Activities and Events - Spring 2013
The calendar is updated at the beginning of each month. We hope that you will use it to find interesting ways to learn more about Japanese language and culture.
During each semester, we provide students of Japanese with a variety of cultural events and activities. For the most part, participation in them is voluntary; however, our experience is that students who push themselves to learn new things - and practice - outside the classroom, reap great benefits.
Film: モテキ (Love Strikes!)
USD: Kroc IPJ 219
Date: Feb. 14
Time: 7 p.m.
This evening's film is subtitled in English. Hitoshi Ohne's romantic comedy, based on a hugely popular manga and TV series, became a massive hit in Japan and was selected for the Top Films of 2011 by The Japan Times, Kinema Jumpo and Eiga Geijutsu. For her performance as Miyuki, Masami Nagasawa took home the 2012 Japanese Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Love Strikes! is the hopelessly endearing tale of Yukiyo Fujimoto, a diffident, nowhere guy who suddenly becomes the ultimate hot chick magnet. He lands a job at a webzine devoted to pop culture, but his forced celibacy is the butt of all his colleagues' jokes. Yukiyo gives full vent to his self-pity via Twitter feed, and hooks up with a fellow user who seems to share his tastes in pop subculture. They arrange to meet but instead, shockingly cute Miyuki shows up. Then, as Yukiyo's "moteki"-- a Japanese slang term referring to a period of unexplained romantic popularity with the opposite sex--begins to hit full swing, Miyuki might not be as unattainable as he thought. He meets and makes quick progress with the reserved Rumiko; ditzy bar hostess Ai; and feisty coworker Motoko.
Film: 鍵泥棒のメソッド (Key of Life)
Where: Digiplex Mission Valley
Date: Apr. 19 & 24
Time: 6:25 (4/19) & 7 p.m. (4/24)
Screenplay of the Year, 2013 Japan Academy Prize
Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, 2012 Blue Ribbon Awards
Halekulani Golden Orchid Award (Best Narrative Feature), 2012 Hawaii International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2012 Toronto International Film Festival
Nothing ever goes right for small-time actor Sakurai. So when opportunity strikes at a local bathhouse, he decides to switch lives with somebody else. Unfortunately, that somebody turns out to be master hitman Kondo and suddenly Sakurai is thrust into the role of his life. Meanwhile, the actual Kondo awakens as an amnesiac wandering onto film sets and into a really bad wardrobe.
Needless to say, hilarity ensues. But Key of Life is more than just screwball hijinks. Through writer-director Kenji Uchida’s mischievous twists and stone-cold humor, the film hysterically asks if we live life according to the script we’re given, or if destiny is open to rewrites. Actors Masato Sakai and Teruyuki Kagawa (Tokyo Sonata) attempt both possibilities with vivacious sympathy, while Ryoko Hirosue (Departures) quietly delights as the lonely but resolute magazine editor who cluelessly shrugs off common sense and pencils in her own happy ending. –Brian Hu
Film: おおかみこどもの雨と雪 (Wolf Children)
Where: Digiplex Mission Valley
Date: Apr. 20 & 21
Time: 3:45 (4/20) & 1:00 (4/21)
Animation of the Year, 2013 Japan Academy Prize
Best Animated Film, 2013 Mainichi Film Awards
Best Animated Film, 2012 Sitges Film Festival
From Ozu to Yamada, Japanese cinema has had no shortage of great films about mothers, and WOLF CHILDREN may just be one of the most extraordinary. In college, Hana meets the love of her life. Though it turns out he’s the rare descendant in a line of Japanese wolf-people, Hana stays with him, and they have a daughter and son. With great tenacity and creativity, Hana learns to care for kids who have the plucky charm of young humans, but the unpredictability and appetite of growing puppies.
What makes Wolf Children so moving, and such a ripe allegory for mixed-race families, is Hana’s relentless commitment to protecting her children despite social stigmatization. With equal commitment, director Mamoru Hosoda (Summer Wars, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) tells the tall tale straight, evoking nostalgia, lush romance, and the most tender of kinships to produce one of the most surprisingly human films of the year. –Brian Hu
Film: ポテチ (Chips)
USD: Kroc IPJ 215
Date: May 2
Time: 7 p.m.
In Sendai a young thief Tadashi Imamura (Gaku Hamada) has an unusual obsession with a local baseball player named Ozaki, which frustrates his girlfriend Wakaba (Fumino Kimura). On a whim one night, Tadashi and Wakaba break into Ozaki’s flat when a phone call comes through from a desperate women asking Ozaki to deal with a stalker. Tadashi decides he shall take on this task instead so he and Wakaba meet with the girl, Miyu (Mayu Matsuoka), setting off a chain of events that unwittingly lead to Tadashi and Ozaki to finally cross paths. –mibih.wordpress.com