Tag Archives: 映画

原爆記念日

6 Aug

Today is the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of 広島 (Hiroshima, Japan).

And every year on August 6th in Hiroshima and August 9th in Nagasaki, there are peace ceremonies to remember those who died in the bombing and to hope for a future with no more nuclear weapons…or even war.

But today’s peace ceremony in Hiroshima and the one in Nagasaki on next Monday will be different because the American ambassador to Japan will attend the ceremonies…which will be the first time an American government official attended them.

A photo of the floating lanterns at the Peace Ceremony in Hiroshima a few years ago.

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In other news, a Japanese version of the Hollywood hit movie “Ghost” (that starred Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze) is due to be in theaters in Japan this coming November.

A promo poster for the original U.S. movie "Ghost".

The Japanese remake movie will be titled “Love And Soul” and will star Korean actor Song Seung Hun and Japanese actress Nanako Matsushima.

Song Seung Hun and Nanako Matsushima

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And also, the Japanese college national baseball team traveled to America to play the U.S. college national team.

The U.S. team beat Japan with a score of 4 – 2.

アキラ

12 Feb

Yesterday was a holiday here in Japan. Called 「建国記念日」 (“National Foundation Day“).
(Click here to see my short FAQ about it.)

My wife, kids and I went to a カラオケボックス (Karaoke Box) and had lunch there.
After that we stopped by the DVD rental shop and picked up a couple more episodes of the American TV series “Prison Break“.
We’ve been watching a few episodes every month since last November.
We’re enjoying it.
We’re up to episode eight of season two….don’t tell me how it ends. ;)

We also rented a DVD that I wanted to watch…「毎日どっきりvs出川」.
It a show in which a celebrity here in Japan is chosen and the cast of the show play elaborate practical jokes on that celebrity every day for a month.
It was a funny DVD…but not as good as I expected.

Also, this post is titled 「アキラ」 (“Akira“) because I heard that America plans to make a live action movie remake of the Japanese anime titled 「アキラ」 (“Akira“).

The anime is about a motorcycle gang in Tokyo in the future.

Hollywood doesn’t really have a good track record of remaking Japanese anime into movies.
So, I wonder how this one will turn out.
(Click here to see the post about Japanese movies remade by Hollywood…some done well and others not.)

By the way, if you’re in Tokyo now, it’s forecast to snow tonight and tomorrow. So be careful if you go out tomorrow. (If it snows, it’ll probably only be a little bit though).

Hollywood inspired by Tokyo

7 Aug

Over the years, Hollywood has remade many Japanese movies and also made original movies that were inspired by Japan.

Here’s a list of some of them that I thought of. Tell me if you can think of others that I may have forgotten.

First, HOLLYWOOD REMAKES OF JAPANESE MOVIES:

  • U.S. remake: “Gatchaman
    Gatchaman (scheduled for release in 2011)

    Gatchaman (scheduled for release in 2011)

    Japanese Translation Of US Title: 「ガッチャマン」 (Gacchaman)

    Original Japanese movie: 「科学忍者隊ガッチャマン」 (Science Ninjas: Gacchaman)

    科学忍者隊ガッチャマン

    科学忍者隊ガッチャマン

    (Click here to see my “Gatchaman” stamps.)

  • U.S. remake: “Astro Boy
    Astro Boy

    Astro Boy

    Japanese Translation Of US Title: 「アトム」 (ATOM)

    Original Japanese movie: 「鉄腕アトム」 (Powerful Atom)

    鉄腕アトム

    鉄腕アトム

  • U.S. remake: “HACHI: A Dog’s Story
    HACHI: A Dog's Story (release date 2009 Aug 8)

    HACHI: A Dog's Story (release date 2009 Aug 8)

    Japanese Translation Of US Title: 「HACHI: 約束の犬」 (Hachi: A Faithful Dog)

    Original Japanese movie: 「ハチ公物語」 (Hachiko’s Story)

    ハチ公物語

    ハチ公物語

    (Click here to read another post I wrote about this movie).

  • U.S. remake: “Shall We Dance?
    Another US remake of a Japanese movie starring Richard Gere.

    Another US remake of a Japanese movie starring Richard Gere.

