No Pics

The reason I haven’t put up any new pics this week is that I haven’t been out to take pics in a while now, and for that I apologize. Just haven’t had the inspiration.

Oh! Mikey 3

Patrick came over for a visit tonight, and he brought over his copy of the 3rd DVD in the OH! MIKEY series. I can tell you that the third one is indeed hilarious, and much better than the weaker second volume. Lots of priceless sketches, and we finally get to meet the twins’ mother (and her twin sister)! Check out the post I wrote not too long ago to find out where you can get these online.

By the way, if you combine my Nej and Tokyo Boy blogs, this is post 1001. Not bad for a blog that I started just over a year ago (September 2002).

Top Searches in September

It’s the end of the month, so time again to check out the top 20 search strings that lead here.

1. platonic chain – Something I had barely mentioned once (and I’ve never watched the show again) gets the top rank. There really must be nothing in English about this show on the web.

2. happatai – Still going strong. I must be one of the big Happatai information centers on the web.

3. zatoichi trailer – No suprise here, as I’ve written quite a few posts on the subject this month.

4. zatoichi kitano – The only surprising thing is that I haven’t actually seen the film yet.

5. steamboy – Next Spring…

6. woori bank – Now I really feel bad, this is the second month that it’s ranked 6th. I hope I don’t get sued by this bank for making fun of them, and then attracting so many people.

7. rah xephon – Still haven’t had time to watch the whole series (26 episodes). I’ve been watching too many movies of late, and my stack of anime to watch is just getting bigger and bigger.

8. bibimbap – Reminds me that I need to eat some soon. There’s a great little Korean restaurant here in Ikebukuro that Yuko found while doing searches on the web. It’s good, cheap, and authentic (well, the taste is probably slightly altered for the Japanese palette, but it’s all Koreans that work there).

9. juon 2 – The first one is really scary. I hope the second one is a good follow-up.

10. penis festival – I prefer film festivals to penis festivals, actually.

11. tokyo godfathers – The movies comes out soon, and is directed by Satoshi Kon (PERFECT BLUE, MILLENNIUM ACTRESS). As I wrote not too long ago, seems like Kon’s next project will be a TV series for the WOWOW station (a pay station that I don’t get).

12. chou aniki – A wacky game for wacky people.

14. kill bill poster – The buzz is starting in Japan. Uma is on the cover of the latest issue of PREMIERE JAPAN, with a big feature inside, and Sonny Chiba is doing the rounds promoting both KILL BILL and his new ninja movie, SHIN KAGE NO GUNDAN. The other night they were showing bits of him at the wrap party with Quentin Tarantino, and he would just nod to everything Quentin was saying even though he didn’t understand one word. Also, while talking about the ninja film, he’s been criticizing ZATOICHI, saying it gives westerners a flawed view of Japan’s past (like with the tap dancing sequences).

15. ganguro – Can you believe they’re still out there!

16. kimchee – For a site about Japan, I seem to be getting a lot of Korean interest. For the record, I don’t really like kimchee.

17. japanese smileys – I totally forgot I wrote about these. I never use them in my messages since my phone can use real graphics instead.

18. takeshi’s castle – The UK version is better than the American version as they don’t dub everything and change what is being said (or what is going on – in the original series, there were no teams, it was everybody fending for themselves).

19. jean snow – Yup, that’s me.

20. nakagin capsule tower – A very interesting building, in a very interesting city. The latest issue of CASA BRUTUS has a feature on interesting designs in Osaka, so I hope to see some of those buildings next month.

Once Upon a Time in China and America

6305020744.01._PE_SCMZZZZZZZ_Just watched the Hong Kong film ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA AND AMERICA, 5th film in the classic series directed by Tsui Hark and starring Jet Li as Chinese legend Wong Fei-Hong. As it takes place in America, we have to deal with some of the worst acting I’ve seen on celluloid, which is what you get with westerners in HK films. But the action is good, and that’s what counts in this type of film. It’s a shame what Jet Li did to his career after moving to Hollywood, as I’ve hated every film he’s done since leaving HK (I couldn’t even watch past 20-30 minutes of his latest one, CRADLE 2 THE GRAVE, which is the last American Jet Li film I will ever waste time on), exception being Zhang Yimou’s HERO. Tsui Hark should also get his ass in gear and start being more productive in HK, making more films like his excellent TIME AND TIDE, and less Van Damme stinkers.

Also saw the Brazilian film CITY OF GOD, which has got to be one of the best films I’ve seen this year, if not the last few years. You need to see this.

Microcinema DVDs

In the post I wrote yesterday about the different film festivals taking place in Tokyo, I mentioned that my priority was with the Resfest since most of the things shown there (i.e. shorts) tend to be harder to see anywhere else. Well, seems like a company called Microcinema International is making it much easier to see some of this stuff (from METROPOLIS):

Makers and fans of short independent film will be happy to hear that San Francisco-based Microcinema International recently announced a new DVD imprint, Microcinema Label. The group will be releasing a number of titles over the coming months, including compilations of films from their long-running Independent Exposure series. For a preview of what to expect, visit their website or stop by a regular screening at Phaidros Café in Shibuya.

