Monday, September 18, 2017

The solutions to all of your modern First World problems...

Some fun globalization stuff... No product endorsement intended. First the problem:

Then the problem solvers:

And then see the product in action!

Choku Fish web page:

Monday, September 11, 2017

South Korean Film 「반짝이는 박수 소리 」("Glittering Hands") Barrier-Free Release in Osaka

"Glittering Hands" (Japanese title:「きらめく拍手の音」), a 2015 film by South Korean filmmaker Lee-Kil Bora, has been released for its Japanese roadshow.

Brief English description (from Korean Film Biz Zone): Sang-guk and Kyung-hee cannot hear a thing, yet they are a happy couple. Bo-ra, their daughter, gazes at the world of her parents through the viewfinder. What we witness is not only a world of silence, but also a world of beauty where bodily gestures and facial expressions come to life. This film shows us that humanity exists with the imperfection of the body.

The filmmaker is a CODA (child of deaf adult) and portrays the life and history of her parents and family. I really like the karaoke scene in the trailer as I have experienced karaoke with my Deaf friends in Japan many times. The short film has won several awards including the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival (2015) - New Asian Currents, Seoul International Youth Film Festival (2015) - Special Program 2, Busan International Kids&Youth Film Festival (2015) and Persons with Disabilities Film Festival (2014) - Grand Prize.

The Japanese release is emphasizing the barrier-free showings, that is open captions in Japanese (the film itself is in Korean and Korean Sign Language).

Film's Japanese web page:

Osaka's Nanagei Theater web page with film info and screening times:

Saturday, September 9, 2017

"Mizuko Yamaoka takes a different approach in documentary about people with disabilities"

Excerpts from article in The Japan Times, 9/7/17.

Disability presents different challenges for everyone but wheelchair users share a common dilemma: Their mode of locomotion stands out, while they often struggle with social isolation... “The Lost Coin,” [is] a 2016 short by Mizuko Yamaoka, a filmmaker who has been using a wheelchair since a 2002 bicycle accident in Brooklyn left her paralyzed from the waist down.

In contrast to Japanese documentaries that try to win viewer sympathy by portraying people with disabilities as lovable victims — if not candidates for sainthood — this 30-minute film begins with extended point-of-view sequences of the director wheeling through the night streets of Barcelona and attending a party.

Her night out isn’t different from that of anyone else’s except for one crucial difference: She experiences it sitting down. People treat her with courtesy, but she can’t jump into conversations as easily as the other guests because she can’t stand. This, she shows us clearly, if minus the usual explanations, is what life for her is like — including a semi-invisibility those who don’t use wheelchairs may find hard to imagine.

The remainder of the film is devoted to a revealing one-on-one interview with Jelena, a French woman who began using a wheelchair after a fall during a hike with her then-boyfriend. Under Yamaoka’s gentle but pointed questioning she opens up about her break-up with her lover, her sex life and her decision to leave Paris for relatively barrier-free Barcelona.

“The Lost Coin” will begin at 7 p.m. on Sept. 14 at Couzt Cafe and Shop (2-1-11 Yanaka, Taito Ward, doors open at 6:30 p.m.). Mizuko Yamaoka will be on hand to discuss the film with University of Tokyo assistant professor Daisuke Son. Admission with a drink is ¥1,300. For more details about the screening and talk event, visit “The Lost Coin” Facebook page at

Read the whole article:

You can find a trailer here:

Thursday, September 7, 2017

A WHALE OF A TALE, lecture and screening by documentary filmmaker Megumi Sasaki

Image borrowed from

Announcement from SSJ Forum:


The issue of commercial whaling in Japan remains a contentious issue, as animal rights activists engage cultural traditionalists on the historical roots of this practice and its contemporary relevance. For this event the documentary filmmaker Megumi Sasaki will screen excerpts from her film “A Whale of a Tale,” and discuss the controversies surrounding this topic.

About the film “A Whale of a Tale”:

Can a small town with a proud 400-year-old whaling tradition survive a tsunami of modern environmental activism? The camera delves into the lives of local whalers, global activists and an American journalist in the “whale and dolphin killing town” of Taiji, Japan, revealing not everything is as black and white as it seems.

In 2010, Taiji, a sleepy fishing town in southern Japan, suddenly wakes up in the global spotlight. A documentary film called The Cove, which denounces the town’s longstanding whale and dolphin hunting practices, has just won an Academy Award. Almost overnight, the town of Taiji has morphed into a battleground as the go-to destination for international activists.

Jay Alabaster, a Tokyo-based Associated Press journalist and twenty-year Japan resident, is sent to Taiji to cover the controversy. He is warned by his boss to “be careful in the dangerous town”, which triggers the sense that something is not quite right with media reports surrounding Taiji.

As the fall hunting season begins, anti-whale and dolphin hunting activists arrive from abroad with binoculars and cameras in hand. Their mission: To expose the “atrocities” committed in Taiji via the web.

Every time dolphins are captured in the hunt, tension in the cove grows. Activists yell and thrust cameras in whalers’ faces. Local police and the Coast Guard stand by. Camera crews arrive in droves. A Japanese nationalist van harasses activists over a loudspeaker.

For the local whalers, hunting is their livelihood, pride and identity. Catching whales and dolphins – as they do other fish - has allowed them to feed their families and support the town’s economy.

The activists fight back, saying the whales and dolphins are not fish, but intelligent mammals deserving special protection on a global scale. Hunting and eating them is barbaric, and selling them to aquariums is comparable to a slave trade.

Will Taiji survive under global pressure? Following the town’s fate for six years, A WHALE OF A TALE tells a story not yet heard in the global controversy of whale and dolphin hunting. Through the point-of-view of an American journalist, the film unearths a deep divide in eastern and western thought about nature and wildlife, raising questions about cultural sensitivity in the face of global activism.

Date: Thursday, September 14, 2017
Time: 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
Venue: Temple University Japan Campus, Azabu Hall 1F Parliament
Admission: Free. Open to the public.
Language: English

See the YouTube clip:

Film web page:

More: Japan Times article, 9/6/17:

Documentarian Megumi Sasaki hopes to bring balance to the story of Taiji in ‘A Whale of a Tale’


See the previous and extensive coverage of The Cove and related issues at VAOJ. Click here.