Film Season: Kurosawa’s Samurai Films

 

Film Season: Samurai! …The Code According To Kurosawa

When: Saturday 5 – Monday 27 May

Where: The Star And Shadow Cinema (Directions)

Mifune-Kurosawa

Mifune and Kurosawa relax away from the set

Website: http://www.starandshadow.org.uk/on/season/147

 

Films:

The Seven Samurai (1954) – Sun 5 May 2013, 7:30 p.m.

Yojimbo (1961) – Sun 12 May 2013, 7:30 p.m.

Sanjuro (1962) – Sun 19 May 2013, 7:30 p.m.

The Hidden Fortress (1958) – Sun 26 May 2013, 7:30 p.m.

 

The shadow of Akira Kurosawa looms large over the wider landscape of Japanese cinema. Much in the same way that Alfred Hitchcock  will always be looked back upon as a master craftsman of suspense, Kurosawa will always be regarded as a master craftsman of the Samurai film, and although he was by no means limited only to that genre it’s certainly what he is best remembered for.

The Star and Shadow celebrates this with four of his greatest films which he made featuring his long time associate Toshiro Mifune, who Kurosawa once said the following about “I am proud of nothing I have done other than with him“. After 15 films working together the pair parted ways because of an argument stemming from the financial peril that Kurosawa’s (1965) film Red Beard was putting Mifune’s production company into. After some very public negative statements about one another the pair would not reconcile until meeting each other at a mutual friends funeral in 1993, however they would never work again and both passed away within a year of the meeting. A sad end to a story of two unbelievable talents rise to success, but you can celebrate their glory years working together onscreen on beautiful 35mm prints(!!!).

 

“A season of films celebrating the collaboration of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune.

As digital technology surplants celluloid, this is your last chance to see these classic films of world cinema on 35mm.

Samurai !  the word litterally means, ” Those who serve .”   Their code an ancient and unsparing unswerving allegiance to a single master, loyalty integrity and personal honour.

Their lives are dedicated to a constant honing of martial skills, and “The way of the Samurai is found in death.” – Star & Shadow

 

 

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Music: FACT

***This Event Has Now Passed***

 

Band: FACT (Supporting ‘Your Demise’)

When: Wednesday 20 February – 6.30pm Doors

 Where: Newcastle O2 Academy (Directions)

Price: £11.25 ( Buy Tickets Here)

Website: http://www.o2academynewcastle.co.uk/event/46815/your-demise-tickets

Other Support: ‘Heights’& ‘Counterparts’

 

The masked Japanese punk rock six piece return to the UK as part of their ’FACT World Tour 『burundanga』2012-2013′. Formed in 1999 FACT has gone on to great success in the Japanese punk scene and fresh on the heels of both gaining a new member (Adam on guitar, who is British) and releasing their 4th album the band are ready to hit the UK once again for the first time since 2010.

Exhibition – Tsunami: Archaeology of a Disaster

***This Event Has Now Passed***

 

Event:  Tsunami: Archaeology of a Disaster (Photography Exhibition)

When: Now – Saturday 16 March. Gallery Open Tue – Sat, 11am – 5pm (Thurs until 7pm)

Where: Side Gallery (Directions)

Website: http://www.amber-online.com/sections/side-gallery/pages/current-exhibition

Price: Free

A new exhibition of work from Photographer Dean Chapman documenting the aftermath of the 2011 Tsunami in Japan. This ongoing event is free and highly recommended.

“On Friday 11th March 2011, as the end of the working week moved to its close, many people in Japan would have been looking forward to a late winter’s weekend. Then, at 2:46 in the afternoon, a colossal earthquake struck deep beneath the Pacific Ocean some 45 miles off of Japan’s northeast coast. Tsunami sirens wailed along the length of Japan’s eastern seaboard and local announcements repeatedly implored people to flee to higher ground: it wasn’t an exercise and that a “major tsunami”, was heading their way. It is reckoned the first tsunami reached the coast some 26 minutes later. Within an hour thousands had drowned, towns and cities had been destroyed, and a major nuclear accident was unfolding.

Three months after the catastrophe, Dean Chapman traveled down the northeast coast of Honshu, Japan’s main island, photographing devastated communities that he had previously documented in the summer of 1999. This journey was repeated in the autumn of 2011. Then in the autumn of 2012, eighteen months after the disaster, Dean traveled north through the devastated region, again documenting the widespread damage and loss, as well as the slow methodical clean-up, and the beginnings of the reconstruction of infrastructure, communities and businesses. The documentation concentrates on the ‘Sanriku’ coast of Honshu, from Ishinomaki to Taro, and does not cover Fukushima.

