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Tokyo Waka - Off the Cliff

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Fri Nov 29th, 2013


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10:11 pm - Tokyo Waka
When the Bloor Repertory turned into the venue for Hot Docs ("Canada's national art form" oh dear) I pretty much stopped going to films. The Japan Foundation at least shows its free films there still, and this weekend sponsored a showing of two documentaries, which I went to see tonight.

Tokyo Waka is about Tokyo and its people and its crows. I was hoping maybe for some familiar settings, but found instead that undefinable sense of Japanese place that I got from Mimi wo sumaseba / Whisper of the Heart: not a Japan I ever knew, or could ever know, but the communal Japan the Japanese themselves seem to live in. (When they're not worrying about what the neighbours will say.) Priests and municipal workers and crow specialists and students, zoo keepers and indy film makers and itinerant tofu sellers and yer average middle-aged couple in the street, all give their meditations on human life and crows. 'These include a smiling, articulate young homeless woman who lives in a tent city in the middle of a park, advocating for an alternative definition of "home."' She says, 'So though I'm homeless, I have many homes-- I feel home-full.'

So though I'm not Japanese, when I see that city and its people, presented as individuals and not as faceless masses on the train, and especially when I can understand what they're saying without looking at the subtitles, then yes, i have a sense of home-coming too.

Of course, this came after The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom which left me a dehydrated wreck. I'd carefully avoided watching footage of the tsunami, but the film started with that; and then there was no turning back.
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