Revisits to familiar tourists’ spots like the Meiji Jingu and Shibuya’s 109 junction as I accompanied my 2 friends Gabriel and Waimeng from Singapore had me tuning my accustomed eyes to little hidden nooks and corners, delightful sights I never knew existed; indeed, god is in the details.

Mar 26th 2006
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I would like to take some comfort in believing that the jetlag suffered from the flight back to Tokyo after my annual Singapore holiday is the genuine cause of my recent bumming and inactivity in all matters big and small ( school doesn’t start till the 2nd week of April. I think. ), but a full week would be pushing it. even for someone particularly susceptible to disruptions in their circadian rhythm. Its astonishing how a mere 3 weeks of indulgence in convenient Singlish ( there’s virtually zero chance of communicating in english here in Tokyo, much less singlish for that matter ) and the all too familiar, snug comfort zone can do to one’s hitherto half-f**ked Japanese; it was as if my inner brain functions have been all this while waiting for the opportune moment to steal back, realign their native, singlish languaged neurons from the spots where the Japanese *once* occupied.

I was a tourist by the time I touched down in Narita; already I could foresee nightmarish days when school starts, awkward lost in translation moments, but we’ll deal with that as it comes along. Before crunch time sets in I think I’ll just catch up on a few more dvds, yes please.

Mar 20th 2006
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Watching Reality Bites (1994) for the first time in its entirety brings back very fond memories of my early secondary days where the nostalgic soundtrack featuring Lisa Loeb’s “Stay” was one of the first CD’s I ever owned, and this was still way back in the early 1990’s where the now mesozoic cassette tapes were been slowly but surely supplanted by CDs, a fate they themselves seemed doomed to reiterate in the wake of digital music.

That aside, Reality Bites is an extremely important film in recent cinematic history not only because its serves as an irreplacable memory bookmark in an early chapter of my life ( the transition from bespectacled, nerdy primary school kid to bespectacled, nerdy secondary school kid ), but more importantly because its the emblematic teen-angsty, quasi-intelligent, 90s era defining film, just as what the Matrix Trilogy had done for the new millenium years. This once again demonstrates the power of the cinema and its ability to change worlds and shape lives, deliberate or not. Now the debate of whether Bites was a good or bad film requires another article altogether, but undisputedly, it had one heck of a bloody good soundtrack, bar Sharona or none.

Feb 8th 2006

The gods must be lazy this year as they clumped Tokyo’s annual worth of snowfall into one single serving, those huge flakes of white crystals transforming a once familiar landscape into an almost unrecognizable winter wonderland; I woke up finding snowflake shadows cascading past my frosted glass windows; 10 minutes later I was out of the house, stepping into fresh snow, my d70 clasped readily in my hands.

Jan 21st 2006
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On location in Minami-Sunamachi. Principle photography has wrapped and editing is in the works for a short film about 2 ladies who start a cat fight over a cheesecake. As the cameraman for the shoot I also got a humble cameo ( actually almost everyone else in the team did a cameo )as an english teacher ( in a TV advertisement within the film )who tries unsuccesfully to instruct proper pronounciation for the word Cheesecake ( read as chee-su-ke-ki in Japanese ). Now that was great fun.

Jan 19th 2006
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Ok, the person in the bottom photo’s not me, but its going to be one day, I promise you that. (You just wait Jason. Ha. *green with envy*) Still not getting the picture ? Watch Iwai Shunji’s Love Letter.

Jan 10th 2006
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I wonder if the collective filmmakers ( I would like to think at least half of them had to be sane when the film was shot ) who took part in Chen Kaige’s latest film The Promise knew how *beep* ridiculous the notion of a man capable of running faster than the speed of light is. ( trivia; not even our fastest, most advanced fighter plane today can reach even a mere 1% of light speed, which if possible, would already be at an astonishing 30000km/sec. Yes, that’s just 1 measly percent. )Sure, you say, its a movie, but this is way more than pushing the audience’s ability to suspend their disbelief; its downright insulting. Contestant No.1 for this year’s worst film watched. AVOID AVOID AVOID.

