Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hanazakari no Kimitachi e

Maki Horikata - Mizuki Ashiya
Shun Oguri - Izumi Sano
Ikuta Toma - Shuichi Nakatsu
Too many others - Too many GREAT characters!

The live-action Japanese drama based on the manga by Hisaya Nakajo was AWESOME. I loved the entire cast. I was surprised by the up-staging of Sano (Shun Oguri) by Nakatsu (Ikuta Toma.) I don't know if it was just the acting (quite possibly) or if it was the actor or character. I absolutely loved Nakatsu. I found myself wanting Ashiya to choose Nakatsu instead of Sano. But, I'm getting ahead of myself - aren't I? I really aught to give you a run-down of the plot first, shouldn't I? Ok here goes. The story is about Ashyia Mizuki (Maki Horikata), a female American student who secretly enters an all-boys academy in Japan. The reason for her deception is to help the object of her affection/obsession/whatever return to participating in the high jump. The reason she feels the need to help him varies in all three different tellings of the story (the original manga form, the Taiwanese drama and the Japanese drama) but, nevertheless she goes all the way to Japan to help Izumi Sano (Shun Oguri) return to the competing in the high jump he once loved. Along the way, she befriends Nakatsu Shuichi (Ikuta Toma) and the rest of Ohsaka High School. The Japanese version of this show varied completely from the Taiwanese version, let alone the manga. I've enjoyed all three, but the Japense live-action was very passionate and fun. I laughed really hard at some of the parts, which was refreshing. I think the casting was really good for this show. Dr. Umeda was really great. He was attractive and cold, but compassionate towards Mizuki. The three main characters were wonderful. I still like Shun Oguri as Rui Hanazawa better though. My biggest issue was the casting of Kyo Nobuo as Masao Himejima (Oscar M. Himejima) He looked funny and WAY too old to be a high school student. Don't get me wrong, over time I came to love him, but in the manga he was such a pretty boy and Kyo Nobuo really isn't. One of the biggest differences I noticed was the ending. I don't know how the original story ends (in the manga) because the English version isn't done printing yet. (We're on volume 17 or 18 I think) But the Taiwanese version was left wide-open, while the Japnese version had a definite end. Not that they didn't leave room for a special or season two. It is a company based on ratings after all. But, if you are looking for a laugh and lots of passionate acting check out this drama. It's definitely worth the time to watch it.

Oh - did I mention the yummy factor? The amount of attractive young Japanese men in this show had me swooning like a school girl. If I had been on the set, I probably would have fainted.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Nerd Heaven

I watched a short film/documentary today. It was called Akihabara@Geeks. I loved it. Despite the fact that I had to watch it in English and listen to voice-overs for the Japanese people it featured. I loved it because as bad as my obsession seems to get with all things Asian, it will never get as desperately sad as some of the poor guys featured in this film. Don't get me wrong, I get the need to look for emotional satisfaction through alternative means when friends are few and hope for finding that "perfect someone" are dismal. But, these guys need to get a life. One of the main people featured was OBSESSED with cute anime girls. Kawaii-bishoujo. He spends money that he needs for food on things he really has no use for or needs, replacing his faith in God with pictures of cutely drawn 2-D people. The other people in the film have a little more to their lives, but they spend about 85-90% of their lives in the little town of Akihabara. I will most definitely be making a visit to Akihabara when I finally make it to Japan. I love anime. I love gadgets and tech-related things. I most of all want to visit a maid cafe and converse with the women who make their living dressed in sickeningly-sweet maid outfits and serve food and drinks guaranteed to make diabetics shake in their boots at the mere thought of them. I laughed at first at the seriousness of these men (because the only women featured, were the maids and they really didn't have such an unhealthy obsession with things as the men in this particular film did.) and their obsessions. Then I thought more seriously about the damage they are doing to themselves and their already lacking social skills. One of the men managed to get married - but not until he was 35. His wife doesn't take any interest in his passion and amicably bows to her husband as he continues his nitro-computer building. I think that there is a lot more to learn about the people who frequent this small niche-dependent part of Japan, so my final opinion is reserved for later scrutiny. But, if you haven't yet seen this film, check it out. I rented it from Netflix, so it shouldn't be too terribly difficult to find.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm back! (With a story)

My computer might have died for a bit, but I'm back! Sorry if you happen to read this on a regular basis. . . Here's an interesting tid-bit. A person mowing their lawn in Japan happened to see a few katydids hustle for the bushes while they were mowing. Little did she know - the rascals were special! Usually katydids are green or brown, these little fellows are psychedelic! The science-folk seem to think that they are an albino and extreme-version of the brown-type katydid. Now, with all three colors together don't they look neat?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Real-life Coffee Prince

If I'm hitting my target audience, chances are, you've heard of the MBC hit Coffee Prince. It seems the trend has moved from Japan, to this show, which features attractive men serving a mostly female clientèle. This is not only in the host-clubs I've previously told you about, but there are small cafe's all over Japan that each have a different theme, or play to the attractiveness of their servers. It seems that with the plot of the Korean drama Coffee Prince, they've managed to get this idea to the general public of Korea. So, now stores are opening up over the country. One such restaurant is called "Walking Slowly" and features current models of the company Modelline.

Aren't they cute? I want to go! Unfortunately, this kind of blatant ogling of people tends to fall into the politically incorrect area of our country, so we'll never see interesting shops like this in the States. Guess I'll just have to travel abroad!

Korean Chicken Invades America!

Just kidding. There seems to be a recent trend starting in the greater New York area: Korean-style fried chicken. Yum! According to the article the current stores are ready to target a broader audience that includes Hispanic, African Americans and Caucasians rather than just Korean-Americans. Hopefully one will pop up in my area!