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07 November 2007 @ 18:59
So, on Saturday night, I went to my friend's birthday party in Naka-Meguro. I worked with both her and another man who was at the party, so naturally the conversation focussed on Nova and I got to hear about my boss' reaction to finding out the news. But best of all, because my friend left Nova about a week before it closed, she had been able to stay in contact with all the students she wanted. She's still able to talk to my three favourite students, so she'll pass on my contact details to them too. Those were the three I thought I would miss the most, including the one I got in trouble for approving her to take the test for the next textbook level. I thought she was awesome and my boss didn't agree. She passed the test, of course. :P

Anyway, we went to an Ethiopian restaurant in Naka-Meguro called "Queen Sheba". I have to say, that was the most delicious, most original food I've ever had in Japan. I really highly recommend it! First of all, the owner greets you as you walk in and shows you to your table. It's a really small place, with around seven or eight tables. The walls are covered with genuine-looking African paintings and crafts. Most importantly though, the food is amazing. It's served on this special kind of bread that's flat, grey and spongy. Everyone eats off the same plate with their hands, using the bread to hold the stew. We also ordered wild goat kebabs, which were incredible. They also have a wide range of beers from across Africa.

If you want to get there, just go to Naka-Meguro station (also a ten minute walk from Ebisu). From there, turn left out of the station and walk five or ten minutes. "Queen Sheba" is on the corner of an intersection, on the same side of the road, although you might have to look behind you because it's a little further back from the road.

kuroe and I rented "Ou no Otoko" (王の男 / The King's Men/Man), a Korean movie that was heavily advertised in Japan last year. We didn't know much about it, except it looked somewhat gay.

[Edit: And the English title is "The King and the Clown", thanks to strawberryjoy.]

Anyway, turns out that it's the story of two male performers, Kongiru and Chansen, who perform crude entertainment for villages in Korea about a ?hundred? years ago. However, they offend the King and so have to perform for him and make him smile in order to avoid execution. They do so, and their somewhat debauched sketches are a success... because the king is batshit insane.

He falls in love with Kongiru, the more feminine of the two (and occasional prostitute), and makes him perform in his bedroom at night so that the two can find enjoyment together. Sometimes he makes him use finger puppets. If you think I'm using an extreme form of euphemism, I'm really not! Perhaps the film is, though. The love the two performers have for each other is shown through touches and tenderness, never sex or even kisses. The king kisses Kongiru only once.

The movie becomes less funny and the feeling you had at the beginning about how it would end returns (Kongiru killed the theatre manager and they ran away to form a new troupe). Their performances become sadder, more introspective and, crucially, refer to the death of the King's mother.

At the same time, the king's concubine is angry about his feelings for Kongiru and hatches a plot to have him executed. She posts up flyers with Kongiru's handwriting decrying the king. However, Chansen steps in and claims that he wrote them. They are so close that their handwriting is like that of brothers. It is decided that he is the one to be executed.

It ends with Chansen on the verge of execution, being forced to perform his slack-rope act. Kongiru runs to him, accepting death too and together they relive their glory days as performers, using lines back when they worked in the villages. It may sound pathetic, but we were bawling by the time it ended. The dialogue (well, the Japanese translation) was beautiful. If you can read Japanese or understand Korean, you HAVE to see this! In many ways, it has a lot in common with films with tragic themes like Gohatto or anime like Ai no Kusabi.

Anyway, definitely recommended if you're in the mood for a m/m weepy. Oh, and apologies for butchering the character names. I don't speak a word of Korean and just transliterated the names I saw in the subs from katakana. Sorry. ^^ Obviously a Google search for "Ou no Otoko" isn't going to turn up anything.

I was on the Chuo line today and looked up and saw the end of a video advert for Tenimyu! It was on one of the busiest and biggest lines in Tokyo. I wonder what they paid for that?

I wonder WHY they paid for that?

Although they showed Shirota Yuu as Tezuka, it was directly advertising tickets for the latest show! And they have no more tickets left to sell. Not in Tokyo, anyway. It's offensive and stupid to be selling something with such a strong fanbase when you don't even have enough space to supply current fan demand. The only thing I can think of is that they are trying to raise potential sponsors' awareness and are aiming for a better venue next time. That can be the only reason.

But otherwise, MAJOR FAIL NELKE.

I have approximately 3000 words for my Nanowrimo novel and that's far behind schedule. Here's a link to an excerpt from the beginning. Mentions some issues relating to suicide, so watch out if that offends you.

And yes, it does have a plot. I'm just not saying what it is yet.
strawberryjoy on 7th November 2007 07:23 (UTC)
The film is King and the Clown. I have it on dvd!

Williamgenkischuldich on 7th November 2007 07:25 (UTC)
*Shudder* What an awful title! "Clown" doesn't fit historically at all!

