You see it all in Tokyo’s electronics mecca, Akihabara (“Akiba” for short). A hang out for gaming nerds, stereo enthusiasts, music freaks, loli-goth girls, and all sorts of subculture clones, you come expecting some oddness.
I was in Akiba on Sunday, and was surprised to see a very odd sight, even for this area: a quite well-dressed, if retro-looking, guy with a suitcase staggering across came across Mansei-bashi Bridge – obviously in a very bad way. Moments later I realized that the small crowd that I thought had gathered around him was actually a film crew. They were filming a scene from what was clearly a period movie, and this guy’s troubles were no doubt the pivotal scene of a terebi dorama (i.e., soap opera), or perhaps even a movie.
Scenes of everyman gritty but seemingly hopeless determination, noble but doomed heroism, and lonely tribulation are staples of a certain very popular genre of Japanese entertainment. The Great Depression look typified by the Tora-san movies and done in the scene I saw – with his cloth cap and old-style leather suitcase - is also often seen.
I don’t know if the actor is famous or not, but looking at the meager numbers of people involved in the filming, it did not give the feel of being a big budget production. Check out the YouTube video.
And let us know if you recognize him!
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Saturday, February 06, 2010