he is such an attractive, highly action film suitable actor. The reason why I’m talking about him seriously is because I’ve just finished watching his latest movie “Wrath of Man”.

Japanese title was translated into “CASH TRUCK”, which is easy to understand for the most of Japanese who don’t like to take abstract English title. Anyway, it was a kind of simple plot with actions as usual of his movie, but since the director was “Guy Richie”, the atmosphere through the movie was really intense from the beginning to the end with intense back ground music. So, if you are a fan of his film, the person you would love to see a movie if he is in the movie, it’s highly recommended one. I could confirm that he was Jason Statham.

One of my dream was to buy a BMW, but his car became Audi since the series 2, so now I chose Audi too.

The first encounter of his movie was “Trasnsporter”. Almost 20 years has passed since I watched and got excited in 2002 (I was approximately 8 or 9 years old?). Still, I am a huge fan of the film, and since that time, I’ve been a fan of him. His cool character is sometimes my esthetic and Ideal man’s model. He has a strict rules on him, and live simply, and loving his car (which is exploded many times though). Here is a quote I love.

I always say, the way a man treats his car is how he treats himself.

Transporter

Of course it would be really difficult to be like him, but I want to be like him in my way someday.

Editorial: Everyone forced to dream with “priceless” moments/ What “Demon Slayer: Infinity Train” tries to describe in today’s society

Speaking of “Damon slayer”, which became a huge hit in last year in Japan due to the mega hit of its movie title, the movie has just aired on TV yesterday and people went crazy watching the movie as No.1 grossing movie ever in Japan. Here is an article of what I wrote when I watched the movie for the first time.

Anyhow, it became such a huge hit in Today’s Japanese society, and that means there must be huge attractive, unconscious problem arousal factors in the movie. Masterpiece can describe our hidden unconscious desire or problems, and through watching fiction, we can sometimes see the truth. That is the beauty of watching or reading fictional story. When you see a movie and find something strange, that noticing would be a key for opening the door to a truth hidden in the story.

The curious thing with watching the movie was a kind of main demon character “Genmu”. He can make people dream with his magic, and let people dream really sweet dream, and during they are dreaming, Genmu can eat people. In this movie, he use some kids to cooperate with his strategy and try to eat as many people in the train as possible.

Then, this story reminds me of a thought. I sometime feel I’m forced to dream. In this time, dream means feel satisfied or like that. In today’s society, people can easily satisfied with free contents, like youtube, google, facebook, maybe some sexual contents or anything else. You can enjoy your daily life with your smartphone and it’s super easy way to satisfy yourself. Then, you feel you are satisfied with your life that easily. But, this is, it’s a bit difficult to describe though, not a healthy way. It’s like when you are hungry, you are forced to eat snacks and fill your stomach. Although you had something, but you don’t eat the real cooked food.

You feel you want to create your own unique original splendid life but what you are doing is sometimes just watching YouTube or Facebook or endless reel of TikTok or Instagram. It’s super apparent that you cannot be anything by such an “priceless” actions. If you really want to be something and dream it with healthy way, you need to face your own reality and cost something. I mean, you need to risk your life. It’s difficult that I don’t say all free contents are evil, but it can collapse your life.

Therefore, in the movie, the protagonist Tanjiro try to kill himself to awake from the dream. It’s such a symbolic scene. You feel you can lose anything but he does. He risked himself. And he wake up and realize the true harsh reality.

Maybe we are living in a world where we can dream easily in many ways. However, I feel like this film tells us that we need to dream in a decent way.

Movie Review: “孤狼の血 LEVEL2” Korou No Chi LEVEL2 (Blood of Lone Wolf 2)

Official Poster

Have you ever heard the word “YAKUZA”? This typical Japanese jargon means a Japanese organized crime syndicate similar to Mafia. Japanese film history once flourished by this Yakuza movies. The representative series were created by TOEI(東映). However, the film industry has been downsized in these several decades, and now, you could hardly find a very quality yakuza movie which can be seen by foreigners these years. Instead of making such once-popular type of movies, they are keep creating love romance teen movies targeted for teenagers in Japan. It even seems like a kind of gentrification in a Japanese movie industries to me. They seems to be forced to make such movies instead of making very serious, quality movies with great actors.

