Japan Movies

Wednesday evening I went to a movie theater that was showing Perfect Days, by Wim Wenders. It was the first time I went to a cinema in years but I like Wim Wenders’ work and wanted to see this movie in a theater. The seats were large and comfortable and I counted only seven other people in the audience. 

This is my kind of movie. I love everything about it, the pace, the camera work, the use of music. 

There is a good interview on the Academy’s Guide to Movies, because Japan picked Perfect Days as their official entry for the 96th Oscars. 

Wim Wenders Talks ‘Perfect Days,’ ‘Anselm,’ and Why He Continues to Embrace 3D (Exclusive) | A.frame:

The other film is Perfect Days, a character study centered on a middle-aged Tokyo toilet cleaner (played by Kôji Yakusho, who won Best Actor at Cannes). Unalike as they may be, the two projects exemplify the filmmaker’s visionary approach to experimenting with format and function: Perfect Days was conceived of and shot like a documentary, while Anselm utilizes cutting-edge technology and pushes the boundaries on stylistic choices.

I don’t want to write more because I don’t want to spoil the movie for you. It’s a lovely film and I hope you will see it. I will rewatch it soon. :-)

On the subject of Japanese movies I saw Beat Takeshi’s 1999 film Kikujiro on Mubi yesterday. I did not know that he is a comedian, too, as I only knew him from his tough guy roles. Which is why this movie surprised me so much. I laughed a lot.


Before leaving for Japan I had Hulu for a couple of months. I canceled that service at the end of October. This month I am signed up for Mubi. I’ll keep switching between different services. They all have something I want to see. On Mubi I saw Fallen Leaves. Finnish movie by Aki Kaurismäki. Ozu meets Jim Jarmusch meets Wes Anderson. Very good. I also loved What Do We See When We Look at the Sky, a Georgian film. Three hours long with great photography. No shaky hand-held Hollywood camera work that is supposed to show emotion or excitement. Beautifully framed images shot on tripod. I suppose the movie was slow but the coloring of the film and the framing was so gorgeous… it could have been even longer and slower for me. :-) 

Just in time to celebrate my birthday tomorrow (JK), Mubi will have a sale for new subscribers that starts on Friday. Three months for $1. This could be your chance to check out Mubi. Oh, this is also where you can watch Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda (I mentioned it before).

End of the Week

I am reading The Books of Jacob, by Olga Tokarczuk. Not loving it but it’s a big book and perhaps I need to persevere a little longer. Also reading Time of the Magicians, by Wolfram Eilenberger, with the subtitle The Decade that Reinvented Philosophy.

Last night I watched Lakota Nation vs United States. Amazing people and amazing documentary film. Highly recommended. 

Uploaded a new hybrid mix to Backstage. I call it a hybrid mix because only a few of the tracks were encoded binaurally and the majority of the tracks were in stereo. I like the sound of it and will do more such hybrid mixes. 

Uploaded the last entry I wrote during my cave retreat. I’m already contemplating my next visit.  :-)

Reasons to be Cheerful posted about the Miyawaki Method. Brilliant!

Founded in 2017, Boomforest is taking an approach to reforestation known as the Miyawaki method. Developed by the Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki in the 1970s, the concept is to plant tree species that are native to the area in a very dense and layered manner — three per square meter — in order to recreate the richly fertile conditions of the natural primitive forests that once covered the planet. It is in contrast to the slower, more orderly and homogeneous processes of traditional reforestation.

Dense Micro-Forests Are Thriving in France

Ted Gioia wrote about a new study of music and well being:

So I was intrigued by a new study from the British Academy of Sound Therapy—which looked at how people use music to improve their mood and physical well being.

They studied 7,581 people and learned that:

  • 89% of people believe music supports health and well-being.
  • Music creates an optimal state of relaxation in about 13 minutes.
  • The best music for relaxation has a “slow tempo, simple melody and no lyrics.”
  • Music can alleviate sadness, and 13 minutes is an optimum time for achieving this.

All these results converged on a time frame of 9-13 minutes before music demonstrates desired levels of efficacy.

Half of Waking Hours Are Now Devoted to Entertainment

Maybe I should make some extended versions of slow pieces. Which ones should I work on? 