The downstairs component of the exhibition will feature monochrome photographs of locations ‘before and after’ the tsunami, that are complemented by single and multi-print images of locations, objects and people. Consisting of colour images, the upstairs component of the exhibition will extend the narrative; featuring landscape, interior and portrait photographs, as well as images of fragments of everyday lives, and copy photographs of unclaimed snapshots slowly dissolving because of exposure to the elements. The exhibition seeks to examine the representation of catastrophe and loss, and perceptions of ‘the Japanese’ and their unique cultural heritage. The photographer’s travel map will also be on display in the upstairs space.

Dean Chapman is an award-winning photographer who has work extensively in Asia for over twenty years, and is the winner of the 1998 European Publishers’ Award for Photography for his documentation of the Karenni insurgency in Burma. Based in Newcastle and represented by Panos Pictures Agency in London, his photographs have been exhibited internationally and widely published. He has photographed in Japan periodically since 1993.” – Side Gallery

Film: Jiro Dreams Of Sushi

***This event has now passed***

Film: Jiro Dreams Of Sushi

When: Monday 11 & Thursday 14 February, Time TBC

Where: The Tyneside Cinema (Directions)

Website: https://www.tynesidecinema.co.uk/whats-on/films/view/jiro-dreams-of-sushi

 

Finally the Tribecca selected documentary comes to Newcastle! We’ve been hearing buzz about how great this documentary is for a while now and if it’s Rotten Tomatoes score (99%) is anything to go by we are in for a real treat!

“85 year-old Jiro Ono, is considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a ten-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious 3 star Michelin review, and sushi lovers from around the globe make repeated pilgrimage, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro’s sushi bar. At the heart of this story is Jiro’s relationship with his eldest son Yoshikazu, the worthy heir to Jiro’s legacy, who is unable to live up to his full potential in his father’s shadow. An elegant and tasty tale that will even satisfy people who aren’t fans of this little delicacy.” – Tyneside Cinema

20 Facts About Astro Boy

 

This Friday at the Star and Shadow Cinema, the film The Echo Of Astro Boy’s Footsteps will play, about the sound designer for the anime ‘Astro Boy’ who  effectively created the soundtrack for all anime to follow and his sudden retreat from the public eye in the 1980’s.

But what is Astro Boy? And what should you know about it before you watch the film? Well luckily for you Geordie Japan is back with another in our 20 facts series; with 20 fun facts about Astro Boy!

 

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Geordie Japan’s 2012 Year In Review

 

 

Wow what a year, since launching on the 13th of March 2012 Geordie Japan has exploded far beyond what was ever expected of it. 2013 is set to be an exciting year for us but before we look to the future we should look back at the year that was 2012. In this review article you will find some interesting stats about the site and handily, for those of you who are new to the site, links to every article across the past year.

 

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Japanese Christmas Music

 

December is Christmas extravaganza month on Geordie Japan, expect lots of Christmas Related articles in the run up to Christmas, starting today!

 

Ho Ho Ho! ‘Tis the season to be Jolly! But what’s that? You’re not feeling jolly and in the Christmas spirit yet? Well Geordie Japan has  just the remedy for you! What you need is some lovely Christmas tunes to get you in the mood, but forget Maria Carey or Bing Crosby, you need some Japanese Christmas music! But where would you find such a thing? Right here on Geordie Japan of course!

 

Click on the youtube video below for a playlist of 16 Japanese Christmas songs complete with music videos. Under the video you can find a track listing and individual links to all the songs! If you enjoy it, please share the link with your friends.

 

Click here to play the playlist from youtube

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20 Facts About Ringu/The Ring

 

The patrons of the Tyneside Cinema voted the original Japanese version of The Ring (リング) (which from this point on will be referred to as “Ringu” for ease”) as the North East’s favourite scary movie. Which is rather nice to hear that there is such demand for Japanese films at Halloween, we covered some Japanese films to get you in the Halloween mood in a previous article and one of our recommendations was Ringu. In order to get you in the mood for the Tyneside’s screening we present Geordie Japan’s 20 facts about Ringu to get you up to speed for Monday.

