Author Archive

Apr
27

Watch these movies or else

Posted by on Thursday, 27 April, 2006

cinema
As you know, my great passion in life is movies, and browsing through the Internet today I found Jim Emerson’s list of 102 movies you must see before… you can be called movie-literate. (via Kottke)

This isn’t like Roger Ebert’s “Great Movies” series. It’s not my idea of The Best Movies Ever Made (that would be a different list, though there’s some overlap here), or that they were my favorites or the most important or influential films, but that they were the movies you just kind of figure everybody ought to have seen in order to have any sort of informed discussion about movies. They’re what I like to think of as the common cultural currency of our time, the basic cinematic texts that everyone should know, at minimum, to be somewhat “movie-literate.” I hope I can assume these movies are experiences we can all assume we share.

And, as Jason Kottke did, I will republish the list here, with the ones I’ve seen, marked with an asterisk:

* 2001: A Space Odyssey
The 400 Blows
* 8 1/2
Aguirre, the Wrath of God
* Alien
All About Eve
* Annie Hall
* Apocalypse Now
* Bambi
The Battleship Potemkin
The Best Years of Our Lives
The Big Red One
The Bicycle Thief
The Big Sleep
* Blade Runner
* Blowup
* Blue Velvet
* Bonnie and Clyde
Breathless
Bringing Up Baby
*Carrie
* Casablanca
Un Chien Andalou
Children of Paradise / Les Enfants du Paradis
Chinatown
* Citizen Kane
* A Clockwork Orange
* The Crying Game
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Days of Heaven
* Dirty Harry
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
* Do the Right Thing
La Dolce Vita
Double Indemnity
* Dr. Strangelove
* Duck Soup
* E.T. — The Extra-Terrestrial
* Easy Rider
* The Empire Strikes Back
* The Exorcist
* Fargo
* Fight Club
* Frankenstein
The General
* The Godfather, The Godfather, Part II
* Gone With the Wind
* GoodFellas
* The Graduate
* Halloween
A Hard Day’s Night
Intolerance
It’s a Gift
* It’s a Wonderful Life
* Jaws
The Lady Eve
* Lawrence of Arabia
M
* Mad Max 2 / The Road Warrior
The Maltese Falcon
The Manchurian Candidate
Metropolis
* Modern Times
* Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Nashville
The Night of the Hunter
* Night of the Living Dead
* North by Northwest
Nosferatu
On the Waterfront
* Once Upon a Time in the West
Out of the Past
* Persona
Pink Flamingos
* Psycho
* Pulp Fiction
Rashomon
* Rear Window
Rebel Without a Cause
Red River
Repulsion
The Rules of the Game
Scarface
The Scarlet Empress
* Schindler’s List
The Searchers
* The Seven Samurai
* Singin’ in the Rain
Some Like It Hot
A Star Is Born
A Streetcar Named Desire
Sunset Boulevard
* Taxi Driver
The Third Man
Tokyo Story
Touch of Evil
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Trouble in Paradise
* Vertigo
West Side Story
The Wild Bunch
* The Wizard of Oz

50 out of 102. Not bad, but definately far from good! Better get started right way!

Apr
21

Previewing IKEA in Funabashi Japan

Posted by on Friday, 21 April, 2006

IKEA Funabashi
Last night was Pre-Opening night at the new IKEA which is set to open officially on Monday the 24th of April in Funabashi, slightly east of Tokyo. A select number of specially invited people (all IKEA employees were allowed to invite a few people each to this event) got the opportunity to browse through (and use) the store before the big crowds hit next week. I predict massive lines on opening day and it will probably continue to be crowded for at least two months. The store is located right next to Minami Funabashi station on the JR Keio/Musashino Line; so even for people going by train it’s very accessible (except that it’s a darn long walk at Tokyo station).

It was an interesting feeling to walk through IKEA last night; partly because it was near-empty, partly because it was in Japan! It felt like Sweden inside, but then there was just something different about it which is hard to put your finger on. All in all, the first IKEA here in Japan seems like a hit. It’s the world’s biggest IKEA as far as I’ve been told, with a huge restaurant with over 700 seats. Outside the main cash registers, they have a special Sweden store selling Swedish food and snacks!

We hit the restaurant first, to see if the quality of the food holds up against “Swedish” IKEA standards – which it did! The meatballs were excellent:
Yummie

Finally, a couple more pics I shot with my phone:

IKEA showroom
IKEA snakes!

