Sunday, 30 September 2012

Taira no Kiyomori 37-38: Enters Yoshitsune!

Arrgghh! What would I give to have the sudden ability to completely understand Japanese now? Or at least, to be able to watch the English subbed of Taira no Kiyomori from the San Francisco-based Tokyo TV? Click here, by the way, for you lucky souls who can watch TNK in San Francisco and adjacent regions. Click here to watch Ep 37 raw (without Eng sub). Click here to watch Ep 38 without English sub.

For someone like me who has very little understanding of Japanese (getting better with an excessive dosage of J-doramas these days, but still), I just have to guess what has transpired in Taira no Kiyomori eps 37 and 38. I do have Auberginefleur’s site to help my understanding, but it’s not enough, for it mostly covers what happens with the Heike.

Anyway, recapping episodes 37 (last Sunday) and 38 (this Sunday) of Taira no Kiyomori: it has been very interesting episodes for me, despite my mediocre understanding of Japanese. Now, before I summarise what happened to the Genji, I’ll give a Heike-Genji 101 about the names of Genji and Heike. Apparently, Heike is another way of reading the Kanji of ‘Taira’. Genji is another way of reading the Kanji of ‘Minamoto’. So when people say the Heike, they are referring to the clan/house that was ruled by the Taira. The Genji was then the clan that was ruled by the Minamoto.

Friday, 28 September 2012

The simplicity called ‘Halfway’

So, as you may know from my recent posts, I’ve been crazy about Okada Masaki, the cutie 23 years old Japanese actor who has such a beautiful voice and curly-bordering-to-messy perm hair. He’s a good actor and a lovely boy at the same time. After watching him in Raiou, I watched his other movies/series, up until I landed in 2009 Halfway, a movie by Kitagawa Eriko, starring Masaki (as Shinozaki Shu) and the cute Kitano Kie (as Konno Hiro). And once again, I was hooked.

Halfway is a very simple movie, such that it reaffirms my belief of the excellence that the Japanese own in making simple yet beautiful movies. Halfway has a total indie feeling all over it, it is refreshing and bringing contemplation at the same time. The premise was simple. You are a girl in the 3rd class of high school in a small town. You are going to enter university next year. What will happen if you have just dated a cute boy (one of the cutest in school, in fact), and he wants to go to a university in the capital city instead? Are you going to let him go? Or are you going to beg him to stay, whatever it takes?

That is Halfway. Below is the English-sub trailer and this is where I watched it.

The girl is Hiro, and the boy is Shu. They lived in Hokkaido. Hiro always liked Shu, the basketball sweetheart of her school. But Shu never took notice on her, or at least, she thought so, until one day he overheard her babbling over how she liked him a lot (when she was laying on the school hospital bed after an anaemic attack). To Hiro’s surprise, Shu asked her out the next day. After a moment of hesitation (and a very cute bike accident), they began to date.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Dream Manager: the importance of dreams for companies and employees

One of my best friends lent me a book last night, titled The Dream Manager (by Matthew Kelly). At first, I thought the book is about managing one’s dream, or to fulfil one’s dream. I wasn’t that wrong, because the book IS talking about how to fulfil one’s dream... through the eyes of a company manager.

The Dream Manager is a guide book for managers who want to keep the turnover rate of their companies low. Not only that, this is a book for managers who want to create a happy, positive environment in their companies, an atmosphere that makes people stay and do more for the company, because they are fulfilled and happy. 

I cried when I read the first 23 pages. 

Here’s what Kelly wrote in pages 3 and 4: 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Taira no Kiyomori: What happened to Minamoto no Yoritomo?

I’ve been watching the first five English-subbed episodes of NHK’s Taira no Kiyomori , until I realised that the 6th episode had not yet been subbed. In fact, no one has subbed the 6th episode onwards since a few months back. The sole translator had been sick (God bless him, may he recover soon), thus we – non Japanese speaker Taiga fans – are left without knowing the details of what happened to Kiyomori (Matsuyama Kenichi), the leader of the Heike clan (Heike literally means ‘the House of Taira’) and the rest of the characters.

Taira no Kiyomori seems to be having low viewing rate. My Japanese friend suggested that its Heian setting seems to be the problem for Japanese viewers, for Heian Era was about 900 – 1,000 years ago and not many understood what really happened then. But then again, wouldn’t it be the good reason to watch it? Other than watching a series of hot guys playing samurai and emperor in ancient garb? Some netizens said that the Heian Era depicted here was too gloomy and dusty, and indeed the samurai and commoners portrayed in this series were in total need of total bath! But that is much more realistic than, say, having them all flashy and neatly dressed a la the Emperor and his cronies.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Taira no Kiyomori!

I am currently watching the first episode of Taira no Kiyomori, NHK's 2012 Taiga drama. I am so excited! The cast is superb, many of whom I've seen in Japanese dramas, delivering great performances. I am a bit bias here: the first drive for me to watch it is to hear Okada Masaki's lovely voice narrating the drama as Minamoto no Yoritomo. But when I saw the trailers etc, I realise the drama's potentials. I just hope that I can discipline myself and watch it just one episode per day. That is, hopefully my online links are not broken. This drama is still airing in Japan anyway, so fan-based attempts to sub it might be seen as breaching the copyright. Which is SO not the intention of those hard working fans who have been subbing this drama!