I’d never heard of these screenings at the Phaidros Cafe. Might be something I should look into.

Shinyuri Film Festival 2003

Add another film festival to the list. The Shinyuri Film Festival, taking place next week, looks quite interesting, but it doesn’t seem like any of the films will be getting English subtitles. Here’s more info from this week’s issue of METROPOLIS:

With the Tokyo International Film Festival beleaguered by falling budgets and the unwillingness of stars to cross the Pacific, Japan is seeing an explosion of regional and independent film festivals. One player is the Shinyuri Film Festival, based in the Warner Mycal cinema complex in Kawasaki, southwest of Tokyo. This year’s ninth festival brings together cinema classics like Brazil and Amadeus, with sections devoted to new Asian cinema and Australian films. Japanese cinema is represented by landmark works such as Kinji Fukasaku’s 1982 comedy Kamata Koshinkyoku, while there will also be screenings of new Japanese feature films and documentaries like Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Akarui Mirai, as well as a student section featuring “young talent from Shinyuri” and “young talent from Australia.”

Warner Mycal, October 3-5 and 10-13. Ticket PIA: 0570-02-9999.

Taking Notes

When I go to Junkudo (the big bookstore near my apartment) to check out magazines, I always bring along my notebook/agenda in order to take notes on things that I want to further explore. I just came back from one of those “research sessions,” and I thought I’d share my notes with you. The comments in italics were added for this post.

up-house.com
konyk.net
Prefabricated housing, and the company that designed this particular model.

The Metropolitan Hotel, Bangkok
Looks like a nice boutique hotel that I wouldn’t mind staying in when I’m in Bangkok. Don’t know if I could afford it though.

JAPAN: PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICHAEL DANNER (Idea Books)
Looks like a nice book. Couldn’t find a link for it online, but there are two images of his here.

Fatherfucker – PEACHES
I need to listen to this.

Earthstation 5 P2P programs
es5.com
An organization based in Beirut (or something like that), where American copyright laws can’t touch them.

War-chalking
warchalking.org
Need to find out if I can find some good free nodes in Tokyo.

Design Goods:
O-parts Shop Aoyama
5-6-6-102 Minami-Aoyama
aoyama-online.com

Delfonics Shibuya
Parco Part 1 B1
15-1 Utagawa
There’s a Delfonics shop in Ikebukuro’s Parco that I visit often. The notebook/agenda I use is from there.

Terminal
Sumitomo Fudousan Bldg. 1F
11-1 Daikanyama
I’ve been to this shop before, but wanted a reminder to go again. Lots of beautiful objects.

Whitehouse & Co.
5-2-15 2F Jingumae
Never heard of this one, but it looked quite nice from the picture in the magazine.

Cibone Aoyama
Aoyama Bell Commons B1
2-14-6 Kita-Aoyama
This is a real nice design and furniture shop I’ve visited before. Again, it’s a reminder to go again.

The latest issue of CASA BRUTUS was particularly interesting, and I think I might end up buying it. It featured a report on design oriented sights, shops and restaurants in Osaka, and since I’m heading there next month I figure it would make a good guide of places to check out while I’m there.

Tokyo Film Festivals

Film festival time is coming up in Tokyo, and I still can’t understand why they put all the big film festivals in the same month (November) every year, which means that I can’t really afford to go to all of them. First up is the Tokyo International Film Festival (November 1-9), which is the one I care the least for as the movies shown are usually not that interesting (a lot of American films that were released earlier in the year in North America but haven’t come out in Japan yet). Thursday’s DAILY YOMIURI had an article on some of this year’s selections (I would like to see the festival opener, Yoshimitsu Morita’s LIKE ASURA). The TIFF does have some interesting special programs (like cult films and such), but unfortunately they never show these with English subtitles. Then comes the much more interesting Tokyo FILMeX film festival (November 22-30), which concentrates on Asian films (something I have a great interest in, as you an tell from the posts on this site). And of note is the fact that every film is shown with English subtitles, something you don’t often get in Japan. Only problem is that this happens at the same time as the Resfest (November 21-24), which is especially hard on me considering my current financial situation (let’s just say it ain’t rosy, and it’s the reason you don’t see me writing a lot about interesting outings of late). I tend to favor the Resfest as there I’ll get to see things that I normally would have a hard time seeing anywhere else (short films don’t often get DVD releases). I’ll probably try to get a day-pass and see one day’s worth of programs. I hope the ones I want to see end up being shown on the same day, as last year wasn’t so good for that.

Since I’m on the subject of film festivals, I’ll also mention this interesting article from this week’s issue of TIME ASIA covering some Asian films of note shown at this year’s edition of the Toronto Film Festival (which is one of the better showcases of Asia films in North America). I’ve taken notes on a few films that I’ll need to keep my eye out for.

And lastly, the same issue also has a short piece (couldn’t find it online) on where Wong Kar-Wai is at with his long awaited (it was initially supposed to get released in 2000) film 2046. Basically, no one has any idea when the film will get done. Nicole Kidman has recently announced that she’s keeping 6 months open next year to work with Wong on his next film. Wong made the comment that 6 months might not be long enough…