Tag Archives: Delight

Conflicted About “47 Ronin”

Related Post: Attack on Titan: Analogy to World War II.

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From Left to Right: Rinko Kikuchi, Tadanobu Asano, Hiroyuki Sanada, Keanu Reeves, and Kou Shibasaki.
Disclaimer: I do not own this image!!

I am very conflicted about going to see 47 Ronin starring Keanu Reeves in theaters December 25th.

On one hand, the film seems to have little to do with Chūshingura (忠臣蔵), the original kabuki (歌舞伎) play I read in the “Traditional Japanese Literature” class I took at Sophia University (上智大学) in Tokyo. Moreover, the film has reportedly not done well with Japanese audiences.

BUT, on the other hand, I really want to support the amazing selection of Japanese actors cast in the film. And, for that reason, I’ve devised the following list…

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Disclaimer: I do not own this image!!

Hiroyuki Sanada (真田広之)

  • Best known for in the U.S.: Dogen on Lost (Season 6).
  • Notable Accolades: He performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company and received an honorary MBE award.
  • Why is he awesome?: While filming The Last Samurai (2003), he almost cut off Tom Cruise’s head (“Cruise has brush with death”).
  • Film Recommendations: Sanada-san stars in my favorite samurai film The Twilight Samurai (2002). This film has only two fight scenes (one short and one long), but they are both jaw-dropping in their seemingly effortless choreography and will have you on the edge of your seat!

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Disclaimer: I do not own this image!!

Disclaimer: I do not own this image!!

Kou Shibasaki (柴咲コウ)

  • Best known for in the U.S.: Mitsuko Souma in Battle Royale (2000); she was slated to play Gogo Yubari’s twin sister Yuki in Kill Bill, but dropped out due to other commitments.
  • Notable Accolades: She won a Japanese Academy Award for her performance in Go (2001).
  • Why is she awesome?: She starred in the first Japanese television drama I ever watched called Orange Days (2004) in which she played a deaf character, performing all her lines in Japanese sign language.  Plus, she’s an adorable pop singer (“KISS Shite” by KOH+).
  • Film Recommendations: Shibasaki-san stars alongside Joe Odagiri in one of my favorite Japanese films called La Maison de Himiko (2005) about a young woman who is asked by her dying father’s young male lover to work in her father’s nursing home for gay men.

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Rinko-Kikuchi-2

Disclaimer: I do not own this image!!

Rinko Kikuchi (菊地凛子)

  • Best known for in the U.S.: Mako Mori in Pacific Rim (2013).
  • Notable Accolades: She was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in Babel (2006).
  • Wh is she awesome?: She’s the first Japanese actress in 50 years to be nominated for an Oscar! Plus, she’s appeared in a number of films with Tadanobu Asano (see below) including his directorial debut Tori (2003).
  • Film Recommendations: I absolutely adore The Brothers Bloom (2009), starring Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, and (of course) Rinko Kikuchi!! :) Kikuchi-san silently pantomimes throughout this film and is an absolute delight to watch.

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Disclaimer: I do not own this image!!

Tadanobu Asano (浅野忠信)

ONE OF MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE ACTORS!

Some of these film recommendations might be hard to find outside of Japan. If you’re having trouble finding a title and really want to watch it, message me at gegallas@hotmail.com and I’ll see if I can help! :)

Also, for those of you who go see 47 Ronin, leave a comment here and let me know what you think!

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Copyright 2013 by G. E. Gallas


Trying to Figure Out London!

Related Posts: Planning for London! and Planning for Blake’s London!

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Firstly, I just wanted to thank all the awesome bloggers who have given me very helpful advice for this trip!

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Note: This post is really just for me to try to jot down and organize all the information/recommendations/advice I’ve received about London so far. AND MORE ADVICE IS MORE THAN WELCOMED!

