Drive My Car – the movie

Drive My Car won the Cannes best screenplay.

3 hours movie with long Theater scenes, practicing “Uncle Vania” in the car, which only proves what a great movie it is.

It is definitely the great script, but also the acting and camera work.

Cannot say I understood everything as still my Japanese (no subtitles) is not perfect, but I do not think it is about language, but because some parts are kept vague on purpose. Especially the last scene which was obviously added due to Covid-19.

Read some English reviews before and after seeing the movie, but it feels strange. As if the reviewer (Guardian) did not watch the whole movie, or maybe even did not understand some parts.

“Yûsuke being confronted with proof that she had been having an affair with a handsome and disreputable young actor”

Yet, the fact is that he knew about her infidelities and was afraid to lose her.

“arts festival in Hiroshima, a city that is photographed with crisp unsentimentality. “

As if the reviewer expected to connect the movie to the history. In the only (?) occasion that they tour the city the driver takes him to the Garbage processing plant.

Does “Uncle Vania” connect with the story. I think it does, but I think I will stop here as I think I reveal too much of the story.

Or maybe one last thing:
I loved the way Kafuku san (main character) keeps distance with the driver (Watari Misaki) and it seems the need a mediator to help them talk.
Also when she expressed she would like to see the rehearsal and refuses to enter he brings the rehearsal to her and dismisses it as if it had nothing to do with her.

Great movie. Will definitely watch it again when (if) it reaches the streaming sites

Netflix Binge – Fast Forward or why do I even bother

Some films are good, some TV series are great.

But I find myself quite often fast forwarding through TV series and even movies. Is it the format, lack of interest or the ability to Fast Forward?

Was watching the “Money Heist”, which I feel is weaker than the first story. More explosions, shooting and trying to create more tensions, but overall it is less exciting and less “refreshing in format”.

Which meant “Fast Forward”. I do not need to watch a 5 minutes shooting scene. I don’t need to see all details as these do not really make sense anyway. Human drama is great, flashbacks are interesting.
So, do I miss something “Fast Forwarding” or do I get exactly what I need ?

Olympus Trip 35

Found an Olympus Trip 35 at home which belonged to my wife’s father.
Tried to figure out the manufacturing year based on information on the web and I believe it is 1980.

It was covered with dust, so was not sure how dirty is the lens, so decided to test it. Used a black & white film and took it out several times.

The results were actually better than expected:


M1 MacOS

Finally, all applications I use for work are working on M1.

Latest one is Google Drive, which took a while to get an update.

I can still see some application marked as “Intel” in the Activity Monitor, meaning they are running on emulation, but these are rather few and do not require high performance.
Most surprising is Evernote, which I expected to be more aggressive in their M1 support. But maybe also Evernote think that they prefer to deliver features rather than support the M1.

Not very surprising is the THR Remote, my Yamaha Amplifier remote application controller.

Sensitive questions

Highly recommend Freakonomics podcast on sensitive questions . As a podcast, it is not that great as it mostly repeats, explains (in a great way) a research done by one team and also available on HBR.

But I feel it is important because it tells us that:

  1. We overestimate the offence taken by the person asked
  2. Are missing out by not asking sensitive, extremely personal questions

One of the researchers, Einav Hart, is an Israeli, and when asked about the differences between the Israeli and American cultures, she could not point to significant differences.

My experience in Japan was definitely different, but I now have doubts about my takes and my behavior.

In Israel, i had many experiences in which a waitress at the Cafe started chatting with me, which usually resulted in personal questions. Where do you live, what do you do and sometimes more than that.

In my experiences in Japan, I was unsure what I can and cannot ask, i had cases I received frowned faces or questions being ignored when I asked questions which were “a bit” personal… so I stopped. Meeting and chatting with people I do not know has resulted in me waiting for them to take the lead. If they ask personal questions, I will respond and open up. And if not, nothing will happen.

Maybe it is a good way not to hurt, but it is definitely missing out on interactions and communications. How may friends or life lessons did I miss out because I did not ask more, interact more, engage more ?

I now just have to wait for Covid-19 to go away before testing it. Definitely now is not a good time to talk with strangers.

“The Culture map” and my experience

Finished reading “The Culture Map” by Erin Mayer.
I was familiar with some of the concepts and information in the book, but I felt it arranged it nicely and put it in perspective with good example.

As an Israeli living in Japan, you can guess how challenging and interesting it was to experience the cultural and communication differences. I managed to adjust and learn what is allowed, accepted by Japanese and how to “Read the Air”.

