Sunday, April 23, 2006

Final Presentation on Shinookubo


For my neighborhood narrative project, I chose Shinookubo. The reason is because Shinookubo is a place where many Koreans live and you wouldn't see any other place in Japan where there are more Koreans than Japanese. I was simply curious about their lifestyle in Japan, especially in Shinookubo which is located near the Shinjuku. Shinjuku is a place where it's most popular among the youths when it comes to shopping, karaoke, hotels, and so forth. The picture above is part of Shinjuku, where it's close to Shinookubo. As you can see, most of the buildings are hotels.

This is the street leading to Shinookubo from Shinjuku station.

This is the main road for Shinookubo. On this main road, you can see many buildings which have Korean signs on them. This is also the road where many Japanese people come to go shopping or to just simply have dinner. When looking at the picture above, you can see a huge television screen. I was standing there for several minutes to see what kind of programs were on but most of the shows which were aired were Korean programs and these Korean programs were mostly music shows.

This restaurant is called the "Chicken town" and I believe this is new because the last time I came here was about a year ago and I didn't see this store. Everyone in the restaurant was talking in Korean.

This is a random picture of another Korean restaurant on the main road.

One of the first supermarkets that Japanese people go to is this supermarket. The name of the store is written in Japanese but when you go inside, you can see foods which were directly imported from Korea. This place is also known for delicious Kimchis and Kimchi Ramen. Not only this place is famous for Japanese but for Koreans also.

The first place that I've ever been to in Shinookubo was this karaoke store. The reason why I came here is because I wanted to sing my girlfriend a Korean song. Even though the outside looks Japanese, when you go inside you can only basically see Korean language. There were 4 song books which were placed on the table to pick from but there was only 1 which was in Japanese. Since I had a hard time finding the Korean song, I had to ask one of the employees to help me out.
It was embarassing.
This is a Korean barbecue shop that I saw on the main road.

When I was walking on the street, I saw a Korean sign that said 6F, so I was curious about what it was but since I wasn't able to read, I coulnd't understand anything. The Japanese sign says, "Seeking for Tenants".

I was surprised to look at these free newspapers. I was surprised because I don't see any free Japanese newspapers you can just pick up in Japan. I wonder if Korea gives out free newspapers like this. I only see "free magazines" but it's rare to find "free newspapers" in Japan.

This picture is intended to give you a better image of Shinookubo. From the picture, you can tell that most of the signs are in Korean more than in Japanese.

I stopped looking around on the main road because I looked around before so I decided to go into more of the narrower roads.

Before I entered this narrow road, I saw a Korean barbeque shop but what caught my attention more than anything else was that the signs on the telephone poll are all written in Korean. This is also rare because you won't see anything like this other than Shinookubo.

When I was standing in front of the barbeque shop and turned around, I saw a Korea's political advertisement. This was very interesting for me because I've never seen an advertisement for Korean politicians.

As I walked further down the road, I got into a residential area. This building seemed pretty expensive.

I also found this building but this time, the building looked much more cheap. Since I got into a residential area, I thought it was big opportunity for me to discover where the Koreans lived so I decided to enter this building.

As soon as I got in, I saw a paper that was scotch-taped to the wall right next to the mailbox. I believe the "White Court" is the name of the building. Since, this building only had Korean papers taped on the wall, I think majority of the Koreans live here.

This is another building that I saw when I got out. This place also seems like where Koreans live.

When I walked further down the street, I came across a park but I noticed something very strange. There was a Korean barbeque shop and a business hotel in front of the park. I thought the store and the business hotel should be located somewhere else. Since there was a park in front of me, I decided to go inside.

When I got inside, I wanted to check if the people were Korean or Japanese. I walked by 4 people who seemed to be college students and I sneakly listened to their conversation. They were all speaking Korean. When I looked around to see if there more Koreans, I realized that 90 % of the people in the park were actually Koreans.

This was a restaurant and a hotel that was connected right next to the park. When I saw this, I was in a state of shock because I couldn't understand why people would put a hotel right next to a park. When comparing to the prices of other hotels, it was relatively cheap.

I went out of the park and started walking down the street again. Again, I saw Korean signs written on the telephone poll.

This is an old clothes store which was located next to a supermarket.

I couldn't believe how many people were walking down this narrow street. When I stood still to take a picture, there were always people getting in the way. Most of these people were speaking in Korean.

This is a Chinese restaurant. Although the name of the store was in Korean, the food were mainly "Chahan" which is another term for "Fried, dry rice".

Right text to the Chinese food restaurant, I saw these stacks of free magazines. I was wondering what these magazines were so I picked them up and started flipping through the pages. Although I couldn't read Korean, I could see that most of the pages were about interview of famous Korean celebrities or about job offers.

These are some of the stores that I took to give you a better idea of what this street has.

This is one of the shops that Japanese girls would love to go to. This store only sells goods which have pictures of famous Korean people. Since Korean dramas became popular in Japan, there was a boom called, "Hanryu boom" which still lasts today.

This is near the end of the street.

When came to the end of the street, I came to a two-way street. This is the second main road at Shinookubo. This is how it looked like on the left.

This is how it looked like on the right. I decided to go to right for my final presentation. When looking at both of these directions, I realized that most of the stores are Japanese stores, unlike the stores on the main road.

I was surprised to see a Japanese language school in Japan and this was the first time to ever see one. This tells me how Shinookubo became "Koreanized".

