Jun 18

WIT Life #271: New York Japan Cinefest at Asia Society

WIT Life is a periodic series written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03).  She starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some of the interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

Last week I went to the 3rd annual New York Japan CineFest held at Asia Society.  It featured six short films ranging in length from 4-30 minutes, many of which had already received awards at other film festivals.  I attended with fellow JET alums, so it was fun to dissect the films together and relate them to our respective Japan adventures.  The event opened with The Misadventures of Incredible Dr. Wonderfoot, and directors Grier Dill and Brett Glass were on hand to offer an introduction.

In addition, two of the movie’s stars, Tsukasa Kondo and Tadashi Mitsui, also shared their experiences of making the film.  The former is actually one of the creators and stars of the web series Second Avenue, which follows two 20-something Japanese roommates in Brooklyn, an aspiring actress and a Japanese gay law student (played by Kondo).  The first season of six episodes (mostly in Japanese with subtitles) are really entertaining, especially for viewers who understand Kansai-ben.

It was fun to watch the quirky podiatrist Dr. Wonderfoot, but my personal favorite out of all the flicks (and audience award recipient) was one of the concluding films, Little Kyota Neon Hood (I also liked the final film Lil Tokyo Reporter that was based on the true story of L.A. Japanese-American community leader Sei Fujii).  This film takes place in Tohoku and features 10-year old Kyota who is suffering from PTSD after an earthquake in his area.  To protect himself from further disasters, he always wears a neon-colored hood (except for at home where his mother forbids it) and is constantly studying English so that he will be able to go abroad someday (a funny moment was when his mom flips through Kyota’s vocabulary cards and finds the word “seismic intensity”).  The story begins with the return of Kyota’s English teacher Tim from Scotland, who had left Japan after the earthquake.  Kyota wonders why Tim returned when “he was able to escape.”  They get to know each other outside of class, and Kyota thinks he has hatched the perfect plan by trying to get Tim to marry his mother and take them away to Scotland…

This Cinefest is always a diverse, enjoyable lineup, and this year was no exception.  Kudos to founder and friend Hiroshi Kono!

Comments are closed.

Page Rank