To be frank I have very little interest in Japanese films. I’ve seen a few notable ones and they’re OK but most just don’t quite cut the mustard with me. However, there is one exception and that is ‘Rain Fall’ which is based on Barry Eisler’s series of books which I have very much enjoyed reading. They revolve around one principle character; John Rain, a Japanese-American cynical, conscientious assassin with a liking for whisky and jazz music. The first two books (there are six in total) are set in Tokyo which was obviously appealing to me and though not as likeable or exciting as the Bourne series they were thrillers which kept me hooked and wanting more including a film adaptation. That has now happened and features Gary Oldman but sadly for me the film is predominantly in Japanese and so there is no need to provide English subtitles. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see if it gets released overseas at a later date. I now know how those Japanese people with a strong interest in Hollywood films and American TV shows feel when they can’t watch them until they finally get subtitled.
I’d never even heard of ‘Slumdog Millionnaire’ before it won a load of Academy Awards a few months ago. It’s not even came out in Japan yet but I did manage to watch it a couple of weeks ago on the internet and was glad to see that it did live up to its hype. I really enjoyed it and it was interesting to see the slums of India; a country which I visited back in June 2007. ‘Who wants to be a millionnaire?’ is shown in the same format in many countries around the world including Japan and I often use the theme tune in lessons as well as saying “final answer?” which is said in English on the Japanese version and is well known and gets a cheap laugh every time. Of course most people don’t realise that the programme originates from the UK.
Watching the films scenes on the quiz show set reminded me of my own experiences on the Australian version of Millionnaire back in 2001. No, I wasn’t a contestant but I was an audience member and along with my friends Richard and Jo we were directly behind the presenter and appeared on screen each time his face was shown which was most amusing to me at the time. It was a celebrity episode (not that I knew the majority of the Aussie celebrities – basically there was no-one on there from Neighbours or Home & Away!) and so they filmed two episodes in one day which was so tiring by the end of it. Its difficult to clap with enthusiasm after a certain amount of time plus we had to move to the back for the latter episode to make it look like it was live with a different audience as eagle-eyed viewers do notice these things. I even fluked all the ‘ask the audience’ questions right but then again I even managed to go on a bit of a run the first time I saw the Japanese one which was made even more difficult by the fact that I couldn’t understand nor read the questions and multi-choice answers!