Reading movies

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Latimer: I love watching TV series and movies in other languages. It really immerses you in the story and gives you a sense of that culture.

Having spent so much time watching anime and Asian dramas, I’m used to subtitles. Once you get into the swing of reading them, it becomes like second nature and it doesn’t distract you.

I usually have to go looking for the subtitled dramas or movies, but this week, one found me!

On Irish television I happened across the finale of a German TV miniseries called ‘Generation War’ (in German it’s called ‘Our Mothers, Our Fathers’).

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The series is a gritty Second World War series about 5 friends in Germany and their experiences during the war. It’s full of heart-wrenching moments (moments where you are shaking your head wondering how these things happen), and moments where you are screaming for one thing – just one thing to work out for someone…!

Watching this series reminded me of a few of the great foreign language series and movies I’d seen over the years. It resulted in me taking a little trip down memory lane.

Pans Labyrinth

This is quite simple a gorgeous, eerie movie; it has that supernatural gothic, dark element that I like. It also has this ambiguous feel to it; is the girl dreaming all this fantastical stuff, or is it real? Full of fairies and demonic creatures – Pan is one scary fawn it must be said! – this is one of those movies I could watch again and again. I still will randomly start humming that theme tune (epic)!

Joyeux Noël 

About a true event during the First World War where during Christmas time at the front there was a brief ceasefire, where all the men on all sides came together to celebrate Christmas. It’s in French, German and English. A very sad, but inspiring story.

Moving on from war, to romance… yeah, bit of a drop from drama to mindless fun…

My Princess

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A Korean drama that follows a girl who finds out she’s related to the defunct Korean monarchy. The story is about how a wealthy group in Korea want to re-instate the monarch with her as the Princess. Okay, it follows the typical girly love story, but – hey, that’s soul food to a fan-girl! It’s a fun series!

Hana Yori Dango

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Ah, this might well be our (Ridley and I) most favourite Japanese series! As a result of watching this series, Ridley and I knew all about the actor that plays the leading man – Matsumoto Jun (who’s in a band called ARASHI :)). And so, when we were in Tokyo and we saw some Japanese girls holding up a sign which said in English – ‘Foreigners, do you know who are ARASHI?’

Well, Ridley and I looked at each other, ‘Shall we?’.

And so we sidled up to the girls and said; ‘We know of ARASHI’. Then the girls asked us how; Ridley beamed, ‘Hana Yori Dango’. Then all of us, across language barriers smiled and started laughing (ah, fan-girls unite!).

Trollhunter

A Norwegian film about… a Troll Hunter. I now have a greater respect for Norwegian folklore about trolls and love saying the Norwegian word for bear (bjørn)!

And finally… Ros na Rún

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Okay, this is not technically ‘foreign’ language – it’s Irish – but it is subtitled (sometimes!)!

We have an Irish Language TV channel here called, Teilifís na Gaeilge (TnaG) (basically Irish TV).

When we were getting ready to do our ‘Irish oral and aural exams’ in school, our teacher made us watch Ros na Rún without the subtitles to practice. While I didn’t get the nuances of what was going on, I thought at the time that this was a great series (probably because there was a scandal involving a cute guy and a baby he may or may not have been the father of!).

Stephen Fry also did a cameo in it once (those two auld lads have been in the series for YEARS… and yet, they have not aged).

Plus Ros na Rún also had a cross-over with Cold Case (sort’a)!

“I told you I don’t understand English” – Daniel

“Where is this woman? Did you murder her?” – Lieutenant Stillman

“Do you understand now Daniel?” – Detective Rush

Yup, I think this post has made me want to re-watch some things! I do like me some subtitled stuff 🙂

I wonder what else is going on around the world that I should look into! Suggestions very welcome!

Tea shop

Ridley: When you go on holiday, there comes a point when, despite enjoying your time away, you eventually start to want a few home comforts and familiars. Whether its a television programme, a particular shop, a type of food, a drink, or your own comfortable bed. You start thinking about how great it is.

For us, it was tea. We just wanted a good cup of tea, so when we discovered there was a tea café in the Ginza district, we were a little too excited.

Mariage Freres, Ginza 5-6-6, has 450 different varieties of tea from around the world. Personally, I just wanted a good cup of Lyon’s or Barry’s tea.

The number of teas available was confounding. Sometimes you can have too much choice! I wanted a normal cup of tea, but that felt a bit boring with all the fancy blends, added to that, the prices had our eyebrows shooting upwards. (9 euro for a pot of tea- each!) So the pressure was on to make the experience ‘worthwhile’. In the end, I said feck it and I stuck with the breakfast blends, going for something that basically was like Lyon’s tea. I didn’t want anything fruity!

The presentation was gorgeous. China plates. It was the type of place where my pinky could have tried to stick out, in an attempt at some sort of misguided grace. It also had quite a French feel, though on the way there we’d been expecting an English tea shop.

We decided to splash out so we also had crème brulee. Very tasty!

Ginza is definitely an expensive district, where people with money flutter around. On every corner and street there was a large brand shop, whether it was Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, YSL, all the sort of places that I basically have a security guard dogging my steps as I wander round with an open mouth, releasing various gasps at the prices and the words ‘I could buy ten handbags for that!’

(Without a doubt, it’s a place where the rich and famous hang out. We (well Latimer did) spotted Sean Lennon strolling down the street.)

The tea shop definitely cater to them, less so to the tourists. Its a type of fantasy dining for the Japanese in a way. For an hour or two they can drink fruity concoctions and pretend they’ve step out to a place in Paris. Except for the all male cast of servers in white suits, there were just women eating there.

The ladies were all extremely well dressed with branded handbags, I like to think that they were the wives of hard working rich business men. As with everyone we saw, Latimer and I sipped our tea and we people watched while wondering ‘cad é an scéal?’-literally, what’s the story, or rather what we mean is, what is their story, where are they from, what do they do, what are their lives like? This happens all the time, you see someone unusual, someone normal, someone with a strange hair cut, it doesn’t matter, we’re fascinated by their background. I’ve always wondered, isn’t everyone like this? The more you see the world though, the more you realised there are more people not like you than you ever could have imagined.

Before we left we popped in to their bathroom (its a long standing belief of mine that you can tell a lot of how the way a place is run and its cleanliness by the state of this room!) It had a normal toilet too. There was no fancy stuff with a controller, numerous buttons, heated seat and automatic flushing. It was nice to know where you stood with it! (I’m a sad individual, I know.)

While the café was on the first and second floors, downstairs there was a shop, they sold tea pots and loose tea.

It put me in mind of what an old apothecary would perhaps have looked like, with large impressive black jars of tea for sale and weighing instruments.

If you look closely you’ll see Latimer’s covert picture taking was spotted in the photo below.

While definitely an experience, if you love tea and are up for a once off visit, you should try here. Especially if you’re gasping for a good cuppa! Just be prepared to pay a little (read, a lot) more than you normally would at home