So, is there no such great Yakuza movies in Japan like extinct Japanese wolves? The director of this movie Mr. Shiraish then answers “No” by this film. This movie is literally “lone wolf” in today’s Japanese film industry. I can assure that this film has a very good quality and I can recommend this film to foreigners with 100% confidence. This is a kind of revenge to the great HongKong noir, or Korean Film Noir films which originally inspired by Japanese old Yakuza films but now famously known as gang noir films.

Of course, there are many serious violence in this movies, but still I think it is really worthy to watch this film because the essential story has such a strong impact and makes you really think deep. What is the true good and evil? The set is in Hiroshima known as a place of first atomic bombing. These factors also make the story much deeper than any other films in Japan. This kind of movie is thought to be very domestic film, but if you have a chance to watch in English someday, I really recommend to watch both series 1 and 2.

Watching “Nomadland” as “Easy Rider” in 2021

I really like this version of poster.

I could finally watch Nomadland for the first time after it won the best picture of Academy award. The title “nomadland” reminds me that it is the word that we should think of again from different perspectives especially in this collapsed capitalism era. Maybe we are living in the end of capitalism world. There are so many bullshit jobs and meaningless ways of life depending on capitalism. People or families are divided into tiny pieces enough to enrich company’s benefits as much as possible, and more people are connected online, physically people were more disconnected. Such a disappointing world we live, sometimes I feel. The world became so complicated that nobody wants to live anymore.

Therefore, the title of it “Nomadland” really intrigued me. No idea I had about the information before watching it, the movie was exactly the movie I imagined. It was kind of an “Easy Rider” 2021 revised ver. as depressing but hopeful way. The both were road movies, in which you feel like you are able to see the real America. A woman in her 60s, after losing everything in the Great Recession in 2008, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.

Bob: One of the things I love most about this life is that there’s no final goodbye. You know, I’ve met hundreds of people out here and I don’t even say a final goodbye. I always just say, “I’ll see you down the road.” And I do. And whether it’s a month, or a year, or sometimes years, I see them again.

A favorite quote from Nomadland

This film doesn’t seem to have an actual plot or storyline. We will watch the circle of Fern (the protagonist)’s life. The circle that seems to continue forever, but really fragile. The vans many characters use would be symbols of their lives. One of the character describes Fern’s van as “Ratty”, and she really got upset, that is because she thought the van is the same to her. The old van which had weathered bumpy roads must be a metaphor of her life. It is easier driving with vans than driving with motorbike though, something is uneasy in today’s world, that is what I could see thanks to the movie.

3 Movies to Watch during “Stay-Home”

To be honest with you, I am a depressive person (maybe you must have realized by watching my weird profile picture in “about” page. It is a kendo protective mask). I actually look a person with positiveness and who is always smiling . However, from my experience, people who are always smiling is always crying under their face to fight with their weak heart or mental, and I think it is a price for being sensitive person (and then maybe I’m not that sensitive person). So, I don’t like Sunday. Without a certain busyness, I have to face my weakness forcefully and easily get disappointed with my darkness inside of me.

However, thanks to the great movies, I somehow can live till today. These movies taught me how great to live ordinal lives and how meaningful to be depressed. It’s like a “Zarathustra” kind of movie for me (I mean like mentor kind of movie). And now everyone seems getting depressed by self-quarantine, and unclear future world. So, I’ve just thought like why don’t we share my “survival movies” with people struggling with this unreasonable status quo. I wish these 3 my favorite movies can save someone’s bored to death life hopefully.

Groundhog Day (1993)

I love Bill Murray’s films.

The first one is “Groundhog Day”. Mean (or cynical) weatherman (as Bill Murray) suddenly finds himself reliving same day over and over again when he goes on location to the small town of Punxsutawney to film a report about their Groundhog Day. His situation drives him to destruction at first, but he gradually try to make sense of living in the weird world.

I personally think that some people actually want to kill themselves but other people just lost meanings to live. The time I first watch this movie was the time I couldn’t find the meaning of alive. However, the movie has taught me that there actually is a way to survive and a kind of goal you should strive for.

