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NYAFF 2010: Third week…

July 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Last week was the last week of 2010’s Japan Cuts… and I was able to catch two more movies.

Villons Wife

Plot -What is the purpose of a marriage? Is it to honor, love, and obey? What happens when there if there is adultery? What then is the worth of a partnership.

Impression -This was a period movie piece, so I was impressed with the acting from the actors in this cast. Granted this is my second opportunity I had to see this movie, I still believe that this is a pretty solid performance from Matsu Takako. She plays a patient, suffering mother/wife splendidly. At times, I thought of different times were, and how valid Takako’s argument was at the end to her husband. What is she to do when she sees her husband obviously cheat on her, and when she has a role to fulfill. I wonder then what would be the reality for this couple, if they were real, as they continue to survive past the movie.

About Her Brother

Plot -There’s always a black sheep in the family, but what happens if something happens, would you shun that black sheep or embrace them?

Impression –  Several surprises, I cried at this movie, and was sad to see it end. I was surprised that Nakai from SMAP had a cameo in this film. This was a slice of life portrayal of how the Japanese families can be quite similar to an American dysfunctional family. It also taps upon death/dying issues, and how a family does cope. It is also rare for me to see divorce mentioned in Japanese movies, so this is a gem of a movie to be enjoyed.

This year, I managed to up, my movie viewing for Japan Cuts, and it is hard to decide which is my top choice. If I had to choose though, it would be a tie between Confessions and King of Thorn. I fully enjoyed my experiences with watching Japanese movies, when normally the chance to see Japanese movies with English subtitles are pretty limited.

NYAFF 2010 – Second Week counting..

July 12, 2010 Leave a comment

This was my second weekend with Japan Cuts, and sad to say that Japan Cuts is about to end soon. Then I would have to wait another year for this to come about. I watched three more movies, this weekend.

Parade

Difference between these two trailers, one is the official trailer, and the other is another trailer with feedback from the five main actors with the director.

Plot: How well do people really know one another, even if they are living together in an apartment?

Impression: I saw this movie with special appearances by Isao Yukisada the director and Tatsuya Fujiwara of Death Note, and Battle Royale fame. The movie successfully portrayed the mundane existence of Tokyo youth, and also portrays a darker side to the roommates who live with one another. I wouldn’t mind reading the book that this movie was based from. I recognize a majority of the cast from television dramas, this movie changed my impressions I have made of two actors from their dramas. I was real surprised with who the criminal was in the end. Still I do appreciate some messages that were in this movie, that with emotional dependency, it can often become a monster for an individual. For a person to realize this emotional dependency weakness and mature from it, then that is what growing up should be like.

Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World

Plot: Young love, one lover dies – and years later the surviving lover remembers his deep love, but is coping and to move on to a new relationship.

Impression: I had though that I would cry, during this move, but somehow I couldn’t even shed a tear for this movie – Crying Out Love was a pretty youthful movie, also directed by Isao Yukisada. The director mentions that he feels nostalgic when he re-watches this movie. Similar to Parade, this movie was also talking about youth and was based on a book. There is a television drama of this movie. Shibasaki Kou’s character was made for the movie, but as an interesting tidbit, is that she also sang the theme song for the television series. It was interesting to see how a set was definitely recreated to show the time period of 1986. Then the stunning visual of Australia at the end was quite nice.

King of Thorn

The difference between these two trailers is, one has English and the other is an original Japanese trailer with a clip of the move’s theme song, which I really like.

Plot: Imagine a world when a disease appears and has 100% fatality. There has been a successful cryogenesis facility made, and a select amount of people is chosen to sleep and wait for a cures. Well then, what happens if this sleep is interrupted and monsters appear. Well then what is the solution then?

