Sunday, March 29, 2009

Overload of Jap Movies

The last month (and apparently the coming months as well) appear to be good months for Japanese movies.  I've caught K-20 and Suspect X and both were pretty good.  I've been trying to watch Departures for the last few weeks but every weekend, the cinemas showing the movie were always almost full.  Today, I finally caught Departures and to make it a full day of Japanese movie immersion, I also managed to catch Detroit Metal City.  The two movies are totally different but are really good in their own way.

First one I caught was Detroit Metal City (DMC).  The big surprise here is that the main star, Kenichi Matsuyama, is the same guy who acted as L in the DeathNote movies!  The two roles are so different.  L is this cool and quiet character while Negishi in DMC is a kooky nerdy goody two shoes cum heavy metal star.  I really had a hard time trying to imagine that this is the same guy who acted as L.  DMC is quite interesting and hilarious at times.  But ultimately, it's Kenichi who steals the show.  The sad thing is this movie was rated as NC16 simply coz there's plenty mention of the word F$%k.  One of the songs has a chorus which basically repeats the F-word ad-infinitum.  Other than that, it's a really likeable movie. 

Departures is a really beautiful movie.  I really like how the movie allowed us to see a glimpse of how the departed are treated with such dignity in the Japanese culture.  Although the Japanese are often seen as a ritualistic society, these are some of the most beautiful rituals which I wish that we had in Singapore.  I was also quite impressed that the director refrained himself from being overly melodramatic when it comes to depicting the death of loved ones.  Instead, each funeral scene is done with much control and depth which makes this movie so believable.  The star, Kazuko Yoshiyoko, is excellent as the guy trying to come to terms with his job.  But I thought the actress playing his wife was also very good.  Ryoko Hirosue had only a few lines but her presence in every scene she was in was magic.  From being a supportive wife, to rejecting her husband becoz of his job, to her acceptance/understanding of his desire to stay in the job, Ryoko really played the part well.

Both movies are really very good.  I heartily recommend them both.  

I'm looking forward to two more which are coming in early April - The Handsome Suit and Gu Gu the Cat.  Let the Japanese magic continue! 

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Big changes

The last month has been quite exciting but it's a little tough to blog about.  Basically, I left my previous company and have joined another company to continue organizing school tours.  Really can't say much, especially since nowadays, whatever you say on blogs can come back to bite you in the behind.  I just read about how a woman overseas (in UK I think) was sacked from her job because she expressed that the was bored at her job in her blog/facebook.  

Anyway, I think the main thing which has impacted me is again how the business world can be pretty brutal.  That's why in terms of real-life experiences, I think all teachers should have the opportunity to experience life in the private sector at some point in their life.  This really helps us to share such experiences with our students, the majority of which will probably enter the private sector instead of the public.  Regardless of how you think people behave and what you believe they are, things can dramatically change in the face of business decisions.  This is something I have yet to come to grasp with.  I guess in many ways, I still hold on to the idealism which I had when I was a teacher.  I know the world is not all black and white and there are many shades of grey.  But there are still things that are quite black and white to me.  Sorry for sounding so cryptic but even as I am trying to put my thoughts into this post, I am carefully watching my words to avoid getting anybody into trouble.  Perhaps it might be better to leave my thoughts within my mind with regards to this matter.

Anyway, I am temporarily with this new company as I evaluate what I will be doing in the near future.  It's been 2.5years since I left the education service and I must say that there is a little itch to return to it in some manner.  However, at the same time, there are some exciting opportunities open to me in the travel business.  So I guess it's a question of things being in the right time and right place.

OK, let's switch frequencies.  

Another reason why I've not been blogging here is... I've kinda been blogging somewhere else. Lolz.  I'm not ready to share the other blog yet.. maybe in the near future.  


I've still been catching my regular staple of movies.  The best movie so far this year has to go to ROLE MODELS.  It's hilarious.  With all the heavy academy awards nominated movies being screened in the last 2 months, RM was a breath of much needed fresh air.  Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott were really good in this movie.  They were much more controlled and turned in more palatable performances as comepared to their other over-the-top characters in other movies.   Two big highlights for me. (1) The world of LAIR.  Being a WOW player, this real-life version of an MMORPG was hilarious and made me feel almost embarassed for playing wow.  Almost makes me want to start my own loser-world here in Singapore. (2) Jane Lynch.  She is sooooooooo caustically funny in this movie.  She's the woman-boss in the movie 'The 40-yr old Virgin'.  Here, she plays the director of a teen-mentor organization.  For me, she stole the show.  Thanks to her, I may never eat another sausage bun again.  If you are really curious, check out these two Youtubelinks (1), (2).  Be warned... mildy M18....  If you are old enough (the movie's rated NC16) and need a good laugh, give Role Models a try.