    Japanese Translation Of US Title: 「Shall We ダンス?」 (Shall We Dance?)

    Original Japanese movie: 「Shall We ダンス?」 (Shall We Dance?)

    shall-we-dance-j

  • U.S. Remake: “The Ringring-usJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「ザ・リング」 (The Ring)
    Original Japanese movie: 「リング」 (Ring)ring-j
  • U.S. remake: “The GrudgegrudgeJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「The Juon」
    Original Japanese movie: 「呪怨」 (Juon (Grudge))

    grudge-j

  • U.S. remake: “Dark Waterdark-waterJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「ダーク・ウォーター」 (Dark Water)
    Original Japanese movie: 「仄暗い水の底から」 (Dark Water From Below)dark-water-j
  • U.S. remake: “Last Man Standinglast-man-standingJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「ラスト・マン・スタンディング」 (Last Man Standing)
    Original Japanese movie: 「用心棒」 (The Bodyguard)youjinbo
  • U.S. remake: “A Fistful Of DollarsfistfulJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「荒野の用心棒」 (The Bodyguard Of The Wilderness)
    Original Japanese movie: 「用心棒」 (The Bodyguard)youjinbo
  • U.S. remake: “The BodyguardbodyguardJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「ボディガード」 (Bodyguard)
    Original Japanese movie: 「用心棒」 (The Bodyguard)youjinbo
  • Eight Beloweight-belowJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「南極物語」 (South Pole Story)
    Original Japanese movie: 「南極物語」 (South Pole Story)

    nankyoku_monogatari

  • Magnificent Sevenmagnificent-sevenJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「荒野の七人」 (Seven Men Of The Wilderness)
    Original Japanese movie: 「七人の侍」 (Seven Samurai)seven-samurai
  • DragonballdragonballJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「ドラゴンボール」 (Dragonball)
    Original Japanese movie: 「ドラゴンボール」 (Dragonball)

    dragonball-j

    (Click here to see an earlier post I wrote about this movie).

  • Speed Racerspeed-racerJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「マッハGOGOGO!」(Mach GoGoGo!)
    Original Japanese movie: 「マッハGOGOGO!」(Mach GoGoGo!)

    speed-racer-j

  • GodzillagodzillaJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「ゴジラ」 (Godzilla)
    Original Japanese movie: 「ゴジラ」 (Godzilla)

    godzilla-j

    (Click here to see an earlier post I wrote about this movie).

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And, HOLLYWOOD MOVIES THAT WERE INSPIRED BY JAPAN:

  • Gung-Ho!
  • Gung-Ho!

    Gung-Ho!

  • The Karate Kid
    karate-kid

    「ベスト・キッド」 (The Karate Kid)

    (Click here for my post about this movie).

  • Lost In Translation
    lost-in-trans

    Lost In Translation

  • Ramen Girl
    ramen-girl

    Ramen Girl

    (Click here for my post about this movie).

  • Mr. Baseball

    Mr. Baseball

    Mr. Baseball

  • Toxic Avenger II

    Toxic Avenger Part II

    Toxic Avenger Part II

  • Sgt. Kabukiman, N.Y.P.D.

    Sgt. Kabukiman, N.Y.P.D.

    Sgt. Kabukiman, N.Y.P.D.

  • Star Wars

    Star Wars

    Star Wars

  • Memoirs Of A Geisha

    Memoirs Of A Geisha

    「SAYURI」 (Memoirs Of A Geisha)

  • Last Samurai

    Last Samurai

    Last Samurai

  • Ronin

    Ronin

    Ronin

  • Fast And Furious 3: Tokyo Drift
    「ワイルド・スピード」 (Fast & Furious) 3: Tokyo Drift

    「ワイルド・スピード」 (Fast & Furious) 3: Tokyo Drift

    Also, I just found this “Pixar ‘Cars’ X ‘Tokyo Drift’“:

  • Black Rain

    Black Rain

    Black Rain

  • Blade Runner

    Blade Runner

    Blade Runner

  • Austin Powers: Goldmember

    Austin Powers 3: Goldmember

    Austin Powers 3: Goldmember

  • The Simpsons: 30 Minutes Over Tokyo
    (It’s not a movie…just one episode of a weekly U.S. TV show. But I wanted to include it since the characters go to Japan. And it’s funny.)

