Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Preparing a new short film, THE WHITE FLOWER

(Photo by Martha K)

I'm flying back to Malaysia next Monday (3rd of August), and thus ends the dream-like 3rd session of my stay in Japan. Long have my Finnish friend Niklas and I have spoken about working on a project together, in fact, when we went to explore the abandoned ruins in Sagamiko back in May, our true intention was location scouting.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Quick thoughts on BMW Shorties 2009's finalists

(UPDATED 26th of July, 2009: Yasmin Ahmad has passed away. Rest in peace.)

I received a DVD of this year's BMW Shorties finalists two days ago because I was asked to voice my thoughts on the films. I watched them yesterday evening and gave BMW Shorties' Seet Heng some brief commentary, the original entry is posted here on the BMW Shorties website.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The shotgun-carrying Chinese lady... acts

Two weeks ago I wrote about how I helped Zhu Dan, the shotgun-wielding Chinese lady, secure an acting role in a short film by my Thai friend Kong. (who will be adapting a short story by occasional Guestblogger Justin later this year, produced by my KINGYO producing partner Maiko, with the help of some of my crew members as well)

Zhu Dan with shotgun

Yesterday afternoon, Kong, who is now editing his film, needed to do some re-shoots of some scenes with Zhu Dan, thus they managed to re-enact the exact same shots from last month. Yes, the photo above, and the videos below, are shot a little more than a month apart (photo above taken on the 20th of June 2009, videos below taken on the 22nd of July 2009). Bet you can't see any differences at all!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

LOVE SUICIDES in competition at the Festival Internazionale del Cinema d'Arte

Lying at the beach

I've never mentioned this earlier because their website is only in Italian and I wasn't sure about the details.

But I was emailed earlier that LOVE SUICIDES will be screening at the Festival Internazionale del Cinema d'Arte in Bergamo, Italy today. The film is one of the 18 short films around the world selected for competition under the Sottoventi category (PDF of the entire line-up). Once again, I'm honoured.

I hope the screening will go well!

LOVE SUICIDES will also be screening at some other European festivals over the next few months, you'll be hearing about it here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Visiting Tokyo DisneySea

in front of Mount Prometheus in Tokyo DisneySea

I had slightly more than 2 hours of sleep before I woke up at 5:30 in the morning and prepared for my first ever trip to Tokyo DisneySea.

Prior to the opening of the Hong Kong Disneyland, I always felt childishly gleeful that I could brag about having visited every single Disney theme park in the world:

Friday, July 17, 2009

Cure Rubbish, band name or manifesto?

When I walked past the NHK Broadcasting Centerbuilding at Shibuya last Wednesday night, I saw a band setting up for a performance.

There was a sign next to them, and the words 'CURE RUBBISH'.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I was a dino dork

The first time I went to Ueno Park was last November, when autumn's touch had infused upon it the colours of red and gold. (Not to be narcissistic, but I did take some bloody good photos that time) What left the most impression then were the wilted lotuses at the Lotus Pond (part of the Shinobazu Pond).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

She must've felt out of place watching The Galaxy Girls Club

Last Saturday, when I went off to Akihabara to buy some blank DVDs, I happened upon a live event at the Live Park in Akiba (which, to the uninitiated, is not a real park, but the first floor of the Sato Musen electric store, opened earlier this year for numerous mini-concerts and live events, I heard mostly to convince authorities to reopen Akihabara's 'Pedestrian's Paradise' that had been closed since last year's Akihabara Massacre)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mitama Matsuri at Yasukuni Shrine 2009

(UPDATE: Check out the photos and videos of MITAMA MATSURI 2010 too if you like this post)

I went to the Mitama Matsuri (Soul Festival) at the Yasukuni Shrine yesterday. It is a festival that honours the dead.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sichuan Hot Pot... in a rice cooker

Last night was the last night of Steve's visit in Tokyo. My friends from China, Yang Yang and Zifeng invited both of us to have the much famous Sichuan (or Szechuan) "ma la" (numb and spicy) hot pot over at Zifeng's place. The meal was prepared by the chick, Echo (or Ecco, not sure), who's from Chengdu, Sichuan.