It’s a Kind of a Funny Story (2010)

I love Zach Galifianakis’ movies.

The second one is “It’s a Kind of a Funny Story” based on the same title’s novel by Ned Vizzini. There is a burnt-out teenager Craig (Keir Gilchrist) who checks himself into a mental health clinic after the attempted suicide (jumping from a bridge), then he finds himself placed in adult ward due to the fact that the youth ward has been shut down. Taken under the wing of fellow patient Bob (Zach Galifianakis), the 16 years old attempts to endure his mandatory 5 days’ stay without completely losing his mind. Then, he gradually realize the true value of living teenager.

If you are teenager, this movie must resonate deeper with you. Teenagers easily lose their meaning to live and ask their hearts if the world is deserve to live. Yeah, I’m still asking the question at least twice a year. By the way, this movie really helps you understand why you should live your teenage, and how precious it is being teenager. You must be relaxed about your life after watching it, and you want to welcome new days.

Paterson (2016)

Adam Driver as Paterson who is a bus driver in Paterson

There is a cool life-style magazine for women “&Premium” in Japan, and the movie was recommended in the latest issue, which features “beautiful solitary life”. The film is directed by Jim Jarmusch. Yep. Jim Jarmusch. If you fell in love with other his movie, definitely this could be your new favorite of his movies.

The story (if there is a plot) is such a simple. Set in the present Paterson, New Jersey, and it is a tale about a bus driver and poet. You just watch Paterson’s everyday life from Monday to next Monday. You just witness his daily routine. There seems no plot at all. However, you can feel a kind of richness, the beauty of ordinary life after watching. Through this movie, maybe we could understand how metaphorical world we live in, and how meaningful is it to spend each single day. Especially under this pandemic, absolutely we can make sense of this movie.

Above all, there are my top 3 prescription movies for your depressive stay-home life. Hope we can drink and discuss the movie without using Zoom someday very soon.

Thank you very much for reading, and have a great day.

Thank you very much for reading the article. I would prefer your comments or some other topic requests for me to write. Please write a comment or give me an email through contact page.

Depressing Tuesday morning

Since the pandemic of COVID-19, I am spending unusual “Golden Week” (It is a Japanese-English expression. A collection of national holidays like at least 5 to 10 days) mostly in my house. Everybody yells “STAY HOME” through any medias, but we people are realizing that the limit is finally coming. It is such a stressful experience. Everyone who says something on the SNS have negative impression for this situation (including this blog).

So, I want to change something. This is a great timing to change or find something new. Especially, I recently found it interesting to play the guitar. I personally wanted to be a man who can play the piano (mainly due to the LA LA Land), but the guitar seems a bit easier to be into for me. So, I am practicing every day these days. And, It’s actually easier and fun.

The reason why I tried to start to play the guitar was a movie called “Yesterday”.

Yesterday is a nice movie like About Time or Sing Street

The plot is very simple but impressive. Jack Malik is a struggling singer-songwriter who wants to be famous someday, despite the fierce devotion and support of his childhood best friend, Ellie. After a freak bus accident during 12 seconds mysterious global blackout, Jack wakes up to discover that the Beatles have never existed but only he knows and remember their existence. Then he tries to sing the Beatles song and getting famous…

Actually, it’s a bit ashamed to say this though, I have never heard the Beatles songs seriously because you can listen to their song almost everyday in the supermarket, TV commercial or any places. That’s why I never tried to buy their CDs or download the music. Especially, in Japan, there are many English teachers who really loves their song and use it as a listening materials, so some students find it pretty stressful when they heard the hint of the Beatle’s song.

Therefore, I am totally empathized by the people who never knew the Beatles in the movie. And as Jack plays their songs, I and the people thrills about the songs, and it’s like a kind of initiation again. I was such a glad to meet the Beatles again with a kind of correct way compared to the wrong way to me.

Then, I fell love in the power of the Beatles songs, and now I’m practicing “”Hey Jude” right now. I have never known but my left fingertips are getting rubbed and losing sense of texture like before (I believe it’s a temporally thing though). But, you know, it is anyway fun.

I hope I can be a person who plays Hey Jude fluently after this Golden Week. Thank you very much for reading!