Apr
14

Adventures in Tokyo rush hour

Posted by on Friday, 14 April, 2006

My fellow passengers
The last two mornings have been like a visit to commuter hell. Actually, yesterday was not that bad, but today’s train ride was every bit as fun as being dragged by wild horses and chased by an angry Irish mob (no offence to any Irish people) at the same time. When I came down to the platform all I could see was an endless sea of people. It was almost impossible to even reach the platform, because the lines reached up the stairs from the ticket gates. Apparently there had been some delays during the morning, and finally the trains started running again. People were cramming themselves into the stillstanding train like it was the train to everlasting happiness, but thankfully, finally people realized that there was another train coming in about three minutes so they stood back and waited. Let me tell you, there has to be a very very special reason for a Japanese person NOT to board a train in the morning rush hour. The minute or two gained from squeezing onto an earlier train rather than waiting for the next one is enough to make everyone try it. It’s ridiculous, because the train will be delayed because people are trying to squeeze onto the train. If people knew when to stop boarding, then the train would leave quicker. As it is now, people who start off cramming themselves onto a train to gain three minutes, end up gaining one minute at the most!

Anyway, back to this morning’s adventure. I had to let two trains pass without even considering boarding, because the whole platform and the oncoming train were full. When the third train came, I was hesitant to board even that one; but it was decided for me! I was pushed in by the sheer force of people trying to board the train from behind me! It was out of my control and I ended up stuck in an awkward sardine position in the middle of the train car. Let me tell you, if you are a latent claustrophobic, do not ever try to ride the trains or subways in Tokyo rush hour!

Well, after I had been pushed on to the train by my fellow passengers, the train took off at a veeeery slow pace. You see people were lining up so close to the edge of the platfrom that the train could not move nearly at top speed until all cars had passed the whole platform. Wonderful – it’s a vicious circle this extreme stress to get on the next train – the more people stress to get on, the more delays it causes, and the more people line up and the train gets more crowded, and delayed etc. Thankfully, I only have to ride this crowded train for two stops, then I can change trains to one that is (mostly) less crowded. But I have to get past one station first, and today I knew that was going to be quite a task as well. First the train slowed down to crawling speed again, and then stopped at the station. Then I almost fell out of the car as people further inside the train wanted to get out. The problem was that there was hardly any space on the platform for people in the train that were temporarily stepping out to let people pass, to stand on, because it was all taken up by people pressing to get on the train! The stop at this stop ended without serious incidents though, and the train took off again. Finally, after an agonizing 10 minutes in the train I reached my transit station and could leave the train line from hell behind me!

All in all, my trip to work this morning took about 30 minutes longer than usual, which in itself wouldn’t have been a problem if it weren’t for the fact that I was as comfortable as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

Apr
10

Ikebukuro is the new Akihabara

Posted by on Monday, 10 April, 2006

Otome Road
…at least,that is, in otaku-terms. The latest mecca for Manga/Anmie-geeks seem to be Ikebukuro. The special thing about it though, is that it has grown in popularity as sort of an opposite to Akihabara, in that it tailors mostly to girl fans. There’s especially one street, labelled “Otome Road” (乙女ロード) which means something like “Virgin Street” (on the west side of the station, close to the Sunshine Bldg area) which is the main place to go in Ikebukuro with lots of manga-shops and costume stores.

See map below (Otome Road is marked in pink):
otome street ikebukuro

Further, it seems that the latest “hot” thing in this area of town is women-only gay-themed restaurant/bars. Some of these places have only women staff, dressed up as men and they only allow women as guests. Then they talk dirty to the guests to cater to any inner lesbian fantasies they might harbor. Yes, I found it sort of strange when I saw a show about such places on TV, but it is the latest rage within the female otaku community.

Apr
07

Things I am ridiculously excited about

Posted by on Friday, 7 April, 2006

I yet again have to apologize for my inactivity lately – but it has been a hellish two weeks at work, and I have not been able to set off even a few minutes during the day (or even my lunch hour) to write anything. I have a few posts in the pipeline (i.e. in my aching head) which are due out within a few days, but in the meantime I’d like to share some links to great stuff I’ve read about recently and I can say I am ridiculously excited about!

  • ‘Crazy’ by Gnarls Barkely, i.e. the Cee-lo/Danger Mouse cooperation which recently reached No.1 in the UK, the first ever Internet-only single to do so. I fell in love with the song instantly. It’s a smooth, catchy pop/dance number and Cee-Lo’s smooth voice adds just enough R&B flavor to it to make it friggin close to perfect. Best song of the year, so far! (via: Waxy.org)
  • Apple’s Bootcamp which is a dual-boot utility for the new Intel-based Macs. In short it enables you to install Windows on your (Intel-) Mac. This piece of news really surprised me, but it’s so great! Now finally, after many many years, I actually feel that buying a Mac is a viable option again. I like Mac OS X, but I do have software & games that requires Windows, so buying a Mac has never before entered my mind. When there are stationary Intel macs released (later this year?) I shall take them into serious consideration.