Jimami Tofu ジーマーミ豆腐 (2017) Directors: Jason Chan, Christian Lee

Jimami Tofu  Jimami Tofu Film Poster

ジーマーミ豆腐 Ji-ma-mi Toufu

Running Time: 121 mins.

Release Date: March 28th, 2018

Director:  Jason Chan, Christian Lee

Writer: Jason Chan, Christian Lee (Screenplay),

Starring: Jason Chan, Rino Nakasone, Mari Yamamoto, Christian Lee, Masane Tsukayama, Masoyoshi Kishimoto,

IMDB

Jimami is the Okinawan dialect word for peanut and jimami tofu is a simple but much-loved speciality of the islands. This is one of the ingredients that Singaporean directors Jason Chan and Christian Lee use to cook up a tale of history, lost love, and fusion cooking with varying results.

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Genkina hito Says Goodbye to 2016 and Hello to 2017 – New Year’s Resolutions

Welcome to my last post of 2016.

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!

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Genkina hito at the Tokyo Game Show 2016

I arrived in Japan on September 10th and while I had a few things I knew I wanted to do such as visiting specific museums I didn’t plan things out in too much detail and forgot about certain events such as the Tokyo Game Show (TGS). It wasn’t until a friend mentioned going to it on the final day that I realised that I was about to miss a weekend extravaganza of games.

Genkina hito in Japan Tokyo Game Show

TGS is the second biggest video game event in the world after E3 and it’s the chance for the Japanese video game industry to showcase what it can do. The majority of the event is for journalists only but on the final weekend the public get to experience the games on the show floor. The part of this year’s TGS that was open to the public ran from September 17th to the 18th and, as in previous years, took place in the Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture which is less than an hour away from Tokyo. Since I was based in Ikebukuro I had to catch a Yamanote Line train to get to Tokyo Station and then a Keiyo Line train to get to the Kaihin-Makuhari Station from where I could get to the convention hall. This was my first trip to Tokyo Station so I was unprepared for how huge it was but that wasn’t much of a problem due to the signs that were in Japanese and English and the logical layout of the station itself. The train ride was a short trip made slightly longer by the fact I missed my stop and had to double-back. I knew I was on the right train due to the high number of Westerners, otaku, and video gamers but totally didn’t register when they got out at the right station…

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Genkina hito in Akihabara

Akihabara – this is a long and rambling post so feel free to just look at the pictures. If you’re feeling brave you can listen to this music while you read:

Akihabara (Electric Town as it’s also known) is billed as the electronics and nerd-culture centre of Japan. If you like anime, manga, computers, video games, cameras or any other types of electronic and otaku goods then this is the area that you need to visit. I have been aware of it since at least my high school years when I heard of its legendary collection of video game and anime goods. I had pictured a densely packed warren of streets containing arcade dens full of herds of video game nerds clustered around classic beat-em-up game cabinets while anime fans pored through second-hand book stores and cute guys and gals cosplayed colourful anime characters and the scene was complete with the neon glow and anime music cast out by ads on video screens. I imagined myself pushing my way through aisles of goods crowded with other fanboys and fangirls, making my way to holy grails of videogamedom. Even as an adult with less interest in games and anime I still held onto that dream and made it a point to visit it during my first week.

Akihabara wasn’t like I imagined it.

Genkina hito in Japan

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March 11th – A Year On: Charity Events

It is a year on since the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami which claimed 20,000 lives and caused the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant to go into meltdown. Japan is recovering but slowly. Unfortunately over 300,000 people are without homes and communities are in disarray with ghost towns replacing once lively cities. Many news organisations are reporting the anniversary with the BBC and Guardian providing pictures that show what the disaster hit areas look like now. the BBC is also providing coverage of memorial events in Japan.

As a blogger that focusses on Japanese films a lot I want to play a part in aiding in the reconstruction and making people aware of events around the UK. You can donate money to the UK Japan Foundation’s fundraiser or check out the Japanese embassy website for anything that might be happening near you – most of these are in London.

Remember Fukushima Charity Event

On March 11th, 2011 a devastating earthquake hit North Eastern Japan and triggered a melt down at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. Now, a year after the disaster, parts of Japan are still trying to recover. Third Window Films will have a charity screening of Mitsuko Delivers at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts) to raise awareness of the on-going situation in Japan with 100% of the profits from the ticket and DVD sales going to charity. Tickets cost £10 and can be purchased from the ICA. For more information please visit the event’s page at the ICA website.

Mitsuko DeliversRemember Fukushima Charity Preiew Mitsuko Delivers

March 11th, 2012 at 7pm, Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH

Director: Yûya Ishii. Cast: Riisa Naka, Aoi Nakamura, Ryo Ishibashi, Yukijirô Hotaru, Miyoko Inagawa

Japan 2011. 109 mins. Japanese with English subtitles

Electrifying Japanese talent Yûya Ishii’s (A Man With Style, Sawako Decides) breathless new comedy tells the story of a thirtysomething woman (Riisa Naka, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars) who’s at a delicate juncture in life; alone, flat broke and to top it all nine-months pregnant. Her folks think she’s in California living the high life with her baby’s GI father. In fact she’s in Tokyo, searching for a purpose, and eventually finding one in the ramshackle working-class alley where she grew up. The place reeks of destitution and bone idleness, but Mitsuko’s infectious get-up-and-go attitude soon compels the locals to roll up their sleeves and restore the alley to its former glory. Mitsuko Delivers is original, fanciful and adventurous – quintessentially Japanese.

Blood-C First Impression

As a fan of the gritty anime Blood: The Last Vampire I was pleased to see Japanese video website Nico-Nico Douga recently began streaming Blood-C. They are streaming each episode with English subtitles a day after the Japanese television broadcast. The quality is good and there are no adverts. What isn’t so good is the anime. After watching the first episode I felt somewhat let down because the direction it took injected too much sugar into the franchise.

