What(-anabe)?!

And, yet again, 渡辺 謙 Ken Watanabe has shown up in my life.

I was visiting a friend in her classroom today at lunchtime, and some kids needed instruction and practice on how to do quick-changes for a theatre contest this weekend.  (We won’t discuss how they’re only just learning this skill, despite their not being new to theatre and despite their being enrolled in that particular contest [of many contests] over the weekend.)  I happen to have a rather strong background in the workings of theatre, and so I took over helping them, while my friend worked with other kids on tying knots (No idea, but maybe it connects with lighting in theatre?)

Anyway, as we were about to do a practice run-through of the quick-change I’d set up, using clothing items I’d found around the classroom, one of the kids with me asked, – and somewhat snarkily (though not rudely) I might add – ‘Are there even any shows that actually need this?’ I responded with an immediate affirmative, to which he queried, ‘Like what??’
Again, immediately, and out of seemingly nowhere in my brain stores, I said, “‘The King and I’… Yes.., Yes! ‘The King and I’!”
Somewhat chastened, though still quite happy, he said an, ‘O-kay…’
I had surprised even myself with my immediate response, and wasn’t entirely sure of how I’d found the video of that memory so quickly.  “There’s actually this really great video,” I said, “of a somewhat famous quick-change from it.  I’ll pull it up in just a minute, so you can watch it.  It’s actually really cool.”

And so, I pulled up the video and played it, admiring the quick-change and the whole concept of Broadway and fabulous singing voices and all that jazz, and explaining to the students what was happening and why.  Then, we resumed our practicing.  The video, however, continued on to another video, as YouTube’s auto-play feature does.  It was the same quick-change again, causing us to look briefly at it once more, but with the scenes before and after it included.  I happened to glance up after the quick change finished, and what did I see?

You guessed it: The leading lady dancing in the arms of 渡辺 謙 Ken Watanabe.

And I was blown away doubly.  Because, despite the fact that I was remembering this quick-change video from “The King and I” at (I think) the Tony Awards, I had not made the connection from having read 渡辺 謙 Ken Watanabe’s Internet info pages the other night that his being the lead in “The King and I” several years ago was the same production.  I’d even told my mom just this weekend about his having been in it, and we talked about it briefly.

But the two pieces of information were stored in such separate cabinets and files that they hadn’t linked up yet in my head.  Until, of course, I saw the video with him in it, and it all clicked.  And then I was actually jumping up and down, declaring that it was ‘渡辺 謙 Ken Watanabe, it’s 渡辺 謙 Ken Watanabe!’

Boy, I’d really like to interview him.

I wonder how he’ll pop up next into my life.  I can hardly wait to find out. 😀

Post-a-day 2018

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School… really?

I share tonight the end of an e-mail I sent this evening, because it seems to encompass all my current thoughts.

Hope you have a great week!  I’m struggling to write a long paper I don’t want to write for school, so I’ll go back to that now… it seems so far that 2/3 of my degree is on stuff I genuinely don’t care about and sometimes even dislike. :/

Peace
Hannah
Sent from my iPhone

I wanted something to do, and it seems I’ve gotten it.  I just wish I’d come up with something a little more to my liking for the long reports and papers, you know?  Oh, well… only two more semesters of the not-fun stuff, and then I get to the fun stuff (Woohoo!).

Post-a-day 2018

My future, felt

I’m starting to have a rather solid feeling about this idea of doing interviews… in some form or other, I want to interview people.

Perhaps it is journalistic or nerdy, or even fan-style of up-and-coming individuals in various realms of society interviews… perhaps it is Malcolm Gladwell blow-your-mind-every-single-time-while-leaving-you-feeling-like-a-now-genius book interviews style… perhaps something else entirely…

But it is interviews… I can finally feel that clearly enough to tell.

And I’m excited

Post-a-day 2018

Japan all around

Japan is on my mind and in my life right now.  Recall that I watched the film “The Last Samurai” a few weeks ago.  I then watched it with the director’s, Edward Zwick’s, commentary the other day.  I had a cry-fest the first time, and was utterly touched and in love with samurai even more so than I already had been – I’d respected their skills and revered them as a whole function of class – and then I had a mind-whooshing wonderful exploration and discovery with the second, specifically leading me to appreciate even more the talents and passions of 渡辺 謙 Ken Watanabe*, the man who plays the lead samurai in the film and who plays ‘the Japanese English-speaking character’ in almost every Hollywood film these days – a man I’d already appreciated for his acting skills in “Inception” and other Hollywood films**.  And so, here I am, weeks after first watching the film, and I’m still thinking about the samurai, and I’ve added 渡辺 謙 (Ken Watanabe).

Therefore, when selecting what to wear for today that was unique and warm – the weather is suddenly chilly here, though it was genuinely hot and humid two days ago – I settled on one of my haori (use 羽織 to search online and get the right pictures on Google), the sort of winter jacket piece for kimono***.  The half turtle neck I usually wear with it was unfindable, and so I selected something else that was the same color, but textured really neatly (and then found the other shirt, but preferred the textured one, anyway).

That’s all my own conscious doing.

