Please help me return to Tokyo without leaving my armchair!
October 8, 2011 8:44 AM   Subscribe

I lived in Tokyo for a while. I miss it. Please help me find films / TV / music videos shot in Tokyo so that I can indulge my nostalgia.

I'm particularly looking for things where the location is really important to the atmosphere, rather than ones where it's just a fairly anonymous background to the action. Also, I guess I should limit the question to things filmed in the last 10-20 years or so...

Other than that, very few restrictions. I was planning to ask specifically for music videos, having just rediscovered the video for the Killers' Read My Mind - but then I realised that the film Lost in Translation was a perfect example of what I'm looking for. I'm not ruling out anime either; and I don't mind whether it's a Japanese production or a western one, though English subtitles would be appreciated for anything in Japanese that has a plot. Finally, online is good, and available on region 2 DVD is also good.

Any suggestions?
posted by ManyLeggedCreature to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Wim Wenders' "Tokyo-Ga" might be worth checking out (although it is 25 years old). Hirokazu Kore'eda's "Still Walking" is set in Odawara, with some magnificent views of the Miura Peninsula...

Tokyo! might be up your alley
posted by KokuRyu at 9:11 AM on October 8, 2011

Well, Lost in Translation would have been the incredibly obvious answer, but you pulled that rug out from under me. :)

Only other fairly modern thing I can think of to recommend is the Jean Reno movie Wasabi, which has some of that flavor you're looking for. (Also lots of goofy action-movie fun.) I recommend watching it in French with English subtitles, rather than the English dub.

If you were looking for Tokyo in the 40's and 50's, I'd recommend a long list of Akira Kurosawa movies to you, so I'll throw in One Wonderful Sunday and Stray Dog anyway.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 9:12 AM on October 8, 2011

I liked Air Doll for this reason. It was filmed in Minato cho, near the Sumida river.
posted by clearlydemon at 9:27 AM on October 8, 2011

Enter The Void ftw!
posted by doublesix at 9:45 AM on October 8, 2011

I liked Air Doll for this reason.

And it's by Kore'eda Hirokazu, to boot!
posted by KokuRyu at 10:03 AM on October 8, 2011

Black Rain is cheesy fun.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:07 AM on October 8, 2011

The full movie Nobody Knows is on youtube. It's a very sad good movie that evokes everyday life in Tokyo.

Black Rain is filmed primarily in Osaka.
posted by vincele at 10:25 AM on October 8, 2011

If you like sounds too, there are mp3s of all the subway "ringtones" available online.
posted by Obscure Reference at 12:01 PM on October 8, 2011

It doesn't fit your date requirements (1969) but Toshio Matsumoto's Funeral Parade of Roses is pretty amazing.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:13 PM on October 8, 2011

Also doesnt fit your date requirements, but screw it: Tokyo Story is considered by some the best movie of all time. It's certainly the most understated.
posted by falameufilho at 10:26 PM on October 8, 2011

Sent you a Memail.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 5:24 AM on October 9, 2011

Tampopo --great movie celebrating food in Japan, however it was made in 1985.

For anime, Tokyo Godfathers
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 10:04 AM on October 9, 2011

Thanks, everyone! Some of those were already on my mental wishlist for other reasons - Tampopo, Wasabi, Tokyo Story, Tokyo Godfathers - but others are new to me; and I imagine I'll enjoy the older films even if they don't trigger that flash of recognition. Plenty to look out for while I'm in the UK next week, anyway (Japanese films in the shops in NL are subtitled in Dutch, and that's a little too distracting).

I'll come back and mark best answers once I've had the chance to watch some.

If you like sounds too, there are mp3s of all the subway "ringtones" available online.

Obscure Reference, any chance you have links? I'd love to have copies of those station jingles (I'd buy a CD if I could find one, and keep optimistically trying iTunes...) but I find them elusive. When I've looked before, I've come up against lots of dead links, some very poor-quality recordings, and tons of good recordings - on YouTube, where I can't download them.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 9:08 AM on October 10, 2011

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