A boy in search of
his mother finds a travel
buddy you can’t beat
I watched Kikujiro / Summer (1999, Beat Takeshi) again the other night after not having seen it for years. It’s a sweet story of a boy who goes in search of his mother one summer holiday in the company of an unlikely guardian, Kikujiro, played by Beat Takeshi. Along the way they meet a bunch of different characters who are all great to the boy and give him a summer he won’t ever forget (there is one sinister character who the boy has a lucky escape from thanks to Kikujiro) . This is an absolutely timeless film and while it’s a bit slow going at times, well when kids do not have much to do during the summer and their friends are away, it can drag can’t it? Though he sets out on the mission by himself, he soon acquires this guardian-travel companion who as I said is a very unlikely one. He’s not even related to the boy. I found that a little strange myself at first I must admit but it’s not always close relations who can be trusted or give you the best memories I guess.
The soundtrack, by Joe Hisaishi is splendid (not a word I use often) as well and I often listen to it by itself. Joe Hisaishi often collaborates with Beat Takeshi on his films and also does soundtracks for Studio Ghibli films.
I’ve watched a couple more dramas from South Korea. One is called Padam Padam and though it’s a bit too long at 20 episodes I enjoyed it. One of the guys in it, Guksu, who appears really daft at the beginning turns out to be not daft at all in his self-appointed role of guardian angel of the male lead Gangchil. His work as guardian angel doesn’t always bring the results he expected but other things come about that are equally good for everyone. Life is like that isn’t it. Some things just happen without any effort from you while your actual efforts might produce nothing. The female characters in this were strong women – Ganchil’s mother whose constant complaining might put you off from the start (but stick with her, she has had it tough after all) and the female lead Jeung Ji-na and Ganchil’s friend Hyosuk who’s a single mother. Though Hyosuk’s attempt to latch onto Gangchil and then Guksu shows her to be a bit desperate (as pointed out so bluntly by Guksu) she’s a very independent and resourceful character. The guy who plays Guksu is absolutely beautiful. Real ethereal kind of looks. One thing I find from these dramas is that scenes are always played back and this is a bit repetitive and annoying. You could nearly fill a whole episode with some of the played back scenes. These dramas are never so hard to follow that you need that kind of help!! I find this with some Japanese dramas as well.
I said in a previous post that I’d check out Korean some time. I have done a bit on Ytube and it’s tricky enough pronunciation-wise and alphabet-wise. On top of that, there is both a Chinese-based and Korean counting system which are mixed when you’re telling the time. In any case, I think I’ll keep on going as I plan to visit South Korea some day and knowing a bit of the language is a bit of a travel rule for me. Yoshhhhh…..