And thanks! :P
Williamgenkischuldich on 7th November 2007 07:26 (UTC)
*stares* Wow. I really screwed the names up.
strawberryjoy on 7th November 2007 07:41 (UTC)
You clearly need more exposure to Korean dramas. I could suggest a few!^^
Williamgenkischuldich on 7th November 2007 07:45 (UTC)
The only one I know is Winter Sonata... I'm really looking for the m/m aspect more than anything else. *is shallow*
strawberryjoy on 7th November 2007 08:43 (UTC)
Well there was a great dancing scene in Age of Innocence but you might need to go to Taiwan for actual gay (movies rather than dramas).

Would Coffee Prince cover the angle though? Admittedly, Eun Chan is a girl but Han Kyul doesn't know that for ages.
Rae: NewS// *FLAIL*guiltyschu on 7th November 2007 07:31 (UTC)
Oh, I saw that movie at the start of the year and was absolutely bawling by the end myself. ;_; It was amazing.

The African food sounds really interesting! I'll have to try and remember it for when my family goes to Japan next year - my father isn't fond of Japanese food, but he's tried African before and enjoyed it.
Williamgenkischuldich on 7th November 2007 07:37 (UTC)
It was fantastic. I loved it, really. My husband still tears up when I mention it! *laughs softly*

Hm, I dunno if you want to go all the way to Japan for African food! But if you like, I can show you some of my favourite places if you're coming. :)
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on 7th November 2007 08:00 (UTC)
I must try that restaurant!! When I'm not sick, anyways.. but I'll have to be really careful because it would be easy to get sick from someone else's cold and it's going around like crazy right now... o.o *weak immune system*

Tenimyu hasn't had the general sale yet though, has it? I keep watching their site for information, but it hasn't been put up yet and I couldn't get a hold of the latest JUMP to look for it. ;_;
Williamgenkischuldich on 7th November 2007 08:05 (UTC)
I highly recommend it! :) It IS really expensive though. I thought since she was ex-Nova too, she might have chosen somewhere cheaper... ^^

I don't think so, no. But I didn't get a thing in the pre-sales and there's going to be more people than ever trying to get tickets now. I've never, EVER got tickets on the regular sale date. Never.
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on 7th November 2007 08:21 (UTC)
I'll save up for it ^___^ Thanks for the recommendation, and I'm always open to any more good restaurant recommendations! ^__^ (cost doesn't matter.. if it's expensive I'll save up for it some day! ^^)

I just looked it up on the Lawsons site and the tickets are on sale this Sunday! Yeah, it's going to be really hard-- we had three numbers and didn't get a single thing either! But I have to try!! =/
Williamgenkischuldich on 7th November 2007 08:25 (UTC)
Thanks for the info! Don't suppose you know the Lcode?
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on 7th November 2007 08:58 (UTC)
For Tokyo: 31115

Good luck! ^^
nekojitanekojita on 7th November 2007 08:08 (UTC)
Someone was kind enough to send me that movie on DVD, and I wish everyone would see it! It's really good, so much that's not said openly, and gods, is the actor playing Kongiru beautiful!
Williamgenkischuldich on 7th November 2007 08:11 (UTC)
I know! And yeah... Kongiru's actor. Very pretty, although it feels like it's ruining the magic of the film to draw too much attention to it. :)
nekojitanekojita on 7th November 2007 08:18 (UTC)
Yeah, I mean, the movie is great, I don't want people to think the only reason to watch it is that there's a very pretty man in it... but it's easy to see why the king would prefer him to the concubine!
golden_bastetgolden_bastet on 7th November 2007 11:16 (UTC)
Ah... Wang-ui Namja (King and the Clown). Awesome movie. I wrote about that, geeky info and all. I could talk about it all day. %^D

I knew that it'd been released in Japan, but I'd never heard specifics from someone who'd seen it in Japanese!

Unfortunately it's not on domestic DVD in the US (and I think Europe) and there are no plans to distribute it right now (although it's been making the festival rounds for awhile). There are US-compatible DVDs, however, and the English translation is very very good (the head of the translation team, who is Korean, won an award at Cannes for his only other film translation).

Even with that, I'm kinda surprised that more people in these parts haven't heard about / seen it.

There's an English-language fan website about the movie, too, at http://www.king-and-the-clown.com; they got Lee Jun-ki, the actor who played Gong-gil, to volunteer an intro clip for the New York Korean Film Festival last August (http://www.wang-ui-namja.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=923).


Ethiopian! mmmmm....

I've been to a few US Ethiopian restaurants, and they've been uniformly excellent. I've wanted to grab a cookbook and see what I could do, but haven't found a good cookbook! I went to an Indian restaurant in Berlin and there were definite differences from the US and UK... So now I wonder what might be different in an Ethiopian place in Japan :thoughtful:
Williamgenkischuldich on 10th November 2007 04:16 (UTC)
Wow, there's a lot of information in your post! I think the Japanese version isn't the international versions because the scenes you reeference didn't happen. It becomes more intense between the two men? In the version I saw, they are sleeping side by side and Jansen gently covers Kongiru. It's very cute, but not so obvious.


I've never been to an Ethiopian restaurant before. I'm sure there must be a few in London, although I've spent most of my adult life in Scotland, where there aren't even any Japanese restaurants!

My Canadian friend seemed to think there were a lot of such restaurants in Canada though.