Tag Archives: Japanese movie

Japanese Unforgiven

22 Aug

Do you know the 1992 movie “The Unforgiven ” with Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freedman and Gene Hackman?

Image

It’s about a man who was a ruthless killer in the American “old west” (played by Clint Eastwood) who, after having a wife and kids, changes his ways and becomes a farmer.

But his wife dies of smallpox and he finds himself financially struggling to provide for his children..so he takes “one last job” as a hired killer / bounty hunter.

One of my favorite scenes from the movie is when Clint’s character sees his friend’s murdered body displayed in front of a bar as a “message” to all potential bounty hunters…he walks into the bar and shoots the bar’s owner.
At which, the sheriff says “Well, sir, you are a cowardly son of a b***h! You just shot an unarmed man!
And Clint’s character replies “He should have armed himself if he’s going to decorate his saloon with my friend.

Well, I just learned that a Japanese remake of “The Unforgiven ” is being filmed.

It is due to hit theaters in Japan in the autumn of next year (2013) and will be titled 「許されざる者」 which means “The Unforgiven” in Japanese.

It will star the internationally famous Japanese actor 渡辺謙 (Ken Watanabe) who worked with Clint Eastwood when he starred in the movie “Letters From Iwo-jima “.

Dragonball coffee

25 Jul

Do you like the Japanese anime titled 「ドラゴンボール」 (“Dragonball“)?

(I wrote a post in late 2008 about some Hollywood remakes of Japanese movies…including a remake of “Dragonball” (which I haven’t seen but it doesn’t look good)).

Well, if you’re a Dragonball fan, you may be interested to know that the Japanese canned coffee / soft drink company “Pokka” is currently selling their “Power Squash” soft drink in twelve different designed cans with various Dragonball characters on them.

From the Pokka company website, here are the twelve different cans…each with a different Dragonball character:

Available until 2011 September 30

And they’re also offering three types of canned coffee, each available designed with ten different Dragonball characters. So, if you really want to, between the “Squash” soft drink and the three different coffee blends, you can collect a total of 42 different Dragonball drink cans!

Three of the "Pokka" / "Dragonball" coffee cans

I like coffee and I buy canned coffee sometimes…so if I got one of these “Dragonball” cans, it would one of the coffees.

Yamato and Gundam

3 Dec

A live-action movie version of the Japanese anime 「宇宙戦艦ヤマト」 (“Space Battleship Yamato“) has recently hit the movie theaters in Japan.

It stars Japanese sex-symbols Takuya Kimura and Meisa Kuroki (whom I wrote about in this post).

Japanese movies usually have theme songs by Japanese artists but this movie’s theme song is titled “Love Lives” and is performed by Steven Tyler (lead vocalist of the American rock band “Aerosmith“).

Here’s the official trailer which features a bit of the song:

And here’s the entire song:

+++

Last year I wrote a post about “Cup Noodle” in Japan giving away miniature Gundam figures with purchase of their instant ramen.

Well, Nissin Cup Noodle has teamed up with Gundam again.
In Japan you can buy a special, limited-time-only Cup Noodle that comes with a plastic reusable “Gundam” ramen cup.

The package of the Cup Noodle with the Gundam cup

The Gundam cup and the package of ramen noodles

New Ghibli movie

18 Aug

Do you know the Japanese animation studio 「スタジオジブリ」 (Ghibli Studios)?

It is the movie studio of master animator 宮崎駿 (Hayao Miyazaki).

This is the studio that released classic Japanese cartoon movies such as 「崖の上のポニョ」 (Ponyo On The Cliff), 「となりのトトロ」 (My Neighbor Totoro), 「もののけ姫」 (Princess Mononoke), 「千と千尋の神隠し」 (Spirited Away), and 「ハウルの動く城」 (Howl’s Moving Castle).

「千と千尋の神隠し」 ("Spirited Away")

Well, 「スタジオジブリ」 (Ghibli Studios) has released a new movie in Japan last month.
It’s called 「借りぐらしのアリエッティ」 (“Arietti The Borrower“).

「借りぐらしのアリエッティ」 ("Arietti The Borrower")

The movie is based on the children’s story “The Borrowers” about a family of tiny people that live in a house of a “normal sized” family…and they “borrow” small things from the house, such as a wrist watch to use as a clock. And they’re discovered by the boy that lives in the house.

The original story took place in England, I believe. But the Ghibli movie version takes place in Tokyo.

