Tsukishima and Tsukudajima walk

I went for a stroll around Tsukishima and Tsukudajima.  On the face of it, these areas look quite modern with many condos, but there is still something nostalgic in the air. 

■Monja street
When it comes to Tsukishima, it’s nothing but monja-yaki.  I bet that 80% of restaurants in Tsukishima are monja restaurants.  It always smells yummy on so-called monja street.

I found a very interesting object in the back street of Tsukishima.  Here is a question.  Why did they put a floating bridge that combines two houses?  I guess that a young man and a young woman who were next door neighbor each other must have gotten married. How convenient it is!   What is your take on this?

■where a lighthouse was located
Tsukudajima used be a small fisherman's village. 
This lighthouse is a replica of the old one.

■Tsukuda Kobashi bridge and a canel

The huge chimney that you can see over the Tsukuda kobashi bridge is for sentou, a bathhouse.  The residents of the condo must be very happy to have a bathhouse on their premises.  

There is a basin under the bridge.  Interesting contrast with high buildings. 

■tsukudani shop

No Tsukudajima trip is complete without dropping by a tsukudani shop.  Tenyasu, which has 170 years of history, still remains Edo atmosphere.  I bought some tarako (cod roe) and katsuo-no-kakuni (tuna).  Best partners for cooked white rice. 

Sumiyoshi shrine
The first Torii of Sumiyoshi shrine is located just beside the riverbank.   It means that people in Edo visited here by bout.  It’s just like the God of safety marine transportation! 

■The Sumida River

My second favorite bridge, Kachidoki bridge, is seen over Tsukuda Oohashi bridge.

■at the bottom of Chuo Oohashi bridge

A bicycle that lost its owner is now having a new beautiful partner.  What a nice second life!

■Amazake yokocho
We left the Sumida River at around Sumida ohashi bridge and headed for Ningyocho to get a train back home.
It was a nice break to have a cup of amazake, at Amazake Yokocho in Ningyocho.  It’s a sweet drink made from fermented rice and it’s also good for your refreshment after walking long time.

■sukiyaki Imahan

“Isn’t it a good idea to have sukiyaki dinner at Imahan in Ningyo-cho?”
“Sounds soooooo good.” 
In the end, we bought just-fried-sukiyaki-croquettes at the deli corner of Imahan and ate at the shop at once.  Umm, yummy!

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Looking up the night sky

In the night of April 22, the Lyrids meteor shower peaked.  I was ready to look up the night sky, but unfortunately, it was cloudy and I couldn’t see any bright showers. 

I’m not an astronomy maniac, though.  I like just watching the night sky every so often.  I don’t know exactly when it was, but I never forget the moment when I saw the Milky Way very clearly.  It really blew my mind.  There were, literary, astronomical a number of stars there and I felt as if they were twinkling and making some happy sounds. 

There was another opportunity that made me look up the sky.  One day, Tsuruhiko Kiuchi, an amateur astronomer who found two new comets, showed us Comet Swift-Tuttle, which he rediscovered, coming closer to the earth.  I saw a comet, which had a long white tail, with his big telescope for the first time in my life.

I was lying on the grass in the meadows when the Perseids meteor shower peaked some years ago.  It was just like a 3D spectacular.  Shooting stars were moving toward me one after another and one of them had a long red tail that lingered in the sky pretty long.

The night sky is enjoyable even if there aren’t any astronomical shows.  Just looking for star signs and galaxies are fun enough for me.  One summer night, we found a small luminous body moving across the sky slowly when we were relaxing on deck chairs after a BBQ party.  Someone said,  “Is that an airplane?”  “No, planes should have red and green lights.”  “Then, UFO?”  “It will be fun if it’s a real UFO, but UFOs are supposed to fly randomly.”  Our conclusion was that It was an artificial satellite or the International Space Station. 

The reason why I like looking up the night sky is that we all came from the space originally.  And I believe so.

Photo: wired.jp / courtesy Luis Argerich

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March comes in like a lion, 3月のライオン

“Thermae Romae,” “Himizu,” “Moteki,” “Space Brothers,” “Helter Skelter,” “Jin,” “Brave Hearts, Umizaru.”  Do you know what these have in common, they are all recent big hits?  The answer is that they are all based on comic books.  These are just some examples and you can easily find a lot more movies like them. 

Comic books are real treasures for the movie and TV drama industry.  However, I have hardly read any comics for all but two decades and I’m not well up in them.  Then, I have just started reading some major comic books at hand to see what their contents are actually like.  As a matter of course, soon I realized that some of them are annoying with amount of onomatopoeia and I thought they are just waste of time, but some of them are actually not bad. 