 

  1. Ringu is based on a book of the same name by Koji Suzuki (鈴木光司) in 1991, Suzuki has also written all of the sequels. The officially released books are : Ring (1991), Spiral (1995), Loop (1998), The Birthday (1999) and S (2012)
  2. Suzuki latest novel in the series is titled ‘S’ and reportedly features the video being uploaded to the internet and the curse travelling via cloud computing.
  3. Suzuki has drawn comparisons to Steven King due to his popularity in Japan with Ringu, Dark Water and other terrifying novels.
  4. It is a little known fact that the first adaptation of Ringu was in 1995, this was a television movie named Ringu: Kanzenban (リング 完全版) which literally means Ring: Complete Edition.
  5. The original novel was once again turned into a feature film in 1998 called Ringu by Hideo Nakata (中田 秀夫).  This is the more famous adaptation of Susuki’s book.
  6. Ringu was released in tandem with an adaptation of the sequel novel Spiral in a ploy to generate more revenue. This film was made by Jōji Iida (飯田譲治) and is often referred to as the ‘forgotten sequel’ due to the fact that it bombed because of the success of Ringu. Its events are ignored by later Ringu films.
  7. Ringu was remade in Hollywood as The Ring in 2002 by Gore Verbinski starring Naomi Watts. The film went on to have one sequel.
  8. Hideo Nakata made his English language debut with The Ring Two, a sequel to the remake of his original film.
  9. While The Ring is the most famous remake of Ringu it is not the first. Just one year after Ringus release it was remade in South Korea as The Ring Virus (1999).
  10. In total there have been 9 official films (6 Japanese, 3 remakes/spin offs), 2 television series, 2 video games and one short film in the Ringu series.
  11. The latest film in the Ringu franchise was Sadako 3D. The film has yet to be given a UK release and sadly a cinematic release seems unlikely, a dvd release is expected at some point.
  12. When Sadako 3D was released in Japan last year the country went Ringu crazy and some of the more unusual marketing tactics included unleashing hundreds of Sadako’s in Tokyo, driving a giant Sadako around the capital and having Sadako throw out the first pitch at a baseball game. You can watch all this insanity here.
  13. According to a recent survey by Oricon Ringu is still considered to be the scariest Japanese film ever
  14. Ringu is also the highest grossing horror film ever in Japan
  15. When the film was released on VHS in England in 2001 the back of the box was labelled with a disclaimer stating the distributor was not responsible “for any injuries or fatalities that may occur during or after the viewing of this videocassette.”
  16. Sadako may seem to Westerners like a novel and original idea but in fact she is actually a very common ghost of Japanese horror tales. She is an Onryō, a vengeful spirit, often represented in a white burial kimono, white and indigo face paint and having unkempt long dark hair. Onryō are usually women and commonly returning from the dead to exact vengeance on those who have wronged them in life.
  17. Sadako was played by Kabuki theatre actress Rie Inou, to achieve her jerky movements she was shot walking backwards and then the film was reversed, giving Sadako her trademark freaky walk.
  18. The iconic shot of Sadako’s eye was not actually Rie Inou’s eye but a male crew members!
  19. A series of Manga novels has also been released in Japan based on the franchise
  20. Scarily the tale is inspired by real events. You can read about them here, however this page contains spoilers for Ringu.

 

The Tyneside Cinema will play Ringu at 6pm on the Wednesay  31 October 2012. Details here.

 

Film: The Ring

 

THIS EVENT HAS NOW PASSED

 

Film: The Ring (Ringu)  (リング)

When: Wednesday 31st October, 18:00pm

Where: Tyneside Cinema (Directions)

Website: https://www.tynesidecinema.co.uk/whats-on/films/view/the-ring

 

The votes for the North East’s favorite scary movie are in… and happily for us The Ring got the most votes!

 

The Ring is the film that kicked off the J-Horror wave of the late 90s – early 2000s. After wowing critics at film festivals the film was released in the West by Tartan Asia Extreme and became a cult classic in no time at all due to its wildly original take on the horror genre (to Western horror fans that is). In 2002 a remake followed which only brought the films notoriety to a wider audience. On the back of The Ring’s success countless Ring inspired films were made, other J-horror films were imported and Hollywood remade every Asian horror movie the could (usually with disastrous results). The Ring is a true modern horror classic and is required viewing for anyone wanting a scare this Halloween!