Impression: This is the only animated feature chosen for Japan Cuts, and it was a highlight of what I have seen this weekend. I am a bit afraid for these type of movies, so for the parts of blood and gore, such as when the people was eaten or killed, I closed my eyes. I am reading the graphic novel at this time, so I knew what I was getting into, but on the print page is different from the screen. What an interesting turnabout series of events though. The movie is quite different from the graphic novel. So definitely read the series for this movie, to get a more filling picture. The entire series in six volumes is available in English from Tokyopop.

NYAFF 2010- My snapshot of Japan Cuts for three movies so far.

July 3, 2010 Leave a comment

From last month to a portion of this month, New York Asian Film Festival 2010 is happening. From my perspective, it is going to be Japan Cuts, which is Japanese movie screenings at Japan Society. Japan Cuts began on July 1, 2010, so there has been non-stop movie viewings at Japan Society now, so far I have seen three movies, and have five more movies to go see. The price for these movies are reasonable, since I am a member, so ticket prices for me are $8 compared to the normal $12 for non-Japan society members.

So far I have seen:

Sawako Decides

Plot– This is a movie about a Japanese office lady who has been in Tokyo for five years, and went through five boyfriends. What happens if she has to go back to her hometown and help her dying father’s factory.

Impressions – I liked this movie, it was a thoughtful one that makes me think about the life of a Japanese woman, how stressed one can be, pessimistic, misunderstood, and beer loving one can also be. This was a underdog succeeding type movie. There were moments in this film that made people around me, laugh out loud… although throwing bones of family members should be a no no. I have seen Mitsushima Hikari last year in Love Exposure, so this movie is a complete different role for her. I also couldn’t recognize Kotaro Shiga, it was first wig seeing him without glasses and with a wig, that I am quite use to from the dramas I have seen of him.. so I did a mental double take.

Confessions

Plot -Based on a book, this is about a teacher who is also a mother, that talks to her middle school students, about the death and murder of her daughter Manami. That and she knows two students in her class was responsible

Impression – I am absolutely riveted by this film. This was a brilliant movie, that had me thinking wow. Bullying, mother complexes, musical, there are so many layers to this dark, and socially deviant movie. Just when you think there would be a cliche part, the movie twists and turns – making this a very enjoyable movie to watch. This is a complete opposite role for what I normally see Takako Matsu. She definitely plays a grieving, yet vengeful mother to the hilt. This movie definitely impacted my feelings for what a brilliant director Nakashima is. Music is also definitely a strong part of this movie, as was the cinematography was just stunning.

Dear Doctor

Plot -How much reliance should there be on a doctor? Then how about an entire village’s welfare? What happens if the doctor, who everyone in the village loves turns out to be a quack?  Then what?

Impressions – This was a pretty dry, yet mellow slice of life human interest movie, on the questions of doctor or patient privacy. I was watching this movie, and at times I felt the movie was a bit long, but it proves to be a good experience. The doctor who is played by Tsurube Shofukutei won an award for this role. There was the appearance of  many other actors/actresses that I have recognized. I recognized Eita, Sasano Takashi, Yachigusa Kaoru, Matsushige Yutaka, and Kagawa Teruyuki.
Hmm. I will be going to see more movies.. so I will be writing snapshot reviews for those as well.

Categories: Event, Movie Impressions Tags: , ,

X Japan appearing at Otakon 2010

June 17, 2010 2 comments

Just as the time comes for Otakon 2010, well just a few weeks before Anime Expo 2010, when this Japanese fan was all but wondering just wondering which Japanese guests are going to be Otakon this year. (drum rolls)

X Japan…. well X Japan Members Yoshiki & Sugizo are going to be appearing at Saturday’s Masquerade on July 31, 2010. I can only imagine what the lines and the news would be like for the X-Japan fans on the East coast that is. Till then, I am going to go and dig back on old cds for their music…..

Categories: Otakon Tags: ,

NYC’s Japan Society Cosplay 2.0

May 26, 2010 2 comments

Recently I went to the Japan Society’s Cosplay 2.0 event. There was a contest with gift certificates to Kinokuniya as prizes. Before the contest though, there was some time to talk pictures with various cosplayers though. These are some of my favorite shots from that day. For other shots that I took, they are uploaded on my Flickr.

