Memoirs of a JS student

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Haha…I’m sure you guys know what I’m going to bitch about soon…however, there are some other things that I’ve got to talk about before starting my review on “Memoirs of a Geisha” (which will be very long, bear with me). First of, I went to the J-Rock concert on Wednesday. My verdict on the band “Aries Kaizer” is that their lead singer needs to go for vocal lessons as well as learn how to perform!! Gosh…he trashed and ruined the lovely songs where Hyde reached those high notes. Furthermore, the performance was just lack luster. The lead singer looked so out of place with regards to his other band members. The next band “Requiem” was much better despite the fact that you can’t hear the lead singer most of the time. However, when you COULD hear her, you knew that she can sing. This lead singer is damn funny. She just added ‘desu’ to the end of everything. Blah-blah desu, blah blah desu. She introduced herself this way: Boku wa Jennifer desu (boku is the MALE way of referring to oneself). *cue shocked expression* Ah well, a friend and I gave her the benefit of the doubt that she used ‘boku’ instead of ‘watashi’ because the band was singing D’ir En Grey songs, which is an all male band. That said, at the end of her band’s performance, she said: Domo desu. *cue shocked expression and laughter* Domo is a very informal way of saying thanks and there’s NO SUCH THING as ‘domo desu’. This is the first time I’ve ever heard someone say that. I still can’t get over it. HAHAHAHAHAHA……

On with the Memoir’s bitching….went to watch “Memoirs of a Geisha” yesterday. Here are my gripes:
1. The hairstyles are NOT geisha. They look remotely Chinese….hmmm….weird since the details on the various kimono were attended to. *frown*
2. Gong Li’s character Hatsumomo doesn’t behave like a geisha. Geisha are very particular about how they dress and present themselves in public but Hatsumomo was always looking so sloppy.
3. All those nature scenes. Puhleese…so typical representation of Japan being untouched and beautiful and whoa! I have nothing against the postcard/ picturesque scenes. However, it romanticises and exoticises…perpetuating the stereotype of Japan. This brings me to the next point.
4. The movie does not capture the essence of the book, which is really about a geisha’s life. The movie is more about a girl’s romantic life that is loosely related to being a geisha once.
5. The screenplay writer obviously doesn’t understand Japanese culture because the Japanese DO NOT scream and shout at each other when they disagree. If you’ve met a lot of Japanese females, you’ll realise that they usually speak to each other rather soft-spokenly and their disagreements are not dealt with as directly as portrayed in the movie.
6. Feeble attempt at having symbolic meaning attached to ‘water’ and ‘rain’. Its self explanatory if you’ve watched the movie.
7. Simplification of the relationship between the Chairman and Sayuri. Does anyone really believe that a crush of a 9 year-old girl is stretched to become love? 6 years on and she’s still in love with someone old enough to be her father? Moreover, start having feelings for him just because he’s nice to you? Uh…which planet are we talking about now?
8. Sayuri’s solo dance. Was that a dance? She looked like a mad woman prancing around. Seriously. I had to contain my laughter when the next line after her dance was: “You danced with such profound feeling!” Yup….if the feeling conveyed was meant to be insanity.
9. There was no emphasis on the ARTISTRY of the geisha, just mere mentions…as if they were the token phrases to let people know that “Hey…we’re trying to debunk the notion that geisha are prostitues!”
10.Since the movie is totally in English (but we should assume that they’re normally speaking in Japanese), in the scene where the Americans and the geisha were together, were they conversing in English or Japanese? Can’t be English since Sayuri and Mameha didn’t receive formal education on English. Ok…I shall not think too much about this aspect.

In a nutshell, this movie was made for an American (usually ignorant about Japanese culture) audience…and it had to sell. Hence the casting of famous faces like Gong Li, Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi. Oops…it’s now Ziyi Zhang. Oh…don’t get me started on her. I do have other criticism against “Memoirs” but I shall end here today.

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