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28 June 2007

"The Guardian" Remake of Japanese film?

I bought a DVD of the film "The Guardian" starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher. The story of rescue swimmers of US Coast Guard.

It has been rumored that the film was actually remake of Japanese Coast Guard film "Umizaru (Sea Monkeys)" released in 2004. It was a popular movie and sequel was released later year. Indeed there are some scenes overlapped. The first scene of light seen from the blue water. Loss of lives, severe school training, girl hunt and friendship among school boys.

But overall the stories are quite different. In fact, American version was much better, dramatic and dynamic. Keven Costner did great act. He played a role of an instructor for prospective swimmers. I was really moved by the character he played. I never realized such a crazily brave job exists in this world until I saw this movie. Oorah! The movie never let me go.

I wish the movie producers will make sequel for this film. This time, remake Japanese sequel "Umizaru 2."

The story is like this. Jake, played by Ashton was stationed in Florida base. His fiance, Emily was on board of the ship sailing to Miami. She was with her mother and mother's fiance who was the owner of the ship. But the ship got an accident and started to sink. Most of the passengers evacuated from the ship helped by USCG crews. Jake and his friend, Hodge were part of the team.

Emily, her mother and the owner were stuck in the bottom of the ship. Jake tried to rescue them but the ship was rapidly sinking and great amount of water poured into the room they were in. The owner was so shocked with the situation and said "I am bankrupt. My ship now became Poseidon." Jake tried to cheered them up to make it through to the deck. But Jake aparted from Emily and Hodge. Then he and Emily's mother and the owner got trapped in the deep water. They had no way to get out. They almost gave up but at that moment, the Guardian appeared and guide them to where they can breathe. The Guardian was a legendary man who looks like an actor in the movies like "Field of Dreams" and "Dances with Wolves."  

22 June 2007

What is good about living in Tokyo?

I have been living in Tokyo, Japan's capital, world's biggest urban area, for more than 7 years.

 I feel like I was born and grew up here.  Actually I was not born and did not grow up in Tokyo.

Where I was born and grew up was a devastated city, where no culture exists. I hate my hometown.

I used to live in some other cities. One of them is San Francisco. I went to the university there.

It was a pretty city but small and not so exciting.

Tokyo is much bigger. There are some advantages of living in Tokyo, which I like to mention.

 1. Very big, varous towns, beautiful places, facilities, and exciting events in one city. You never get bored. If you are alone and bored, you can easily find some places to go to have fun even if you don't have so much money. Just walking on the street is fun.

2. For me, English speaking person, there are a lot of opportunities. Tokyo always needs English speaking workers like me because it has many, many international firms.

3. Very, very sophisticated people, such as journalists, artists, and other intellectuals. I could come to a concert of big artist like Billy Joel. As you know, this is capital of Japan, you can meet influential politicians, too.

4. Many, many foreigners, every day, actually every hour I can easily pass by foreigners. I can encounter different cultures. As I recall, I've met or worked with Koreans, Chinese, Thais, Indians, Brazilians, Russians, Turkeys, Iraqi, Arabs, French, Canadians, Britons, and of course Americans. Some are good but some are not. But I like them.  

I love Tokyo. I've decided to live here for the rest of my life. I will die here.

 Come visit Tokyo! You can meet wonderful people and see beautiful places.

23:30 Posted in Tokyo Life | Permalink | Comments (1) | Tags: Tokyo, Japan

10 June 2007

Paris Hilton and other Americans

I just know the news Paris Hilton was ordered to return to the jail.

She was once released after her 3 days of imprisonment because of her medical condition. There was enormous criticism that she could have been released because of her fame and family's wealth.

This incident and Paris Hilton herself represent what is going on in America.

In Japan, a book "Cho-kakusa-shakai America no shinjitsu (Super Class society, The truth of America)" was published. It was written by Japanese economist, Yumi Kobayashi. She contends there are 4 distinctive classes in America.

The first is High-Society that Paris Hilton belongs to. In this class you have nothing to worry about. They are ruling class and their assets are secured. They control economy, politics and media. Even their offsprings do not have to worry. It is like middle-age European aristocracy.

The second is professional rich like IT tycoons such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. They are smart and succeeded what they want by their talents. They seem to represent "American Dream."

But there are two other classes that are left behind and growing.

One is poor class and the other is dropped-out. The middle-class is shrinking.

They are so poor that they cannot even get an opportunity to succeed. They grow up in families that cannot afford to send them to proper schools. Higher education costs so much money. Yes, US schools usually provide scholarships. But in order to be awarded scholarships, students have to have certain level of education. The schools they come to simply cannot provide that.

America used to be called "land of opportunity" where no matter how poor you are born, you all have opportunity to go to higher class. But the things have changed now.

But why that happened is easily explained. First America's system of wealth distribution had not been changed drastically since the Civil War. For example, our country, Japan's wealth distribution system was drastically changed by the war that ended in 1945. Japan was forced to redistribute the wealth by new authorities which was controlled by US occupied force. Ruling class of pre-war era lost so much fortune. Such things never happened unless the country experience the war or revolution.

Also, America's middle-class wealthy life-style that was appearent in 1950's and 60's was in fact supported by the fact that the world wealth was concentrated in America until those days. Other countries suffered from the loss of the war. Enormous amount of wealth was poured into Americans so that most of Americans could receive high standard of living.

After recovery of those nations, America was no longer the only key player for the world economy. Naturally in free market society, winner grow and losers shrink. The gap between the two is getting bigger and bigger. The result is now. Only top 5% occupy 60% of the wealth. 45 million people don't have medical insurance. 31 million are in hunger.

Maybe we should rethink about America's economical system and its value.

I do not care Paris Hilton goes to jail or not. But I am dissappointed to know that a girl who just happened to be born in a very rich family is spotlighted so much. She is treated like feudal society's princess.  

06 June 2007

Japan's crazily advanced gay movement

Can you believe this is happening in our country? Most conservative among advanced nations.

The couple is not just lesbians that you can normally see in SOHO in NY or Castro Street in San Francisco.



A woman on the left is Ms. Kanako Otsuji, former member of Osaka prefectural assembly. Now she is running in upcoming nationwide election campaign as candidate for the second largest political party, Democratic Party of Japan.

 She came out as lesbian two years ago while she was a member of the assembly.

 On this wedding she received the congratulatory message from the party leader, Ichiro Ozawa, known as conservative type of politician. Wow, what is happening in Japan?

 Well, as I wrote on this blog, our society used to be very open-minded to gays. We were very free sex nation.

But since westerners came in late 19th century, our view of sexuality has drastically changed.

We may be moving backward.