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Archive for February 3rd, 2019

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
  —  Winston Churchill
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On This Day In:
2018 Blocking The Light And Air
2017 It’s Even Dimmer When You Don’t Have It
2016 Inconvenienced By Degree
2015 Sincerity
2014 Prayers For Junior
Senseless
2013 Interesting Drink
Super Bowl XLVII Declared A No Bird Zone
2012 Smile
2011 Come Forward
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East Side Sushi  (2015)  —  movie review
Every now and then you find (or someone recommends) a small independent movie that really entertains and moves you.  This is one of those movies.
East Side Sushi” was recommended to me by the younger brother of my best friend from childhood.  He currently lives in Hawaii and we communicate mostly by email.  He provides me with insight to things happening on the island and in Asia.  He is the one who clued me in to the Korean pop music videos I posted about a couple of years ago.  Anyway, he said he saw this great movie, filmed in Oakland, CA and it reminded him so much of the Bay Area he could almost taste the food being prepared in the movie.  I told him I’d keep my eyes out for the film.  I guess it was released on HBO and I didn’t subscribe at the time, so I didn’t have access to it.  To make a long story a little shorter, the film is available on my library streaming service, so I finally got a chance to view it.
The basic story line is old news: someone at the bottom wants to improve their place in society and then works to achieve it.  The twist in this movie: the lead is Mexican / American and female and she wants to become something (a sushi chef) which is “traditionally” both Asian (mainly Japanese) and male.  Apparently, female hands are too warm to prepare fish and they wear too much perfume, which changes the flavor of the fish.   Blah, blah, blah…  Racism and sexism neatly bundled into one plot.  Oh, yeah.  She’s a struggling single mother who also looks after her widowed father.  Strangely though, it works and it works well.
Diana Elizabeth Torres plays Juana (the Mexican lady who wants to become a sushi chef), Yutaka Takeuchi plays Aki (the senior Japanese sushi chef who mentors Juana), Rodrigo Duarte Clark plays Apa (Juana’s father), Kaya Jade Aguirre plays Lydia (Juana’s daughter), Roji Oyama plays Mr. Yoshida (the sushi restaurant owner – and also a sushi chef), and Miyoko Sakatani plays Mrs. Yoshida (the co-owner and maître d’ who originally hires Juana).
Now before we get too into the movie, let me make clear: while I have sampled sushi, I am nowhere near competent to evaluate the food preparation or display demonstrated in the film.  But, and this is a BIG but, I think I’d like to go to a restaurant and try some different types of sushi.  Just to see what all the fuss is about.  (LOL)
I found the movie well acted.  The Mexican family was very much the way I would imagine it: from the father not wanting to eat raw fish, to his complaining about why can’t Juana get a job cooking in a cantina.  I also found the white customer objecting to the restaurant owner about having a Mexican preparing the sushi a fascinating little scene.  It “justified” to the Japanese owner the position that ONLY males and ONLY Asians could prepare “true” sushi.  It reaffirmed the owner’s prejudice without him realizing / acknowledging the customer was as prejudiced against him as he was against Juana.  There is also an amusing staff lunch scene where Juana misunderstands the Japanese accent of English words and the other staff (various Asian and Hispanic) laugh at her error.  If you’ve ever been at a mixed culture meal / event, you’ve probably seen this happen in real life.
Final recommendation:  very highly recommended!  This is a pleasant movie which doesn’t break new ground, but which does cover the same ground while pointing out different scenery which you might not otherwise notice.  It’s a genuine “feel good” movie which can be watched by the whole family.  I emailed my friend to thank him for the recommendation and ask him to pass along any more he might have.  “That’s what friends are for…”  Now, I’ve paid it forward.
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On This Day In:
2018 Blocking The Light And Air
2017 It’s Even Dimmer When You Don’t Have It
2016 Inconvenienced By Degree
2015 Sincerity
2014 Prayers For Junior
Senseless
2013 Interesting Drink
Super Bowl XLVII Declared A No Bird Zone
2012 Smile
2011 Come Forward

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