Here’s a trailer for 「借りぐらしのアリエッティ」 (“Arietti The Borrower“):

Have you ever watched a 「スタジオジブリ」 (Ghibli Studios) movie?
Which one is your favorite?

Godzilla in Tokyo and Godzilla in Hollywood

2 Apr

The Japanese baseball player Hideki Matsui used to play for the New York Yankees major league team until he began playing for the Los Angeles Angels last December.

(Click here to read the post I wrote last December about him moving from the Yankees to the Angels.)

His nickname is “Godzilla“.

He is currently the spokesman in Japan for the Kirin “Fire” canned coffee and in 新宿 (Shinjuku, Tokyo) there is a huge balloon in his likeness wearing a baseball uniform similar to his L.A. Angels uniform that has “Fire” emblazoned on the front.
The balloon statue is leaning on a giant can of “Fire” coffee.

The campaign is called 「ビッグマツイ」 (“Big Matsui“).

My daughter had to go to Shinjuku today, so she took a couple photos of this giant display with her cell-phone camera when she passed by it.

Here are her photos of the giant Hideki Matsui balloon in Shinjuku (you can see how big it is in proportion to the people standing near it):

"Godzilla" has hit Tokyo again!

Speaking of Godzilla…this time the iconic Japanese monster called 「ゴジラ」 (“Gojira“) in Japan and “Godzilla” in other countries that continually destroys Tokyo in his countless movies from Japan’s Toho Studios.

I wrote a post last summer (click here to read it) about the numerous Hollywood remakes of Japanese movies…including a 1998 remake of Godzilla that was poorly received by both critics and fans.

Hollywood's "Godzilla", circa 1998

I also wrote a post last April (click here to read this one) about both America’s “King Kong” and Japan’s “Godzilla“…and the classic film in which they battled each other.

Well, America’s “Legendary Pictures” has just announced their intention to film another “Godzilla” movie.

The movie is scheduled to be released sometime in 2012.

A major complaint that many people had about the 1998 American remake of “Godzilla” was that both the storyline as well as the appearance of the monster were too different from the Japanese movies.

Legendary Studios has implied that their version of Godzilla will stay true to the Japanese original.

According to their press release:

“…Legendary intends to approach the (Godzilla) film and its characters in the most authentic manner possible….”

That would probably be a good strategy if they want their movie to be successful…especially here in Japan.
Because in Japan many of the characters from Japanese classic movies, such as Ultraman and Godzilla, are still very popular.
Their movies are still made nowadays.

2009 Dec "Ultraman" movie poster

"Godzilla: Final Wars" movie poster; circa 2004

March 23 and 31

24 Mar

If the world famous Japanese movie director Akira Kurosawa were still alive, yesterday would’ve been his 100th birthday.

Akira Kurosawa (1910 March 23 - 1998 Sept 6), R.I.P.

I wrote a post last summer about Hollywood remakes of Japanese movies…and of course it includes some of Kurosawa’s classics (such as “Yojinbou” and “The Seven Samurai“).
(Click here to read that post.)

————-

It has been announced that all homes in Japan must have a 煙感知器 (smoke detector) in every room by 2010 March 31.

A smoke alarm needs to be in every room.

If you live in Japan, and your house doesn’t have smoke alarms, you can buy them at department stores or electronics stores for about ¥2,500 – ¥3,000 each.
(Even if you don’t live in Japan you should have smoke detectors and a 消火器 (fire extinguisher) in your house.)

————-

What size beer cans are commonly sold in stores in your country?
What types of places sell beer where you live?
In Japan, beer can be purchased 24 hours a day from convenience stores. It’s also sold in most restaurants (including some fast-food places), supermarkets, etc.

There are even beer vending machines in Japan.

Restaurants usually sell beer in mugs or glasses. Or else they’ll give a 瓶ビール (bottled beer), which is usually 633ml.

Canned beer is usually sold in 350ml or 500ml cans. But other sizes are available too.
Japan has very small 135 ml and 250ml cans, the “regular” 350ml can, the “tall boy” 500ml, and a very big 1,000ml can.

135ml, 250ml, 350ml and 500ml cans of Kirin Beer.

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).

デスノート

5 Jul

Do you know the Japanese manga (comic) titled 「デスノート」 (“Death Note“)?

deathnote

It’s about a bored 死神 (Death God), which could be called a Japanese equivalent to the Grim Reaper, who purposely leaves his Death Note(book)* in the human world in hopes that a human will pick it up and use it.

