偶然と想像 -Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

A new film by Ryusuke Hamaguchi who won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at the 71st Berlin International Film festival

Hamaguchi san is now receiving a lot of attention thanks to another movie, Drive my car, which I also loved very much.
There are some similarities between the movies, which rely a lot on script and the actors, but are obviously very different.

I saw the movie 偶然と想像 and was also lucky to attend the 舞台挨拶, Stage Greeting (?), of three of the actors while the director joined over the phone due to Covid-19 quarantine.

The Movie is composed of three stories, with different titles, but 偶然 and 想像 connects them . Enjoyed the movie very much, can’t say which one is better, but I connected better to the first and third.

I recommend the movie and would like to see it again, hopefully can see it soon in one of the streaming services.

A few things I wanted to share from my experience:

  1. Event cameramen and Video Camera complained a lot about the room being dark , which may also affected the media sharing photos and video from the event. You can also see Shadows on the faces of the actors
  2. 5-6 Cameramen, Video, MC, Audio, Stylists and more more worked on the event hoping for media and TV to pick it up… A lot of effort, which I guess in some cases does not get results . It took 3-4 days till search engines showed it in results.
  3. Furukawa kotone san continues to grow and get more presence in movies and not only commercials on TV .
    During the event she mentioned she would like to hear what people think about the movie and will check the Social networks, to which I wanted to tell her “Don’t” . Focus in what you are doing very well and continue to grow as an actress, listen to directors and colleagues and avoid the public opinion.

    It is her 4th(?) movie I see and I believe she can continue to grow; would like to see her in more diverse roles. Most of her roles are of a cute young woman, which she is, but looking forward to villain roles.

Netflix “we could not become adults”

Short summary: Highly recommended. Really enjoyed the story telling and the atmosphere of the movie.

Long version:

“We could not become adults” (Japanese: ボクたちはみんな大人になれなかった) is based on a series of stories/episodes published online and now available as a book.

I do not know Ozawa Kenji and many cultural references did not trigger nostalgic emotions, but the story telling, the atmosphere of Tokyo, locations and the Covid-19 days (or rather nights) are strong.

The writer in his late 40s, single, drinking a lot and keeps on saying he does not want to be “normal/regular” and as you can guess it takes a while for the story to peel off the layers and our understanding where it came from.

Story of a “big love” which followed by non committed encounters, almost getting married and avoiding it not to be “regular”.

Movie starts with two drunks talking in the empty streets of Shinjuku during the Covid days. It is not clear the relationship between the two, but what captured me is the location. In front of Segafredo, a place I used to visit often when my office was in Shinjuku and the contrast of the empty street to the busy streets I remembered.

Then we go back in time to different memories, women in his life, work and flashbacks to his real love, the girl he wanted to live with, who parted with him on January 1st 2000 saying “I will give you back the CD next time we meet” which never happened.

Great actors, great story telling and a wonderful movie.

Mobile Monthly plan Japan

Or how come I pay a full monthly plan for only one day(!)

I have recently changed from one of the major mobile network operators in Japan to a lower cost. Doing that will help me lower the monthly plan from around 9000 Yen to 3000 Yen.
As I selected a low cost provider which is associated with my previous one, the procedure was very simple and fast.

But, what I forgot to consider is the actual transfer date. Maybe I was being naive, maybe I thought that the date does not matter, but I changed providers on September 2nd.

Now, you would assume that I would have to pay for 1-2 days to my previous provider, but surprise surprise. I was charged for a full month! YES! 9000 Yen for 1 day service.

My kid told me :

Oh, it is well known. When you sign up, you pay for only the time you joined, but when you move out, you pay for the whole month

That means that for the month of September, I am paying a full month for my previous provider and almost a full month for my new one.

Isn’t this something that the Japanese government needs to regulate and control ?

I thought about complaining/calling, but if this is a common practice in the Japanese mobile market, maybe I should focus my efforts in discussing with consumer protection groups.

Will think some more about it.

Did not write the names of the providers as I guessed it does not really matter.

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:

Parco
Shibuya
Roppongi
Roppongi

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.