Today the sun was shining brightly so I decided to head on out for a short run. I haven’t gone out running for a few weeks now, but it’s time to get back to it. Especially with summer coming up and vacations planned, I need to get my touring legs back in shape. 😄 On the run, I stopped and took a few photos of the wildflowers because there were so many of them. I always enjoy the running route, but that extra splash of color makes it even more special.
In the evening, we went and watched Avengers: Endgame. Maybe it was because of the excessive hype, but I didn’t think it lived up to my expectations. Yes, it was epic and the action scenes were really cool, but the supposedly emotional parts of the story had no effect on me. On the other hand, the teaser for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker that they showed before the Avengers movie had my heart pumping! Rey’s slow-motion jump over the tie-fighter that cuts to the epic music really struck a chord with me. Now that was moving! I guess it’s because I’ve been a huge fan of Star Wars ever since I was a kid that I have a lot of feelings tied to the franchise. Conversely, I’ve never been a huge fan of any superheroes or Marvel comics so I tend to view those stories from a distance. That’s just my theory.
My friend and I went to a special showing (only two nights here!) of Okko’s Inn, a Japanese anime directed by Kitaro Kosaka (formerly of Studio Ghibli). The film was awesome! Both my friend and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
********* SPOILER ALERT *********
I had a special interest in the animation and character style, but the story itself blew me away. It was funny, sad, smart, uplifting, and engaging. I especially loved when the character Matsuki would pull out quotes from historical figures. Hilarious! 😆
There were so many elements of the film that I found interesting: the onsen town setting, kaiseki food, the supernatural, and traditional rituals. And the animation was so well-done. The scene where Okko slips on the tatami was great! If you’ve ever felt how slick a tatami mat can be, you’ll know what I mean. It was captured perfectly.
I also liked the fact that there were no overt antagonists in the story. I was expecting Okko’s grandmother or Matsuki to play that role. Although Matsuki started as a rival, she had noble intentions and wasn’t inherently nasty. The lack of any enemies reminded me of Kiki’s Delivery Service or My Neighbor Totoro in that respect. I really appreciate stories like that, especially if they can keep you engaged.
I enjoyed Okko’s Inn even more than some Ghibli movies, like Ponyo, Kaguya, and Arrietty. When I left the theater after seeing those, I felt that I had watched good movies but wasn’t overly excited, but after Okko’s Inn ended, I was pretty stoked, and thought that I’ll definitely need to own the Blu-ray version!
If you didn’t see Okko’s Inn during the special engagement, look for it on video later. It’ll be well worth your time.
Today I did a lot of work in the backyard, then relaxed in the afternoon and evening, indulging in three movies. Unicorn Store was just okay. It was amusing but really forgettable. I also watched a documentary called A Suitable Girl, which follows three young Indian women, and their arranged marriages, and the circumstances surrounding them. It was fascinating! I really liked it.
But the standout movie for me was the Bollywood blockbuster Chennai Express. I haven’t seen many Bollywood movies, so I cannot compare this to others, but I was thoroughly entertained. It was hilarious, and the costumes and scenery were beautiful! I loved the music and dancing… super! The story itself wasn’t very original, but everything else was great. I had a smile on my face the whole time. Recommended! (find it on Netflix)
Somedays I just want to sit in front of the tv and watch some movies, and that’s just what I did today. Three movies!
First up, I joined Koa in watching Ant-Man and the Wasp, which was surprisingly funny. It didn’t seem very cinematic, but I enjoyed it. We also watched Star Wars: The Last Jedi again, which, upon a third viewing, wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. Still, not great, but I enjoyed the jokes more.
Next up was the third and final movie in the Chihayafuru series, Chihayafuru: Musubi はやふる 結び. It was fantastic! I am a big fan of the Chihayafuru live-action movies (or maybe just Hirose Suzu?) and am looking forward to diving into the anime and manga. The third movie was better than the second one, but maybe not as good as the first. I do like how the characters have grown, and enjoy Matsuoka Maya’s characterization of The Queen. She’s scary and hilarious. So fun!
This afternoon I watched The 8-Year Engagement 8年越しの花嫁 奇跡の実話 starring one of my favorite actresses, Tao Tsuchiya. I enjoyed it a lot, but I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t as much of a tear-jerker as I thought it would be. But the acting by both Tsuchiya and Sato Takeru was good enough to get them nominated for the Japan Academy awards for best actress and actor.
Later that evening, I made gyoza and spinach, while Bay prepared poké bowls using poké from Costco. It was delicious! Always try to eat well. 😊