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Tokyo Movie Meet-up: Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation

Toho Cinemas

After a long time, I could finally make it to another movie meet-up, thus saving the latest Mission Impossible flic from its fate of being seen on the small screen. This was also the first time of me being to the new TOHO Cinema in Shinjuku. The new one is a proper multiplex cinema with big screens, IMAX and great sound systems and has become the prime location for the meet-up group – previously, a cinema in Kawasaki was used for IMAX screenings.
Unlike with some other films, Japan didn’t have to wait several months to see the fifth installment in the Mission Impossible franchise. Rogue Nation is as good as the previous one with plenty of action and a good piece of humor, something that’s amiss from the current James Bond films. In that way, I like the MI movie more than the latest JB ones.
The last movie I watched at the old TOHO was an obscure Korean movie shown with Japanese subtitles. The new one is of course all about the blockbusters and current Japanse films. Mission Impossible is obviously one of those films best enjoyed on the big screen. The best part about the new TOHO – besides the upgraded tech – is the building: There is a big Godzilla on top of the building, threatening to eat Tom Cruise. Eight years ago me and my friends were having a little late night competition trying to get the best angles to make the little Godzilla statue look more threatening. Well now Tokyo has finally the Godzilla statues it deserves and needs right now!
If you have never been to a Japanese movie theatre before: Foreign films are usually not dubbed except for kid’s movies.

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Mega Hanami 2010

The number of meetup groups grew considerably since I came to Tokyo in 2007. Mega Hanami was a meet-up organized by multiple groups and we all came together to Yoyogi Park, probably the best free hanami (cherry blossom watching) spot in west Tokyo. Since I had already had so many cherry blossom photos and videos, I decided to use my new Digital Harinezumi 2 camera to shoot the video. The video quality is pretty bad, and I’m not happy with the camera in color mode. The camera is however a real eye catcher – I’ve seen lots of Japanese taking a look at it because it’s so tiny.

Seoul: LanguageCast meet-up

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Joining a meet-up is usually not something you do as a tourist, though there are many interesting ones (especially in the U.S.). Today’s LanguageCast meet-up in Seoul was my first meet-up outside Tokyo.

LanguageCast is held twice a week: On Monday they record talk shows (usually in Chinese, English and Japanese) and on Friday it’s time for speeches. Note that there is no obligation to take part in the talk shows or hold a speech. Everyone who joins learns one or more languages. I joined the Friday one.

My Korean doesn’t go much beyond introductions and ordering meals in the restaurant, so I held my speech in Japanese. Most Koreans seemed to learn Japanese too which is a natural choice considering the similarity of these two language (grammar is similar). So I understood most speeches held by Koreans but I didn’t understand the one held by a Japanese (in Italian). Still, it was very enjoyable.

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There’s no critique of each others speech and up to three languages were used by the speakers. Since I graduated from Japanese school, I sometimes lack the motivation to write a speech so this was a great opportunity. All recorded speeches are published on the LanguageCast website. The talk shows are also available as a podcast feed (iTunes link).

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