Unexpected Faces Of Death In Japanese Films

What if Death was not a Bogeyman?

What if Death was a cute little girl?

A down on his luck Samurai, one day, drunkenly invokes the gods. Inebriated, he does not realise that he has called on the gods of misfortune!

After a roller coaster ride through the many and hilarious things that befall him the hero comes face to face with the worst of them all. A film to be enjoyed again and again and again.

Sadly, the above trailer is not subtitled but do try to get your hands on this film!

Japan seems to have evolved a concept of shinigamis. There are many dramas about these beings who help humans through the time of transition between life and death.

In this film where God is possibly a cute dog and the hero, a most adorable Shinigami, could it be that a human has finally found a way to outwit Death?

Watch Sweet Rain if only for the exquisite beauty of Takeshi Kaneshiro.

Among dramas, I’ve watched and enjoyed the following:

Loss:Time:Life

Ryusei Wagon

One such is actually ongoing and quite cute

Omukae desu

Please do find a way to watch these films and dramas and if you’ve seen any of them I’d love to discuss them with you.

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Tampopo -Food Porn And A Takeoff On Movie Genres

Dear readers, you’ll have to forgive me for wandering off my usual circuit but, for now, at least, my parikrama takes us on a tour of some fantastic films from around the world. We’re starting with Japan.

For a 1985 film, Tampopo is surprisingly easy to watch if you can break out of the usual habits of watching. As the opening scenes caution, it’s a sin to crunch popcorn or have phones beefing when watching a film. Blink and you’ll miss the connections.

But I confess I’m abnormally restless and had only a fleeting idea of the film when I first saw it. Flashes remained – a spaghetti eating scene, an erotic scene involving food, a scene where a master explains how one should eat ramen…I was drawn to watch it again and now I end up watching it at intervals – each time I notice something more – a sound here, a piece of acting there, a reference, a lighting…

As it happens, in 2006 there appeared a Ramen film which makes many references to Tampopo.

With a high score on Rotten Tomatoes and supposed to be a favourite of Edward Norton on IMDB, this is a film which will tickle you enormously and it’s a must have, an absolute collector’s item.

Rent it on Netflix or buy it on Amazon, I promise you’ll have acquired a treasure.

SHEROES Meet – Women@Work, Pune, June 17, 2016

India has some 586.47 million females, according to a census site. Of these, the adults too form a significant number. Alas, not many of them can easily find employment. Many take a maternity break after a period at work and find it hard to return to jobs. But this is only one reason why a lot of smart and sincere women in India today languish in unemployment while rising costs and personal fulfilment dreams soar with each passing day.

Sheroes Pune Venture Centre June 17, 2016
Sheroes get together at Pune’s Venture Centre June 17, 2016

Beyond the individual needs, it is the nation, too, which suffers without recourse to this able skilled and talented task force.

In early 2011 I’d joined an initiative called Fleximoms which offered, as the name suggests, freelance and home based work for stay home mothers and such.   As I wasn’t too sure what I really wanted to do  I never really visited the site much.

Along the way it grew and developed into Sheroes, a warm and very user friendly web site for women looking for employment opportunities. But it’s much more than just another job site.

And this Saturday I had a chance to see Sheroes in action at a cosy little Meetup in the Venture Centre, Pune.

I reached there at about 3 and met the few others who had also arrived early: a young lady with a career background in HR, a software specialist, a psychologist and a content writer. The latter’s life had literally been turned around after she discovered Sheroes.

Shweta Shalini of he BJP
IT professional, politician Shweta Shalini

The first speaker, Shweta Shalini,  broke the ice with her exhortations and humour. Besides some very acute observations on how to balance family and profession, she loosened up audience tension with her wit and charm.

Sheroe Sonali Brahma
Sheroe Sonali Brahma basically introduced the concept and invited questions

Sheroe Sonali Brahma followed up by briefly discussing what the website was all about and quickly invited and replied to questions.

