Tag Archives: Japanese

Movie Review: Ghost In The Shell (2017)

So, t’is one of those films with a handful of criticisms. Tell ya. Scarlett Johansson (a.k.a. Major Killian) had the Media Action Network for Asian Americans accusing her of lying when she said she would never play a role outside her own race. Sounds ‘racist’.

But here she is — the lead character in the movie Ghost In The Shell — supposedly as Motoko Kusanagi. Hmm… Perhaps it’s one ‘major’ reason why the film has so far failed at the box office.

The story line was in fact okay (using a human brain in creating some cyborg for a soldier) despite claims that many facets in the original (which was rooted in Japan) was ignored when t’was made into a film. And true enough, there were significant cracks in it.

WHITEWASHING

Since the original is that of Japanese, Hollywood can’t always expect success like that of ‘The Ring’ which was also of Japanese origin. And so, in this case, they could have casted Lucy Liu or some other Asian star instead. See, the problem with whitewashing is simple — the character’s features.

Cool prosthetics

Scarlett is just ‘too white’, more than her skin color, it’s her features that is. Now, we’re not trying to be racists ourselves but there’s just what we call a ‘perfect fit’ for most everything. Got the point?

BLACK BOB CUT

T’is the most obvious feature that doesn’t suit Scarlett — the black bob cut hair. She just looks kinda fake in it, you know, the hair lacks that bounce. Well, unlike Charlize Theron when she did Aeon Flux, her black bob cut did really suit her. So then what’s the root?

Scarlett in a black bob cut hair

Scarlett appears to have a ‘bigger’ face, thus, it emphasizes her being of a ‘white race’ even more. That simple.

MIXED LANGUAGE

Chief Daisuke Aramaki (Takeshi Kitano) seems to be the only one talking in Japanese — and even to main characters at that! This then makes the film, his character — attention calling. While there are those who could understand and speak more than one language, however, in a film if a key character doesn’t communicate as to the language spoken to him then it sorta weakens that line.

HUMAN LASER FIGURES

Seeing those giant human laser figures beside ‘em buildings sends us questioning. How necessary are those laser beams anyway, wouldn’t the story survive without those giant figures? ‘Cause it just makes the movie look something like a joke.

Beautiful skyline

Anyway, on the positive note, the prosthetics in this film was real cool. Guess we’re better in robotics than making people look like beasts or ‘animals’. Hehe. Another positive would be the wonderful skyline of Hong Kong. Stacking close together, ‘em buildings certainly look at par with that of New York.

In the end, some of those who watched Ghost In The Shell must have only been curious of Scarlett Johansson’s naked-like outfit, huh? Well, put it in the bank.

Movie Review: Rings (2017)

If you’ve seen the first of this series, then you would understand and perhaps appreciate the trilogy more. Well, we’re talking about no other than the Rings, our featured film for the day.

Here are some facts. This series was inspired by Koji Suzuki’s novel-turned-movie more than a decade ago. Yep, the original was from Japan — which was real scary good.

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You know, imagine a dead girl (in a long sleepwear and her face covered with her long hair) crawling out of your TV screen and trying to kill you?! Whew!

Here’s the third installment..

Hmm.. It’s not that the lead stars are unknown, that certainly has nothing to with the plot of the story which is kinda rehashed. I mean, what else could you probably ‘story-tell’ with a video-ghost killer?

If such a curse (whoever watches the video would die in seven days) won’t end and would just be passed on to the next viewer and so on — then doesn’t it sound like tiring? Evil has to have an end to give people, in this case, viewers some hope. Right?

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Still, the film is earning though. With a budget of only $25 million, it has now grossed $67.3 million at the box office. Not bad. Probably many of ’em are even curious ‘first time viewers’, so..

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But hopefully, if they still plan to continue the series as the movie suggests, then how about a little more creativity? A rebirth of some kind, yeah, to the next level!

Music Review: AKB48, Their Music and Pranks (Japanese)

Okay, how ’bout some Monday laughter?! Yeah??

So, here now is AKB48..

Whatta sense of humor, eh? Even their idols are pranked so ‘hard’!

Well, we all know of K-Pop.. Their bands, their music and all. But how about J-Pop? Yep, as in Japanese Pop! Have you heard of this group AKB48? Yeah? T’is actually a popular idol group in Japan composed of girls in their early teens to mid-20’s which is said to hold several Guinness World Records — including being recognized in 2010 as the world’s “largest pop group”.