An excerpt that I deeply agreed with was about trying to adapt or rather adopt a behavior. When someone from a different culture is trying to imitate and blend in, which usually does not work.
For me, that was not an option. I realized very quickly that I cannot imitate the Japanese work behavior and communication. My culture was so different that any attempt to be Japanese will not pass. Cannot do it full heartedly and will always be perceived as strange.
I do speak softer, I do use say things like “it is difficult”, instead of saying “no way”.
Had a chance to ask colleagues and customers about my communication style, and most of the feedback I got was positive, that the customers appreciate the way I discuss and talk and do not expect me to be “Japanese” .

On the other hand, I have seen people trying to blend with Israelis, joke like Israelis, discuss like Israelis and in all cases, it felt strange. The Israeli group could not accept the foreigner as “one of the guys”.

After (almost) 12 years in Japan, I do not feel like I am doing an effort or adjusting. I have my original culture (which I sometimes struggle with), I have the Japanese culture and I usually fit in both

Samsung SSD T5 Here we go again

Just received my M1 Macbook Pro, and surprise surprise, the Samsung SSD T5 driver is not working.

I have to say that I am not that surprised, considering my past experience with Big Sur, but I am definitely disappointed.

Fortunately, I still have my old Macbook so I can access my files, but obviously another major issue and disappointment with Samsung software release

アマビエ (Ama-bi-e) Tote Bag Leather Craft

Replaced my Tote Bag design from Bauhaus to アマビエ。 Please check the wikipedia page for more information.

Main part was hand carved, while the rest was stamped.

Result, Sewed to the Tote Bag:

Started with a round piece of leather

Hand Carved the shape. Practiced a few times on paper, but decided not to transfer from a paper, but carve it as-is. Quite happy with the result.

And Stamped a pattern, which adds to the result.

Kyoto trip November 2020 , Covid-19

Or how does it feel to be (almost) the only foreigner in Kyoto.

Traveled to Kyoto last week without using the GoTo Campaign. Booked a cheap business hotel and Shinkansen and went by myself.

Although some areas in Kyoto had local tourists and school trips, some touristic spots were almost empty. I personally enjoyed it, but it demonstrated to me very clearly the financial pain that many restaurants, Hotels, Taxis and more are having these days.

But let’s describe it step by step … maybe too much information.

Shinkansen: The Shinkansen to Kyoto had more than 50% capacity on a weekday.
Kyoto Station: Was quite busy. Obviously less than last year, but more than I expected.
Lunch: Had lunch at Mimiu 美々卯 . Probably my 4th time there and it was packed and delicious as always. Most customers were older than me, which felt quite safe.

三十三間堂 (Sanjusangendo) and 清水寺 (KiyomizuDera) : Walked from Kyoto station. It is usually not a busy street, but felt less busy than usual, less taxis roaming around the streets. 三十三間堂 had some tourists, but definitely not busy. Had lots of time to spend in front of the statues and watch them carefully, maybe for the first time. 清水寺 had more tourists, but again it felt empty compared to previous years, with many shops empty and some even closed.

Kyoto 三十三間堂
Kyoto - 清水寺
Kyoto - 清水寺

Walked to 高台寺 (Koudaiji) and from there to Gion.

Kyoto 高台寺

On the second day, I decided to go to 金閣寺 (Kinkakuji). I usually try to avoid it, since I have been there several times, but wanted to use this occasion that it has few tourists to take photos. To my surprise it turned out that it is covered and cannot be photographed.

no 金閣寺

A walk to Ryoanji (龍安寺). While I was walking from the street to Ryoanji, I was very surprised to be the only person walking there. I asked the ticket counter if they are open as I do not see anyone. She told me it is a bit early and that there are a few people already inside. Spent there about 40 minutes, when I arrived there were about 5 people which increased to about 10, which allowed me time to relax, enjoy and take photos.



From there I walked to 妙心寺 (Myoshinji). I think it was my first time there, but did not spend a lot of time and went to 二条城 (niJouJou) . Again, quite empty with one school group that kept watching me as I was the only foreigner in sight. Could not find many restaurants around 二条城 so went to a Ramen shop which was rather empty.

京都 妙心寺 area
京都 妙心寺 area
二条城 garden

Obviously enjoyed my trip, enjoyed that fact that there were no foreign tourists, but I am certain that many companies, restaurants and services which grew significantly in the past few years are suffering a blow. Have to minimize their expenditures or even close. Certainly hope that Kyoto will return to be busy, but also hope I will be able to go and visit Kyoto without standing in line.

For more photos see my flickr account