Thursday, March 30, 2006


Tonight's agenda: dinner and a movie. I am so thrilled to have found a fellow Roppongi Hills Virgin Cinemas aficionado in my former UCLA roommate; the cinema employees were starting to give me pitying looks when I'd roll in for my fairly regular solo viewings.

After a mind-bogglingly petite dinner of red and green curry inside Roppongi Hills, we caught the 21.40 late show for Crash. That's 2 cupfuls of rice and same sized curries in the foreground, with our Tokyo-sized glasses of water towering over them in the background. The whole spread would have fit on the palm of my hand. See how the dainty cup of tea dwarfs the main dish? Only in Tokyo. (But especially in Roppongi Hills.)

As for the movie, I found Crash to be true to its name. It was like watching an accident - loud, messy, superficially provocative, gross, and just really horrible. As a movie, it was consummately executed. But 2 hours of watching consummate actors convincingly executing white/yellow/black/brown trash-ness is unnecessarily depressing. Doubly so if you've spent time Stateside and know that it's not far from reality.

(Side note: I do have one gripe about a particular character not being very convincing. Without giving anything away, I don't see how Matt Dillon would do THAT, if he were also the type of character to do THAT. The Sandra Bullock character was hyperreal - yeah, we all know women like that from L.A. - but she was almost too irksome to watch.)

So anyway. Probably not a very good PR piece for the bedraggled U.S. of A. right now, although I can see why the Academy loved it so damn much. I should say, for the record, that despite its gory image, I always have a rip roarin' good time when I go to the States. Yes, even when I go to L.A. You've got Six Flags, Disneyland, and Knott's Berry Farm. Malls are everywhere, food portions are gargantuan, movies are cheap, the weather's warm, everyone and their mother's got a pool. What more could you possibly want?

(Circa 1988. That's me and my Japanese-American friend, an Orange County gal through and through. She was born and raised in California and lived through some pretty nasty Japan-bashing times. But whatever. You deal with it. Hop on Montezuma's Revenge, have some churros, shop Melrose, make the most of it.... And before you know it, they'll all be picking on Arabs or blacks or hippies or someone else. That's always what happens.)

And look at this. Here you have the view from my studio on Manhattan beach, 2001 or thereabouts. One step out my sliding door and you're on a white sandy beach. The waves lull you to sleep at night. What a great place to live, right? This is the payoff for putting up with provincial shitheads once in a while.

At the end of the day, there will be racism wherever you go. It's not a matter of getting used to people who are different from you; it's a matter of minding your own business and letting people be. And no movie is going to make that happen.


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