Sunday was Culture Day here in Japan, and since it’s a national holiday that fell on a weekend, everyone gets Monday off in exchange. What better way to spend Culture Day than seeing a fine work of film? (haha)
A Review (Sort Of)
According to AsianWiki, The movie’s title, Kiyoku Yawaku (潔く柔く) means “clean, tender”–the first character 潔 means “clean, pure, undefiled” and the second one 柔 means “gentle, soft, tender” (Jisho.org). I didn’t really know that until just now, but I think it’s a fitting title. The movie is about two people who feel guilt related to the deaths of people close to them when they were young, and together come to terms with the past, and fall in love.
If I’d listened to the main theme song (“Kagerou”) on its own, I would’ve thought it was really boring, but it went so well with the movie! It’s a pretty quiet movie, which made it hard to sip my tea (more on that in a minute). I was afraid I would sip too much and cough or choke or something, and it would make people unable to hear some of the lines, haha. The movie is slow-paced, and takes place over the course of many conversations and such, so it might be good to order a “quiet” food to eat for this one. (I’m so glad my drink was hot and didn’t come with ice!)
Someone did a lovely piano cover of the song, too :)
The movie got better as it went along. My favorite scenes were more toward the end, and I loved the ending! :D There were several parts that might make you cry. I heard a lot of sniffing in the theater, and part of it got me, too^^ This movie is WAY better than, say, Matataki, another movie where a girl loses a guy to a car accident. That movie was so depressing that I told myself I wouldn’t watch it again. In this movie, it’s not like the car accident is the end of the story–you can actually feel happy at the end. Isn’t that great?? (Haha)
A final highlight was, afterward, hearing a girl in my row do a perfect imitation of Haruta (Kengo Kora) saying “Jya, kagi SHIMERO ya” (“well, lock the door, then”). It was perfect.
In the end, even though I enjoyed it, I still didn’t buy the movie merch (like a movie pamphlet, which is ￥600). I think I’ll probably only keep doing that for more “sensational” movies.
I found a closer theater this time and went to see the movie at 109 CINEMAS Hiroshima, which is located in Alpark (a shopping mall) just outside of Shin-Inokuchi Station (Sanyo Line).
109 Cinemas, like TOHO Cinemas Midorii, also lets you pay and reserve a theater seat online ahead of time. I don’t have a credit card here and I was hesitant to use my US one, but the theater at 109 is smaller than at TOHO and I was getting anxious watching the seats fill up in the little chart online, so I went to the theater an hour early, got my ticket, and studied Japanese for a while at Tulley’s Coffee next to a huge bookstore on the floor below the theater till the movie started. Although it only takes me around 40 mins to get to the Alpark theater, there are fewer seats, and when I entered the theater to see the movie, I think almost all the seats were taken.
At 109, there was a line to buy tickets, and you buy it from an “actual” person working at a counter. I saw a few ticket-selling machines in the corner behind this line, but I don’t know if they’re for anyone to use or for some special purpose. (I don’t know if there’s even a physical person you can talk to at TOHO Cinemas to buy your movie tickets–it just has the machines where you reserve your seat.) When I got to the front, a lady working there explained in Japanese that there are rows A (or B?) through H, and the best views are from rows F, G, and H, because the other rows feel too close up. I got a great seat toward the center in the back, but there were a lot of people in there in all the rows. I thought, “With this many people in here, there’s got to be more noise during the movie than the other theater,” but, nope–still a great movie-viewing experience^^
The theater was a little hot (the girl next to me said something to that effect too, it’s not just me), but that’s probably just because it’s a smaller room with a lot more people in it. I have no complaints about the movie-going experience here–but TOHO is bigger and just has more space. It probably didn’t help that I was drinking hot tea–the theater was advertising three types of tea you could buy, and I tried the “Afternoon Tea.” I’ve been in the habit of getting tea, not soda, at the movie theater, and they’re encouraging me…
Finally, the bathrooms at this theater were awesome! The stalls were huge, there were plenty of Western toilets (I prefer those haha), and the toilets and hand driers were touch-sensor. The stalls in the girls’ bathrooms have, as usual, a trash can in the corner, but this trash can was tall and automatic, too–you hold your hand over the can, and the lid turns and becomes a tray, sort of, and once you put your trash on the tray, it closes without you ever having to touch the trash can. I was impressed.
As for Alpark, it is HUGE! I thought it would just be one big building, like YouMe Town, but it is in fact several huge buildings filled with different stores. The cinema is on the third or fourth floor of one of the buildings.
Christmas decorations have already gone up in the Tulley’s, the outside of the buildings, and many of the stores.
I personally liked the Christmas tree they put up. I was looking for it, actually, because I saw it on their website. There’s a Starbucks, a GAP, and a Golden Spoon Yogurt here, and probably more.
It’s not just any Christmas tree, though, because it’s lined with stuffed animals wearing Carp uniforms (that’s the local Hiroshima baseball team), and the “star” at the top is a baseball. The stuffed animals are llamas (alpacas), because llama/alpaca in Japanese is “arupaka,” and that sounds a lot like the pronunciation of Alpark (“arupaaku”); it’s a pun.
It’s only November, but I hope you’re already having a happy holiday season! :D