“March comes in like a lion, 3月のライオン” written by Chika Umino is great!    It’s a shogi-themed manga, but I think it should attract both men and women in all generations.  Story goes like this.  Rei Kiriyama, a 17-year-old boy, is leading a lonely life.  He lost his family in an accident when he was a kid.  He became a professional shogi player for living, still holding a big pain deep in his heart.  One day, he met Kawamoto three sisters and finds what he lost little by little.

I got goose-bumps in shogi match scenes.  In shogi, games end when a looser declares “I’m lost.”  That’s a rcruel rule.  Umino depicts how players stick to winning the games with the characters’ background stories.  Players sometimes have to resort to tricky tactics.  They have no choice but to do it to win the game because winning means getting a place for their own.  By the way, Manabu Senzaki 8 dan supervises the descriptive notations in the story and most of them are from the records of historically famous matches.  That makes the story very realistic. 

I was always wondering why manga geeks liked quoting a lot of famous phrases from comic books?  I thought that geeks should be more creative and start making their own phrases, instead of borrowing other people’s phrases.  However, now I feel a bit different because I found some good phrases in this comic and wrote them down in my notebook.  Power of manga could be very strong.

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Flash Mob

Many people at a square in Shibuya, all of a sudden, pretended to make calls with bananas holding in their hands.  People on an escalator gave high five each other.  People came from nowhere and they started dancing together in an airport.  Passers-by were all eyes, puzzled and wondered what on earth was happening. 

Those performances are called flash mob acts and it’s getting popular around the world.  According to Oxford Dictionary, the definition of flash mob is as follows:
Flash mob (noun)
a public gathering of complete strangers, organized via the Internet or mobile phone, who perform a pointless act and then disperse again.

The first flash mob act was born from an idea of an editor for Harper’s Magazine, Bill Wasik in 2003.  Wasik said that he just wanted to have an experiment to see what would happen if he proposed random people, by email, his idea of getting people together and performing his scenario. 

Why do flash mobs attract a lot of people around the world? 

Basically, flash mobs don’t have any purposes themselves.  Masaaki Ito, the author of “Flash Mobs” said that it could change the order of space.”

A performance suddenly cuts in our daily life and changes our scenes.  In a few minutes, our scenes go back to normal as if nothing happened.  What people experienced for some minutes is more than just fun.  Although participants of events are anonymous, they get to know that they have power to attract people’s attention when they get together for an act. 

It remind me of one event which took place around the same time of the last year.  People who were opposed to re-starting of Ooi nuclear power plant got together in response to the announcement made on Twitter and strolled around the prime minister’s official residence.  It was an political event, but both flash mobs and Twitter parades are all but the same on SNS based movements.

After the 3-11 disaster, we have been trapped in a smoldering atmosphere.  I think that flash mobs show us some possibility to be connected, not close-knit, and break out of the stagnant air. 

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朝ドラ「純と愛」 きわめて個人的な総括

結構のめり込んで、朝から号泣しながら見てましたから。 (←バカですね〜)

3月30日(土)最終回の視聴率は20.2%。 6ヶ月の平均視聴率は関東で17.1%。ヒットメーカー遊川和彦さんの脚本にしては、期待するほど伸びませんでしたね。そして、最終回のエンディングも賛否両論というか、私のツイッターTLには非難の礫が飛び交っていました。実は私も、あのエンディングなら最終週はナシでいいじゃない!と憤慨したクラスタ。




脳腫瘍に倒れた愛が、手術後の昏睡状態から純のキスで目覚めるかどうか? これが鍵だったわけですが、結局視聴者の想像力にゆだねるという結果でしたね。よく見ると、かろうじてハッピーエンドと読める仕掛け(魔法の国写真館の待田純さん=寂しそうな笑顔がなんとも…)がつくってあったけど、劇中の登場人物とともに苦難を味わい続けた視聴者はカタルシスを求めているわけで、あれでは不十分。想像力に任せるなんてしないで、ドラマらしく明確に映像化して欲しかった。100歩譲ってあのエンディングを受け入れたとしても、その前の純のモノローグは???でした。父のように、母のように、兄のように、弟のように…って。狩野家メンバー、そんなにお手本になるような人たちだったかな?


朝ドラの視聴者は、ほとんどが時計代わりにテレビを見ているだろうし、放っておいてもチャンネルはそのままなはず。そこに遊川ファンがプラスされるんだから、普通に考えればレイティングは上がりますよね。では、なぜ? 個人的には、出足の2〜3週間に固定客を逃した。それが大きいと思ってます。そのいちばんの理由は、ヒロインのキャラクター設定が破綻していたからではないでしょうか。


狩野純 22歳


同じ遊川脚本のドラマに、「曲げられない女」(主演:菅野美穂 日本テレビ 2010年1月〜)がありますが、このヒロインも純にちょっと似ています。









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