    The Simspons "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo"

    The Simspons "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo"

  • American Yakuza

    American Yakuza

    American Yakuza

  • The Hunted

    The Hunted

    The Hunted

  • Rising Sun

    Rising Sun

    Rising Sun

ラーメン・ガール

24 May

First of all, today is my mother’s birthday. So…Happy birthday, Mom.

Yesterday, I watched the movie 「ラーメン・ガール」 (“The Ramen Girl“).

theramengirl

Have you ever seen this movie?

It’s not bad. It’s much better than that other Tokyo-related but over-rated 「ロスト・イン・トランスレーション」 (“Lost In Translation“)!

A boring movie....

A boring movie....

The movie “Lost In Translation” is about an American woman who follows her boyfriend to Tokyo when his work sends him here and he is too busy to spend time with her so meets another American who is working in Tokyo and just as lonely as she is.

If you haven’t seen it…don’t bother. It’s painfully boring.

The movie “The Ramen Girl“, though not great, is a much better movie than “Lost In Translation“.
Ironically, it has some similarities in the story.
An American woman follows her boyfriend to Tokyo when his work sends him here in this story, too. He decides she’s cramping his style and he moves to Osaka without her.
She becomes depressed and lonely and one night has a bowl of ラーメン (Ramen*) at a nearby Ramen shop that are all over Japan.
(* Real ramen. Not the instant type that is cheaply sold in supermarkets. It’s quite different.)

She falls in love with Ramen and decides she wants the Ramen chef to allow her to become his apprentice. Which is grudgingly agrees to…even though she can’t speak any Japanese and he can’t speak English.

It takes her awhile to understand that, in Japan, that a student is expected to take his role seriously and follow everything his teacher says…without question.
(Much the same lesson that “Daniel” learned in the movie 「ベスト・キッド」 (“The Karate Kid“).)

Karate Kid Japanese movie flyer

Karate Kid Japanese movie flyer

The movie 「ラーメン・ガール」 (“The Ramen Girl“) definitely wasn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen. But it was fun. It had parts that over-simplified or stereotyped Japan…but it also showed Tokyo better than alot of other overseas movies do. They even showed the Yokohama Ramen Museum briefly.

(You can also click here to read a review of this movie by “Manmanchi“).

King Kong vs Godzilla

6 Apr

In 1933, the American movie King Kong was released. It’s about a movie director in Depression-era America who takes a crew to a place called “Skull Island” to film a movie.

They quickly realize that “Skull Island” is no ordinary island. It’s full of giant pre-historic predators.
One night, the native people kidnap the American actress and offer her as a sacrifice to “Kong“, the giant ape.

The rest of the American film crew rescue the actress and the director decides to take Kong back to New York City because a huge ape will make him more money than his movie could.

The movie’s most famous scene is when the misunderstood King Kong is forced to climb the Empire State Building and fight for his life.

The original King Kong

The original King Kong

King Kong was remade twice. The first remake was in 1976. In this version, it’s an oil company that discover Kong, and instead of climbing the Empire State Building, King Kong climbs to the top of the World Trade Center in New York City.

king_kong-1976

Then in 2005, a remake of the original 1933 King Kong story was done.

king_kong-2005

King Kong is an American pop-culture legend.

The Japanese equivalent is ゴジラ (Godzilla).

The first ゴジラ (Godzilla) movie was released in 1954.
ゴジラ (Godzilla) was supposed to be the result of radioactive nuclear testing. The creature was originally a threat to society…but to expand the audience to include families and children, some ゴジラ (Godzilla) films portray him as the hero.

Promo poster from the first 「ゴジラ」 (Godzilla) movie, 1954.

Promo poster from the first 「ゴジラ」 (Godzilla) movie, 1954.

ゴジラ (Godzilla)’s name should technically be spelled as “Gojira” in English because that’s the correct pronunciation of his name.
The name ゴジラ (Gojira (Godzilla)) is a mix of the words 「リラ」 (gorilla) and 「クジラ」 (Kujira (whale)).

