Random Observation/Comment #85: The movie theater in Shinjuku is gi-normous and literally has a stage with curtains. It had fancy, soft, red seats made for a Broadway show. I probably just picked a nice theater in the area, but I was still very impressed.
After checking out of the hotel, I slowly walked around Shinjuku to prepare myself for the long day ahead. I had 4 hours to kill before leaving at the station so I decided to indulge in a theatrical experience for the first time in Japan. I was reluctant to go to the movies because of the outrageous prices. Who pays 2000 yen for a movie? What a rip-off! The student price is 1500 yen, which is a little more reasonable. After all my reasoning and weighing, I figured that spending $15 for two hours was a pretty economically sound decision. I could have been window shopping and accidentally bought something $150 in those two hours, so I’m pretty glad this forced me to stay away from temptations. Luckily for me and my wallet, Japanese clothes do not fit my style (or my size). There’s way too much excessive junk and extreme scenester status.
I was forced to watch The Mummy 3, kicking and screaming. My nails latched onto the carpet and my hands grabbed anything to keep me from that room. The Japanese crew was surprisingly strong for their size. They threw me into the theater and locked the doors with a thunderous thud. My neck twisted, and my body flailed as I rolled closer to the screen. As I slowly lifted my body in a pathetic pushup, I heard the opening scenes of Paramount pictures. Sigh. This is going to suck. Why did this have to be the only movie playing in the theater?
I love previews. It’s the only time I get to be a critic for a movie and share my thoughts with the whole row in front of me and random strangers beside me. I become so judgmental when I’m in the zone.
My eyes were glued to the screen. The contrast between the Japanese and English methods of portraying a movie was fascinating. The Japanese didn’t use any of the old fashion techniques to make the movie interesting, which to me, made all of the previews completely bizarre. We don’t normally notice it because it’s so overdone, but the deep voice narrator and the carefully chosen cut scenes along with the action music is essential to the preview, and thus, an increase of the probability I will remember the movie. Leaving out the prequels and sequels they’re trying to pull off these days, the previews need to contrast the corresponding movie. In addition, the movie that this preview is playing for should also correctly target the audience. For example, if I’m about to watch Rambo, I don’t want to see “Music & Lyrics” as a preview.
Chick flicks and Masculine Action movies should be an obvious split. The phenomenon is when this split is not taken into account because of a language barrier. The Japanese previews were for TV soap operas and prime time series with that TV commercial flair to it. It reminded me of a preview to an episode of “Friends” or “Seinfeld.” There was upbeat music and very comical lines that stood out in the fade. It completely caught me off guard and actually made me put my hands up in confusion. I wanted to just say “what the hell is going on in Japan?” I would think that people would also understand what I’m talking about with the obvious back-and-forth switch between preview types, but no one gave a surprised reaction.
When I scanned the theater again, I understood the reason. Everyone around me was either 65 or 21 years old. There was no intermediate age range and it left me puzzled for quite some time. I get the dating scene, but why old people? Were they really that bored? Or perhaps they wanted to learn some English? It was so odd that I started to count. I wrote it in my notebook – 12 couples, 16 old people, 6 singles, 3 pairs of girls, and 1 family. I’ve never been so observant at an American movie theater, but this seems like a very odd distribution for a action movie. It crossed my mind that some of them could be homeless and just spending 2 hours sleeping in a nicely air-conditioned theater, but most of them seemed to be intently reading the translations. The only thing that fit was the practice of the language or a way to waste time. Whatever the reason, it confused me.
Well, the movie was exactly what I expected given the high bar set by Mummy 1 and 2. I guess it was entertaining to see people get eaten by beetles. I admired the extremely intricate CG with all the fighting sequences, but this is the case with all movies these days. All in all, it wasn’t painful to sit through, but I wouldn’t go watch it again.
After the movie, I walked around town for two hours waiting for the bus. I purposefully had a late lunch to ensure that I wouldn’t be starving by 7PM. Guess what? I was starving by 7PM. I think my body just likes digesting food in relation to the time because I always get hungry during the allotted time slots in the day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It almost doesn’t matter what I ingest during the intermediary hours because I’ll always be able to eat during the designated times. I must be very faithful to my schedule.
I bought the tickets at the station a day in advance, but I think it would be fine to buy them 4 hours ahead of time and then walk around the area for shopping. The bus station is across the street from Yodobashi Umeda. It’s easier to just ask someone for directions to the bus for Mt Fuji when you get there.
The bus ride starting at 5PM passed a lot of beautiful scenery along the way. The setting sun gave the clouds a mysterious glow that made my eyes glaze. Despite my picture taking efforts, I only got indistinguishable blurs. Sometimes you just have to give up with the camera and just keep it in your memory. This is something I will not be able to share because I am not (yet) telepathic with my words.
Along with the bus came a majority of Japanese tourists and a few English speaking college students. The English was music to my ears. All of the sounds were filtered and I overheard all of the conversations that I would normally probably ignore. After months of struggling with deciphering Japanese, it was a rewarding experience to fully understand conversations. We naturally made conversation, and eventually became hiking buddies.
~See Lemons Start the Climb