26 February 2014

Cutie and the Boxer | キューティー&ボクサー

Director: Zachary Heinzerling
Writer: Zachary Heinzerling
Stars: Ushio Shinohara, Noriko Shinohara, Alex Shinohara

This fascinating documentary film about a Japanese contemporary artist Ushio Shinohara (Gyu-chan) in New York and his wife Noriko who is also an artist, and their marriage life for over 40 years was broadcasted on BBC4 about 10 days ago. It may be one of the most romantic film I've seen recently. The film was so powerful that it still sticks in my head.

When Noriko was 19, she went to New York, met Gyu-chan who was much older than her, and fell in love with him. They got married and had a son. But Gyu-chan's first and only priority was art. He couldn't sell his works and drank a lot. She had no choice but played roles as a wife, a mother, and an assistant. It was difficult for her to find the time for her own art. Gradually, she found a way to express herself by drawing their marriage life through the characters Cutie and Bully that reflect her and her husband.

Oh dear, Gyu-chan is a typical Peter Pan! Yes he's an interesting artist, but as a partner to make living together...??? I'm surprised that their marriage has survived so long.  Perhaps it's because there is a strong bond between them as artists..

My favourite scene is where Gyu-chan went off to Japan even though they didn't have enough money. Noriko saw him off with a lot of complaints, but when he got back, she dashed to the front door. She loves him so much, doesn't she!

In this film, the story was told from Noriko's viewpoint. I'm also interested to hear the story from Gyu-chan's point of view.


やがて 乃り子さんは、自分たちを投影したキューティとブリーというキャラクターをとおして結婚生活をドローイングで描く、という自身のアートを見つけます。




19 February 2014

Wating for the sun.. | 太陽を待ちわびて。。

The sun came out last Sunday after how long I can't remember! I popped out for a short walk into the woods.

日曜日、いつぶりだか思い出せないくらい久しぶりに太陽が顔を出しました! ちょっくら森へお散歩に出かけましたよ。

A lake appeared in the field after so much rain over last two months.

Slowly but steady. Spring is on its way.

The flowers have started to bloom in our garden.


Snow drops

Crocuses. A lot of them!

We've had so much rain this winter (too much!). I just hope that the areas affected by flooding go back to normal as soon as possible..


East Side Stories | 日本映画三昧

Earlier this month, there was an annual Japanese cinema event called "East Side Stories, Japanese Cinema Depicting the Lives of Youth" organized by the Japan Foundation.

When I started living in the UK 8 years ago, the only Japanese films I could see in the cinema were classics such as Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, Ozu, etc (and I took the opportunities to discover those masterpieces). But now there are more chances to see contemporary Japanese films to ease my homesickness.

This time 11 films showed at the ICA. Unfortunately the dates overlapped with my Paris trip, but I managed to see two of them.

今月の頭に、ジャパン・ファンデーション主催の日本映画上映イベント「East Side Stories, Japanese Cinema Depicting the Lives of Youth」がありました。


今回はロンドンの映画館 ICA で 11 本も上映されたわけですが、残念ながら期間がパリ旅行とほぼ被っておりました。。でも、なんとか2本観てきましたよー。

Otakus in Love | 恋の門
Director: Matsuo Suzuki
Writer: Matsuo Suzuki
Stars: Matsuda Ryuhei, Sakai Wakana, Matsuo Suzuki

This comedy film pays homage to Japanese Otaku culture. 

The main character Mon (Matsuda Ryuhei) meets a cute girl Koino (Sakai Wakana) who turns out to be very into manga and dressing like a manga character. It was interesting that even though Mon himself was quite a geek (he creates "art" from stones which nobody understood), he was the one who gave us our viewpoint toward the Otaku world (his role was not unlike John Watson in "Sherlock").

It was raher a long film (114 min) but I just kept laughing throughout. The film itself was a bit like a comic so it could have been too cheesy if the direction had gone wrong (but it was spot-on!).


松田龍平演じる主人公、門は、酒井若菜演じるかわいらしい女の子、恋乃と知り合うわけですが、彼女、筋金入りのオタクなのです。 門自身もキャラが濃い(石で "芸術" 漫画を製作するも、誰にも理解されず。。)にも関わらず、観客が濃ゆいオタク世界に対する視点を門と共有するようになってるのが面白い。


Capturing Dad | チチを撮りに
Director: Nakano Ryota
Writer: Nakano Ryota
Stars: Watanabe Makiko, Yanagi Erisa, Matsubara Nanoka

This film is also a comedy and about two young sisters who live with their mum. Their dad left them for another woman 14 years ago and they haven't seen him since.

One day, there was a phone call from their uncle telling them that their dad was in his death bed. Their mum asked them to see him and take a picture of him. But when they arrived at his town, he'd already passed away and their half brother was waiting for them...

The actresses played these sisters in a very natural and low- key way. The film almost felt like a documentary.

 I loved the quirky ending!





12 February 2014

Paris in winter 2 | 冬のパリへ②

Another highlight of this trip was beautiful food! We visited some lovely restaurants...