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Here, I’ve narrowed down the Blake historical sites to only the ones I want to see most:

  1. St. James’s Church: (10) Where Blake was baptized. The font still survives.
  2. Westminster Abbey: (10) Where Blake practiced drawing. Monument to Blake in the Abbey’s Poet’s Corner.Will probably end up here on a bus tour!
  3. Royal Academy, New Somerset House: (9) Where Blake studied and occasionally exhibited his work. Original building.
  4. 13 Hercules Buildings: (7) Where Blake produced the Songs of Experience. House demolished in 1918.
  5. 17 South Moulton Street: (10) Will be here on Tuesday!
  6. St. Mary’s, Battersea: (10) Where Blake married Kate. Original building.
  7. Bunhill Fields: (9) Where Blake is buried.

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Important: Buy an Oyster card!

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Harrods Vintage Bus Tour of London with Champagne Tea at Harrods

Okay, this might be really silly/crazy/touristy, but a tour in a vintage bus plus tea time? That just sounds so ridiculous (in a good way, I think)!

Won’t have time for this on Monday or Tuesday, so will have to do either Wednesday or Thursday.

Location: Starts at Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge.

Time: Starts at 1 p.m, for 5 hours.

Price: £49

Includes: Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, The London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Downing Street, Trafalgar Square, Nelson’s Column, Hyde Park, the Houses of Parliament, The Royal Albert Hall, a cruise on the River Thames, and tea/scones at Harrods. 

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Jack the Ripper Tour

Might have time for this on Monday, or otherwise on Wednesday.

Option #1: Every night at 7 p.m. Outside exit 4 of Aldgate East Station. £9. 2 hours.

Option #2Every night at 7 p.m. Outside exit 4 of Aldgate East Station. £9. 2 hours.

Option #3: Every night at 7:30 p.m. Outside exit 3 of Aldgate East Station. £9. 1 hour, 45 minutes.

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Tate Britain

At the very top of my list!!!

Tentatively, I think I might go to the Tate and V&A on Tuesday, the bus tour and possibly Jack the Ripper on Wednesday, and then the British Museum and Blake historic sites on Thursday.

Location: Millbank.

Time: Open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Price: Free (except for special exhibitions).

Taking photos not allowed.

  • Need to find out more about the renovated Blake rooms!
  • Need to figure out what else I’d like to see at the Tate!

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Victoria and Albert Museum

Location: Cromwell Road.

Time: Open daily 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Price: Free (except for special exhibitions).

May take photos, unless otherwise noted.

  • Ask information desk about the “…four of Blake’s ‘fresco’ paintings on display permanently.”
  • David Bowie is£14.00 (+£1.40 booking fee per ticket). Already bought my ticket!! :D

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British Museum

Location: Great Russell Street.

Time: Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Price: Free.

Photography permitted in most galleries.

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National Gallery

Not sure if I’ll have time for this.

Location: Trafalgar Square.

Time: Open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Price: Free.

Taking photos not allowed.

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National Portrait Gallery

Not sure if I’ll have time for this. May go if nothing else to do on Thursday evening.

Location: St.Martin’s Place.

Time: Open Sat.-Wed. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thurs.-Fri. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Price: Free (except for special exhibitions).

Taking photos not allowed.

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The Princess Louise

A restored Victorian pub. Recommended pint: Timothy Landlord’s.

Location: 208 High Holborn, Holborn. Between Covent Garden and the British Museum.

Time: 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

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Tea and Tattle

“Fresh leaf tea in a pot and bone china, scones with clotted cream and jam, finger sandwiches and tasty cakes… could anything be more British than afternoon tea in London.”

Location: 41 Great Russell Street (opposite the British Museum).

Time: 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

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The London Review Cake Shop

“…the traditional with a twist.”

Location: 14 Bury Place  Bloomsbury (near the British Museum).

Time: 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

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Coach and Horses, Soho

Very shabby, but landmark.

Location: 29 Greek Street, Soho

Time: 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

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French House

Location: 49 Dean Street

Time: 12 to 11 p.m. (Food served until 4 p.m.)

