Sunday, May 31, 2009

Waseda High School parade

I took these photos back on the 23rd, more than a week ago. I was on my way back to the lab when I saw a parade of school clubs from the nearby Waseda High School (which is separated to Junior and Senior high, I assume the ones I saw were from Junior High)

Not something you'll see everyday, so I whipped out my phone and started snapping.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Review of KINGYO at Toronto J-Film Pow-Wow

[kingyo] A nocturnal conversation at the carpark

Marc Saint-Cyr (you can check out his blog here) had posted a review of KINGYO on Toronto J-Film Pow-Wow. (one of my favourite blogs on J-films! I gave them a nearly-completed version of the film for the 1st anniversary celebration party they held last week)

Here's an excerpt.

What especially makes "Kingyo" a success is how its experimentation never reduces it to a chilly or pretentious aesthetic exercise, but instead remains constantly in service to its characters and their emotional states. Often, the professor and the young woman will inhabit the same space, yet they are nonetheless isolated through the split screen. There is also the scene on a bridge overlooking Akihabara, with special attention given to the two characters’ hands resting close to each other on a railing. Through such moments in the film, Yeo clearly focuses on the distance that can grow between two people, be it in the case of the man and his wife or him and his mistress.

Read the full review.

Remember, if you live in Tokyo, you can catch a test screening of Kingyo at Shinjuku Wald 9 next Friday.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Exploring the ruins in Sagamiko

Ruins of buildings and abandoned places, known as 廃墟 haikyo in Japanese, are ripe for exploration and photography among enthusiasts. There are many blogs and websites dedicated to them, books published as well. Tokyo Times, for example, has a lot of wonderful photos of these tragic, lonely places.

Early this morning, Niklas, me and a mysterious lady friend embarked upon our own ruins-exploring adventure, which, come to think of it, is almost like treasure-hunting in a console role-playing game, but without the treasure, or leveling up. We headed off to Sagamiko, a town at the Kanagawa Prefecture, the train ride lasts an hour from our place.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New short film, AFTERNOON RIVER, follow-up to KINGYO

So yes, I have completed KINGYO last week, and gearing up for its screening at the FUYAJO CINEMA FESTIVAL in Shinjuku Wald 9 on the 5th of June.

Time to rest? Barely. After taking a breather for a couple of days, I began work on my latest short film, AFTERNOON RIVER.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Where are they now? The cast of SUMMER VACATION 1999

Last Friday when I was sitting in a class taught by the Director of Photography, Kenji Takama (the second DEATH NOTE film, WELCOME BACK, MR MCDONALD), he showed us a couple of his earlier films. One of them was a 1988 film called SUMMER VACATION 1999 (1999年の夏休み), directed by Shusuke Kaneko (the two DEATH NOTE films, AZUMI 2) The film is an adaptation of a shounen-ai (boy love) manga called Tōma no Shinzō トーマの心臓 (Heart of Thomas, or Thomas' Heart) by Moto Hagio.

Here's the synopsis from IMDB.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My short film, KINGYO, screening at Fuyajo Cinema Festival (Shinjuku Wald 9) on 5th of June

The Wife (Kudou Amane) is delighted to see the goldfishes
Amane Kudo in KINGYO

An unfinished cut of my 25-minute Japanese short film, KINGYO, will be screened at the Shinjuku Wald 9 for the Fuyajo Cinema Festival (click to their site for more info) on the 5th of June. Fuyajo (不夜城, translated as 'city without night') is an all-night event that runs from 10pm to 6am the next day. It's running on the 5th of June, and then the 6th of June.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kingyo is completed. Goodbye, Toho Studios

The Maid (Luchino Fujisaki) has a solitary moment
The Maid (Luchino Fujisaki) in Kingyo

And so it's finally done. After an occasionally tedious post-production process that lasted for five weeks, I have completed my first attempt at a Japanese-language short film, KINGYO.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sanja Matsuri 2009 at Asakusa

After hanging about at the Rei Ayanami-invaded Akihabara, I made my move to Asakusa. In truth, Asakusa was my primary destination, Akihabara was just a detour for me to buy my FireWire.

