– encounters 1, 2 & 3

Grow Stock Pub is worth visiting. That was Thursday’s unplanned adventure when I arrived too late to catch the flick I wanted to see. My Japanese has grown rusty, not usually extending too far beyond introductions, but the staff worked hard to maintain an いいふいんき (ii fuinki) – a good atmosphere – among the three patrons who were sitting at the bar, early evening. They would not let me bury myself in my book, which was both good and bad.

A Japanese hipster came in and started shuffling cards down one end of the bar. The staff and all other patrons were friends, though they knew the guy with cards as well. The guy on the door (the master?) had just came back from Taiwan, and I was the lucky recipient of a small gift of pineapple cake. I did nothing to attract this attention and service except to be a customer. Two great Japanese craft beers, too – though I can’t remember their names – one  an amber ale, the other an IPA, one salad and one delicious seafood garlic dish later, I was on my way. Yummy.

Friday was catching up with this lady

Finding Vivian Maier is playing at the arthouse cinemas in Japan, and fortunately there is one just around the corner from Shizuoka Station. For more information on Vivian Maier, visit this blog. It was the film I missed out on on Thursday. Friday was rain, rain and more rain. Though it eased up somewhat when I went for a blowy, windy walk along the beachfront leading to Miho no Matsubara (just behind work).

The view from Sarnath Hall

Today was also a film day. After a very long chat with a friend overseas this morning, I get myself out to the indie cinema again. It’s in Sarnath Hall and as I wandered through the foyer I encountered the art piece below.




The receptionist started up the fans for me, which were in the hull of the paper mâche canoe, and the green ping pong balls started flying about. I think I was probably meant to be interactive with the art. The particular point that papers had been used did have some particular point, but return to the section about the basic level of my Japanese. That is, I can’t tell you what that point is or was. The title is Until Death Do Us Part. That might give you a clue. It was again, a little reward for being out and about.

Sarnath Hall seems to be linked to the Buddhist temple just opposite, and as everybody mills politely about in the small upstairs foyer, just as they do at indie theatres in any city, the hall over looks both the




and the haka, or cemetery


I love that the temple, and the memorial stones of the departed, so squarely own this block of the city. I was scribbling away. I’m trying to do things that are beneficial to me, rather than the opposite. That are more beneficial, rather than draining, and I ran into one of the terribly busy Japanese high school teachers who attended our Toyohashi writing group a few times, and who presented her wonderful poem at the Central Japan Literature Society once. She’s just been accepted into a PhD programme dealing with the study of creative writing. Therefore, I’m not sure if she’s writing, or studying about writing.

Again, someone I would not have met if I’d remained stuck at home. She’d just been to see a flick and mine was just called, so we only had a brief moment to catch up, but she’s lovely.

As were Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart in Clouds of Sils Maria. A patchy movie, but wonderfully shot and acted. It was written by a man. You could tell (I did double check though!). Not that you can always tell, and not that women don’t write plodding dialogue either, but I think the Binoche character (Maria) is right when she talks about dialogue in the play she was rehearsing as being phoney, and a stereotypical view of how women dysfunctionally interact.

I know that was one of the major points, but considering the actors played out the parts they were rehearsing in real life, there wasn’t a lot of subtlety or contrast there, though there was some. It wasn’t totally ham-fisted. It wasn’t too much All About Eve, or Sunset Boulevard. There was a lot of light as well, and Binoche and Stewart’s characters were also very empathetic to one another, and Maria (Binoche) was not pathetic (well, sometimes), and it would have been very easy to make it that kind of movie. It’s good that it wasn’t.

The play within a play, turning in on itself, is a trope that fascinates movie makers, naturally. I guess to have the internal meta-script  be as good as the actual script would maybe be going against the grain? I don’t know. Anyway, the film had plenty of glamour and beautiful scenery. It’s marketed as Actress in Japan, or アクトレス。

I’m sure this film of the Majola Snake (below), a cloud formation that snakes through the Swiss Alps, was featured, albeit, without the soundtrack, and not the whole ten minutes.

Oh, and my work came out in Otoliths.

You saw it here first.

Explore posts in the same categories: art, blather, film, images, musings, photography, poetry, published

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