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Seven Stars

Something quieter.

Location: 53-54 Carey Street (behind the Royal Courts of Justice, near some of the Blake sites around the Strand/Fleet Street).

Time: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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The Angel

Something quieter.

Location: 61-62 St Giles High Street (a bit of a no-man’s-land between Covent Garden and Bloomsbury that’s central yet tourist-free).

Time: 12 to 11 p.m.

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The Queen’s Arms

Location: 30 Queen’s Gate Mews (near the V&A).

Time: 12 to 11 p.m.

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The Sherlock Holmes

Has a very authentic English feel. Fish & chips.

Location: 10-11 Northumberland Street

Time: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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The Old Shades

Great fish & chips.

Location: 37 Whitehall (Trafalgar Square).

Time: 10/11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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Lighthouse Fish Bar

Fish & chips of mammoth proportions.

Location: 8 Tooting Bec Road (1/2 block from Tooting Bec Tube Station).

Time: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

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Curry/Indian: Any suggestions?

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The Gay Hussar

Fabulous Hungarian food and a very interesting past illustrated by the political cartoons on its walls.

Location: 2 Greek Street, Soho.

Time: 12:15 to 2:30 p.m., 5:30 to 10:45 p.m.

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Copyright 2013 by G. E. Gallas


Planning for Blake’s London!

Related Posts: Planning for London!

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Disclaimer: I do not own this image!!

Disclaimer: I do not own this image!!

As you may know, for the past couple months, I’ve been busy planning for my trip to Cannes and London. I’ll only have 3 full days in London, so I’m trying to figure out the best schedule that will allow me to fit everything in. For my British followers/readers, any advice would be incredibly appreciated.

Monday

  1. Arrive: Hello London!!!
  2. Take public transportation from Heathrow to hotel; check into hotel and get situated.
  3. Since I’ll be exhausted from the film festival (and if I don’t get in too late), I think I might take a bus tour of London. That way, I  can relax and cover all the basics in a short amount of time and hopefully won’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything. If I don’t have time to do a bus tour Monday, then I’ll do one Tuesday morning/afternoon and maybe do a Jack the Ripper tour instead.

Tuesday: Special Event Day!

  1. I’m not exactly sure how I’ll spend a good chunk of this day yet. Like I said, I might take a bus tour of London. Or perhaps check out the London Eye, Covent Garden, Sherlock Holmes Museum, Royal Botanic Gardens, etc. on my own. I have to look into the different types of bus tours and schedules!
  2. Leave some time to relax and possibly nap in the late afternoon.
  3. Special Event: G. E. Gallas Invited to Speak to The Blake Society!

Wednesday: Museums Galore!

  1.  ★Tate: I recently contacted the Tate about their William Blake collection and was absolutely delighted to hear that the renovated Blake rooms are scheduled to open May 14th and will very likely include The Ghost of a Flea — talk about perfect timing!
  2. British Museum: I would like to visit the British Museum’s Print Room (Department of Prints and Drawings), where one can access Blake works without an appointment. According to the Chair of the Blake Society, Tim Heath: “…you are able to hold in your own hands some of Blake’s original (and now priceless) illuminated books. It is one of the secrets of the city.”
  3. Victoria & Albert Museum: According to Naomi, the V&A has “…four of Blake’s ‘fresco’ paintings on display permanently, as well as a good collection of watercolours which you can see in their Print Room (no appointment needed).” Would also love to see upcoming exhibit called  David Bowie is (March – July)!!

Thursday: Blake’s London!

Thursday, I plan on adventuring through London to visit all the Blake historical sites. Naomi recommended this tremendously helpful resource on the Tate’s website: http://www2.tate.org.uk/williamblake/lambeth/london_intro.html.

I need to figure out the easiest way to walk and which sites I would most like to see (on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 meaning “I absolutely must see this!”).

