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Archive for July 13th, 2008

The Golden Rock in Japan - Summer 2008 Edition - Part 2

I’m already back in Hong Kong, but I promised to share more about my time in Japan, so let’s start it off with a picture of my new favorite animated character Ponyo:


Sadly, she was not for sale.

I did get something else at that Tower Record though:

Searching for Jero


I made it a mission on this trip to find anything I can featuring Jero. The last thing I got was his first mini-album. It also came with a poster, but I’m not unrolling that now.

As you may also know, my new favorite enka singer is also selling a brand of sugar-less coffee


Really, you expect me to just take a picture of the advertisement?



And I also took part in challenging the man myself. At Karaoke.


Of course, I sucked.

Next to movies, my second love is music. And there was plenty of that in Japan as well. For example, I scoured the second-hand stores and bought these:


OK, so only three of those are used. But, none of those beat my most treasured discovery:


The Chungking Express Original soundtrack. Used. For roughly USD$9.

And all of those CDs above were better than this:


This was so bad that it sounded like the parody of a soundtrack for In Living Color. This is going to the second-hand shop as soon as possible.

Around the record stores, I also saw this:


Yes, that is Taiwanese artist Joanna Wang on the 8th place of the Japan HMV chart.

More celebrities selling stuff:

Asia loves their stuff-selling celebrities, and here are some more of them


Can’t see it too clearly, but that’s Haruka Ayase selling SD cards. The ad promptly reminds you that they’re made in Japan.


Kimura Takuya - with his curly hair from CHANGE - selling water-proof cell phones. That’s two strikes against the iPhone: no water-proofing, and no Kimura Takuya.


I hope the rest of them got paid even 1% of her salary.

Those were not the only advertisements around Shibuya Crossing. With the new drama season starting, the networks raced to advertise their hgih-profile stuff at one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world.


Killing three birds with one stone.

And this is the one I had the most problem with:


If you didn’t know Japanese, you probably wouldn’t know that this is an advertisement for a drama named Monster Parents, which is supposed to be a serious look at a serious problem in the Japanese education system. From this ad to the intro screens of the series (which plays more like Jurassic Park), the oversensationalism of the producer undermines the serious aspect of the show.

But Japan usually sells their dramas quite right. Just look at how eye-catching this one is:


Two Arashi fans who just had to get their eyes on the advertisement for the Satoshi Ohno-Toma Ikuta drama Maou. If you don’t believe it, here’s the photo from less than 30 seconds before:


Japan also has to come up with new ways all the time to sell more stuff in case there aren’t anymore room for billboards. Case in point:



The Dragon Ash bus with the monitors is similar to the one Jason Gray saw for God’s Puzzle, although it didn’t exactly help its box office in the end.

This trip also saw the sudden popularity of another fad. Last time it was the ass-biting bug, and this time is the comedienne Edo Harumi, whose brand of comedy relies on emphasizing Japanese katakana words that end in the sound “gu”, which she intentionally make to sound like “good”.

And here she is selling Kung-Fu Panda:

And she was on TV nearly every damn day, appearin…gu~~~

And that’s the end of another visit to Japan. I’ll wrap things up with another picture from the same Tower Records I saw the Ponyo at. This was the display case showcasing Shiina Ringo’s outfit from her past MTVs. It was cool to see it as a fan, and I hope it’s as cool for you too.


See you next time, Japan

The Golden Rock - July 13th, 2008 Edition

- And more reviews are rolling in for John Woo’s Red Cliff. Both reviews are from Twitch contributors, first from Singapore-based Stefan, then one from The Visitor.

Meanwhile, head honcho Todd Brown posts a review of Kenta Fukasaku’s X-Cross.

-Another Japanese comic with fish is heading to the big screen, this time apparently with some professional fishing action enhanced by cgi.

- And here’s another story about Danny Glover wanting to bridge the gap between Japan and American with The Harimaya Bridge, though this article provides a lot more information about the writer-director.

- Western director Jennifer Lynch has signed on to direct an India-based horror film that will be shot simultaenously in Hindi and English.

- The New York Asian Film Festival has announced its jury awards, with Shinji Aoyama’s Sad Vacation surprisingly taking the Grand Prize.  The audience awards will be announced this week.

- The Daily Yomiuri looks at the upcoming Tokyo Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival.

- Nippon Cinema links us to more clips from the upcoming cell phone novel adaptation Akai Ito.

- The blog Toronto J-Film Pow-wow has a short write-up by Friend of Golden Rock Jason Gray about what Japanese film got him hooked.

- Japan Times looks at the Japanese government’s slow progress in promoting the media arts of Japanese culture both abroad and locally.

- Model-turned-Japanese pop star Leah Dizon will be launching her first nationwide tour. The biggest shock is that she actually wrote the lyrics for 10 songs in her latest album. Since she’s still trying to learn Japanese, I assume that they’ll be in English, right?

- Wrapping the weekend up with Hong Kong film news (this being Lovehkfilm), the Hong Kong newspapers suddenly all decided to spill information about the new Alan Mak-Felix Chong film starring Eason Chan and Sammi Cheng. Retitled “Big Investigation” (translated, of course), it’s supposed to be a comedy about a mob boss who needs detective Sammi Cheng to help bring back his son.

Here’s the Hong Kong Film blog coverage. Copyright © 2002-2024 Ross Chen