2018 has been fantastic for me and even if I haven’t been able to respond to everything, I’ve still had fun and made friends. I wrote a piece for V-Cinema about my cinematic highlights and I’ve adapted parts of my entry for this post.
2018 was the year of “I haven’t achieved my dream yet but I do what I want”. I travelled back to Japan for a second time and spent a month in the country, visiting places from Kawagoe to Onomichi and some things in between and I worked at the Osaka Asian Film Festival again. I’ve become involved in more than just Kotatsu, I have become part of other festivals in Europe and America which is so much fun and such an honour because I love films. I have also continued to contribute to V-Cinema and Anime UK News, typically highlighting indie gems, many of which form my top ten titles of the year.
To summarise what I have experienced in terms of cinema, I have contributed to V-Cinema’s end of year post which will be out soon.
Now here is my Top Ten Films of 2018, starting with number one…
The Japan Foundation have set up a series of free events celebrating the publication of the book Tanaka Kinuyo: Nation, Stardom and Female Subjectivity. There will be a film screening as well as a book launch. Both will be important for understanding an important figure in pre- and post-war Japanese cinema.
Japan has a rainy season and typhoon season every year but this year’s has been pretty bad with record rainfall in July leading to widespread flooding and landslides in various areas of western Japan such as Okayama, Ehime, Hiroshima, and elsewhere. At least 140 are dead and others are missing. Millions of people have been have been ordered to evacuate and too many have lost their homes and access to utilities like electricity and water. With the weather calming down, the heat has returned so dangers are still present. People are now digging through mud and rubble to recover their communities and some are living in evacuation centres as the recovery efforts are underway with more than 70,000 rescue workers and lots of volunteers helping the relief effort.
You may be wondering what you can do. There is something.
Last month film Twitter started retweeting a link to something called Donation Theater, a fund-raising campaign handled by the CINEMA INFRASTRUCTURE ASSOCIATION OF JAPAN to support the victims of the “western Japan heavy rain disaster”. Essentially, you can use a Paypal account or bank transfer to donate some money to help people and then watch films, some of which have been made by people who come from these areas.
Around this time last year, I was at the first of many shrines I would travel to in Taito-ku welcoming in 2017. It was an amazing experience made possible by a good friend and the start of a pretty good year for me. I was able to continue travelling across Japan and enjoyed doing unique things due to the kindness of others.
I had a blast at the Osaka Asian Film Festival where I got to watch lots of films and I really enjoyed meeting the team and working with them. I continued working on a film by helping out with sound-recording and photography on a couple of shoots, something which is set to continue into the new year in a more behind-the-scenes role. I took part in a major festival in Tokyo thanks to a friend (a seriously sophisticated and beautiful JoJo’s fan) and found that carrying a shrine is as hard as it looks. Also, visiting Kyoto was pure magic and it was made better since it was spent in great company.
I am writing this in Japan. It has been one of my long-term goals to get to Japan. It has, in fact, been a dream since childhood. It hasn’t been an obsession but it has been a major facet of my life. I have made friends from Japan and learned some of the language. So much of my everyday life has centred around Japanese media. I just naturally gravitate towards things like anime and video games, music, and films and that has matured into high culture and a vague goal of becoming a part of Japanese society in some way. I have been doing that from Britain with the nebulous plan of getting to Japan. Now I am finally living in Japan. Following dreams really does work!
I have been very slack writing posts for the blog because I have been working on various project and exploring Tokyo. I finally made it to Japan. Some days I become blasé about certain things but then I remember that I am on the other side of the planet and in a country I have always been interested in. It’s amazing. I have gotten used to commuting in and around Tokyo and following train etiquette, I use chopsticks without having to think about things, and I am picking up Japanese words at a fair clip.
2015 has been marked by more of the same as I wrote about and attended films and film festivals. I got work from magazines and other websites. I practiced Japanese. Business as usual. However there are some changes in terms of my future. I have the chance to go to Japan and that has been a goal I have had for a laughably long time but I have been too cowardly to pursue it until now but before that…
Following on from Lynn’s questions I am now answering a series of other questions from Beats Lars who is an insightful aniblogger with good taste. I don’t normally do these things but since the questions are all connected to anime and I love anime then that’s cool. He sent some question so I sent him some questions for him to answer in return. Here are my answers (warning, this is long and rambling):
Favorite anime series.
Kino no Tabi. I had to think about this. For less than a minute. I watch a lot of anime but revisit few. I was addicted to Cowboy Bebop and Neon Genesis Evagelion when they first aired and bought CDs and DVDs but haven’t watched them in nearly a decade. Not so with Kino no Tabi. I watch it every so often. At thirteen episodes it’s easy to devour but I love it for more reasons than just that.