  1. 28 Broad Street: (7) Where Blake was born. Original building no longer survives. Tate: “Old houses that survive… give a good idea of what Blake’s house looked like.” 
  2. St. James’s Church: (10) Recommended by Tim. Where Blake was baptized. The font still survives.
  3. Mr. Pars’ Drawing School in the Strand: (5) Where Blake was sent to study at age 10. Demolished in Regency times.
  4. 31 Queen Street, Lincoln’s Inn: (8) Where Blake at age 14 became apprentice to an engraver. Original building demolished in late 19th century. Tate: “…but the next-door houses (of brick rather than stone) give an idea of its original appearance).
  5. Westminster Abbey: (10) Where Blake as an apprentice practiced drawing ancient tombs (such as King Edward I) and monuments. Monument to William Blake in the Abbey’s Poet’s Corner.
  6. Royal Society of Arts: (5) Where Blake admired James Barry’s murals The Progress of Human Knowledge and Culture. Original building.
  7. Royal Academy, New Somerset House: (9) Where Blake studied and exhibited his work on several occasions. Also important location for the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, if I’m not mistaken. Original building.
  8. Green Street, Leicester Square: (5) Where Blake moved after his marriage. Original building no longer exists.
  9. 28 Poland Street: (6) Where Blake moved after dissolving his partnership with James Parker. House rebuilt in the late 19th century.
  10. 13 Hercules Buildings: (7) Where Blake lived during his most productive years and produced the Songs of Experience. House demolished in 1918.
  11. 17 South Moulton Street: (10) Where Blake “…suffer[ed] his bitterest disappointments. Fame and financial success continued to elude him, and he sank into poverty and paranoia.” Will be here on Tuesday!
  12. Fountain Court, Strand: (7) Where Blake lived until his death and produced his illustration to Dante’s Divine Comedy. Original building no longer exists.
  13. St. Mary’s, Battersea: (10) Recommended by Tim. Where Blake married Kate. Original building.
  14. Bunhill Fields: (9) Recommended by Tim. Where Blake is buried (in an unmarked grave). Tate: “A small monument now stands at the approximate site where Blake was buried.”
  15. Paolozzi Newton: (6) Where a statue based on Blake’s Newton stands.

Friday

  • Depart: Back to San Francisco!

Now that I’ve laid everything out, the next step is to narrow everything down into a manageable plan!

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Copyright 2013 by G. E. Gallas


Correspondence with The Blake Society

"Night Startled by the Lark" (1820) by William Blake

“Night Startled by the Lark” (1820) by William Blake

The other day, I got in touch with The Blake Society (www.blakesociety.org) hoping to bring their attention to The Poet and the Flea and to ask them about next year’s Blake Society Tithe Grant.

To my surprise and delight, The Blake Society had already heard of my graphic novel and had made an announcement on their December newsletter as well as their Facebook page.

I think it’s really wonderful that The Blake Society seems to keep tabs on as many Blake-related projects as possible. They have a great website with many resources, including a full biography of William Blake and links to other useful sites.

If only I were in London, I would have joined this society long ago. But San Francisco is so far away and I’m unaware of any local societies here (although according to The Blake Society, there was a William Blake society in Palo Alto around 1940 :D ).

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Excerpt from The Blake Society December newsletter:

BLAKE IN THE WORLD OF GRAPHIC NOVELS

A  new graphic novel is being published in installments on the web.  The Poet and the Flea is written and illustrated by G. E. Gallas and a new page appears every Wednesday.  Gallas is inspired by Blake as ‘the junction between Dante Alighieri and Allen Ginsberg’.

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Excerpt from The Black Society on Facebook:

The Poet and the Flea is a new online graphic novel by G. E. Gallas which re-imagines the life of Blake. A new page is added every Wednesday; today we reach page 7, when William tells Kate about seeing a tree full of angels.

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For more updates, don’t forget to follow me on tumblr and/or twitter.

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Copyright 2012 by G. E. Gallas


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