There have been many ゴジラ (Godzilla) movies released in Japan. The most recent was on the 50th anniversary of the first ゴジラ (Godzilla) movie…in 2004, 「ゴジラ ファイナル・ウォーズ」 (Godzilla: Final Wars) was released. (It won’t be the “final” ゴジラ (Godzilla) movie though…there is a plan to make a new ゴジラ (Godzilla) movie on the 60th anniversary of the original—in 2014).

「ゴジラ ファイナル・ウォーズ」 (Godzilla: Final Wars) movie poster, 2004.

「ゴジラ ファイナル・ウォーズ」 (Godzilla: Final Wars) movie poster, 2004.

ゴジラ (Godzilla) is a pop-culture icon even in America. I used to enjoy watching ゴジラ (Godzilla) movies dubbed in English when I was a kid.
In fact, a survey was done in the 1980′s of the general American public to name “famous Japanese people”…ゴジラ (Godzilla) was one of the most common answers! (Another common one was “Bruce Lee”…whose not even Japanese)!

So, it was inevitable that America would release a Hollywood version of ゴジラ (Godzilla).
The trailers for the 1998 U.S. movie looked exciting! But the trailers are all you need to watch…the movie was generally a disappointment.

Poster for the US version of "Godzilla", 1998.

Poster for the US version of "Godzilla", 1998.

Here’s the trailer from the 1998 US movie “Godzilla” from YouTube:

So, it makes sense that these two iconic monsters met in battle.
In 1962, Japan released 「キングコング対ゴジラ」 (“King Kong vs Godzilla“).

Poster for 「キングコング対ゴジラ」 ("King Kong vs Godzilla"), 1962

Poster for 「キングコング対ゴジラ」 ("King Kong vs Godzilla"), 1962

There’s an urban legend that in the Japanese version of this movie Godzilla beats King Kong, and in the English-dubbed version King Kong wins. But it’s not true…the ending is the same in both versions: King Kong is the only monster to emerge from their underwater battle.

Here’s a trailer from the 1962 movie 「キングコング対ゴジラ」 (“King Kong vs Godzilla“):

池袋

8 Feb

My kids were given five tickets to the movie 「西の魔女が死んだ」 (“The Witch Of The West Is Dead“).

witch

The tickets were valid for yesterday and the day before (Friday) only, and only at one 映画館 (movie theater) in 池袋 (Ikebukuro, Tokyo).

Friday is a 平日 (weekday), so we planned to go yesterday. But when we got to the theater, they announced that the theater was full. We decided that the next showing was too late and we just couldn’t see it.

Oh well.

Maybe I’ll rent it when it’s released on DVD.

The story of the movie is about a thirteen-year-old girl who is one-quarter English (her grandmother is British) who decides she doesn’t want to go to school anymore. Her parents send her to spend some time with her English grandmother who lives in the countryside.

There’s a rumor that her grandmother is a witch, so she asks her grandmother to teach her to become a witch. The grandmother agrees…but what she actually teaches her are important life lessons.

The grandmother is played by Stephanie Sachiko “Sachi” Parker.

Do you know Sachi Parker?

Probably not. But you probably do know the famous American actress Shirley MacLaine.
Sachi Parker is Shirley MacLaine‘s daughter.
She was raised in Japan by her father (Steve Parker). She’s fluent in 日本語 (Japanese).

So instead of the movie, we went to サンシャインシティ (Sunshine City).
サンシャインシティ (Sunshine City) is a block of buildings in 池袋 (Ikebukuro, Tokyo) that include a shopping center, a convention center, a hotel, a movie theater, an aquarium, a planetarium, an observatory, offices, and more.

The observatory is on top of the 60-story サンシャイン60 (Sunshine 60) building.

Click here to visit the サンシャインシティ (Sunshine City) website (in Japanese only).

Here are some photos that I took around 池袋 (Ikebukuro, Tokyo):

(Many restaurants in Japan have a plastic display of the menu out front.)

(Many restaurants in Japan have a plastic display of the menu out front.)

(Ikebukuro)

(Ikebukuro)

dscf4397

Japanese Books, Snacks, CDs…

4 Jan

I just added a page on my main website called “Japanese Stuff”.

