These are some pictures I took from my last travel from my place in Spain until my place in Japan. This time it took me 25 hours from the door in my house in Spain until the door in my house in Tokyo. There are not direct flights from Spain to Japan, it sucks! I always have to stop en London, Paris, Milan, Frankfurt or Helsinki. Next time I’m thinking to change and go by Dubai and stay there some days.
During my long travels I usually spend my time reading and sleeping, I try to enjoy it as on day more of holidays:
I walk on the beach next to my home before leaving.
Walking to my car.
My father cleaning the car.
Arriving to Valencia airport.
My mum drinking the last one before I leave.
Arrived to Charles de Gaulle in Paris.
Reading and waiting for my plane to Tokyo.
Bored of reading I try to find some free wifi.
Flying with Airfrance to Tokyo.
Arrival to Narita.
Welcome to Japan.
Walking through the airport.
Jackie Chan and VISA.
Walking to the Narita Express.
Arrived to Shinjuku, the busiest train station in the world.
Changing trains in Shinjuku.
Some music in Shinjuku’s south exit.
Finding my way.
Inside my train.
Finally arrived! Notice my tired face and my 25 hours beard.
Koichi Toyama, is a super crazy radical anarchist who became pretty popular during the last year Tokyo elections. He was a candidate for the governor of Tokyo in 2007 and he said so many stupidities that he got the attention of everyone. This time Koichi Toyama decided to run for president of the United States:
If you are not bored yet, you can continue with this video from last year. This video became pretty popular on the net in Japan and also all over the world:
I while ago I visited the Taro Okamoto museum in Kawasaki. Taro Okamoto is one of the most important Japanese artists from the last century. He was a painter, an sculptor and a writer. His master piece was the Tower of Sun, that he designed for the 1970 Osaka Expo. If you have read 20th Century Boys, then I guess you already know about the Tower of Sun 😉
The Tower of Sun is Taro Okamotos’s master piece.
Taro Okamoto studied in France and traveled a lot around Europe when he was young. Taro recognizes that his style very influenced by Picaso, André Breton, Antonio Gaudí and Miró.
I find pretty interesting those weird faces that Taro Okamoto liked to draw and sculpt. Taro Okamoto spent some years traveling little villages around Japan learning about legends, superstitions and mythological Japanese monsters. He mixed all that in his head and created his own style to create funny and the same time mysterious faces. Many Japanese artists are influenced nowadays by Taro Okamoto, for example some characters created Hayao Miyazaki have faces that look like inspired by Taro Okamoto’s style. Look for example at this Kodamas from Ghibli’s “Princess Mononoke” film:
Kodamas have a mysterious feeling that reminds me Taro Okamoto’s faces.
Also Masashi Kishimoto, the author of Naruto said in some interviews that some of his characters are inspired by Taro Okamoto’s art.
I watched Gake no use no Ponyo (Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea), the new Ghilbi (Hayao Miyazaki) movie a while a go and I loved it. Yesterday I spent some time going through Ghibliworld, Ghibli and listening some podcasts. Here there are some extracts from interviews to Hayao Miyazaki (Director) and Toshio Suzuki (Producer) that I liked:
Hayao Miyazaki, won an Academy Award with “Spirited away“. He is almost 70 years old but he is still very active.
Robert Whiting: Did you have any scary experiences?
Miyazaki Hayao: An air attack when I was four years old. My family escaped to under a rail bridge to avoid an incendiary bomb. My mother covered me with a futon and put a tatami mat on it. I couldn’t breath at all and nearly died. A lot of people died because of the bombings in Japan, though many crews of the US bombers were also killed. A B-29 was shot down near my place and all of the 11 crew members died. I saw the pictures of the dead, very young and looked rustic. They didn’t look like inhumane murderers at all. I thought the war brought tragedy to everyone.
Robert Whiting: So when was the first time you saw Americans?
Miyazaki Hayao: In 1954. They were Allied Occupation army soldiers. My father had a business relation with.
Robert Whiting: Did you ask them for chocolates?
Miyazaki Hayao: Never. I thought that was humiliating.
Robert Whiting: So do you use internet?
Miyazaki Hayao: No. I don’t have a computer or fax. I don’t have a DVD player either and I forgot how to use a video recorder. I even seldom watch television.
Robert Whiting: How about the use of e-mail?
Miyazaki Hayao: No. I write letters when I need.
Robert Whiting: And video games?
Miyazaki Hayao: No. I once played Shogi (note: a Japanese kind of chess) with a computer and lost. The PC checks all approaches. That’s not fair.
Robert Whiting: …sigh…
Miyazaki Hayao: He is sighing… (laughing).
Robert Whiting: So, is Studio Ghibli a stock company?
Miyazaki Hayao: Yes. I have my own company called Nibariki (note: 二馬力, 2 horse power, its name is inspired by a Citroën 2CV, one of Miyazaki’s cars), which is a stock company as well. However, I do not have any interest in their stock price. My father liked trading stock… I couldn’t understand why it was interesting.
Miyazaki with his Citroën 2CV at his home
Robert Whiting: So how much do you smoke per day?
Miyazaki Hayao: Nowadays, about 30 cigarettes a day. I decreased a lot. Both of my parents were heavy smokers, though they didn’t die of lung cancer. So I’m OK. I scanned my lungs the other day and there was no problem.
However, this time for “Gake no ue no Ponyo” he tried to make an animated film all by hand and without the use of CG. As a result, 70 staff members had to draw a total of 170,000 pictures in period of one and a half year. Miyazaki notes, “Talking from our experience, people tend not to be so surprised at things that have been done “by electricity” (note: of course Miyazaki hints at the use of computers here). We have drawn with pencils for a long time, so then we thought we should do it with pencils only. That is our advantage. Even we ourselves felt fresh to see the completed film.”
Miyazaki Goro: In the scene in which a lot of jellyfish are swimming, all of them are drawn by hand. There aren’t any the same ones. I’m afraid of its formidableness. A total over 170,000 pieces of picture were drawn for only 100 minutes of animation. The density is awesome.
Q: How is that in the case of usual animation?
Miyazaki Goro: They draw a few of jellyfish and copy & paste them by computer.
Miyazaki Hayao: I’ve been 40 years on struggling how we can show interesting things. However, there is no right way to do it. The world we draw is not the one seen through a lens, but the one seen by naked eyes. The world seen by naked eyes shows the curious things in large, but ignores the things we don’t care for. That is the way it goes. When cutting out and drawing a scenery like that, the result is a world that we used to see somewhere, sometime. If you ask if my layouts fit to the perspective an architect draws, they never do. If we draw perspective lines before we begin making a layout, then the pictures will surely become dull. Animation movies are “ayakasi”, so to speak > ayakasi > deception. For the audiences, how they are tricked is the amusement of watching animation.
An this is a little extract from a conversation between George Lucas and Toshio Suzuki
Suzuki Toshio: Actually, our new film at Ghibli has no CG at all (Ponyo), so it’s all hand drawn. What do you think of that?
George Lucas: …. promoting digital projectors so that we can see the films better. So I am not sure if you are talking to the right guy, although I appreciate and love hand drawn animation.
Suzuki Toshio: Well, because you are that person, that is why I am telling you. It would be a big influence to the world.
George Lucas: (laughing)
George Lucas talking with Toshio Suzuki.
More about Ghibli (Only in Spanish):