One other thing I love about flying on Emirates apart from the food, and even better if I’m flying business, is the selection of Japanese films. The best selection would be on the A380 as there would be about ten films to choose from!

Patisserie Coin de Rue (洋菓子店コアンドル) was a nice one about a kampung girl called Natsume (Aoi Yū – who reminds me so much of someone whose blog I used to follow!) looking for her (perasan) boyfriend in Tokyo with the hope of getting him back. In the meantime, she landed herself in a patisserie where she learnt that being a pâtissière (pastry chef to you and I) isn’t like helping her dad run the family bakery in Kagoshima. During this time, she became acquainted with a food critic named Tomura (Eguchi Yōsuke – he played Goemon!) who himself was a reknowned pâtissièr and the latter half of the film sees both of them inadvertently helping each other to face the difficult road that lies ahead. Watch out for Mariko (Eguchi Noriko) whose hardened character is as stoic as her face – I’m sure J-drama fans would recognise her as the maid Rosemary in Atashinchi no Danshi.

On my flight to DXB on the way home for Raya, I saw Tomorrow’s Joe (あしたのジョ) which was just ace. Based on a manga (the best ones are always one), Yabuki Joe (Yamashita Tomohisa) is a loner who picks fights in the slums of Tokyo only to be picked on by boxing champ, Rikiishi (Iseya Yūsuke – the Amy Search lookalike from Sukiyaki Western Django), who was serving time in the slammer. After promising they would meet again to fight in the ring, we get to see Joe’s progress after being trained by Danbei (kinda the film’s version of Mickey, only buck-toothed, played by Kagawa Teruyuki), whilst Rikiishi brings his weight down so as to be able to fight Joe. I have to say this is one of the best boksing movies I’ve seen and do check out the CG on the boxers’ faces when they get punched.

Princess Toyotomi (プリンセス トヨトミ) was a right treat, although this film has been compared somewhat to Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code based on its historical conspiracy-esque subplot. Three members of the main cast for the film would remind you of the HERO SP drama, that’s because the same actors are in this film – well, you’ve got all three except Kimura Takuya. ‘Demon’ Matsudaira (Tsutsumi Shinichi – remember Sailor Suit And Machine Gun?) is a hotshot official of the National Audit Bureau (NAB) who was sent to Osaka to check for financial irregularities in a few commercial firms until he and his team began to audit a firm with the acronym O.J.O. Gainsbourg Asahi (Okada Masaki) and Torii Tadako (the delectable Ayase Haruka) who were members of his NAB team were then sent out to investigate the streets of Osaka whilst Matsudaira himself found a well-hidden conspiracy involving the entire populace of Osaka which started hundreds of years ago following the siege of Osaka by Tokugawa Ieyasu. Not really as ‘mystical’ as Da Vinci but a well-spun yarn nonetheless.

I also saw a few, err… tearjerkers. On the 777, when the selection goes down to four, there’s nothing much you can do but watch what’s available. Here Comes the Bride, My Mom! (オカンの嫁入り) is actually a family comedy where the protagonist’s (Tsukiko, played by Miyazaki Aoi) mom (Ōtake Shinobu) decided after all this while to re-marry, and to someone very much younger to boot! Why is this a tearjerker? Wait until you find out why the young guy (Kiritani Kenta – the perasan hensem host from One Pound Gospel) is the one she wants to marry. Let’s just say you’d be reminded of Kurosawa’s Ikiru.

The other one which I saw on my return trip from DXB-MAN was Star Watching Dog (星守る犬) which follows the story of a city hall worker named Kyousuke (Tamayama Tetsuji) trying to piece together the last few months prior to the death of an unidentified man (Nishida Toshiyuki) whose remains were found together with his dog name Happy. Defo not a ‘happy’ film but endearing nonetheless. Reminds me of my pets long gone *sniff* But then, there’s always the often irritating Yuki (Kawashima Umika) to keep a man happy watching this. Heh.

If you love Japanese films, check these out!