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A week in Tokyo August 28, 2013

Posted by ayasawada in Japan, Travel.
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Harajuku signage

Back in June, I had a “short, relaxing break” in Tokyo. This was my fifth time in Japan, my fourth in Tokyo, having stuck entirely to Kansai and Kyushu on my last trip. Seeing the Japanese capital again after 4 years, it’s interesting how much has changed – and not changed – both in the city and myself.

On the one hand, nothing much has changed. This is still the same Tokyo I’ve found my way around several times before. Convenience stores and vending machines still sell my favourite bottled green tea. I still know the Yamanote line like the back of my hand. Suica is still the way to travel, Ueno station in rush hour is still a nightmare. My favourite haunts of Ikebukuro, Shibuya and Akihabara remain largely the same. And unlike much of the western world, there are still physical record stores you can browse CDs and DVDs in. On the other hand, it’s amazing how much can change in 4 years, like the entire Radio Kaikan building being demolished or the Japanese population finally embracing the smartphone revolution.

I spent the days walking around my favourite parts of the city, doing the things I love and, unlike previous travel-rushed trips, just experiencing life as a Tokyo-ite. (more…)

Evangelion 2.22 blu ray June 23, 2011

Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Film.
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My pre-ordered blu ray of Rebuild of Evangelion 2.22 arrived! Funny how long it’s taken to get this – I first saw this in a Japanese cinema over 2 years ago!
The pack is nice though. Booklet seems small but is 20 packed pages of interesting info. Bonus features DVD looks good too. Can’t wait to watch it all.

Revisiting Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0 May 22, 2010

Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Film.
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I just saw for the second time Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance at the BFI Southbank, part of their Anime Weekend.

I’ve waited almost a year to see this again — with English subtitles — having made a special trip to see it in Tokyo last year. It blew me away then and it blew me away again the second time around. This is without a doubt one of the best anime films I’ve ever seen and one that certainly rewards repeat viewing.


Evangelion 2.0: You can (not) advance (Evangelion Shin Gekijōban: Ha) September 7, 2009

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While in Japan, I was lucky enough to catch the second Renewal of Evangelion movie at the Human Trust Cinema in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Evangelion Shin Gekijōban: Ha (Renewal of Evangelion: Ha or Evangelion 2.0: You can (not) advance as it is alternately known) is the next in GAINAX’s remakes/reimaginings/cash-in rip-off’s of their popular, controversial anime series.

Despite my misgivings about reanimating and redoing an otaku favourite, I was really impressed by the first film (Evangelion 1.0: You are (not) alone). Yes, the story was exactly the same as the first six or so episodes of the series, but it had been a long time since I’d rewatched the TV anime and the newly animated footage was stunning. To see everything rendered in new, 21st Century colours and CG was a treat for the eyes, and the story still holds — in some ways it was even better without the filler fluff that comes with a TV series.

Yet, while the story was essentially the same, it did hint at big changes to the original plot — Kaworu, for example, made a few taster appearances.

This is carried on in the second film, which while going through essentially the same hoops as the original anime, takes a different route in getting there.

(SPOILER ALERT: If you really don’t want to know, stop reading here) (more…)

Japan! July 6, 2009

Posted by ayasawada in Japan, Travel.
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Kyoto Gion Matsuri

Kyoto Gion Matsuri

I’ve fallen rather behind on my posts the last few weeks (got a stack of Japanese films I’ve seen to write about, not to mention the end of the Spring anime season, several volumes of manga and a few new albums and singles CDs). This is largely because of — what else — real life getting in the way, particularly conferences and events for work. However, I’ve also been planning and preparing for my upcoming trip to the mother country. That’s right, ayasawada’s going to Japan 三回! (more…)