AKB48
AKB48 was actually named after the Akibahara area in Tokyo

Hmm… Tho at one time — back in 2012 — they had 149 members featured in a video game. Now, they currently have 121 members divided among 5 teams. Wow, stupendous!

Wouldn’t they sound like a ‘cheering squad’ instead? Haha! Anyway, let’s see one of AKB48’s team in their 2010 music video Beginner..

Oh, their music is okay. Yet more than just having a crowded stage, could there be fierce competition not just among the 5 teams but within? Gaps, grudges, jealousy and things like that? Must be tough to manage considering you gotta try to make them all blossom..

If possible.

The pranks are a good sign though that everything must be.. Okay.

Restaurant Review: Lunch at Tokyo Tokyo

Well, compared to other Japanese restaurants or any other restaurant for that matter, Tokyo Tokyo is one of those that offers ‘unlimited rice’. Yup, just like the famous ‘chicken’ resto we have come to love.

Then again, ‘unli-rice’ can’t be the only reason why one should eat in a particular restaurant. Of course, the food, the ambiance.. and the crew, notwithstanding. And so, we tried out one of Tokyo Tokyo’s more popular meal packages — the Sumo with Big Chicken Katsu.

Teriyaki Big Chicken Katsu
Teriyaki Big Chicken Katsu
4 pcs. Prawn Tempura
4 pcs. Prawn Tempura

This meal package includes 2 drinks and 2 ‘initial’ rice for just P375..

The Sumo meal package
The Sumo meal package

Our verdict. The Prawn Tempura does not have much difference with regularly fried prawns save for its crispy covering which makes the piece look bigger. On the other hand, the Teriyaki Big Chicken Katsu tastes pretty good for a seemingly ‘breaded’ chicken as their sauces don’t really matter much with their kinda bland flavor that doesn’t blend well with the dish. The rice, good — glossy, soft and a bit sticky — just like real Japanese rice that you’ll keep asking for more!

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In all though, the food is pretty ‘average’ with the Coleslaw side dish particularly lacking in carrots, among others — and that you’d only want to eat in its SM Seaside City Cebu branch if only for variety.

Hey, their place is sort of tight! And their crew, hmm…

Simple Experiences: Mismukuno Teppanyaki (Ayala Center Cebu)

Just recently, I got to eat in another Japanese restaurant; hmm… That is at the Ayala Center in Cebu, and it’s called Mismukuno Teppanyaki.

Well, t’was an interesting experience..

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First, the food. Rice cakes are always a treat. Just love its tastiness even if a couple of the slices weren’t as neat. You could see.

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Always enjoyed the blend of mushrooms and meat in the Gyudon, only that this one soaked my rice with too much sauce. Ahhh..

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Still, one meticulous diner may wonder, “why was the side dish even served before the ‘meat’ dishes?”

Hah! Your guess.

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Yet somehow, eating Teppanyaki simply reminds me of the Filipino ‘beef steak’ (have you tried one?)..

But with their flavors actually coming from how ‘soy sauce’ among others was really used. Really.

In the end, more than the ‘dancing’ performance of the restaurant’s staff, the bar-like ambience gives you that relaxing mood. Good for after-work camaraderie.

Food & How To.. Eat Sushi!

Many may have thought that ‘eating’ is just as simple as putting food in your mouth and chewing it — especially for something like the Japanese Sushi — but wait, it’s in fact a little more complex than you think. Let’s check out Chef Naomichi Yasuda as he teaches the ‘proper way’ to eat Sushi..

Hmm… Interesting here would be the ‘temperature’ factor as the Sushi could taste different depending on where you’d eat it. Wow, so don’t you think there are those who might not even try Sushi at all? Hah! ‘Cause for one, hey, this is just too meticulous! Then again, you wouldn’t be reading this, much more watching the video if you’re not aware of Sushi’s value. So..

Anyway, as we know Sushi is just composed of the seaweed wrapper, rice, wasabi, fish, some scallion and ginger. It is rolled into like a ‘rice cake’ (Sushi rolls) and cut before being served.

Normally, we just dip it into the soy sauce and that’s it. But actually.. Actually, you also just have to ‘lightly’ dip one side of it only ‘without shaking off’ the soy sauce. More so, ginger is not to be taken at the same time but as a ‘follow up’ after the Sushi goes in your mouth.

Okay, don’t worry about the chopsticks if you’re not used to it — just use your fingers and enjoy!