film

Sometimes desire is as blurry as a film mistake

This guy with his hand across his crotch looks completely relaxed in his Tokyo Metro seat. What prompted me to take this film photo?

Anpan man also prays at Hanazono shrine

Here’s Anpan man ringing the bell above the giant rope cord, before donating money and praying. Quite the action shot.

I’m using a new film camera now, in addition to the digital one. Do you notice any difference?

Come see “Hollywood, Je T’aime” at Tokyo Lesbian Gay Film Festival

Los Angeles-based filmmakers Jason Bushman and Charles Herman-Wurmfeld arrived in Tokyo this weekend to show their film “Hollywood, Je T’aime” at the Tokyo Lesbian Gay Film Festival. Their film will be playing Thursday July 15 at 8 pm, and Saturday July 17 at 8:45 pm at Spiral Hall in Aoyama. The director-producer team will be at both showings for a Q&A. I’ll be there on Thursday, and encourage anyone in Tokyo to see their film or attend the festival.

The main star, a friend of the director, looks like a young Adrien Brody. It’s Jason and Charles’ first visit to Japan, and I tried to entertain them on Saturday night by showing them Ni-Chome, Hanazono Shrine (we prayed for their movie’s good fortune in Japan), Golden Gai, the male host area of Kabukicho, and finally Hagoromo, the gay-meets-yakuza sento in Nishi Shinjuku, where somehow I have become a regular.

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know (Japanese) Films

The Japan Society of New York is running a film series that looks amazing. Actually, this beautiful trailer seems to teach every Japanese phrase worth knowing. It’s like an advanced course in femininity.

From the program notes, “actresses Ayako Wakao, Mariko Okada and Meiko Kaji embodied the transgression of limits, breaking rules, flouting norms and generally upsetting everyone.”

(Thanks, Christophe!).

An Ode to Hot English Chastity

brightspan

I am an idiot, but the phrase “hot english chastity” has me laughing aloud. “Hot chastity” is already funny, but “hot english” is almost as improbable in my mind. Is it true what the Japanese guy told me, that I am an “A-jia・sen”? Like “debusen,” or fatty-chaser, I guess “ajisen” is an Asian-chaser.  Nonetheless, the new Jane Campion film might be romantic and sultry indeed.

Skilled laborers singing karaoke together

Skilled laborers singing karaoke together banner

You don’t need to be Donald Richie— noted American film critic, high culture interlocutor, and lover of Tokyo construction workers– to swoon over this neighborhood banner celebrating the association of skilled laborers. In Japanese, they are called gatenkei no hito (ガテン系のひと).

What says solidarity more than singing karaoke in hard hats and head towels? The husband reminds me that skilled workers, like yakuza, have a reputation for chosen male families and gay sex.

China Lover

China Lover, Ian Buruma

I recently read China Lover, by Ian Buruma. It is a fascinating historical fiction narrated by three men who are mesmerized by real life Japanese actress Yamaguchi Yoshiko: a Japanese cultural officer in Japanese occupied Manchuria, a US film writer in US occupied Japan, and a Japanese terrorist imprisoned in Lebanon. Buruma, a prolific author and Japan expert, provides a compelling history of twentieth century Japan, film and cross-cultural desires. The middle section is based on the life story of noted American expat and film scholar Donald Richie (see his Japan Journals: 1947-2004).