Reading and Watching

"Deserted Library" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/100 sec, ISO1600
“Deserted Library” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。

Today was the beginning of spring break here in Texas, but it was a grey, cold, and rainy day. Nice to spend it indoors. At least most of the day!

Movie Day

I watched two really good movies today: Kon-Tiki (2012), and The Kite Runner (2007). Both were fantastic.

I read The Kite Runner before, but never saw the movie. Happy to say the movie really matched what I read in the book almost perfectly. Amazing, but tragic, story.

I haven’t read Kon-Tiki, but after seeing the movie, the book is on my to-read list. The epic ocean journey is captured with breathtaking cinematography, which reminded me a lot of another favorite movie, Life of Pi.

By the way, I have kept a list of the movies watched/books ready for the past couple years here on my blog. Check out this year’s list, or access all the lists from the site navigation menu.

Library Visit

Today’s photo is one I took at one of my favorite places: the library. I borrowed both of the movies from here. They have a really nice selection. It’s great! Anyways, the photo makes it look like the library was deserted, but it was actually quite busy. I just happened to take the photo when no one was in the frame.

I hope you had a nice, warm Saturday!

またね~

バロン

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Leisurely Afternoon

"Watching Movies" Cedar Park, 2016
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO640
“Watching Movies” Cedar Park, 2016

こんばんは!How’s it going?

Today was a schizophrenic Saturday, in that I worked a few hours this morning 😩, but then had a totally relaxing afternoon ☺️.

On the way home from work, I stopped at In-N-Out Burger and picked up some food 🍔 for Koa and I. Normally we get Double-doubles or just a cheeseburger, but today we both got 3×3’s, which are burgers with three patties and three slices of cheese. I thought we should try that once in our lives.

"3x3" Cedar Park, 2016
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/13 sec, ISO3200
“3×3” Cedar Park, 2016

As you can see from the photo, they were pretty massive. Aside from having more meat and cheese, it pretty much was the same as their regular offerings, but now that we’ve tried the 3×3, it’s back to our normal-sized burgers.

After lunch, Koa went to the park to meet his friends and I had the rest of the afternoon to do as I pleased which meant putting Star Wars: The Force Awakens on with the surround-sound system cranked way up. It was great! I have to say, Episode 8 is my favorite of the Star Wars movies.

My favorite part started when Rey and Finn are running to the Quad Jumper and she says “that one is garbage!” referring to the Millenium Falcon. My heart soared when the Falcon came into view the first time, and then the ensuing dogfight was just amazing! I thought that dogfight was the best of all the movies so far, and it was just 3 ships! There was so much more action that even the epic battle at the beginning of Episode 3, which had hundreds of ships and seemed to go on forever. Bigger is not always better where spaceship battles are concerned.

That dogfight at the beginning of Episode 8 was just one of several moments when my heart was pounding hard, and there were a couple times when I even teared up a bit too… so I know Episode 8 is my favorite. It was an emotional thrill-ride for me.

I hope you had nice Saturday!

おやすみなさい!

– B Barron Fujimoto

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Tuxedo Cat and Godzilla

"Tuxedo Cat" Cedar Park, 2016
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/75 sec, ISO6400
“Tuxedo Cat” Cedar Park, 2016

こんばんは!How’s it going?

So, one of our kitties is black and white – a “tuxedo cat”. I had never heard that term before, but I like it. And I heard that tuxedo cats are strange… not sure if that is a trait or not, but ours is certainly the odd one of the pair of kittens we got. They are sisters, so I thought their personalities would be more similar, but the tuxedo cat is really quirky. She’s a lot of fun!

Earlier this evening my friend Mikey and I went to see the movie “Shin Godzilla”. It’s in limited release here in the States so the theater was sold out. We both enjoyed the movie quite a bit! The special effects were great, and Godzilla was pretty amazing (and very destructive). This version reminded me of a Titan from “Attack on Titan”… anyone else think so?

What I thought was fun about the movie was that it was filled with so many recognizable Japanese actors. Seems like everyone had a cameo or starring role. I also thought Ishihara Satomi’s character was funny speaking English. It was just like her English in the dorama 5-9. It was silly and fun!

Lastly, the English acting from the gaijin was terrible… yappari (as expected). But all-in-all, I thought it was a good movie. And I am amazed at how many conference rooms could be shown in a single movie. They must have set a record. 😜

shin-godzilla

I hope you had a nice Tuesday!

おやすみなさい!

– B Barron Fujimoto

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Umimachi Diary / 海街diary (Our Little Sister)

umimachi-diary-poster

I finally watched Umimachi Diary today, and loved it! It’s a simple story filled with some touching moments and beautiful scenery – it takes place in Kamakura, which is one of my favorite places… of course it is by the sea. 🌊 (Umimachi means seaside town) I wouldn’t mind living in a small town in Japan… in fact I am hoping Mariko finds a nice place for us to live like that in the future. The four main characters live in the family house, which is old but very nice… I think Mariko is looking for something like that too for our future home! 😇

hanabi-umimachi

Anyways, this Umimachi Diary is a slow, heartfelt, and realistic movie – you won’t find any action or suspense here. But if you are in the mood for a well-acted, beautifully filmed movie, I can recommend this one. Please enjoy the trailer below:

Official site

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Departing Osaka Station at 0:00 (旅の贈りもの-0:00発)

Departing Osaka Station at 0:00

This Japanese movie has been in my queue for a while and I finally got around to watching it this past weekend. “Departing Osaka Station at 0:00” is the type of movie that I really am drawn to because it has elements in it that I love: travel by train, unplanned journeys, a town by the sea… it’s like something out of a dream!

***Spoiler Alert***

There are two main plots, one of possible romance and the other involving a double-suicide, which come together to form a decent, yet unremarkable, story. The title of the movie refers to a special train which starts at Osaka at midnight, with an unknown destination. The passengers have different story-lines and they all come together at the destination town.

The overall ambiance of the film is quiet and calm, with some amount of introspection and character growth, but really there wasn’t enough and it wasn’t treated as deeply or seriously as I think it should have been. That’s my main problem with the movie… there are some aspects that just don’t fit the serious themes, for instance, there are some playful transitions from one scene to the next that you might expect in a straight up comedy. But they just don’t fit here, and they detract from the overall feeling. The subject of suicide is one of the most serious you can bring up, but it’s treated so lightheartedly that it feels almost disrespectful.

I liked the acting very much, especially the postmaster played by the late Hideji Ōtaki (大滝 秀治), and the suicidal teenager played by Hanako Takigawa (多岐川華子). I think her story was a missed opportunity to offer a more serious take on the subject that many people think about. I like that her story mixes with the older businessman’s (played by Shiro Taihei) to show that the problem that affects people of all ages. Unfortunately, the businessman’s character is too comedic to be taken seriously. (He was a comedian, after all)

At any rate, I enjoyed “Departing Osaka Station at 0:00” enough that I’ll seek out more by the same director in the future.

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