Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Petal Dance

These days, I take every opportunity I can get to listen to Japanese radio. To sharpen my ear. I have an interesting capacity for listening to a radio programme for half an hour and still not be able to say what the programme was about! Not a clue. I do catch the odd word, which I guess is encouraging. But I have a long way to go! I might be listening to the equivalent of the Gerry Ryan show for all I know, so what hope have I got?

TV is a little easier, as you can see the context of what's going on. And with subtitles, it's much easier of course.  For the last little while, I've been watching Good Morning Call, a teenage series set in Tokyo, on Netflix. It's great fun, watching 16 year-olds fall in love, Japanese-style! I've just learned that it's based on a Shoujo manga of the same name. And a shoujo manga? I hear you ask! Well, that's a manga aimed at a teenage female readership! (I learned that in the last 5 minutes!) But the point I wanted to make is that while watching it, I've actually learned new words! For instance, I had always learnt that "I'm sorry" or "Excuse me" is "sumimasen". But in a more informal context, you can use ごめん(gomen), or ごめんなさい (gomen nasai) if you want to be a little less casual!

So, when I had the chance to watch a Japanese movie, I decided to take it. Now, there was not that much chat in Petal Dance (ペタル ダンス Petaru Dansu). It was quite a bleak movie, about a young woman who has tried to kill herself, and two friends from college, who haven't seen her in 6 years, make the trip to go and visit her. Another young woman, whom they've just met, drives them North on this road trip. Very few words are exchanged. It's all looks and repressed emotions. A very different side of Japanese culture from Good Morning Call, which is all teenage madness and giggles! But I liked the atmosphere of it, and the cold, bleak landscape - all very pale blues, pinks and golds that even made me feel cold. It makes me want to watch more Japanese movies.

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