Japanese thoughts, Movies and Dramas

A super fun way to learn Japanese

…is watching cooking programs in Japanese. It helps beginners-intermediate level students to check if they can follow simple instructions, pick up vocab and grammar points too. If the program is hosted by someone like Rola, the learning experience becomes all the more fun:-)


Japanese thoughts, Movies and Dramas

Blue light Yokohama

….or should I say “bru raito yokohama”:-). Caught bits of this delightful song in the trailer of the movie “Aruite mo Aruite mo”. The movie’s title has been borrowed from this song.

“Aruite mo aruite mo, kofune no youni,

watashi wa yurete yurete,

anata no ude no naka”

The lines roughly mean, “As I keep walking, I sway like a boat, in your arms”.

This song  released in the year 1968, captures the romantic spirit of Yokohama. Strangely even after all these years, Yokohama still retains it’s charm as a romantic hangout making this song an evergreen tribute to the city.

Love this song for it’s simple lyrics.

Movies and Dramas

Toire No Kamisama – review

“There is a pretty Goddess residing in every toilet. If you scrub your toilet clean, the Goddess will make you grow into a pretty woman and will help you realize all your dreams” – or so little Kana is told by her grandmother. Countless movies have been made about mom-daughter, dad-daughter relationships but not too many on the special bond that a girl shares with her grandparents. “Toire no Kamisama” (God of toilet) is about a little girl, who lives with her single mom and three older siblings. She feels a little neglected as no one seems to have any time for her. She hops next door to her grandparent’s house each time she is upset about something. She eventually moves in with her grandmother after her grandfather’s death. The film  is filled with many beautiful moments as Kana grows and learns the ways of the world – her grandma a solid presence in her life.

The dialogues are all spoken in “Kansai-ben” or “Kansai dialect”. The movie itself is based on singer Kana Uemura’s real life story. She has sung a song in Kansai dialect about her grand mom which is used in the movie.


Movies and Dramas

Kanojo to no tadashii asobikata – Review

This is the title of a short film – 彼女との正しい遊び方. Translated the title means “The correct way to play with her”. The title can also be interpreted to mean “the correct way to date my girlfriend” but I prefer the former translation. The movie is as interesting as the title itself. Two elementary school kids meet at a park. The girl suggests they play a game where she would pretend to be a princess and the boy would pretend to be her slave – they would play this “pretend” game each time they are by themselves and would continue playing forever – the game would end only when someone finds out about this arrangement between them. And so they play and play as they meet after school even after they’ve become high school students. When and how their game ends forms the rest of the film.

Why would the girl make such a preposterous suggestion and why would the boy agree to play along ? The answer probably lies in the way their characters are developed.  The boy is shown to be dull and nondescript whereas the girl is smart and popular in school. The girl has a “perfect” image at school which she finds tiresome to maintain. She is able to be her true self… mean and selfish and rude from time to time only when she is with the boy.

Both the lead actors have handled their parts well. Though the girl’s character is designed to be annoying, your heart goes out to her during the scene she breaks down in class – not caring that she was breaking her “perfect” facade in front of her classmates. Though the girl’s character arc seems neat and complete, I personally thought the boy’s character was a little under developed.This is my only complaint in an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable movie.

Here’s the trailer..

Movies and Dramas

Rashomon – who killed the samurai?

Akira Kuraosawa – the man who directed “Rashomon” is credited with popularizing Japanese films in the west. Film lovers all over the world are familiar with the “Rashomon” effect – different characters give different versions of the same event. In this movie a Samurai is dead and we have four characters giving mutually contradictory versions of what transpired. The audience are never told how the Samurai really dies. That is for the audience to interpret. The movie is less than 2 hours long and makes for compelling watching. Love how the movie begins with a woodcutter saying “wakaranai, sappari wakaranai”(I don’t get it, I don’t get it at all) – that is what I found myself saying too at the end of the movie – don’t think the audience are supposed to get how the samurai died. The movie works more like an observation of human nature.