Great meal!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hozuki Ichii (Ground Cherry Pod Fair) at Senso-ji 2009

The last time I went to Senso-ji at Asakusa was nearly two months ago, for the Sanja Matsuri (check out the breathlessly evocative photos I've taken of the festival here).

When I went there again yesterday, they were having the Hozuki Ichi (Ground Cherry Pod Fair), in which hundreds of street stalls were set up to sell ground cherry pods and wind chimes.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The BEAUTIFIED TABOO art exhibition

I brought Steven to the BEAUTIFIED TABOO art exhibition at SuperDeluxe in Roppongi last night. The BEAUTIFIED TABOO, in its second year, is the brainchild of Tokyo-based German/Vietnamese artist Vivienne U.H. Doan. Let me quote its origins from a Japan Times article.

(The BEAUTIFIED TABOO) is an exhibition showcasing works by some of Tokyo's better-known experimental and international artists that attempts to investigate, as well as beautify, taboos.

Doan got the idea when she started to question both Japanese and foreign people on what they felt was taboo. Intrigued by the variety of answers and feelings she encountered, she took the ideas and "beautified" them, adding an artist's perspective to socially explosive concepts. Naturally, ideas relating to the human body, sex, violence and death are well represented.

Here's a list of the featured artists for this year's exhibition:

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Wannabe artistic shots of Hachiko statue

I've written about the sad and tragic tale of Faithful Dog Hachiko last year. The Hachiko movie starring Richard Gere is also coming out next month, (But I'm not sure whether to see it since... I already knew that Richard Gere's going to die in it :(:(:( )

Now armed with a new camera, I decided to take some artsy shots of its statue.

Summer Fair of Zoshigaya Kishibojin Temple

Yesterday, before I was about to break Steven's mind by bringing him to Harajuku and Shibuya (photos will come in next post), we dropped by at the Zoshigaya Kishibojin Temple for its summer fair.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Mutsumi the late-night singer

It was already around 11pm when I was heading home after taking all these photos of Shinjuku from the previous post. But as I walked out of the Shinjuku South East exit, I found a young woman sitting on the floor, preparing to perform. A scattered few were gathered before her. She was the one and only musician I saw last night.

The view of Shinjuku twilight from the top of Takashimaya

Despite having gone countless times to the Takashimaya in Shinjuku, I have never really bothered to go to the top few floors because I thought there aren't anything there but restaurants. So when an acquaintance from Malaysia came and I was showing him around, we went up and I was surprised by what I saw.

There was a nice garden for people to take walks.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Visiting the old lighthouse at Miura Kaigan

Yesterday afternoon I headed off to Miura (a seaside city situated at Tokyo Bay) with dorm mate Tristan, to check out an old lighthouse. Along with Tristan were Pong, whom I met a day earlier when we went to see the Gundam statue, and Jack, whom I've never met prior to the trip.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Life-size Gundam in Odaiba and its adoring visitors

After hearing so much about the life-size Gundam statue in Odaiba, I finally decided to visit it. It was the evening of the 4th of July, which is more than a week before its official unveiling. But already many have gathered over there to take photos of it.

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Chinese lady with a shotgun

This is my friend, Zhu Dan, from China. She's really nice and friendly.

Zhu Dan with shotgun

But she's slightly intimidating because she carries a shotgun with her all the time.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Night cruise on the Himiko waterbus

It seems that we have reached the second half of 2009. After completing '3PM', my third short film in six months yesterday afternoon, I can't help but feel a little wistful, a little melancholic, the familiar condition known as post-creativity depression is back.

So despite having finished my film, I actually chose to remain in the editing lab, and finally at night, I took out snippets of videos I shot more than a week ago with my own camera and looked through them, just so I could edit them and give myself something to do.

On the 20th of June, Lia the Artist told me and Niklas about the futuristic-looking waterbus "Himiko", designed by famed Japanese animator Reiji (or Leiji) Matsumoto ("Captain Harlock", "Spaceship Yamato", "Galaxy Express 999").