It has links to buy Japan-themed books, snacks and DVDs that I recommend.

On this blog, I’ve recommend books like Jerry Yellin’s book “The Blackened Canteen“, and CDs by Japanese bands like Monkey Majik, and Japanese movies like Quill.

Now, I’ve decided to make it easier for visitors to my site to buy the books, snacks, CDs and DVDs, etc that I recommend by providing a link to buy them from Amazon.com.

Click here to visit my new “Japanese Stuff page.

Another movie…

17 Dec

As I said in this post (click here), Hollywood has remade many Japanese movies.

Well, it seems that the American actor, Richard Gere is starring in another Hollywood remake of a Japanese movie. As I mention in this post (click here), Richard Gere was in the U.S. remake of the Japanese movie titled “Shall We Dance?“…and now he’s in a remake of the Japanese movie 「ハチ公物語」 (Hachiko’s Story).

jpn-hachiko-film

The Hollywood version is called “Hachiko: A Dog’s Story“.

us-hachiko-film

The Japanese movie, 「ハチ公物語」 (Hachiko’s Story), is a true story.

One difference in the U.S. version is that the real ハチ公 (Hachiko) was an 秋田犬 (Akita-inu dog)…

akitainu

But the dog is the Richard Gere movie, “Hachiko: A Dog’s Story“, is a 柴犬 (Shiba-inu dog).

shibainu

They look similar…but not the same.

Have you seen either “Hachiko: A Dog’s Story” or the original 「ハチ公物語」 (Hachiko’s Story)? If not, are you planning to? If you have watched them, what was your impression?

Do you know the story of 「ハチ公」 (Hachiko)?

hachiko

ハチ公」 (Hachiko), or 「忠犬ハチ公」 (“Faithful dog Hachiko“), is a famous statue near 渋谷駅 (Shibuya train station) in Tokyo. It’s in honor of a dog named 「ハチ公」 (Hachiko) that waited at that train station everyday for his master…and after his master died, he still waited for him at the station everyday for about ten years (until the dog died)!

ハチ公」 (Hachiko) is considered a symbol of loyalty and faithfulness to loved ones.

By the way, when Helen Keller visited Japan in the 1930′s, she was so inspired by the story of 「ハチ公」 (Hachiko) that she got an 秋田犬 (Akita-inu dog) for herself.

TSUTAYA

18 Nov

Do you live in Japan? Do you have a Tsutaya membership card?
Tsutaya is the biggest video-rental (I guess I should call it DVD rental now) chain in Japan.
It’s kinda like Blockbuster Video in America. (Is Blockbuster still in America? Is it still popular?)

I’ve had a membership card with Tsutaya for years now…ever since the one near my house opened.

I don’t remember what they have at Blockbuster Video in America (I don’t recall anything except videos)…but Tsutaya in Japan has rental DVDs (used to be VHS), and rental CDs (in Japan, you can rent a CD after it’s been on sale for one year (it used to be rental LPs and cassettes!)), and many branches of Tsutaya also sell CDs, DVDs, magazines, books, video games, etc.

Also in Japan, many credit cards also double as point cards / membership cards for a store. Do credit cards in your country work like that?
I have a Visa, Master Card, and a JCB credit card. They’re all point cards at different stores, too. Meaning, if I either shop at that store or use the credit card, I get points on the store’s membership card!

My JCB credit card is also my Tsutaya membership card. So, anytime that I buy or rent a CD or DVD from Tsutaya or I use the credit card…I get points on the Tsutaya card.

If I get 190 points, I can rent a DVD or CD for free. Recently, I rented the new “Indiana Jones” movie for free (I’m glad it was free! That movie’s a disappointment! :( ).

Did you know, though, that Family Mart convenience stores, Lotteria Fast Food restaurants, and a few other stores have recently started giving Tsutaya points to their customers who show their Tsutaya card when they purchase something?

If you live in Japan and have a Tsutaya card, don’t forget to show it when you shop at places that have Tsutaya‘s “T” logo displayed!

tsutaya(Looks like mine, but this image is from Tsutaya’s website)

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