Jan 8th 2006
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So beautiful and realistic is Weta’s rendition of King Kong ( with the chompy chirpy Rexes coming in a close 2nd, though I still feel the Rexes from Jurassic Park are the most realistic ever ) that barely five minutes past his first appearance in the film I have lost the ability to visualize him as a CG character generated from mere pixels and texture maps but instead saw him more as a real performer with an emormous, overwhelming presence. King Kong is an oversized silverback with a soft spot for beautiful blondes such as Naomi Watts, and I wonder how Jane Goodall and Diane Fossey would feel if they ever sat through this film, admiration or distaste. There can be no ambivalence however, that King Kong is going to be one of the best effects films released this year.

Jan 5th 2006
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Films Retrospect 2005

Total tally for films watched in 2005 stands at 28 in theatres and 150 on dvds, making that 178 in all ( Click here to see the entire list ), averaging out to about 1 film every 2 days for the entire year. Here are my top 10 favourite films viewed in 2005, in no particular merit.

1)The Machinist (Brad Anderson)
2)Not One Less (Zhang Yimou)
3)Tony Takitani (Ichikawa Jun)
4)Batman Begins (Christopher Nolan)
5)Cha No Aji (Ishii Katsuhito)
6)Bourne Supremacy (Paul Greengrass)
7)Million Dollar Baby (Clint Eastwood)
8)Life Of Mammals (Documentary, David Attenborough)
9)Paris, Texas (Wim Wenders)
X)Majo No Takkyubin (Miyazaki Hayao)

Certainly it was tough trying to sift just 10 films out of 178, there were many other entertaining capers like Constantine and Starwars EP3, as well as films that had very outstanding visuals ie Lemony Snicket’s, also others worth mentioning like Hotel Rwanda and Daremoshiranai. Due to the exorbitant price of tickets here in Tokyo, exacerbated by its cretaceous release dates the abililty to view the latest films plunged dramatically, but the silver lining was that rental stores here stock many old titles that I was able to catch up on.

With that, here’s to another bountiful year ahead for movie viewing ! :]

Jan 3rd 2006
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Having tried out the great Meiji Jingu Jam ( Check out this entry; )in Harajuku during last year’s New Year’s Eve I figured I’ll go see something else this year; the great Ameyoko Jam, a very popular shopping street in Ueno, think a Japanese version of Chinatown on Lunar New Year’s Eve. Mingling into the crowd I was literally carried around involuntarily by the human traffic and I soon decided to just go with the flow, snapping whatever interesting that came into view. After that it was a laidback, quiet New Year’s dinner with some friends ( most others had gone back to their hometowns to celebrate New Year ); and yes, still secretly yearning for that intoxicated, sloshed out PVD party.

Jan 1st 2006
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Today, the 29th of December, 2005 will go down in my personal history as the day where I, an infinitesimal and paltry existence on this planet, meets Miyazaki Hayao, world renowned animator and master of the Ghibli Universe. No, I didn’t see him at a premiere for a new animation film; nor was it at a press conference or anything of this loud, official nature; I met him while he was on his way to work ( at Ghibli Studios in Musashi Koganei, not far from where I live ), driving pass my bicycle as I stopped at a junction, with one hand on the steering wheel and the other holding a cigarette, the smoke trailing from his vintage car as he drove away. I stood flabbergasted for a long time, anticipating Totoros to trod along too, but they did, in a way I guess, in the spirit of their brilliant creator.

Dec 29th 2005

Tokyo’s metropolitan landscape stretches as far as the eye can see from Ebisu’s Garden Place, as breathtaking as it is dizzying. Taking the elevator up to the top viewing levels I almost felt like a character playing in Otomo Katsuhiro’s Akira as I gazed upon this colossal, hulking entity, the hectic home to 12 million denizens.

Dec 25th 2005
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