I don’t remember when I watched the movie “Nausiccaa of the Velley of Wind” for the first time. I must have been in elementary school, maybe in 4th or 5th grade. I watched it on TV, on video, and also on a big screen when my junior high school had a showing in a brand-new concert hall they’d just built. At that time, the movie was still somewhat difficult for me to understand, but I watched it many times over the course of many years. Every time I watched it, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The creator of this movie Hayao Miyazaki made many movies after this one, some of them became famous in the U.S. Recently, a friend of mine talked about his favorite Miyazaki movie “Spirited Away”. He had never seen “Nausicca of the Valley of Wind” so I recommended it, saying that this is my all time favorite. After watching Nausicca, he asked me why I like this one so much(as he preferred “Spirited Away”), and suggested that I write about it.
I heard that the Japanese movie “Departures” has finally opened in the U.S. in the past few days. The Japanese title is “Okuribito“, meaning a person who sends out (something or someone). This movie won an Academy Award for best foreign language film, though I don’t believe many Americans know of this film (and it will most likely not become a blockbuster movie). I watched it about a week ago after borrowing the DVD from my colleague. I cried on several occasions. I was watching it alone, and there were some scenes that made me think of my grandparents, both of which passed away in their own home, at different times. It made me wonder if they were taken care of as well as the ones that were shown in the movie when they were “encoffined” i.e.: being placed in the coffin.
The title is a phrase that I just heard today while listening to Haruki Murakami‘s book “What I talk about when I talk about running”. It’s Murakami’s memoir, a book about being professional writer and a (amateur) runner. Chris Guillebeau, who I just got to know of about 2 weeks ago, talked about this book(Chris is a big fan of Murakami) in his report “279 Days to Overnight Success“. I’ve read most of Murakmi’s novels, but didn’t know this one partly because I had not gone back to Japan for a few years. I immediately checked the local library and got the book on CD – my favorite way of “reading” books these days during my commute. It was strange listening to this book translated in English – I tried to imagine how it’s written in Japanese, the original language, while listening to the story.