Wacky Japanese Hijinks

or how I stopped being afraid and learned to love Japan

A Pirate's Life For Me
Went to Pirates of the Carribean on Saturday in Shibuya where, after meeting at Hachiko as usual, we passed by two bums still passed out from the night before in the middle of one of the busiest plazas in Tokyo. Aww, look, it's the annoying, begging old-lady looking at them disdainfully. "Grr! I'm the only bum working THIS plaza beotches!" I liked them better. They were entirely overt about wanting money for booze.

Yeah, so, thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Was very impressed by not only Johnny Depp, but the screenwriting as well. It would have taken no effort on the writers' parts to just slap together a product-placement film based on the ride. That's what The Country Bears was and what The Haunted Mansion will inevitably be (though I think they could have done some great stuff with the Haunted Mansion; instead, it's a shitty Eddie Murphy comedy flick). But for some reason they added the curse angle, and that makes all the difference. Pirates don't NEED a curse to be evil. They can be evil arbitrarily. Pirates kidnap girl, boy saves girl, the end. But the screenwriters wanted a hook, and the curse is a damned good one. The apple is genius. Watch the movie, if you've not already, and you will understand. (On a related note, Granny Smith apples like those in the film are not to be had here for blood or money. I feel Captain Barbossa's pain.) On top of that, they made the individual pirates into real characters. That is exactly what I felt was missing from recent action films like Blade 2. So the vampires are evil; so what? So the good guys are badasses; who gives a shit? Blade 2 was nothing but gorgeous artistic masturbation. Each actor was given no more than a character design to work with. In Pirates, there are at least 6 evil pirates with solid personalities. Some of them only have one or two lines, but it's enough. It reminded me of Aliens in that respect. Only Johnny Depp seems to be getting kudos for bringing life and character to this film, but the screenwriters made sure that there was a shitload for him to work with right off the bat.

Anyhoo, during the trailers there was a minute-or-so long trailer for ROTK. It was just an ad for ticket preorders tho. When you preorder tix for big movies in Japan, they always give you neat junk. Matrix Reloaded came with a snazzy light-up cell-phone strap. ROTK tix apparently come with cell-phone straps too, with little triangular wedges that each show one of the ROTK calendar pics on one side and fit together to make a pic of the one ring on the back. Cell phone straps are big here. Everyone has a snazzy cell-phone that's always being used for games or email or something, so you need cool junk to personalize it with.

If you wanna see the stuff, go to the official Japanese LOTR movies site. The moving Flash button on the bottom, furthest to your right is what you want. You can tell cuz it's got one of the wedge-thingies on it.

Below that, check out the pretty box for the DVD "2 Towers Collector's Edition Premium Set," which comes with a special American teaser-poster ROTK ticket. The box, you may notice is BLUE, just as you reported ROTK merchandise would be. It says the promotion is going on thru the 31st. You can find more info about the actual DVD release here, though the DVD is no different from what the US getting this month. It's just that the extended edition DVDs won't be out here before ROTK, as far as I know. So the ticket promotion has to go into the theatrical edition release.

But I'll be in the US this December. I don't have to wait for the Japanese release. I know ENGLISH. Haha. /LaughatJapanesefans

Deep Thoughts

Been having fun playing with Japanese ingredients. Anyone who has ever gone food shopping with me knows I have one rule -- I have to try one new thing every shopping trip. Japan has been great for this. I've been staying away from the fish mostly, because I just don't like most cooked fish unless it's deep fried or something. But fried fish is fried fish, y'know? Not much difference when it's drowned in batter. I've tried a whole buttload of different meats, grains, shellfish, and veggies though. This week I tried garlic sprouts and myoga (ginger buds). Tomorrow, damned if I know.

Rainy season is winding down. GIANT YELLOW-SPOTTED BEETLE season seems to be in full force, however.


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