This was a candid shot that I took, I really liked how Haruhi was sitting. Quite pretty and sexy right?

She is one of the members from Team USA, and at times, I like taking pictures from an angle, so this should be a nice pose.

A candid shot of Tomoko-hime.

Categories: Event Tags:

NYC’s Lower East Side Eroge Figures on Display

February 15, 2010 3 comments

Before I forget and the news grow old, I figure that I would need to blog about my experiences with what I first heard AnimeVice reporting about. Eroge figures on display. One of the lucky things about New York Cities, is the galleries that dot the city. Free admission to see displayed art. I have been going to galleries for a bit now, from, and this is definitely something that would make an adult figure fan collector say wow…anime figures going fine arts in America. So the gallery is Gallery Nine 5 near Spring Street.

I went on Friday, a couple of weeks before Utada concert, and I never got the chance to go back. The display didn’t take up the entire store, half of it – but with a timed interest. This display was up to February 12 and that’s it. I found figures I might have recognized, and some others are of a submissive/dominant variety which I find myself saying wow..

All the figures depict woman in states of undress or BDSM inspired, or sexual poses. Some figures are from Queen’s Blade, Bakuretsu Hunters, Ah My Goddess, Bible Black, Gundam Seed Destiny.. plenty of these figures were definitely taken in states of undress, with added adult themed contents props, like Playboy mini-books or bar ornaments.

Since it is more polite to ask if there was a photo shoot policy, the guy said only one picture, so of course I grabbed Kero’s and my camera and snapped two pictures of what I found were neat.


These were tweets I made on that day.

animemiz: Went to Gallery Nine 5, saw figures, was able to take two pics. I like my own figures more, but seeing 3xMizuho-sensei and 2xUrd was sweet.

animemiz: Also saw Queens Blade Figures, Bible Black, maybe Bakuretsu Hunter, and maybe Gundam Seed Destiny. Another trip or 2 there is a must!

Because of the fact that Sunday the 14th was the Lunar New Year, and Valentine Day, decided to postpone this until Monday to be uploaded. But yes, this was an experience.

Categories: Photography Tags: ,

The Utada ”In The Flesh” UK Experience!

February 12, 2010 12 comments

Guest written by Braz_Ed

Edits: Added some pictures, courtesy of Braz_Ed’s Twitpic page and from Utada’s Messages…

OMG my #Utada tickets arrived! Look they r so beautiful *_* #... on Twitpic

So I am still thinking about last night and what a show Utada gave! It was……AMAZING.

I came back home thinking I NEED to tell the world about this LoL. And since a lot of fans couldn’t make it to the London shows etc , I remembered I read a review made by @animemiz and since I don’t have a blog I asked her if I could write the review and and if she could post it to which she agreed ( Thank You) ^.^

So first things first, let get the bad things out of the way first okay because as I said I want everyone to remember the good stuff!

I heard some people were on line since 8AM and it was FREEZING on Thursday here in London. The night before, it was apparently -6 degrees Celsius so you can only imagine what it could feel like

As I was working and had permission to leave early. I got to the line around half past four. My brother was already there, there was still very few people maybe 20 people but then some people were cutting the line and wouldn’t even care! (Ugly face for you guys)

Oh BTW if you are going to a show with your girlfriend I understand you want to cuddle and stuff, but ALL THE TIME?? – there was a couple in front of me a short Chinese man and his girlfriend who was a bit taller than him, I think he had issues with other people because he was protecting his GF and like kept pushing me back and he was making sure his girlfriend had space to dance and do whatever, but after the first half of the show he kind of got tired (Thank God). This was an aspect that was VERY annoying, in other aspects things can be worse though =/

Oh the people from the Venue 02 Islington were really badly organised.

