A flower shop in Daikayama, close to Shibuya about 10 minutes cycle from home. Fans of Luc Besson’s Leon have got to be smitten with this shop, watashi hajimete mita toki mo bikkuri. :]

Jan 7th 2005
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It will no doubt take several more repeat viewings to even barely grasp and appreciate the full masterly range of Krzysztof Kieslowski trilogy Trois Couleurs ( Three Colours : Blue, White and Red ), but Rouge ( Red ) immediately springs up as my favourite of the three. Maybe because it was the easiest to comprehend and relate to, but simply put Red is so richly imbued in a mix of fantastic visual and narrative symbolism, utilizing austere but stunning photography to enhance the intensity of every scene the experience of viewing leaves one breathless; I can only imagine the impact it would have had viewed in a theatre. Sadly the depth and meaning of the trilogy is way beyond what my inept writing can express, but you’ve been so informed.

( Note however, this trilogy’s narrative treatment is everything an archetypal Hollywood outing is not, so some may find it completely senseless and boring. )

Jan 5th 2005
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Although I would had very much preferred a sloshed out, frenetic PVD treatment to celebrate the new year things turned out fairly different as we ended up in Meiji Jingu ( a famous Shrine in Harajuku where the Emperor chills out ) for a more traditional proceeding. Packed to the brim on New Year’s Eve every year everyone thronged to toss coins before the altar wishing for happiness and long life.

Jan 3rd 2005

SNOW@DOMIRU-MEGURO.

Dec 29th 2004
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Having hogged my brother’s Notionwerks website for years now I’ve finally gotten my bones together to set up my own domain. After much deliberation I’ve finally settled on www.playwithlight.com. ( tying into the cinematography, chiaroscuro thing ) One has to realize that with the word “light” within the name its only too easy to end up sacrosant sounding ie “stepintolight.com”, nor did I wanted something too corporate, not running a business here. Right now its all but an empty shell, but go to www.playwithlight.com for a peek.

Dec 28th 2004
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Isao Yukisada’s tearjerker Sekai no Chushin de, Ai wo Sakebu ( Crying out love at the centre of the world ), though employing an egregiously cliched, age old melodramatic narrative that is sure to have teenage girls swooning for the lead actor’s undying love in the film, is redeemably executed with accomplished skill and beauty ( no small part due to Shinoda’s photography ). As unabashedly sentimental as the film is, the superbly timed use of Ken Hirai’s moving ballad can really get one reaching for their hankies.

Regrettably, this marked the final film shot by DP Noboru Shinoda, a long time collaborator with Iwai Shunji, whose cinematography work included Love Letter, Swallowtail Butterfly and April Story.

Dec 24th 2004

Tokyo Tower, in all its night glory. Merry Christmas folks. :]

Dec 23rd 2004

To celebrate Takeshi’s last day of work ( Takeshi+Kojima are bound for Montreal come late January. *sniff* ) and my film school admission, we had a nice dinner at a restaurant in Nakameguro, where as we were making our way there I was told a scene in Lost In Translation was shot just a street away, outside a Pachinko Parlour. Hmm. Back home we were then treated to Kojima’s exquisite Mandarin cheesecake, honto ni umagatta. With some free time on my hands finally, a few events are in order, not least some decent photo trips, Takeshi dittos that.

Dec 15th 2004
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Perhaps the Japanese were once again exercising their usual diffidence and propriety but me and my friends just could not for cat’s sake control our uproarious laughter yesterday while watching Pixar’s latest outing The Incredibles. Coupled with Pixar’s now reliably excellent plot and visual delivery is Brad Bird’s unique direction, a style ringing close to the underrated Iron Giant. There’s a hint of mischievious nature seemingly missing from Pixar’s past works that is beautifully integrated here, the Warner Bro’s animation touch if you will.

Highlight today however must go to the receipt of Toho Gakuen’s letter of acceptance, my film school starting next April. Kojima-chan was noticably more estatic than me when told the news, chotto bikkurishita. *laughs*

Dec 14th 2004

If, Miyazaki Hayao fan or no, after a viewing of his latest animation film Howl’s Moving Castle one detects a perceptible difference from his previous works, not so much with the style and visual treatment, but storyline, that’s because it is – the script is an adaptation of a children’s book by British author Diana Wynne Jones. Though this detail does little to hinder the film’s overall greatness, I cannot but feel a sense of detachment, as if the distinctive, Hallmark Miyazaki visuals are just one soul removed from the story. It is not typical of Miyazaki to center his theme and message on the romantic relationship of the protaganists, themselves usually contributing only a certain fraction to a bigger, broader subject that is the more important message he wishes to convey.

Of course, this simply isn’t a Miyazaki story to begin with. Certainly my deplorable level of japanese is also hindering my ability to understand the story fully. ( no, no subtitles for a Japanese film in Japan, it makes sense. ) Let’s hope I get to see the dvd soon with subtitles and personally no, nothing comes too close to Mononoke Hime , period.

Nov 22nd 2004
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It was only yesterday did I discover that the National Museum of Western Art in Ueno Park houses a most impressive collection of paintings running the gamut from movements like Romanticism, Post-Impressionism, Dada to Pointilism. ( Being able to recall these semantics, admittedly, credit must go to my Victoria School AEP teacher, who tormented us with lengthy essay assignments on art movements. ) Some noteworthy names included Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Tiepolo, Pollock, Rosetti, heck, they even had an El Greco. But certainly the highlight had to be the Delacroix ( housed in a quaint, original Delacroic frame ) even though the painting on display was a lesser known work I couldn’t remember, but standing in its presence where the master had worked his magic some 200 years ago still gives one considerable kick. Now all that’s left to do is to see Liberty Leading The People in Louvre.

Nov 6th 2004

As visual echoes of the lusciously photographed 2046 continue to course unbridled through my brain, threatening to inundate and flood out lesser, perceived inferior imagery, one lucid observation comes quickly to mind – Doyle and WKW have once again topped their personal standards of the brillant marriage of visuals and content. Pausing momentarily to evaluate recent chinese film history, with the exception of perhaps John Woo, ( with his gun totting, slow mo antics ) no director and DP have created film images so strong and intense in personal style that they are almost instantly recognizable as such. As Tony Leung converses with a character we could never see, often hidden behind a door or out of frame, we are at once cut off and unable to assert our presence, lessening the experience more akin to that of a voyeur. This motif continues from In The Mood and becomes ever more pervasive here, alienating our role as an unobtrusive, obscured viewer.

Watching 2046 gives the attuned moviegoer a collective chance of appreciating the best work of 3 masterful auteurs – Doyle, WKW and Tony Leung, all in excellent form, with the sum of their respective creative inputs culminating into a portmanteau work that is nothing short of a masterpiece.

Nov 1st 2004
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