Posted in *Recommended, Reviews, Trailers, Video

Last Letter – film review [Recommended]

LastLetterLast Letter / 你好,之华 / Lit: Hello Zhihua (2018)
director & writer: Shunji Iwai
cast: Zhou Xun, Qin Hao, Zhang Zifeng, Deng Enxi , Bian Tianyang

Synopsis

A married woman’s older sister passes away leaving behind two children. At the sister’s house she finds an invitation to her middle school reunion. The woman decides to go to tell her sister’s old classmates the bad news but ends up being mistaken as her sister. At the reunion she notices a man whom she had a crush on as a teenager. He approaches her, also assuming that she is her sister, and they exchange contact info. She begins writing letters to him under her sister’s name.

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Posted in *Recommended, Music, Next Music From TOKYO, Reviews, Video

Next Music From TOKYO vol 13 live show

I missed the last volume in May due to personal reasons (and certainly regretted it) so I was looking forward to this one even more with its stellar lineup. It also reminded me of the first NMFT show (vol 8 in May 2016) that I ever saw since Mass of the Fermenting Dregs were returning. Another thing it shared in common was that there were no idol acts. Vol 9-12 all had idol acts.

After the unfortunate closing of long time venue Divan Orange, vol 12 was held at La Sala Rossa which I’ve never been to so I’m not sure what the vibe and surroundings were like there. Vol 13 changed venues again to Le Ministere. I like this venue. It’s small and intimate, easy to get too and is actually fairly close to Divan Orange’s old location. There’s wasn’t as much space for the merch tables and no fussball table but I think it’s a good replacement. Sound was good as far as I could tell.

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Posted in *Recommended, Food, Reviews

Food Fight! Japanese Cheesecake [日本のチーズケーキ]

Uncle Tetsu VS Yoko Cheesecake

Food Fight! posts will be totally biased where I compare the same or very similar foods and declare a winner (or not). For this inaugural edition of I have sacrificed my health and waistline to compare two Japanese cheesecakes that are currently available in Montreal.

Before we go on, it’s important to note that Japanese cheesecake is significantly different from traditional or Western cheesecake. Japanese cheesecake is perhaps more similar to a sponge cake than a traditional cheesecake. The Japanese version is also known to be very jiggly and fluffy. I’ve seen the terms “cotton cheesecake” or “soufflé cheesecake” to refer to the Japanese cheesecake as a way of differentiating it from its Western counterpart.

TetsuVsYoko

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Posted in *Recommended, Fantasia 2018, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Reviews, Trailers, Video

Inuyashiki – film review – Fantasia 2018 [Recommended]

Inuyashiki-poster-723x1024Inuyashiki (2018)

DIRECTOR: Shinsuke Sato
WRITER: Hiroshi Hashimoto
CAST: Noritake Kinashi, Takeru Satoh, Kanata Hongo, Fumi Nikaido, Ayaka Miyoshi

Synopsis

A father who gets no respect from his family finds out he has cancer and then he gets hit by something really bright. Instead of death he finds out that he’s become a cyborg with amazing abilities. He decides to help people with his new abilities. However, there is also a high school teenager who became a cyborg with the same amazing abilities but he decides to kill and eventually goes on a murder spree that the police cannot stop.

Review

I’ve read a couple of the early volumes of Inuyashiki so I had some familiarity with it before watching this movie. The older man, Ichiro Inuyashiki (Noritake Kinashi) as the hero against the young high school teen, Hiro Shishigami, (Takeru Satoh) as the villain makes for an interesting contrast from the start. We can see why and how each one decides to do something different with his new cyborg body. Both actors are excellent in their roles. Satoh is very convincing as a dangerous psychopath but he also have a few people he cares a lot about. It’s practically refreshing to have a villain that’s actually fleshed out and feels like a real person (well in the emotional sense).

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Posted in *Recommended, Documentary, Fantasia 2018, Fantasia International Film Festival, Trailers, Video

People’s Republic of Desire – film review – Fantasia 2018 [Recommended]

PeoplesrepublicofdesirePeople’s Republic of Desire (2018)

DIRECTOR & WRITER & PRODUCER & CINEMATOGRAPHER & EDITOR: Hao Wu
CAST: Jiang Congyong, Man Shen, Li Xianliang
SOUND DESIGNER: Ron Bochar
COMPOSER: Michael Tuller
ANIMATOR: Eric Jordan

Next screening: Fri July 20, 2018; 1:00 PM

Synopsis

In recent years advances in high-speed internet and streaming video have lead to social websites/platforms where anyone can live stream to an internet audience. But in China, the scope of live streaming has become hugely popular and mainstream, where seemingly less than talented people can find fame and fortune by broadcasting themselves online.

Review

This is a fascinating documentary into a world that not many outside of China would likely be familiar with. There are people of questionable talent who live stream and make money doing it. This may seem like nothing new to people familiar with something like Twitch in North America but while live streaming is still fairly niche here, it’s apparently ubiquitous in China.

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Posted in *Recommended, Music, Next Music From TOKYO

Next Music From Tokyo vol 12 concert, May 21 @ La Sala Rossa

Volume 12 of the Next Music From Tokyo tour is coming soon to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver this coming May. The Montreal show will take place in a different venue due to the closure of La Divan Orange. It’ll be at La Sala Rossa on May 21, 2018 on Victoria day.

All but one of the bands in this volume have performed in previous volumes. From volume 10: The Taupe, Yubisaki Nohaku and Bakyun the Everyday. From volume 11: Koutei Camera Girl Drei. Yubisaki Nohaku was my favorite from v10 and Koutei Camera Girl Drei had one of the most exciting and energetic performances in v11.

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Posted in *Recommended, Discussion

Major East Asian Languages: Chinese, Japanese, Korean

This was written some time in the past (like maybe a year ago) with updates over the course of my learning although I’ve been pretty lazy about it recently.

A comparison of the major East Asian languages of Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese & Korean

These are some initial thoughts from a native English speaker’s perspective. I am most experienced with learning Chinese (having taken courses and visited China). More recently I took some beginner Japanese classes and have read up on my own about Korean. I have learned a fair amount about the pronunciations but can only say really basic sentences in Japanese and nothing significant in Korean. I have read about the basic “correct” sentence structure and grammar that isn’t actually spoken (i.e. devoid of honorifics and conjugations). I have an idea of the different conjugations and how honorifics changes them.

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Posted in *Recommended, Sports, Travel, Video, Vlog

TokiYuYu vlogging PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018

Tokiyuyu is Canadian (she went to high school & university in Quebec) according to her youtube profile but moved from the US to Japan. She mostly blogs about her life in Japan but here I’ve posted her videos about her recent visit to PyeongChang to watch the Olympics.

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