Dave R. Takes on Rural Japan

09/03/2008 § Leave a comment

     A good friend from college is now teaching english in Japan.  Before he left, he made a long trip across the U.S. and made a visit to beautiful Colorado.  He’s a good (natural) videographer and is gaining skill with post-production editing for both video and music.  

     Here’s a video of his train rides:

     Out and Back. Then Gone.


   Anywho, when he got here, we did a section of a 14er, shared pictures, got a few beers together… and we all enjoyed his time left in the states.  Despite all the ever-changing variables in my life at the moment, I am secretly… covertly… trying to find a way to fund a trip to visit Dave, and I think I’m figuring it out.  A woman with whom I work owes me for a botched buddy-pass situation.  If I can get another, better planned and executed, buddy-pass arrangement to Hawaii, it may be cheaper to get a flight onward into Japan.  

     I hope for that, but, if it’s not feasible with work and all then I’ll have to cope.  In that circumstance I’ll probably just do what I do from time to time now; I saturate myself In Dave R’s substantive, bold, lively, freewheeling video footage of Japan that’s also serious and charming… and understated as far as culture goes.  Which I enjoy.  I think it’s because the footage in final video format is honest, self-effacing.  The videos show a good deal of what happens in Japan that doesn’t happen widely here.  Hello, squirrel village?  An old drunk guy doing karaoke?  They show intermixing of Americans abroad with their temporary new environment… a hot American girl singing Fergie’s “London Bridge” while a cute Japanese girl bobs her head.  They are extremely random.  They have Dave’s personality.  The selling point for me is that cultural moments aren’t over-embellished, over-dramatized, unlike overtly cultural foreign documentaries or movies who grasp for value/appreciation with their “cultural appeal.”  Yes.  Those documentaries/movies annoy me.  

     Alright, here are the videos:

     Shinjuku People Movement

     Salomi Push Cart

     I Live in a Dojo

     With culturally appropriate music…

     The Return


     At times, in Dave’s videos, there might be emphasis for some aspects of culture. For instance, the chopping of video for the woman playing the samisen or the people banging the large drums in Salomi Push Cart.  But these alterations do something much different than  “this is a sacred custom”/”this is the modern Japanese life”, they draw attention to the actions themselves instead of emphasizing them as signifiers within the larger cultural context of life in Japan.  Where the woman plays the samisen in Salomi Push Cart, the chopping of video coincides with the plucking of the samisen.  The shot centers on the hand in motion while plucking.  Overall, the viewer’s attention is drawn to the choppiness of the music, and the skill of the woman playing, which has more importance for the video as a whole… we get a expressionistic version of the experience.  The video is the action and the experience of the karaoke night.  It’s the military march and exposé of the infamous and mysterious squirrel village.  You have deer following you.  All free recall, at random.  The culture is there, but more-so is experience, and oh so much is it valuable.


     Here’s two videos from college that I’m in:

     R.I.P. Athens T-Bell

     Possibly the best shot I’ll ever record… the powerstance that stops the car yet the guy on the rascal gets by… priceless.

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