Last but definitly not least, DJ Marlene who was there to replace DJ Mike Rezzo was soo BAD! She came on stage, didn’t even say hello and didn’t introduce herself and she didnt work the crowed at all! She played two well known tune’s : one by the Japanese all girl band ”The 5.6.7.8’s ” and another song that plays in the movie ”Ocean’s 13” or 12 or whatever… And apparently SHE was a Man! :O

YAY NOW LETS TALK ABOUT THE GOOD STUFF!

After all the waiting in the cold,the awful sound of DJ Marlene and the guys arranging the instruments,

The stage for #Utada's show! #Ublog on Twitpic

The lights go Dim, the band is in place…suddenly we hear a familiar sound,starting really low and getting higher and higher…..

UTADA APPEARS!

She looks like a rock star and I got to say this, the clothes she picked for this show in my opinion, was THE BEST ONE SO FAR!

She wore like some crazy black and white pants, each colour on one side of her legs, black hills,a black dress (?) on top of her pants with some feathers and a white half of a shirt (?) , some black bracelets and a star ring!

She started singing On and On…the crowed went wild and we were sooo close! I couldn’t believe it! The stage was very small too….but that was a good thing because it made it all very intimate in a way. Here’s her set list and its not so different from animemiz’s NYC set list except I believe that she didn’t sing  Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence right after On and On but Poppin‘  then Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence‘ but i may be wrong because I dont remember it very well. (Sorry if I gave the wrong set list)

Opening (from Exodus)
On and On
Poppin’
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
This One (Crying like a Child)
Passion / Sanctuary
Sakura Drops
Stay Gold
Devil Inside
Kremlin Dusk
You Make Me Want to Be a Man
The Bitter End (Placebo cover)
Apple and Cinnamon
Come Back To Me
First Love
Can You Keep A Secret?
Automatic
Dirty Desire

Encore:
Simple and Clean
Me Muero

Okay, she also made as well lots of comments at this show, I am going to try to remember them just like animemiz did. LoL promise not to cut and paste:

– She greeted us and made some comments, mostly on the English accent that was very funny

-The crowed started shouting lots of ” Paris Loves You” ”Italy Loves You” and I shouted ”Brazil Loves you” to which she made a face like ”How random” LoL very funny. She only responded to a Paris I Love You by saying ” Je T’adore”

– She said as well that she was CONSIDERING moving to London for real! People went wild! And that she liked it very much and the only other place she could see herself living in is San Francisco but that she couldn’t actually live there

– There was a girl who kept shouting ”Marry me” she commented on that by saying : “There’s a small voice shouting and I think it is a girl saying ‘Marry me’ LOL well in some countrys” Everyone started laughing

– When she was going to play the piano one of the crew member almost hit the microphone on her mouth. she got scared at that point, remarking by wow that could have chipped my tooth

-Before singing Apple and Cinnamon she said London was very rainy, but she liked that because in Japan people value rain alot and she grew up somewhere like that as well and that some of her songs always have rain in it.

-When she was introducing the band she introduced the Brazilian guitar player and said this is Rafael Moreira and started laughing and said he is Brazilian as well and said look there a Brazilian guy out there as well ( I think people know me as the crazy Brazilian guy) and pointed at us and waved! AWESOME!

To wrap this up because I think i said too much,

It was an AMAZING show, and I feel so blessed that I was there at her first European concert and made history with her! I wanted her to notice as well, that she has brazilians fans, because she does. There are so many Brazilians that actually know her and like her, so I was happy to get noticed.

I got the guitar pick that Rafael threw! So happy! #utada #ublog on Twitpic

Oh and I got the guitar pick Rafael threw! LoL very happy!

Wanted the ball though =/

It doesn’t matter, because it was all worth it.. the cold, the bad dj,the waiting…

God Bless Utada !

P.S Some youtube videos of the UK show:

First Love

Automatic

Sakura Drops

Categories: Event Tags: ,

Utada Live in the Flesh 2010 NY Concert!!! My experience.