Owen Gleiberman in his Venice Film Festival Daily Variety review wrote:

“Let me say right up front: It’s the work of a master filmmaker… Field’s script is dazzling in its conversational flow, its insider dexterity, its perception of how power in the world actually works… Tár is not a judgement so much as a statement you can make your own judgment about. The statement is: We’re in a new world.”

A. O. Scott of The New York Times writing from the Telluride Film Festival and later from the New York Film Festival stated:

“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a movie quite like Tár. Field balances Apollonian restraint with Dionysian frenzy. Tár is meticulously controlled and also scarily wild. Field finds a new way of posing the perennial question about separating the artist from the art, a question that he suggests can only be answered by another question: are you crazy? We don’t care about Tár because she’s an artist. We care about her because she’s art.”

Tár – Wikipedia

Two very concise and well expressed quotes about the movie Tár. 

I have watched the movie twice now and suspect that there are at least two movies hiding in Tár. It’s a movie about a conductor and about social media and all that, but it is also a ghost story. A movie about a person who gets canceled and also a horror film. 

Spoiler alert… the metronome that starts ticking inside her cabinet, the noises she hears, the book and the mark she finds inside. I am even wondering whether everything after her fall happens to her or is a dream, perhaps in a hospital bed. The movie definitely merits a third viewing. I like it a lot. :-)

not The Saddest after all


That is the sketch I began yesterday evening. Something sounded wrong last night and I couldn’t figure it out right away. Then I watched the excellent movie Tár (LINK – wikipedia), which I started the night before… And then it came to me, my melody contained an A over the F minor chord and that created the awfulness, of course. I knew the note had to be an A flat and then I couldn’t go to sleep because I wanted to hear this change. I didn’t want to start up everything in the middle of the night but as a result I couldn’t fall asleep until after 0300. 

This section will become the chorus and the piece still needs some kind of verse… but the bones are there. Doesn’t feel at all sad to me. Uplifting actually. 

Backstage is almost ready and you will be able to continue to witness the process there…. soon.

Oh, and the movie Tár is most excellent. A comment on excellence but also on power and the effects of cultural prejudices. There is much to say about the film. The performances are excellent. The film is gorgeous. The writing, however, is what’s amazing. Much is brought up but little judgement is made, leaving it to us, the viewer, to figure it out for ourselves. 

Yesterday afternoon I decided that the arpeggio felt too fast and re-performed it at half the speed. Much more languid now. I love how little things can entirely change the feel of a pice of music.


This time I scheduled my flights so I would have over six hours between arriving in Philly on my national flight  and leaving on my international flight, because in March I had only three hours between flights and American Airlines managed to delay my national flight so much that I had to run between terminals and barely made my flight to Lisbon. There is a nice Amex lounge in terminal A and I don’t mind waiting… And yet, and yet, American Airlines managed to get me to Philly late again, and yes, I had to run again. Planning a six hours layover is crazy enough, but now that’s not even sufficient? 

ENT doc gave me a prescription for a cream last week. Used it once and it made my ears well. During the flight I listened to Rain Poems on my AirPods Max at least four times all the way through. I probably used the headphones for six hours altogether and my ears are still clear. The album is coming together nicely and I really enjoyed the experience. I have a couple of melodies to finish and Jon has a few bass parts to record but it’s not long now. This is my first album record with the new mobile set up and the first album NOT recorded in my studio in Santa Fe since 1995. Oh, that’s not entirely true… most of Pedals On the Path was recorded at Jon’s studio, but I mixed and mastered it at mine. 

Lisbon is hot during the day but cools off nicely during the night. The trick is to get up early because at 0600 it is 65ºF. At 0700 I walked a little over four miles and didn’t get lost. A few times I wasn’t sure where I was but at this point I just have to keep going in a direction and I will eventually find a landmark I know. Look ma, no GPS.

Watched the first half of the movie Tár last night. Wow. If the second half keeps up with the first, this is an amazing movie!! 

In a statement accompanying the teaser trailer in August 2022, Field said that he wrote the script for Blanchett, and that he would not have made the film if she had declined it.


I can understand that because she is truly amazing in the role.