This is coin locker that was next to the language school.

When I was walking on the sidewalk, I started to hear loud voices in Japanese. One girl and one man was trying to sell cellphones but they were both speaking in Japanese. I couldn't understand why they were speaking in Japanese when majority of the people who were walking were Koreans.
This is a picture of a store from one of the Japanese cellphone companies called "AU". As you can see, there are Korean languages written on the window which you would not be able to see in other places.

This is an old Korean film store. I surprised to see a store like this because I don't even see old Japanese film store anymore.

I realized that not only Koreans built a community in Shinookubo but they also try to make Shinookubo as a starting point for Korean business transactions.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Journal for Donald Richie's reading by Marek Calcote

From Donald Richie's writing, there was one sentence that caught my attention. From the article, "Japan: A Description", he made a statement saying "Nature does not happen; it is wrought. A new rule offers itself: Nothing is natural until it has been so created." When he said, nothing is natural until it has been so created, I had to ask myself, "Well if nothing is natural, how do they explain the creation of earth? If nothing is natural and if earth has been created by someone or something, then do you believe in God?" These are some of the questions that I had to ask myself.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Observation at Segafredo by Marek Calcote

The main reason why I chose this place was because I teach some students here. When I first got inside, I went to the counter to order some coffee. After I got my coffee, I looked around on that floor to see if there were any available seats. I couldn't find any so I decided to go to the second floor. I just came up from the first floor and now I'm on the second floor. The first and second floors are the non-smoking section and since I'm teaching a student today, I decided to go to the non-smoking area or else the student would complain to me. So I grabbed a seat at the corner of the room near the entrance of the second floor. What I noticed with the people on the second floor with those on the first floor, was that thirty percent of the people were foreigners. I weren't able to tell if those people were Europeans or Americans but when I sat on the second floor, there was a business man who was sitting across me talking to his Japanese student. I quickly noticed that she was a student because she had a textbook and a notebook on their desk. I wanted to see what kind of textbook they had so I slowly walked by them and noticed that they were using Passport. Passport is a English workbook that focuses mainly on conversations when you travel overseas. It wasn't on this day but I remember having another foreign teacher using the same workbook for the student. I know this workbook is quite popular among the students who are planning to go overseas. Well, to be precise, this workbook is in English so it's intended for those who are planning to go to Europe or America. While I was sitting down, a Japanese man came and stood in front of desk where the foreigner and his student was sitting. He looks around for a couple of seconds, maybe about 20~30 seconds and he starts to talk to the foreigner. The man is still standing up and they have a conversation for about 5~10 min. All I saw was the foreigner and his student shaking their heads sideways. I don't have a clue to what they were to talking about but to me, it looked as though they weren't friends. Actually, they looked irritated. The man leaves and walks away.

Post Cards by Marek Calcote

This was the first time that I ever saw a documenary film or a story like this. I was surprised that I was able to understand the plot just by having the voice over narration and postcard images in the background. The story flowed pretty smoothly. What I liked about this postcard film was that it told the time in chronological order like the Tarnation. It gave specific months and dates in which something happened so it was easy for the audience to get along. Unlike the film Tarnation, this film did not use diegetic sounds. It focused mainly on non-diegetic and this could be seen when the characters are talking but not moving their mouths. This film was fast-paced and in each shot, we could see that the characters are always at a different location. Because this film uses postcard images in the background, it allows the characters to be at a location where you normally can't go. It also allows the director to portray someone's feeling for example, when the person is mad, the director can use postcard images which are fire or thunder to symbolize that he is mad. This was just a random example. The example which could be seen from the film is when the husband was holding her wife in his arms and standing on the cliff while there was a lightning image in the background. The director used this to show that the subjects in the film had a strong passion for each other. These kinds of documentary or story style is effective and also economical. If one is not a professional at creating a hollywood-style cinema or if anyone is thinking about doing something different, this style is highly recommended.

Tarnation by Marek Calcote

Ok, let's be honest. I found this movie very disturbing. When I looked at the back of the DVD cover, I had a negative image of the movie because it said "Cahoutte realizes that his mother just passed out on lithium-overdose" or something like that. I definitely knew that this movie had something to do with drugs and I hate hearing or seeing the word "DRUGS" because I had a friend of mine who was a cocaine addict at TUJ. She told me about how she and her boyfriend went to jail several times in Philladelphia, how they passed out in the middle of the club, etc. Without a doubt, she had a great personality and I was wondering why a girl like her became a cocaine addict. Well, going back to the beginning, the reason why I hate this movie is because it reminds me of my good friend but when I think about it, I think that's what Jonathan wants me to feel because that's what he lived through and this is one of the reason why he made this movie. Well, at least that's what I would think if I was the director who made this documentary. This documentary was very realistic like all the other documentaries but this one was unique. I've never seen any documentaries which includes a combination of Direct Assessment (subject in the film directly talking to the audience) , diegetic sounds, non-diegetic sounds, and montage editing all into one. From my perspective, I believe this documentary was more of a hollywood cinemana style because it includes a lot of non-diegetic sounds. From a lot of documentaries that I have seen, many of them have non-diegetic sounds at the beginning and at the end of the film. Maybe this is because if they use a lot of non-diegetic sounds in the middle of the documentary, it might loses it's realism but Jonathan was able to display it in a way which still gave a strong impact towards the audience.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Marek's blog test