February 10, 2010 9 comments

Edited: To include link that inu-liger was great to provide – 2/14/20

Oh my god… I have to say this was an amazing experience. About ten times better than last year’s Sephora event, but oh my god!!!!! I am still getting quite emotional with the experience. That, yes if you ask me how I felt yesterday, I would have probably had a different reaction. Now with the time to sleep, and maybe rest my lost voice, I feel much better to write this con report up.

So this version of Hikki’s sold out concert took place at the Fillmore at Irving Plaza in NY, and this is nothing, but a nightclub spot with no seats, save for on the balcony area.  Very similar to Webster Hall, where I know people went to go see AKB 48 last year. Still Fillmore is also the venue where VAMPS and Dir En Grey played. So there must be a reason other than, that they can sold as much as they can, for the reason why it seems like Japanese singers would be playing here. Polysics would be having their concert here soon as well.

What was my journey like though? I was following concert coverage with @ublog, and on Sunday got these two tweets..

ublog: Some people are borderline crazy RT @autumnmycat: Wtf, people are already lined up for the New York #Utada concert. #ublog

ublog: Hmm false alarm? RT @artitj: I don’t see a line for Utada in NYC yet (10pm). http://yfrog.com/ausw5rj #utada #ublog

Based on last year’s experience, I was already planning to go and do a marathon wait at around 5-am-ish. So after a very sleepless night paired with moments of just grabbing my cat, and nodding off here and there. I left at around 4:30-ish am.. and of course mentally cursing out the MTA, I made it to the  Fillmore at around 5:30-am-ish and I was the 7th person on the line at that time. Heard that people were there from 2-am-ish onward. Even saw some acquaintances from Sephora that early there also.

Temperatures were freezing. It felt so much like my college town’s weather, that even with the layers I was packing, by the time it  was around 10-am-ish I broke down and got some heat pads from the nearby Walgreens. So not fun, that it was. For a large portion of the time I was on the line, I was pretty much just tweeting about the cold and the line..

animemiz: My god this is soooo cold… (toes and fingers growing numb)

ublog: @animemiz Keep warm! There’s still 10 hours to go! #ublog

Ten more hours, you can imagine my dismay, but thankfully the morning zoomed by fast, friends, and the line formed as the day went on. Then came the afternoon and time dragged. Literally dragged. Of course I was the first one there, @ericmchu and @1moy also came at a later/early-ish countdown time to Hikki, there was also the appearance of a lot of other friends, who were great to hang out with. I was also pretty grateful when my sister showed up, and I got an extra glove set from her. Between the shuttling back and forth to the Dunkin Doughnuts, lines or Starbucks, I was at points of losing feeling from my hands and feet. This is not pleasant, as I am thinking from what friends allude to this, as being hardcore and dedicated to the extremes. This is a test of endurance I tell you. Especially on a cold winter day, with the a blizzard coming in a couple of days. Will get frostbite in this type of weather.

So later toward the afternoon, around 4-pm-ish, Fillmore finally started to offer the line a bit of hot drinks. It was also around this time, they started to put up barricades.  Of course there were still about 3 more hours of waiting.. I think it was around this time, that two fans came up to me and were like, “We recognize you.. you were wearing that Blue Hoodie” [from Sephora event] “Singing your praises down the line” “knew that you would be at the front of the line..” I was pretty flattered.. so thanks.. ^_^

Also a few hours earlier, this guy came up and was trying to offer one of us, $20 for a chance to stand near us. That was pretty rude, and he gave pretty lame excuses, so if none of us knew him, then why give him a spot, he would have had to pay each and every one of us a portion. Then before that guy came along, a homeless guy was soliciting the line for quarters.

Finally it was around 7-pm-ish they let us go in, of course security pat people’s bags for no drinks.. and there was a mandatory bag check in, no camera or cell phones video camera recording were allowed. People still got photos or video taped parts of the concert though.