(*「ノート」 (“Note“), by the way, is the common word in Japan for “notebook”. So the English title of 「デスノート」 (“Death Note“) should be “Death Notebook” to be technically correct.)

A Japanese high school boy who believes that the world is too full of criminals and generally bad people is the one who finds the 「デスノート」 (“Death Note“) left by the 死神 (Death God).

It looks like an ordinary notebook until he opens the cover and sees the notebook’s “rules”. The rules basically state that if someone writes the name of a specific person in the book that that person will die soon after their name is written.

At first the boy is skeptical that the 「デスノート」 (“Death Note“) is real until the 死神 (Death God) appears in his room.

After being convinced that the book is real, the boy decides that he will use to “clean” the world of criminals.

Slowly the 死神 (Death God) reveals more facts to the boy…such as:
- no human can see or hear the 死神 (Death God) unless they touch the 「デスノート」 (“Death Note“),
- when a 「デスノート」 (“Death Note“) is found by a human, it belongs to that human and the 死神 (Death God) can’t get it back until either the human dies or every page in the book are filled, and
- when a 死神 (Death Gods) looks at a human, he can see their name and how many days are left in their lifespan.

I saw both the first 「デスノート」 (“Death Note“) movie and the sequel when they aired on television here.

A scene from the "Death Note" movie.

A scene from the "Death Note" movie.

After seeing the movies, it made me interested in reading the manga.

A criminal is tricked into touching the "Death Note"...which causes him to be able to see and hear the "Death God"---which is scarier than the police to him.

A criminal is tricked into touching the "Death Note"...which causes him to be able to see and hear the "Death God"---which is scarier than the police to him.

Of course I saw the movie and read the manga in Japan, so they were in Japanese…but I heard that 「デスノート」 (“Death Note“) has become popular overseas in English.

Have you seen the 「デスノート」 (“Death Note“) manga or movies?
Do you like them?

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“).

On this day…

9 Apr

Do you know the famous Japanese dog 「忠犬ハチ公」 (Faithful Hachiko)?

Probably every Japanese person knows the story of Hachiko.

Hachiko was an 秋田犬 (Akita-inu dog) who moved from 秋田県 (Akita Prefecture, Japan) to Tokyo with his owner because he (his owner) got a teaching job at 東京大学 (University Of Tokyo).

Hachiko would see his owner off every morning at 渋谷駅 (Shibuya Train Station (in Tokyo)) and then go back to the station in the evening to greet his owner when he returned.

One day, though, his owner didn’t return because he died while at work. But Hachiko continued to return to 渋谷駅 (Shibuya Train Station) every evening at the same time to wait for his master.

It’s a true story of loyalty and friendship.

There’s a famous statue of Hachiko at 渋谷駅 (Shibuya Train Station) in Tokyo. (There’s also another lesser-known statue of Hachiko in his hometown in 秋田県 (Akita Prefecture, Japan)).

The statue of Hachiko in front of 渋谷駅 (Shibuya Train Station) was erected on April 8, 1934.

So, every year on April 8th there is a memorial ceremony for Hachiko at the statue at 渋谷駅 (Shibuya Train Station).

Hachiko statue in Shibuya on the April 8, 2009 memorial ceremony.

Hachiko statue in Shibuya on the April 8, 2009 memorial ceremony.

There’s a Japanese movie about Hachiko…and now Richard Gere is promoting a Hollywood remake of this movie that he stars in.
(Click here to read my post about this movie and a bit more about the dog.)

The movie, titled “Hachiko: A Dog’s Story“, will debut in Japan on August 8, 2009.

On May 12, 2009, a new statue of Hachiko will be erected at お台場 (Odaiba, Tokyo). This date was chosen because it will be 88 days before the new Hachiko movie’s release date.*
(Eight in Japanese is 「」 (“hachi“)…which sounds like Hachiko.)

+++++

April 10, 2009 (tomorrow) will be the 50th wedding anniversary of Japan’s Emperor and Empress.
And last January 7 (2009) was the 20th anniversary of the day he became the Emperor (his father (the former Emperor) died on January 7, 1989).

So this year*, November 12 will be a legal holiday in Japan. It will be to celebrate both the Emperor’s twenty years on the throne and fifty years of marriage.

November 12 was chosen rather than January 7 or April 10 because it was decided it would be better to celebrate both on a separate date…and the Emperor’s 戴冠式 (coronation ceremony) was on November 12, 1990.

(*November 12 will be a holiday this year (2009) only).

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 195 other followers