The first one is a Cambodian restaurant in Oberkampf. I had lunch with a friend of mine C who'd just started her new life in Paris. The restaurant is very tiny and you have to squeeze yourself into a seat, but very cozy and the staff are very friendly and helpful (they even have a Japanese menu!)


Bobun with fresh prawns and crunchy spring rolls.

Natin, recommended by a waitress. I loved it! A perfect harmony of coconut milk, herbs, and spices..

I love French cuisine but it's always good to know about Asian restaurants so that I can give my stomach some rest :-)


Le Cambodge
10 Avenue Richerand, 75010 Paris
Tel +33 1 44 84 37 70


Of course we went to a French restaurant as well. Chez Janou is a Provençal bistro and our favourite.

もちろん、フランス料理もいただきましたよ。こちらの Chez Janou は、プロヴァンス料理を楽しめるビストロ。わたし達のお気に入りです。

Always busy and lively.

I had rabbit confit. Pink pepper was a nice touch.

If you have a chance to go to this restaurant, don't forget to order chocolate mousse for dessert ;-)


Chez Janou
2 Rue Roger Verlomme, 75003 Paris, France
Tel +33 1 42 72 28 41

We were walking down to the falafel place in le Marais when we found this American style deli and decided to eat there instead. 


Pastrami sandwich. Gigantic! Unique-cut chips were moreish.

Although I enjoyed my sandwich, it was far too big and I felt guilty as I had to leave most of it. So I would recommend this restaurant if you are veeeeeery hungry!

サンドイッチ、美味しかったのですが、とにかく大き過ぎ。ほとんど残すことになって、少々後味悪かったです。どうにも腹ペコ!というときに 行くべきレストランですね、ここは!

Schwartz's Deli
16 rue des Ecouffes, 75004 Paris
Tel +33 1 48 87 31 29

C and her partner N took us to this fantastic Moroccan restaurant in the south of Paris. It's a very pleasant little place with authentic food. Another good thing about this restaurant is that you can bring your own bottle(s) of wine without corkage. I'll definitely go back!


Le Tagine
10 Rue Sophie Germain 75014 Paris
Tel +33 1 43 27 56 49

Paris in winter 1 | 冬のパリへ①

My husband and I spent 5 days in Paris last week. It's amazing that after only a 2-hour train journey from London, you have a completely different world!

We visited quite a lot of exhibitions there. Here are some highlights:

先週、ツレアイと5日ほど冬のパリへ行ってきました。 しかし、ロンドンから2時間電車に乗るだけで、全然違う世界が広がってるって、なんだかスゴイ。


 18/09/13 - 09/02/14

The first exhibition was about Etruscan art. I didn't know much about the Etruscans but after seeing this fantastic exhibition, I became a big fan of their art and design.


Look at those content expressions! They seem to have reached Nirvana..

Snufkin from Moomins?

A sculpture by Giacometti?

From their art, I got the feeling that they had a relaxed enjoyable life. A bit like Pompei, perhaps?


Joan Fontcuberta/Camouflages
15/01/14 - 16/03/14

 This is our favourite gallery in Paris. We see exhibitions there every time we go to Paris and are seldom disappointed.

This exhibition was so much fun. A Catalan artist Joan Fontcuberta creates fake events with photos, videos, documents, etc. For example, he shows the life of an astronaut from USSR with a lot of pictures, news footage, and even some his childhood drawings, all of which are fake but very convincing. If I hadn't been told that the artist invented this astronaut, I would have believed he was real. So what is reality??

Maison Européenne de la Photographie は、わたし達お気に入りの写真ギャラリー。パリに行くたびに行ってますが、未だハズレなしです。

さて、今回観たのは、カタルーニャ出身のアーティスト Joan Fontcuberta。これがねー、めちゃめちゃ楽しいのですよ。写真、ビデオ、書類、なんかを使って架空の出来事を見せていく趣向になっていて、たとえば、旧ソ連出身の宇宙飛行士の人生が、たくさんの写真、ニュース映像、はては彼が子供時代に描いた絵なんかで紹介されるわけです。全部偽物なのですが、すごいリアル。何も知らなかったら、本当にこういう宇宙飛行士がいたんだー、と思っちゃう。真実、って何だろう?と考えさせられる展覧会でした。

Le Surréalisme et l'objet
30/10/13 - 03/03/14

This exhibition explores the era in which the Surrealism movement was at its height and also shows some of contemporary "Surreal" works. It was very interesting to see how those Surrealists exhibited their works back then. There was some footage of the exhibitions and you can see that people were shocked by what they saw!

By the way, the next exhibition at Pompidou is one of my favourite photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson. Aghhhh, I wish I could see it!

シュルレアリスム運動が一番盛り上がっていた時代をドドンと紹介する展覧会。現代作家の "シュールな" 作品も少し並んでました。当時のシュルレアリスム展の様子が再現されていて、今見ても斬新。ビデオもあって、作品を見たお客さんが口をあんぐり、という映像がおかしかったです。さぞ、衝撃的だったんでしょうねー。