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Archive for January 4th, 2008

Za Golden Roc-ku in Ja-Pan - A Report

With a bit of cash, a suitcase weighed 15 kg, my passport, and a tired body, this blogger took a 2-week vacation to Japan. The trip is mainly for personal reasons (see the girlfriend, be a tour guide for family members), but this blog did not stray far away in my mind. Then again, even Variety Asia took a vacation, and a lot of box office updating sites did as well, so there wasn’t going to be much to report anyway.

Anyway, here are some observations to current Japanese pop culture:

Celebrities selling stupid things:

Celebrities spokesmanship is huge in Asia, and I usually don’t mind that (The Tommy Lee Jones coffee commercial is one of my favorite set of commercials in recent years. However, there are some things that I wonder really needs to be sold by certain celebrities:

Of course, everyone knows about Cameron Diaz and the cell phone service provider Softbank (which is not a bank, contrary to certain beliefs).


But there’s also Kiyoshi Hikawa (I call him the Bae Yong-Joon of enka) selling what seems to be life insurance.


The one that takes the cake, though, has to be the Japanese Horse Racing Association. Not only did I see that these guys got Yu Aoi and Yo Oizumi selling horse racing to the train-riding public:


They even dragged Yuji Oda into this mess:

“If Tsubaki Sanjuro didn’t flop, I wouldn’t have had to do this!”

What can I say? I spent a lot of time on the train.

I also got to go one movie in Japan, but sadly it was National Treasure: Book of Secrets. I know I could’ve spent 1500 yen on a better movie, but then I wouldn’t have been able to do it at a theater with this view:


I did manage to go to a lot of theaters and grab different chirashi (small Japanese movie poster that can be picked up for free) - about 10-20 at a time. Here are some of the more interesting ones:

A lot of these are self-explanatory. I almost went to see The Rebirth because I knew it had almost no dialogue. I especially like the poster for Fine, Totally Fine, and of course, Persepolis.

From top to bottom: American Gangster, Sweeney Todd, and No Country for Old Men

The two L Spinoff movie posters and Lust, Caution. Both versions are not that great in my opinion, though.

In terms of purchases, I spent about 5000 yen at my favorite second-hand CD shop in Shibuya on these (and this is after giving up two CDs I really wanted):


I bought Zazen Boys because I really like their song Kimochi (even better with Shiina Ringo), so I figure I would check it out:


Honestly, I know it won’t be that good.

The Casshern soundtrack is something I always liked after I rented it during my time in Japan. With it being a double CD (one with a lot of the songs in the movie, and the other with the instrumentals):


The Music Menu is a mix of old jazz tracks that was a risk because I had no idea how it would turn out. But the several tracks I’ve heard so far is quite good.


I also broke down and bought Sakuran on DVD, but I’m too lazy to take out the memory card and take a picture of it now.

All in all, I’d say it was a good trip because I managed to avoid movies. I’ve been burnt out, and was somewhat glad to be away from it all for 2 weeks. Of course, the length of the post means I wasn’t that far away from them after all.

My biggest regret? I’m missing this on Japanese TV.


At least neither of them are selling horse racing.

A Golden Rock Announcement - 1/3/2008

First, a belated Happy New Year to everyone. I just returned from a vacation in Japan, and will need a few days to absorb all the news I missed. Expect news postings to resume this weekend, and possibly a few new posts in the spin-off.

Until then, stay hangin’! Copyright © 2002-2024 Ross Chen