Wednesday, April 28, 2004

I've been ultra-busy the last couple of days and will continue to be over the next five weeks. Updates are likely to be less frequent, but owing to the amount of stress that I'll be under for the next few weeks, that may not necessarily be the case.

So... what has happened over the last three days? In chronological order, the events of significance are:

Monday - April 26
I encouraged a dear friend of mine to follow her heart. Kind of ironic given that I'm too scared to follow mine. She keeps telling me that I should learn from her mistake, but I maintain that our situations are different. The circumstances leading up to her situation have been in motion for the past few years, whereas in my case, it's only been the last few months. Other than that, our situations are similar, but still, she knows her friend who causing her heartache far better than I know the one that's causing mine... and in my heart (or is it my mind?), I believe that my guy really does treat all ladies the same way he treats me, so there's a high probability that he doesn't like me. But then again... I treat all guys the same way... and I still like him. Oh, heck it. I'm just going to do my best to get over him. I'm going to treat him as if he were gay.

Tuesday - April 27
I went to watch Zatoichi, a really brilliant film directed by and starring Takeshi Kitano as the titular character, a blind masseur who makes a living by travelling and giving massages and gambling. The blind man is in reality a samurai, and one of the best at that. He arrives in a town that's ruled by the Yakuza, meets a pair of geishas who are not what they seem and... Well, you'll have to watch the movie to find out!

This is the first samurai movie I've watched, but the friend - a samurai film afficionado - says this is one of the best ones that he's watched. While there was a lot of violence and bloodshed present, it was stylised and sporadic rather than random and gratuitous. Also, Kitano did a brilliant job of integrating the normal, everyday sounds such as digging, stomping around in the mud and building a house into beats and rhythms of Keiichi Suzuki?s accompanying musical score.

The acting... I'm not sure how to interpret the acting as all the characters are Japanese after all. However, based on my limited experience, I'm going to say that Kitano does a really good job as the quirky blind masseur. At times, he seems eccentric and harmless, but at others, he appears as his true self: dangerous and deadly.

Asano Tadanobu who plays Hattori, a ronin who hires himself out as a bodyguard to the chief of the gangsters in order to pay his wife's medical expenses, is convincing as well. Granted, he doesn't change his expression at all, but somehow, he manages to convey how he feels, from concern for his wife's health, to the shame he feels when he was defeated during his training, to the cool professional attitude he takes towards his 'dishonourable' line of work. In the words of The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw, Tadanobu is 'icily charismatic'.

There were some delightfully amusing parts to the movie as well. Funny little moments like a ruffian drawing his sword in fury and managing to cut his friend's arm in the process, or to a sword-fighting lesson conducted by a ne'er-do-well which degenerates into well... a very amusing slapstick scene helped to lighten the show's mood at precisely the right times.

The ending of the show was pretty good... and yet strange as well. The Stomp-esque tap dancing in which most of the cast participates (apparently for a festival) seemed out of place with the sheer Western-ness of the dance style. But yet, the sheer exhilaration of the dancing seemed to be in adherence with the rest of the light moments. I don't know. The movie would have been fine without the dance piece, but as a dance-lover, it was breathtaking to see how The Stripes, a Japanese tap-dance troupe, danced on clogs.

Wednesday - April 28
I participated in the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge today... and survived! And not only did I manage that incredible feat, I was among the top seven fastest females from my company, which sent in 130 people.

While my time was registered as 41 minutes, the actual time (as there were tonnes of people in front of me and it took me 4 minutes 13 seconds to reach the starting line) that it took for me to run the 5.6 km was 36 minutes 47 seconds. That's around 9.13 km/h. Not that fast a speed, but considering that I'm not that active (especially compared to the females who finished ahead of me), it's nothing to be scoffed at.

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