I enjoyed your comments about perspective.
p.s. I do like the pictures of the matsuri. If you're sitting on a bunch of them you better hop on it. I've been waiting for almost 4 days!
I hope you don't mind me going off topic. I believe "Lost In Translation" recently opened in Japan. Some people have criticized it for being condescending and even racist. If you or any of your Japanese friends, relatives or colleagues have seen the movie I'd be curious to hear what you all thought of it. And what kind of a reception has it gotten in Japan? Have the reviews been favorable, mixed or mostly negative?
I read a blog discussion somewhere about this issue (of "Lost in Translation" in Japan). Some of the participants were Japanese and some were foreigners living in Japan. Some of the non-Japanese commenters shared the concerns you are mentioning, but overall both Japanese and non-Japanese disagreed that the movie is racist at all. They pointed out that the movie is NOT about Japan, but it's about the two American characters (Murray and the girl). These two Americans are shallow people, both adrift in their lives and relationships. Naturally, they experience only the surface of Japan (and mainly just the inside of their hotel). The movie, if anything, is an insightful criticism of their gloomy lives. The view of Japan that is shows is one sided, of course, because they are the kinds of people who experience life that way. (And there are many people living in Tokyo who are just like them.)
It's a movie made not for entertainment, necessarily, but for people who appreciate character studies and then sit afterwards in coffee shops discussing what they saw. People who expect to "enjoy" this movie or learn something about Japan will doubtless come out disappointed. People who want to better understand themselves by examining the sad lives of the movie's main characters have the right idea.
I was encouraged that the Japanese people (whose comments I read) corrected the concerned American. Basically, they "got it" and said what I just wrote above. If you want to see a movie about Japan, then there are better choices, because "Lost in Translation" isn't about Japan. It's a good movie though, and it's not racist in my opinion.
I hope everything is okay in your neck of the woods.
Great blog, enjoyed browsing through the site