Today at work/school, the classroom we were using for the yearbook class for which I was subbing was an English classroom.  I happen to sit in a student desk, instead of the teacher’s, and what is directly in front of me?
This:

image1

I asked the students what book possibly was being read that had this on the board, and they concluded that it was a history book.  That is, students had merely used the board in the classroom during a free period, and had put up notes in preparation for a test or quiz in history class that was on that time period.  I was totally ready to read whatever novel it had been for English class, though… Oh, well…

And then, this evening, I found myself sitting in a coffee shop with my mom – her having the intention to read and I to work on my paper for school, but both of us kind of just chatting and catching up on things for the first almost-hour – explaining my outfit to her, one that she has declared to be genuinely great in terms of style and in terms of how it looked on me (and which multiple people had done throughout the day, including people who never comment on my outfits, which was really funny and cool all at the same time), and it turns out that the textured shirt I’d selected, though I hadn’t realized it when I’d selected it, was also from Japan.  I’d just remembered that I hadn’t worn it yet, but had been wanting to for a long time, and just hadn’t found the right situation and clothing combination, and had genuinely forgotten that it, too, was from Japan.  My mother, as we chuckled about the specific funky shop where I’d bought said shirt, then says that, ‘See, there are things you really liked about Japan.’

I agreed with her entirely, and mentioned how I know I want to go back and visit plenty; I’m just not so sure about ever even considering living and working there again.  However, I’ve just had a lot of Japan on my mind lately.  Learning about 渡辺 謙 (Ken Watanabe) and his language situation for the filming of “The Last Samurai”, made me consider whether I could be that kind of person in Japan, in Japanese film.  I have a natural tendency to pick up on accent quite well, and Japanese was no exception to this for me.  Could I go back and model and act successfully?  It’s definitely possible, but is it very likely?  Could I get the visa to give it a go, even?  Hmm… These are the thoughts that have been on my mind the past few days (though not for the first time).  I want to go back to Japan, but I also want to have something to do while there, even though I’ll only be visiting, technically.

And so, I suspect that I’ll just keep this all in mind, and, eventually, I’ll find a way back to Japan (and have a spectacular time while there).  Perhaps, either here or there, I’ll find a way to meet 渡辺 謙 (Ken Watanabe).  Maybe he’ll let me do an interview with him.  That would be stellar.  And possibly a really good idea.  Hmm…  Well, we’ll see.  For now, I’m just surrounded by Japan, intentionally, unintentionally, and even from outside sources… and I kind of like it…

🙂

*Yes, the Japanese version is with the last name first, read Watanabe Ken.  And I tend to say it that way now, though I didn’t do it intentionally and I didn’t used to do it.  I guess it is just automatic for me now, after having lived in Japan, to say a Japanese name ‘Japanese style’, so to speak.  In my head, every time, I say “Watanabe Ken-san”, but I already tend to leave out the -san with people who don’t understand it, and so the same happens with 渡辺 謙.

**When hearing what Edward Zwick had to say in the commentary of “The Last Samurai”, it had me question if that film had been 渡辺 謙’s (Ken Watanabe’s) first real role in a Hollywood film, thinking that it quite likely must have been.  I found it amazing, because I feel like I’ve known him as an actor for so long, that it must have been before 2003 that I first saw him.  After some consideration, though, I realized that, seeing as how 2003 was 15 years ago, it did actually make sense.  Sure enough, after dong a bit of checking, it seems that “The Last Samurai”, in 2003, indeed, was his first Hollywood film.

***Fun Fact: Kimono literally means “wearing thing” or “thing one wears”.

Post-a-day 2018

A famous professor

I received a letter from a man on whom we did a presentation in one of my classes… it was kind of surreal.

He has a whole, long Wikipedia page and everything, in addition to articles and all that jazz having been written about him over the years… plus, he, himself, wrote articles and books, and grew rather famous for them.

And he wrote and mailed me a letter. 🙂

Post-a-day 2018

Better at the same

While showering tonight, I was thinking about – isn’t it great how some of our best thinkings come from shower time? – the idea of doing things better.  I feel that everyone seems to be concerned about doing this or that better than everyone else all the time.  And aren’t those people all just doing the same things?  Aren’t they all trying to do better at the same things that everyone else is doing?  I feel like I’m always looking at what everyone else is doing, and trying to figure out something to do that’s not that.  They’re all going this way, so I’m interested in going that way.  Like if everyone is concerned about picking and discussing their favorite dessert food, I’m over yonder, pondering what it’s like to be a tree, possibly even talking to one, asking it questions.  That might not be the best example, but I think it’s still a valid one – I’m always looking for something different, especially when it feels like everything is so the same.  Sure, I’m still thinking about doing better at what I do and being better at who I am.  But I’m usually looking to do that by doing something different… and isn’t that what innovation – and successful inventions – is all about?

I’m not so sure I’ve communicated what I’d wanted to communicate, but I’m really sleepy right now, so I kind of don’t mind (slash I can’t even really focus on the text to see if I spelled it all correctly, anyway, let alone to verify that it is all stellar-ly expressed).  Here’s to wishing you a happy, holy, healthy life, wherever, whenever, and whoever you may be.  Cheers  🙂

Post-a-day 2018

The Last Samurai… again

I’m not sure that I have ever watched a film with the director’s commentary, but tonight I did.

I discovered the other week, when I’d watched “The Last Samurai”, that the commentary was likely to prove exciting and valuable, and so I kept it on the list of to-dos until I had the time finally tonight to watch it… and I was right: It is spectacular.

I grew up in a world of theatre, often sitting next to a spectacular director, having him ask me questions and tell me little important tidbits about everything he was doing throughout rehearsal and preparation (and everything else, actually), and then, at other times, sitting with my mom as she worked on costuming or props for a show, and sometimes working on sets, myself…, and so I have not only an eye for many things in theatre and film, but also an extreme appreciation for what it takes to accomplish different aspects of a production.

Combining that with my experiences and understanding in Japanese culture, I found Edward Zwick’s commentary beautiful and deepening for the film’s overall power and impact… he and his crew were no surface-level group, but intentional, informed, respectful, committed, and honest workers in the task of making this beautiful, respectful, multicultural film.

Thank you, all of you, for all that you did in making that film. 🙂

Post-a-day 2018