Blood-C's Saya Continue reading “Blood-C First Impression”

Bartender バーテンダー

My taste in anime is wide-ranging but until Bartender I had yet to watch one based on food/drink.

What I know of them is that they tend to work on the basis that all problems can be solved by getting advice and learning through the creation of food. The closest I have ever got is the Yakitate!! Ja-PAN Manga which was very funny. Bartender isn’t funny yet it is humane and even glamorous.

Eden Hall in the Anime Bartender Continue reading “Bartender バーテンダー”

Sawako Decides 川の底からこんいちは (2010)

Sawako Decides     Sawako Decides Film Poster

Japanese: 川の底からこんいちは

Romaji: Kawa no Soko Kara Konnichi wa

Release Date: May 01st, 2010 (Japan)

Running Time: 112 mins.

Director: Yuya Ishii

Writer: Yuya Ishii (Screenplay),

Starring: Hikari Mitsushima, Masashi Endo, Kira Aihara, Kotaro Shig, Miyoko Inagawa, Maki Meguro, Ryo Iwamatsu,

To call this the funniest humanist film you will see this year runs the risk of underplaying just how funny the film is. From Yuya Ishii’s sharp script to a star performance from lead actress Hikari Mitsushima as the title character, Sawako Decides is probably one of the funniest films you will see this year.

Sawako and Kayoko

– Synopsis –

Sawako (Hikari Mitsushima) has lived in Tokyo for five years, is working her fifth office job, and is dating her fifth boyfriend, who is also her boss at the office. Her life with Kenichi (Masashi Endo), her boyfriend, and his daughter from a previous marriage, Kayoko (Kira Aihara), feels like a “compromise,” and she endures each day feeling distressed about her career and love life.

One day, she receives word that her father, Tadao (Kotaro Shiga), who runs a freshwater clam processing business in her hometown, has fallen ill. There is a reason why Sawako would rather not go back home so easily, but she reluctantly decides to return at Kenichi’s insistence. But Kenichi, who had actually quit his job shortly before Sawako, uses this opportunity to come along with Sawako to her hometown with his daughter in tow.

Thus Sawako’s ordeals continue. Still, she takes over her father’s clam processing company and begins to work there, though she slowly starts to take charge of the situation and form a new life for herself

Sawako at the Clam Factory Continue reading “Sawako Decides 川の底からこんいちは (2010)”

Cold Fish DVD and Blu-Ray Release

One of the names creeping up regularly on this blog a lot is Sion Sono because he is a prolific film-maker hard at work at making the provocative films with outrageous themes, scenes, violence, dark humour and gore. So it is understandable that I was very excited when I got information about the forthcoming release of Cold Fish by Third Window Films on the 27th of June:
Cold Fish DVD Case
‘Cold Fish’ – Director Sion Sono (Japan 2010, 145 minutes, Horror)

Third Window Films is pleased to announce the release of ‘Cold Fish’, Sion Sono’s grusome follow up to ‘Love Exposure’, as a 2 disc DVD set / Blu-ray on June 27th, 2011

Technical Details
Anamorphic Widescreen transfer with removable English subtitles

Blu-Ray with 5.1 DTS HD Sound / DVD with 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound

Exclusive interview with author Jake Adelstein, reporter on the original ‘Saitama Dog-Lovers Serial Murders’ case, the inspiration behind the film

Two exclusive interviews with scriptwriter Yoshiki Takahashi on the creation of both the film and original artwork

Trailer / Trailers of other Third Window Films releases

Synopsis
Inspired by and loosely based on the real-life exploits of serial killer couple Gen Sekine and his ex-wife Hiroko Kazama (the perpetrators of Tokyo’s notorious 1993 “Saitama serial murders of dog lovers” killings), ‘Cold Fish’ is a psychotic cavalcade of sex, violence and comedy

Shamoto runs a small tropical fish shop. His second wife, Taeko, does not get along with his daughter, Mitsuko, and this worries him. One day Mitsuko is caught shoplifting at a grocery store. There they meet a friendly man named Murata, who helps to settle things between Mitsuko and the store manager. Since Murata also runs a tropical fish shop, Shamoto establishes a bond with him and they become friends; Mitsuko even begins working for Murata and living at his house. What Shamoto doesn t know, however, is that Murata hides many dark secrets behind his friendly face. He sells cheap fish to his customers for high prices with his artful lies. If anyone detects his fraud or refuses to go along with his money-making schemes, they’re murdered and their bodies disposed of by Murata and his wife in grisly ways.

Shamoto is suddenly taken in by Murata s tactics, and by the time he realizes that Murata is insane, and a serial killer who has made over fifty people disappear, he is powerless to do anything about it. But now Mitsuko is a hostage at Murata s home, and Shamoto himself has become the killer s unwilling accomplice. Cruel murders gradually cripple his mind and finally the ordinary man is being driven to the edge of the abyss.

Based somewhat on a true story (read Jake Adelstein’s Tokyo Vice for insight into that particular case) Cold Fish follows Love Exposure and precedes Guilty of Romance, the three films forming Sion Sono’s Hate Saga. For any fan of Japanese cinema, Sono’s work has to be some of the most exciting to come out of the country and it seems like Cold Fish will continue this tradition as it looks to be another cult classic according to a stream of positive reviews and successful festival appearances.

This is the first DVD release of the film in the world even beating the Japanese release. The extras look brilliant, especially the interview with Jake Adelstein who wrote the excellent Tokyo Vice, so if you have any taste for provocative Japanese films go and buy this.

Cold fish can be pre-ordered from Amazon.