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Showing posts with the label Yasunari Kawabata

Watching Hong Sang-Soo films, discovering Miwa Nishikawa. Researching for new short film.

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My posting here had been erratic because I've spent the past few days trying to do some research for my writing. I intend to do another short film, and this isn't the ambitious one-taker that I've been talking about last month (I'm planning to do that in Malaysia instead). The ideas for this new film came during my time at the TIFFCOM, and I continued playing around with it in my mind when I was in Rome, and then Malaysia. During conversations with coursemates, I've half-jokingly said that I would adapt SNOW COUNTRY by Yasunari Kawabata, but instead of having a man and a geisha, I'll update it so that it'll be about a middle-aged salaryman and an Akihabara maid (or a waitress in a maid cafe). I just had images of two lonely figures traversing down the empty streets of Akihabara (which, unlike Shinjuku and Shibuya, seems really empty and isolated at night) The reason why I thought of using an Akihabara maid is because they are often figures of ridicule by

Trying to resurrect a short film project

It's already the second week of classes. This semester is shaping up to be much less stressful compared to the previous one. There's no hardcore 13-session intensive Japanese courses where I have to wake up at 8 in the morning to attend. Just four sessions of what I think is important to me (one oral class, one listening class, two grammar classes) It's not stress that I cannot handle, but the repetition. By being so wrapped up with my Japanese classes then, I was in a slight lull. I felt that the world had been passing me by in Malaysia while I was sitting in a classroom learning Japanese. Hence my desperation in trying to do something, well, anything. Anything just to connect myself with filmmaking again. That's why I tried to develop a short film back in May (tentatively titled YUKI) . A Japanese-language film based loosely on a Yasunari Kawabata short story I read (like my latest, LOVE SUICIDES). Unfortunately, things hadn't progressed much since then.

Burn after reading... Salman Rushdie's MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN

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I got myself this book two years ago in Perth. Not through purchase, but by forcing Justin to swap his MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN with my THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN (by John Fowles). It was a fair trade. He didn't like magical realism, while I do, and he ended up enjoying the latter immensely anyway. But this isn't exactly a book review, just a quick note on how I felt after finishing Salman Rushdie's MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN yesterday afternoon. It didn't really take me that long to finish the book, really. I picked it up during my two weeks in Malaysia earlier this month, read through chunks of it on certain days in the LRT, then more as I flew back to Tokyo. Because the in-flight entertainment was down throughout half of my journey and I couldn't watch any films on the plane except THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM , I spent most of the time reading instead.

Shout-out to the cast and crew of my film LOVE SUICIDES

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Heya all, in case you don't know, I've gotten back to Tokyo last Friday night. Sorry for my lack of updates recently, been busy finishing up the editing of my new film, LOVE SUICIDES.

Location scouting at Kuala Selangor

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Ming Jin and I went location scouting yesterday at Kuala Selangor for my new short film (the untitled part 2 of my 'BAD MOMMA TRILOGY' that started with CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY). It was my first time at Kuala Selangor, and I got to see some of the locations where THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA was shot. But I myself managed to find a couple of really interesting places for tomorrow's shoot.

Preparing for New Japanese-language Production.

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I mentioned last Sunday that reading through Kawabata Yasunari's Palm of the Hand Stories had given me inspiration for a new short film , and I was going to meet up with fellow film student Maiko to brainstorm some ideas. Everything went on smoothly then and I managed to write the first draft of the script. It's shorter than anything else I've written, but only because of its lack of dialogue. The film's most likely going to be around ten minutes long. And it still doesn't have a title. I've just returned from another production meeting with Maiko, earlier in the afternoon and things are starting to fall into place. The film can be done with the financial backing and assistance of the university, but Maiko has to submit the proposal and script (translated into Japanese) by end of the month.

Yasunari Kawabata - The Master of Go

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Yasunari Kawabata is a writer I admire immensely. Although perhaps slightly limited in his range of themes and stories, he has a truly world-class sense of technical perfection and stylistic beauty, and the best of his novels and stories ( Snow Country and Beauty and Sadness are my favorites, with the excellent Palm of the Hand Stories perhaps being his masterwork) are so satisfying and haunting as to make him unquestionably deserving of his Nobel Prize. Someone (can't remember the source) compared reading a Kurt Vonnegut book to eating an ice cream cone, and if that's true, then a Kawabata book is more like a high-quality Italian gelato - cold, perhaps, but exquisite, and best when served in small portions. At one point I pretty much blindly accepted him as a god; and while after much consideration I've decided Mishima at least equals him, he's still up there for me as one of the masters.

World Guide to Japanese Literature

Maybe I'm asking too much of Salon.com, but I hoped for something more in their literary guide to Japan . I shouldn't have been surprised, really, to find the entire article consisting of cliches:

Yasunari Kawabata's Palm Of The Hand Stories

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Swifty: Posting this review for Justin.

20th Century Japanese Literature in Grade School Terms

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20th Century Japanese Literature is often considered an impenetrable morass of nature poetry, vague description, and suicidal authors. In order to improve on this reputation and open these works up to a wider audience, we undertook an intensive program - and after months of study, we discovered that the most prominent authors (including two Nobel Prize winners) could best be understood in terms of a grade school class. This intensive research has infallibly determined that all of the writers mentioned below pretty much conform to the simplistic stereotypes I’ve reduced them to, both physically and in terms of their writing.

The brilliance of Yasunari Kawabata

At first glance, Yasunari Kawabata wouldn't seem to fit the conventions of a Nobel-prize winning author. He doesn't overreach for big themes, he doesn't make grand pronouncements about the human condition or the inevitability of war and discrimination; and his prose style (at least in English translation - I've tried reading the original Japanese and it ain't easy) is lucid and free of fancy diction. None of his books are intimidating, plus-sized tomes crammed with psyche-penetrating monologues and dissections of the spirit - far from it, in fact: you could read most of them in a day, or a couple of hours if you're fast. There are few large, decisive gestures: Kawabata's characters don't embrace life so much as stand outside of it looking vaguely perplexed and distant.