My friend Niklas had told me that a Matsuri (festival) was going on, so I wanted to take a look at it. I arrived at Asakusa at 3pm and already I could hear faint sounds of drums from above. The station was crowded with people moving to the exit, and as I tried to wade through the chaotic sea of humanity, initial curiosity giving way to excitement, I finally made my way out of the underground station and saw the parade.

I will now copy and paste Wikipedia's explanation of Sanja Matsuri.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rei Ayanami invades Akihabara

I went to Akihabara earlier this afternoon to buy myself a firewire cable. As I walked out of the station, I saw a large crowd gathering nearby.

It was because of the Rei Ayanami cosplayer.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Running into Takuya Kimura at Toho Studios

[kingyo] A nocturnal conversation at the carpark
Yes, my Japanese film, Kingyo's pretty much done

For the third day of the week, Maiko and I were at the Toho Studios, this time with coursemate Linto, who was helping to transfer KINGYO into HDCAM for a public screening at Shinjuku Wald 9 next month (will tell you guys about it when I have more info)

I never realized that making a transfer like this is such a long and tedious affair. Initially I thought it would just be a 3-4 hour affair, at most, I ended up in the studio for nearly nine hours. And no, the transfer still isn't complete.

As we waited for Linto to do the transfer, Maiko and I headed to the Toho cafetaria for lunch. It was just at the building opposite ours, but as we were on the way, I noticed a couple of production crew members walking about. And then when we reached the cafetaria, a Toho Studios employee (they all wear a black jacket with the white words Toho Studios written on the back) was speaking to a man by the entrance.

I couldn't see his face until I was entering the building. Then I saw his face, he was pretty tanned... Louis Koo-level tan, slightly taller than I am, and had a ridiculously familiar face.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A dream of a love story from my past, and the girl who went to Yokohama

I seem to dream a lot lately. Yesterday was strange. I woke up from a dream, and when I dozed off again later in the evening, I had another dream again.

Monday, May 11, 2009


At around half past 3 on Sunday afternoon, I went with Eric (my friend, not my dad), to Yoyogi Park for the One Love Jamaica Festival 2009. (additional photos of the festival can be found in Glen's blog and Neil's blog... which, at least, were taken with a real camera)

As I met up with him at the bridge near the Harajuku station, I saw a couple of guys offering free hugs.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sweet Success - Interview with The Star

Just found out that I was on The Star today when Kien Keong told me about it via Facebook chat. Last week Sandra Low conducted an email interview with me, being one of the winners of last year's BMW Shorties with Chicken Rice Mystery. It's a great article worth a read because not just me, but Grand Prize winner Nazim, Audience Award winner Moe and co-Honourable Mention winner Maha were interviewed as well. Click the link below:


My excerpt is here:

Happy Mother's Day, mom

For the four time in five years, I'm not around to celebrate Mother's Day with my mom. Of course, I usually say that I don't need a special day to shower my mom with affection or gratitude when I do that everyday with understated grace and subtlety.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Spotting a sumo wrestler in Italian restaurant

I was having dinner with my friend, Niklas, at an Italian restaurant in Takadanobaba (all-you-can-eat for 1500 yen, pretty good deal, had lots of pizza and pasta) yesterday evening. Then one particular customer heading towards the counter after his meal caught my eye.

The physique! The top knot! It was a sumo wrestler! More than a year in Japan and that was the first time I saw a sumo wrestler in the flesh! So I whipped out my mobile phone (which is much more reliable than my camera these days) and started snapping a photo... from the distance, because I was too intimidated to approach him and take a photo.

So you have to look closely at the photo (or click for larger version), behind Niklas and the two waitresses, there's the sumo wrestler!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Guy lying on the streets, wasted

Nearly a year ago (May 8th, to be exact), I had all-you-can-eat Shabu Shabu with two of my old Japanese friends, Ai and Iyo, whom I knew from my Perth days. I even have it on video.

Last night, another old friend of mine, Noriko, came all the way from Kyoto for a visit. (As I've mentioned, it's Golden Week) So I brought them (Ai, Iyo and Noriko) to all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ at Takadanobaba instead.

With my camcorder dead, I could only snap some blurry pictures.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

How I spent the night at Toho Studios

As mentioned before, I've been doing the rest of the post-production of my Japanese film, KINGYO, at the famed Toho Studios.