After a long time of waiting, the crowds were let in, and I quickly found my way to the front left. For one hour, DJ Mike Rizzo was playing and trying to work the crowd, but the crowd wasn’t as enthused, probably because of the wait, and or cold or the fact that it was Hikki that a lot of people waited to see. (That was my personal feeling though, because I was feeling very tired.) He did spin several songs I enjoyed Paparazzi, I Gotta Feeling, and for his last song, a remix of Dirty Desire. Then she came..

Hikki wore a black sequin shirt, with an animal print skirt, bracelets on her arm, a black star ring, star earrings, and black boots with silver chains. I was so excited to see her. Here is her set list for New York:

Opening (from Exodus)
On and On
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence – FYI
Poppin’
This One (Crying like a Child)
Passion / Sanctuary
Sakura Drops
Stay Gold
Devil Inside
Kremlin Dusk
You Make Me Want to Be a Man
The Bitter End (Placebo cover)
Apple and Cinnamon
Come Back To Me
First Love
Can You Keep A Secret?
Automatic
Dirty Desire

Encore:
Simple and Clean
Me Muero

During songs, she was making comments, and let’s see what I can remember. Here’s a youtube clip:

These comments are very out of order.

  • She mentioned how she liked to walk around different cities to get a perspective on what to say, that since this was NYC, a place she spent her childhood at, that she was happy to be here.
  • She mentioned how much diversity that there was, somewhere I heard “Love from Canada.” She also mentioned that the people who were waiting from 2am “Crazy” and the response was “It was for you!” “Love you Utada”
  • She said NYC beats out Las Vegas in terms of sound, that she should have probably brought a sound tester to see which audience was the loudest.
  • She also asked a fan to stop talking. Of which this was after he said, to the band “You’re amazing” “He’s amazing”
  • She mentioned that high school friends, and a cousin was in the audience.
  • She mentioned that if she forgot the lyrics, that she can look out in the crowd and see the crowd singing the lyrics for a majority of of the songs. I was one of them.. because it’s not like every day you can see one of your favorite singers, and to say that imitation is considered to be a high form of flattery, ahh my ears and voice were definitely feeling it.

At some points or probably from my position, the bass over rode her voice slightly, but I was still very happy. She sang mostly English songs, but I was very happy when she started to sing her Japanese songs, my high points were “Stay Gold,” and “First Love.” Then after her ‘last’ song “Dirty Desire,” the crowds had to work for an encore, with wild cheering, “Encore,” “One more song.” Then she came out and introduced her band, one of the keyboardist was a New Yorker, another keyboardist was from Connecticut. One of the guitarist was from Brazil. Then sang her encores, I was slighly dissappointed that she didn’t sing “Boku wa Kuma” but maybe after the Boston incident?

Afterward she threw out the NY foam baseballs ver. 1 and ver. 2, that I wrote a blog entry based on the Las Vegas set. Based on the number of baseballs, I believe she threw out about 24, so lucky for those who caught it. I believe Omo or Eric or Moy said this to me, that since I was up in the front, I had made a choice of not catching the ball. I do know that a friend of mine nearly caught the ball, but didn’t. Then I think @usagi_hoshino might have caught one. (I met her on the line, and she was behind me at the concert.)

Viewing from comments on the forum, and of course happy that a lot of people were having fun, and definitely enjoying the concert. Also there were video taping, so there is speculation that there might be a DVD that would be sold. I contemplate on it being available in Japanese Region 3, but of course I would purchase it.

I have broke over 1000 words for this report, and it was an actual press con report I would have probably set it into two parts, but since I am so wordy. I am going to leave with a few videos I found of some parts of the concert. What a fantastic experience… and I lost my voice.. still trying to recover it.

Sakura Drops

Can You Keep A Secret?

Automatic

Encore: Simple and Clean
Photobucket

Also… got notification of this link in the comments, so inu-liger was great to get an audio recording of the entire concert.

Categories: Event Tags:
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