By then there was a goodly crowd of women of various ages and from various professional backgrounds. The questions flew fast and furious, showing how thirsty the participants were for more information on Sheroes and how much they craved the mentoring on offer.

Sheroe Paroma Sen
Sheroe Paroma Sen

Young Sheroe Paroma Sen then sketched some plans for the future and opened the floor for Venture Centre to tell us about its vision and mission.

Talk on Venture Centre
Talk on Venture Centre

And then we all trooped out for some wonderful tea and biscuits and group photos and networking at the canteen.

Which is where I met author Madhuri Maitra.

Equinox

And loads of starry eyed bubbly young ladies of all ages variously into art from recycled materials, organic farming, entrepreneurs and financial experts…

I look forwards to future Sheroe interactions with a heart full of hope and I actually did a little dance on the road on my way home!

Pune@Roadside Men At Work

Pune is a city of enterprise. Every few yards you pass a man or woman selling something useful.

Berries

Khadki berry Hawker
Berry Man Khadki

Chips

Chip maker
Chips making

Vegetables

Vegetable seller, Sai Chowk Sunday Bazaar
Sai Chowk Sunday Market Vegetable Seller

Fruit

Young Boy selling bananas, Sai Chowk Sunday Market
Youngest man at work? Banana Seller, Sai Chowk, Sunday Bazaar

a cool drink, coconuts, and other eats…

A Tailor

I met Madhav tailor soon after we moved to Pune. I’d lost a lot of weight and my jeans were always slipping down my hips. I’m no belt person either.

I gave him the jeans and he took one look at me and tightened the waist in a few minutes. And he also did the same for a top. Both fitted divinely and I’ve been a fan of his ever since.

Also, we’re besties. I can stop by, even after a gap of many months, and we carry on as if we’ve always known each other.6 I made the big mistake of raving about him to a lady who promptly took him a bag to fix. He lost it! And it was an expensive or memorable bag. Madhav Tailor is one of the many in India, like me, who value freedom over money.

Displaced by some riots which took place in his youth, he learned tailoring and made a living. Along the way, he’s also worked for others. And found out that it was not his cup of tea.

Here, he works on his own terms, mostly, surrounded by friends: a key maker, a cobbler, a boy who runs a second hand book stall and many other such who ply a humble trade and, thus, fighting the system, keep their self-respect.

Before them the busy road races people past as if life itself were unfolding for their delight.

A Cobbler

Cobbler near AIMS Hospital
Cobbler near Aundh Gaon

or someone who will fix your bicycle.

Alas, I would not dare take a photo of the latter – at least, the one I take my cycle to. He’s got character, like all of the above, and I’d take a picture of such a one only when we are both comfortable with such a freedom.

5
Madhav tailor takes on the world on his own terms – just like I do
Cobbler aundh gaon
Cobbler, Aundh Gaon – skillful when and if he chooses. Same as I.

Pune is not too vertical and these men are as proud as the Puneite who owns three helicopters.

 

Museum Rudana, Bali, July 2008

On a visit to Bali, we were taken to this museum as part of a day’s tour. It was, thus, a rather short stop but it has captured a special place in my heart.

IMG_0616.jpg
As you can see, I’m already in a Bali Art Museum state of mind

Influences from the mythology of the Indian sub-continent are present everywhere in Indonesia and, most especially, in Bali. Thus, it was no surprise to see many stone statues of Indian gods even as we entered.

Ganesh_rudana_2008_1
A sitting Ganesh, chubby and bedecked with flowers

Design  Founder Nyoman Rudana used the concept of Tri Hita Karana, art’s contribution to public wellbeing, to dream up a building combining space and environment, internal and external, including management, staff, the collection and other factors. It is serene and conducive to the enjoyment of art.  Continue reading

What they say

One-week workshop for media students  Comments from 1st year students of MJMC, ASAS, Kochi. November 2015 The evaluation of the workshop can be accessed from here: EvaluationWorkshopMJMC ASASNov15 …

Source: What they say