Tentmushi truck

May 19, 2010 | 1 comment | Blog Post | Video Podcast

When we began to plan this “movie survival” trip across Japan, our first concern was with making a minimal foot print under the circumstances. We had to search for the smallest and most energy efficient vehicle that could be found for our specific needs. Our choice came upon the Tentmushi. We liked the name which is made from a play with the English word “tent” an obvious one for a camping car, and a Japanese one: tentomushi, in Japanese, means ladybug, a very great looking and valuable insect.

We needed a spectacular car that would attract attention. The Tentmushi, dressed with all the seals from our sponsors, was perfect for that purpose as it has proven over the last few weeks on the road. The Tentmushi is built on what they call in Japan a “Kei Truck” or “light truck” if you prefer.

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“Kei Cars” and “Kei Trucks” must have special yellow plates, since they are not as fast as usual vehicles on highways. The yellow plates also mean that it’s cheaper to drive the “Kei Sizes” on pay toll highways, bridges and that they have special parking places in most parking lots.

It’s always difficult to evaluate sizes, but on the picture we can have an idea from the white lines which are made for your standard car. The Tentmushi takes a lot less space.

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I really don’t know anything about cars. To show you how ignorant I am, I couldn’t find the engine when I opened the hood of our Tentmushi.

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As a matter of fact, it took me a while to find out that the engine was under the two seats.

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From what I can see, this engine is not much bigger than a motorcycle one, and it certainly doesn’t go as fast. On windy days, it’s not very safe to go faster than 90 kilos per hour, even though it can make it to about 110, if one doesn’t mind the rather loud noise that it makes. Up in the mountains, we are talking about a third gear, if not second at times, and around 30 to 60 kilometers per hour. Not that fast, but it gets you where you need to go. The comfort is more or less the comfort of a truck, and there is nothing wrong with that: if we were looking for comfort, we would have stayed home…

But all in all, it’s great fun to drive such a practical, ecological and great looking vehicle. We couldn’t have made a better choice.

Don’t ask me more… I’m only the driver…

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Hell, Unzen Dake, Nagasaki

I had erased this page because I wasn’t happy with my footage. Yesterday, I received a report from YouTube and realized that the footage could be seen there anyway. After checking it out another time, I decided to post it again, despite the fact that I feel, since the beginning of this trip, that I’m posting some stuff that is not up to the standards I would like to fix for myself.

On the way to Nagasaki, we stopped at the top of Mount Unzen, to see the volcanic grounds called “Hell”, after some Buddhist legends. Strange feeling to walk there. Here is my not so good footage:



And here is a picture of Takako that gives a reverse view from the last shot of the video. Despite the fact that the ground is very hot, it was cold on that day and Yuri had returned to the car by then. When I talk about 120 degrees, of course, it is in Celsius.

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Nagasaki Peace Park…

May 15, 2010 | 1 comment | Blog Post | Video Podcast

We did have a successful day of campaigning for our film in Nagasaki. But when you are in such a city, you cannot ignore its past. I went to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum where I found some material for thoughts.

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The Words of Dwight D. Eisenhower.tiff

The Franck Committee Report.tiff

The Report of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Summary Report.tiff

Petition from 69 Scientist Including Leo Szilard.tiff

Russell-Einstein Manifesto.tiff

And then I came with some comments on my own, hoping that we will all voice ourselves now that we have access to the right information.



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CGF005, Denkikan, Kumamoto

May 12, 2010 | 3 comments | Blog

We are on the roads of Japan to promote our movie, “Looking For Anne”, in cities where the theater managers have already booked our film. But the idea behind the trip is also to visit theaters where we couldn’t book the film for one reason or another and try to persuade the owners or managers to play it. We really intend to play in absolutely every Prefecture of Japan and in as many theaters as possible before we release the DVD.

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The Denkikan Theater in Kumamoto has been around for 100 years. Needless to say that this is an important cinema in Kyuushuu and we absolutely wanted to play our movie there. We sent a copy for screening to the owner, Kubodera San. He liked our film, but was somehow reluctant to book it since he wasn’t sure of how to market it. We met him, discussed for quite a while about our campaign for the survival of movie theaters and the promotion of our film.

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The Denkikan has a nice bar and coffee shop space where people can relax and discuss before or after each movie. The Denkikan does look a lot like what we think every movie theater should look like: a stimulating cultural spot where people like to meet, discuss and screen movies.

With only two screens located in a very active shopping arcade in Kumamoto, Kubodera San books his movies with an understandable caution. And his choices are very important for producers and distributors, since they influence many of the other programmers in Kyuushuu and the rest of Japan.

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And yes!!!… Kubodera San agreed to play our movie in July or August (precise date to be determined in the coming days, depending on when we can come back for the media campaign…) On the picture, we see him sign our map of all the theaters where we will play the movie.

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And the happy ending shot with the director, Takako Miyahira…

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CGF004, Media Day in Kagoshima

May 10, 2010 | 1 comment | Blog Post | Video Podcast

As an independent filmmaker, I always thought that in order to make a minimum of compromises during the next shoot, I had to do a maximum of them during the marketing campaign of any film. This is why I never mind meeting as many media people as required. Actually, I have made a point of enjoying every part of it. The media mean a certain amount of freedom for my next film.

Takako shares this approach and did a great job at meeting the Press in Kagoshima, despite a terrible toothache that made her life miserable. Ms Masumoto, from Mitte Cinema, used her local contacts to insure a successful operation. All the journalists who saw the film before the interviews made our lives a lot easier: they were very enthusiastic and will be supportive of “Looking For Anne” in the coming days and weeks. This is fantastic for us. We will see how it goes, but everybody certainly worked hard.

I put together some material, again in a not too professional way, just to give an idea…


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