15 Mar 2011

Japan Tsunami appeal & a Japanese Cinema Blogathon

Through the red cross site you can give money as well find other ways to donate to the Japan Tsunami appeal. I urge everyone just to look and see what they can offer,  even taking old clothes etc to a red cross charity shop can help.

If like me you're the poorest of poor students, you can simply write, share a memory or celebrate the beauty that is Japanese cinema, In the hope the appeal will reach other people.

Japan Cinema and Cinema Fanatic are hosting a great blogathon this week to raise money for the relief effort in Japan.

 Although my favourite world cinema films are mostly Korean and French (Oldboy, I'm a cyborg, Amelie) there is no denying Japanese cinema has brought us many a great film with outstanding cinematography and original writing.

I first got into Japanese films the easy way - through a friend and 'Battle Royale'. The genius of the film and the mix of beauty and gore made it an instant favourite of mine. Films like Ichi the Killer, audition & Versus soon followed and I loved loved loved them.

Around the same time a group of pub friends turned me onto the magical world of Studio Ghibli, that should be watched by everyone, young and old. Spirited away was undoubtedly the most popular at the time and in a way still is but it was Howl's moving castle that really strung a note with me. The film is truly beautiful, to me unlike anything I had seen that kept the attention and imagination of both my adult self and inner child.

It became more apparent, as I made my way through the studio Ghibli collection, that these films and their genius weren't new but oh so unique. My favourite of all 'Grave of the fireflies' was made in 1988, when I was 3. The film which is an adaptation of a semi-autobiography by Akiyuki Nosaka is an incredibly profound, anti-war animation, Its completely heart-warming and heart breaking all at the same time. There really is no other film like this one.

I'm ever so grateful to have these films in my life, whether in Japanese with subs or dubbed in English.They hold some of the best writing and animation I've ever seen.

The purpose of the blogathon is a great one and I believe it to be a chance to represent that one film that represents your love for Japanese Cinema. So I'm going to represent the underdog in a way. Japan aren't really known for their comedy (as much as anime or horror) but this film really made me smile and came into my life when I really needed it.

'Turtles are surprisingly fast swimmers'

Made in 2005 by Miki Satoshi ('Adrift in Tokyo'), 'Turtles are surprisingly fast swimmers' didn't screen in the UK until 2008. I found it incredibly funny with great energy and the right amount of wit. Its strange and quirky and features the most boring spies in cinema.

The film follows suzume Katagura, a bored housewife who finds a teeny tiny sticker - "Spies wanted". intrigued she phones and later meets the advertisers/fellow spies. Juro Ueno plays the role really well and she is what makes the more effective scenes so enjoyable. I like this type of comedy, its not out to get lots n' lots of laughs, its not crude nor in your face. Its just wonderful and inspiring.

I'm not one really for reviews so I wont spoil the movie nor do it injustice for anyone who hasn't seen it. So here is the trailer:

Lastly I'd like to give a shout out to 'Candy Candy'. It was the animation of my childhood. Although Candy was an orphan she was my hero. I still have my original VHS tape, and treasure it dearly.

Please use the links above to support where and when you can or at the very least encourage others and take part in the blogathon.


  1. Great shout out for Turtles Swim Faster than Expected, it even gets funnier with multiple watches.

    My favorite scene... so many! Perhaps the one where Ueno and Aoi's character compare to each other, or perhaps the scene where Ueno is going up the stairs and the apples fall - just the image of it makes me laugh. xD

    Also like you, I think Battle Royale is my first Japanese film memory - and Grave of the Fireflies is my favorite animation up until now. Cry every single time I watched it. LOL

  2. Great post.
    Fireflies is amazing.
    BR is brilliant.
    Japan is breaking my heart right now.