Saturday, August 04, 2007

Shoes of the fisherman......

No, not THAT fisherman...........

It is Hanabi (fireworks) season here in Japan. That means from middle of July through the end of August you can see a different firework display every weekend-provided you don't mind riding on a train with 1000's of new found friends. Tonight was the one near where we live. We really wanted to see it, since next week I will be in hell Korea.

S.O. and I went out for dinner first. At the local shopping emporium they have just opened a brand new Ootoya (pronounced oh-toh-ya) restaurant. (Japanese food like mother used to make!). The great thing about Ootoya is that just about everything is a set, you get Miso soup rice and some vegetable or salad with your meal. Its tasty and cheap, and the service is generally quick. That's especially important when the mall is full of Yukata wearing people who are also trying to make their way to the fireworks.

Coming out of the restaurant I picked up a flyer for the movie theater. I was surprised to see an ad in it for the latest installment of Tsuri baka nisshi (釣りバカ日誌)Diary of the stupid fisherman.

You think Rocky had a few too many sequels? This year will be the 18th iteration of the series. Starring Toshiyuki Nishida, the movies have become an annual ritual here in Japan. It is the story of Densuke Hamasaki, affectionately known as "Hamachan", a man who is crazy about fishing, and not so crazy about having to work. Hamachan is your average salaryman-he's married with a family, his wife loves him and he loves his wife, and he can't get enough of fishing-any kind of fishing. Salt water, fresh water, whatever works.

In all the movies he is saved from any number of embarrassing situations at work by one great secret: "Hamachan's relationship with the owner and CEO of his company, Mr. Suzuki. The two became fishing buddies, before they found out that they both worked for the same company--Hamachan the salaryman, and Suzuki-san the CEO. Within the company, they keep their relationship a secret. But on the ocean, Hamachan is the sensei (teacher), and Mr. Suzuki is the eager student. Mr. Suzuki clearly respects Densuke Hamasaki as an honest and honorable man. He only wishes Hamachan would have a more serious and stringent attitude toward his professional career. But that is not who Hamachan is".(Quoted from Carpe Caprio).

I thought they did not make them anymore, particularly because you can see Nishida-san on TV again and again. Seems I was wrong. I've watched about 4 of the movies with the S.O. and they are funny-in a stupid sort of way. In one of the movies, Hamachan and his wife are trying to figure out how he can get some time off from work so he can go fishing. His wife tells him that he has no more vacation left, nobody believes the stories about sick kids and they have run out of relatives on both sides of the family to "die". They despair on what he can do. The next day at work he hits on a scheme sure to succeed- he talks the office manager into sending him on a business trip to Okinawa with Suzuki-san. Long story short they wreck the boat and end up having to be rescued at sea.

Its been popular enough to allow a cartoon series to made about and some pretty slick marketing campaigns have been launched off of the movies. Some pretty cute ladies have been able to launch their movie careers by playing roles in the movies. Miyoko Asada has played his wife Michiko since 1994. (Pictured on the right).

Given a choice between the Simpsons Movie and this one-I'll take the Simpsons Movie. However its still some pretty good fun and an interesting insight into Japanese entertainment culture. Since its August and that means all the Senso Dorama (War Drama) will be on the TV-its good to get a laugh.


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