Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The hot icky days of summer are back and burning up the Tokyo streets – and I totally can't stand it!

On the 22nd, Japan was treated to a solar eclipse. The day was totally overcast, so everyone was saying it'd be impossible to see. However, at around 11:10am, I decided to take a peak outside anyway. Wouldn't you know it, blazing through the haze was the sun with the moon laying over it causing it to look something like a flying Pacman. Not a full eclipse, but at 70%, it was a decent one nonetheless.

Work has been going well. I finished a job writing the English version of a Japanese script currently in pre-production. I had less than ten-days to complete the entire thing, which meant translation, writing, and formatting into standard "Hollywood" script style. Unfortunately, the subject matter wasn't anything I'm so into, it being female erotica based on a novel by a well-known Japanese writer. But it was fun and with each script under my belt I feel I'm a better writer for it.

Had a fun night last Friday. Was invited to a Fox-TV Backstage Pass party in Roppongi by Ako, who is one of the Backstage Pass' "Samurai Divas" and also an actress in my new film. The party turned out to not only be a lot of fun, with lots of free Corona (the president of Corona was there), but I got to meet a lot of cool people. I like meeting cool people.

Probably the most fun was hanging out with Honoka, who stars in the upcoming film "Looking for Anne." Honoka is the daughter of Takaaki Ishibashi, one of the most popular comedians in Japan. Despite being just 19, Honoka is remarkably well-spoken and easy going. I hope to work with her one day.

Did a screening of my film FEED ME at the Shibuya club / bar / art space Pink Cow the other night. It went a lot better than I expected. My lowest budget film, I don't have a lot of confidence in it. But the screening was a big surprise. People laughed through the opening, got caught off balance when the tone shifts, were tense during the final scene and jumped at the film's "shock ending." Yeah... I was happy. All those endless hours of work paid off, at least for this screening!

I also participated in a promotional talk show at the Asagaya Loft A for the film "Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl." I joined directors Nishimura and Tomomatsu, also actor Jiji Bu and Yubari Film Festival's Tokitoshi Shiota. I had mixed feelings about the talk show as everyone was rather drunk on stage. What could I do? I started pounding away the tequila! Rock and roll, baby!

Oh yeah... and my documentary "Bringing Godzilla Down to Size" screened at Fantasia on 26 Sunday. I really wanted to go, but the show didn't have the budget to fly me over this time. I'm still waiting to hear how it went!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

This and That...

As usual, been up to various things... Last Monday I went to see Stephanie, star of my latest film, sing at Shibuya Eggman. Her show was fantastic. Stephanie has so much positive energy and enthusiasm, and you can see how much she loves singing that one can't help but smile when she's performing. Not only that, but she has one of the most amazing voices. With a five-octave range, I thought she was going to shatter the lenses of my glasses.

For her encore song she performed the Michael Jackson song "Ben," which is one of my favorite songs of his if only because it is, oddly enough, an ode to a rat. A major Jackson fan, Stephanie had prepared the song before the singer's untimely death. Because of her unbelievable range, Stephanie hit every note without straining, rendering out a fantastic version of the song.

I hung out after the show with Stephanie and her mom and dad. That was fun. It was my first time to meet her parents, who turned out to be really down to earth (but I wasn't that surprised since Stephanie is as well). All in all, it was a fantastic, music filled night.

The weekend before I traveled up to Nagano with my friend Mike and his buddies. That was both fun and frustrating at the same time. For one, the organization was awful. First they told me to meet them at 1pm at Akabane where I'd get picked up. Then at 11am they called to say make it noon. I got there at noon, but they didn't show up until 2pm.

It took a good 4 hours to get to Keisuke's home. Keisuke is a friend of Mike's from LA who is now back in Japan and a singer with a rock group. He came with two of his friends.

First order was to check into his parent's house. A big home, as big as any you'd see in the US, which just goes to prove that the image of small homes in Japan is really limited to the urban areas. From there were went over to a "Firefly festival" going in the center of town. Lots of people, lots of stands... It's been a while since I was at one of these "matsuris." The stress of the drive behind me, I was able to enjoy the totally Japanese atmosphere.

The main event was a field filled with fireflies. That was nice to see. I grew up with fireflies back in NY. Unfortunately, you'd get these morons who would try to take a photo with their flash completely blinding everyone around.

The next day we went home, but first stopped by some large lake in the area that had some of the clearest water I've ever seen in Japan. My favorite thing was this insanely huge, tacky boat made up like a swan. Only in Japan.