 

Reiko Asakawa is a young journalist with a divorced husband, Ryuji, and a son, Yoichi. Her niece, Tomoko, was recently found dead with a look of pure shock embedded in her face as if something scared her to death. Upon learning that her niece’s three friends died at the same time, too, and hearing about a disturbing videotape that is said to kill you seven days after watching it, Reiko comes into the possession of that same tape. Now, as time grows short, Reiko and Ryuji race to save their lives from impending doom and discover what the tape has to do with a tragedy-stricken volcanic island and a very strange little girl named Sadako …  (summary provided by IMDB)

 

 

Qoo (クー)

 

Yesterday I popped into HiYou, as I frequently do, in order to pick up a beverage before work. I was browsing thought the various interesting and unique drinks on sale such as Aloe vera juice, ramune and many others when suddenly I was stopped in my tracks when I caught eye of this…

What’s the big deal about that? It looks like any other juice carton, and perhaps to some it is, but a flood of memories suddenly washed over me at the sight of this drink. I will tell you why, before I tell you why you should try it for yourself.

 

One of my overwhelming memories of Japan is the heat during the summer; it’s humid, hot and drains all of the water from your body in no time. For this exact reason no matter if you are in the middle of Tokyo or halfway up a mountain, you are never far from a vending machine, they’re are as common as road signs and are a glorious sight to anyone being ravaged by the sweltering summer heat. The vending machines of Japan are another topic for another day, but the sheer variety and services provided by them are nothing like we get here in Newcastle. While I was in Japan I took it upon myself to try as many different types of drinks as humanly possible, and it was one day in Kyoto just outside the Kiyomizu Temple that I stumbled across a vending machine that served an odd looking drink named Qoo. The first major difference between Qoo and every other drink I had sampled up to that point was that it came in a metal bottle which was utter heaven to hold against your forehead before drinking. The drink itself was a glorious apple juice which not only quenched my thirst but was the perfect drink to re-energise me for the long walk ahead. From that point on if there was nothing new and interesting to try in a vending machine I would go for Qoo. Since my return to England I have looked out for the drink but much to my chagrin there was not a sniff of it anywhere…until yesterday.

So What Is Qoo?

Qoo (クー) is a beverage produced by Coca Cola in association with Minute Maid and was launched in Japan in 1999. The drink is based in Japan but has been exported to many other countries in Asia and a few countries in Europe. The term ‘Qoo’ is said to be an exclamation of refreshment that many Japanese will utter after a refreshing pint, or so the official site claims. The name has the good fortune to translate in Chinese to 酷兒 (kùér) which literally means ‘cool kid’; unfortunately it has the bad fortune to also be a slang phrase comparable to the word ‘queer’ as in homosexual. The drinks are non carbonated fruit juices available in the following flavours; Acerola Lemon, Fuji Apple, Blackcurrant, Fruit Punch, White Grape, Grape Lemon, Honey Lemon, Honey Quince, Lemon, Mandarin Orange, Mango, Mango Milk, Mango Orange, Orange, Peach and Peach Plum. Currently only White Grape and Mango have been spotted in Newcastle.

 

Probably the most defining and popular feature of the drink is it’s mascot, Qoo, who is a blue creature vaguely resembling a cat whose most recognisable trait (aside from being insanely cute) is spouting a long refreshed “Qooooooooo” after downing a glass of Qoo. The drink is well known for its easily recognisable theme tune and short cute advertisements following the adventures of the Qoo character in it’s pursuit of a refreshing Qoo juice drink.

 

 

Click on the video to begin a playlist of Qoo adverts.

So next time you are in HiYou pick one up from the chilled fridge and try one for yourself, they are priced currently at £0.69 and they are worth a try! Let us know what you think of them, they are best drunk ice cold.

 

I’ll leave you with an amusing official profile of the ‘Qoo’ character from it’s official site.

Sex: No one is really sure, from its behaviour it appears that it has both masculine and feminine traits.

Family: Since it appeared unexpectedly one day its origins are unknown, but is thought to be an only child.

Age: It is rumoured it is, in human years, between seven to ten years old.

Characteristics: Only says “Qoo!”. Whenever it drinks Qoo, its cheeks inflate.

Special Ability: Likes Dancing, Baths, Qoo, friendly children, and tasty drinks

Dislikes: Children who bully others

Character: Although it is a child it thinks like an adult. Optimistic and easily elated. Relaxed, a little sensitive and a bit of a narcissist.

Favorite pose: Left hand filling a cup to the brim with Qoo, right hand resting gently on hip, head tilted slightly skywards drinking the cup of Qoo and expressing delight by saying “Qoo”!