It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the movies…

…and truth be told, nothing that’s been released lately has managed to do much more than lightly pique my interest. Case in point: despite being something of a fan of Shinkai Makoto’s previous works, I never bothered to watch 君の名は。 even once in the three times that I visited Japan since it was released there in August 2016. (I did go so far as to look up cinema schedules for it on a free evening in Tōkyō, but didn’t follow through.)

Ah, but this particular film might have just enough appeal to break my long drought when it enters local cinemas next month. The visual aesthetic isn’t really my cup of tea, but the theme most certainly is, especially since I’m currently blogging about a long 2016 holiday in Japan that included Hiroshima.

Korean pop idol sings cover of “5 Centimetres Per Second” theme. Diego reminisces.

I’m not a K-pop fan, but I do watch Korean variety shows (1박 2일 for example) and I’ve become familiar with a few industry names through guest appearances on those programmes. Needless to say, I was rather amused to learn that Park Chanyeol – a chap I’d seen a couple of times on KBS network shows – recently belted out his own rendition of the 1997 song “One More Time, One More Chance”, which gained a new popularity ten years after its original release when it featured prominently in the 2007 Shinkai Makoto anime film 5 Centimetres Per Second.

It’s not half bad, actually, and as I was listening to the song my thoughts began to turn back towards that film and my reaction to its rather controversial ending. I’ve got the movie on Blu-ray and might give it a rewatch soon, if only to reminisce about the glory days of my anime fanhood – long since past, of course, although my enthusiasm for the medium remains.

(Hat tip to Soompi for the original news.)

I almost forgot this anime series once existed …

… but Nagato’s voice came ringing out of the darkness to remind me of what once was – and what might come to pass again.

Perhaps not a season 3, nor even another movie … but heck, 4,900 yen seems an awfully small price to pay for a welcome dose of nostalgia-inducing music.

お久しぶり, 長門さん.

Home is where the Titans are

26Mar15 023 Japan Kyushu Nagasaki Hashima Gunkanjima Battleship Island

As I was working on a post about my 2015 day trip to Gunkanjima, I remembered something that the guide shared in jest as we were gazing upon the sad remains of that abandoned mining colony. Not her exact words – probably very far from her exact words, in fact (I’m both translating and trying to recall a year-old anecdote) – but it was something to this effect:

They shot scenes for the Attack on Titan movie on this island. Of course, an old auntie like me wouldn’t know much about that sort of thing … it’s only cool young folk like her [gesturing to a younger guide] who are into that stuff!

Moral of the day: when part of a tour group, it sometimes pays to switch off the company-issued English audio guide now and then. You don’t know how old that canned recording is, and you never know when the live Japanese commentary might include a few juicy references to recent pop-culture phenomena. (^_^)

After years – YEARS – of searching…

Gintama Okita Eye Mask

…this pops up on the shelves of a Jump Shop within a short train ride of my Tōkyō hotel. Best 926 yen I’ve ever spent.

I’ve got you now, Hijikata. My eyes of doom will be upon you night and day, waiting for the right moment when I can smother you to death in your own mayonnaise.

I don’t care a whit about Love Live or Hanayo…

…but rice in a bottle? Sold!

No, seriously. Rice is only ever sold in bags where I come from, but a large plastic bottle seems like the perfect vessel for storing a batch of top-grade Uonuma Koshihikari. I can simply pour out as much as I need and cap off the rest. Easy peasy.

And I don’t give a hog’s bristle as to whose face they plaster over the label. I’m too busy ogling those perfect, beautifully formed grains inside to even notice.

Incidentally, I’ve tasted Uonuma Koshihikari a couple of times during my trips to Japan. Good quality, sure, and far better than the usual type I eat back home, but not all that different from regular Koshihikari. I wouldn’t bother paying a premium for it.

Okay, random lunatic spiel over. (What was I even talking about?) Good night.

New pictures of the refurbished EVA-themed 500-series bullet train

Kyodo News recently posted a video on YouTube with new exterior and interior shots of the EVA-themed 500-series shinkansen train that was announced back in July.

The Asahi Shimbun also has their own coverage here.

As I wrote in one of my previous posts, the 500 series is a rather old shinkansen model, but the new livery and refreshed interiors are a great way of giving this ageing train a new lease on life.

Anyway … less talk, more pictures. Hop over to those videos and learn more about this new – or old-made-new-again – high-speed train.