Monday, September 25, 2006

I went to see Arigato, a new Japanese film on Saturday, which was part of a short festival organised by the Japanese Embassy.

The film tells the story of a volunteer fireman and his family after the Kobe earthquake of 1995. I've always thought it might be cool to experience an earthquake, but not after seeing this - it just looks bloody scary.

The film continues from its dramatic opening to tell the story of how he takes a leading role in rebuilding the city and then, improbably, becomes a pro-golfer. It's wonderfully warm and funny, which great convincing performances throughout.

I enjoyed it even more as a Japanese film that is not about samurai or manga, but rather a more realistic image. I loved seeing small aspects of Japanese culture - for instance, the formal ways in which "Arigato" (thank you) and "hai" (yes) were said through the film, all of which contribute even more to my love of Japan.

The film has not been released in Japan, and I don't know if it is getting a cinema release here in the UK, but if it is, go see.