Archive for October, 2008

Tokyo International Film Festival

The 21st Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) runs this year from October 18 to the 26th, with a greener-than-Kermit theme. Not only is the traditional red carpet being replaced by a green carpet made from recycled bottles (don’t ask me how), an all-around emphasis on the environment will be highlighted in the film selection, according to Japan Today.

Films that deal with ecology, co-existence between man and nature, and preservation of the earth’s environment will be competing for a brand new award, the Toyota Earth Grand Prix.

Opening night of the festival kicks off with John Woo’s $80 million historical Chinese war epic Red Cliff, starring Tony Leung. Red Cliff is the most expensive Asian movie ever made, and it broke box office records in China when it opened there this July. A sequel is already set for release in January 2009.

Actor Tony Leung has great range. He broke my heart in the subtle romantic film In the Mood For Love at the Palm Springs International Film Festival a few years ago, but he’s equally at home in the thrilling Infernal Affairs trilogy, which was the basis for the Academy Award-winning Leonardo DiCaprio film The Departed.

Director John Woo is best known Stateside for the silly action flick Face/Off starring John Travolta and Nicolas Cage.

TIFF’s closing night will end with a screening of WALL-E, about the little trash compactor who could. It was one of my faves this year, though I thought the first half of the movie was much stronger than the second half.

Altogether, 300 films from 73 countries will be shown at the fest.

Sarah S.

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October 7, 2008 at 9:44 am Leave a comment

Sleep at a Capsule Hotel!

Ever thought about spending a night in a coffin? That’s what most people imagine a ‘capsule’ hotel to be like. Cramped living quarters. Loud-snoring men. Communal baths. None of my friends who’d stayed ever had a particularly good review. “It’s… an experience,” they’d say. Yet, for my most recent trip to Tokyo I found myself intrigued by the idea of sleeping in a room no bigger than myself. At less than $40 a night it’s the most affordable means of getting a good night’s sleep.

Akihabara’s Capsule Inn is just a 5-minute walk from the station. Once you’re checked-in, they give you a wristband strapped with two keys: one that will open your personal locker a la Jr. High gym class, and one that will open the room which houses the capsules. It’s a well-planned facility with women lodged on the top three floors and men relegated to the lower five levels. If you catch a man in the upper levels you know he’s up to no good.

The capsules themselves have no doors. I assumed there was a translucent air-tight hatch, so for the longest time I stood in front of my bunk trying to find the lever to open it. After realizing I could just jump in, I spotted some wood blinds to pull down for privacy. Inside, it’s surprisingly roomy — with at least 5 inches of space above my head when sitting upright (though I’m tiny). You also get a built-in TV and radio for those restless, jet-lagged nights.

The communal bathroom and shower facilities were well-kept and equipped with all the fun stuff like shampoo, soap, combs and hair dryers. And while you’re waiting in line you can surf the net, free of charge.

Of course, there’s no extra frills like a continental breakfast or a mint on your pillow. And there’s slight inconveniences like having to leave big luggage down in the lobby at all times, and having to leave the premises by 10 am even if you’re staying another night. But for $40, I’d say it’s worth it. With all the money saved, I can spend more on cool gadgets, ramen and massages. Longer lasting than a panoramic view of Tokyo, wouldn’t you say? \(^D^)/

Himawari

—————————————————————————
Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
JPBizDirect, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more
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October 3, 2008 at 8:41 am 3 comments

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