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Hello Asia! Japanese Film Festival 2014 Review: Short Peace (Japan, 2013)

Much as the title hints, Short Peace is a series of four short films produced by two companies Sunrise and Shochiku. This is a powerful suite of short films anthologised under the theme of creator Katsuhiro Otomo and his love for dystopian tales. Each is very different from the next, but in their own individual sense and with their own style of animation, each leaves you with a mark or a feeling. That is the sign of a great film no matter whether it is feature length or only fifteen minutes. When you find yourself sitting with an emotion cupped in your hands, not quite sure what that emotion is capable of or how it might grow but knowing too well it is precious.

Hello Asia! First Impressions: Perfume - Resorts World Theatre, Singapore (02.11.14)

Back for the second time in Singapore with a full-length concert as part of their third world tour ‘Perfume World Tour 3rd’, Japanese electropop girl group Perfume gave their Singaporean fans a night to remember with perfectly synchronised dance moves, as well as the ultimate fan service.

Hello Asia! Japanese Film Festival 2014 Review: Patema Inverted (Japan, 2013)

Patema Inverted directed by Yasuhiro Yoshiura is a 2013 release shown at the Japanese Film Festival. It tells the story of one boy and one girl. The young boy Eiji, voiced by Nobuhiko Okamoto, lives in a world of order and scheduled classes where chaos is the worst sin only surpassed by the sin of flying. Patema, voiced by Fujii Yukiyo, is a young girl lives below in an industrial colony where friendship is part of survival. But what happens when these two people meet? What would you do if you met someone from another world? How could you fathom it if their world, and gravity was completely upside down to yours?

Hello Asia! Japanese Film Festival 2014 Review: "A Tale of Samurai Cooking - A True Love Story" (Japan, 2013)

A Tale of Samurai Cooking - A True Love Story

I’ve learned from experience in my two years attending that the opening and closing films of the Japanese Film Festival are not to be missed. I was proven right with Lady Maiko, and again with this year’s closing film A Tale of Samurai Cooking - A True Love Story.

Hello Asia! Japanese Film Festival 2014 Review - Rurouni Kenshin (Japan, 2012)

Rurouni Kenshin

It’s easy to be apprehensive about live action adaptations of popular books, manga or anime, but in the case of Keishi Otomo’s Rurouni Kenshin such apprehension is unnecessary. Part one of the epic Kenshin trilogy is a thrilling action flick that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Hello Asia! Japanese Film Festival 2014 Review - Thermae Romae II (Japan, 2014)

Thermae Romae II

What’s more ridiculous than a Japanese time slip drama-comedy flick set between ancient Rome and modern Japan? The SEQUEL to that time slip drama flick! I had the pleasure of catching Hideki Takeuchi’s Thermae Romae at last year’s Japanese Film Festival, and there was no way I was going to miss the follow up at this year’s event. It turns out I wasn’t the only one - the theatre was once again almost full and delighted with the absurd tale of bathing through the ages.

Hello Asia! Japanese Film Festival 2014 Review - "Leaving on the 15th Spring" (Japan, 2013)

Leaving on the 15th Spring

Turning 15 is never easy, regardless of where you live. It’s an age of rebellion and exploration for most, but for Leaving on the 15th Spring's small-town kids on an isolated Japanese island, it’s a coming-of-age ritual.

Hello Asia! Japanese Film Festival 2014 Review - Tokyo Refugees (Japan, 2014)

Tokyo Refugees

Most of us can relate to the feeling of scraping by, struggling to make rent and living off cheap instant food. Tokyo Refugees explores what’s just past the point of scraping by in this confronting and believable story.

Hello Asia! Japanese Film Festival 2014 Review - Lady Maiko (Japan, 2014)

Lady MaikoThe Japanese Film Festival officially opened in Brisbane last night with a packed cinema, a lot of laughs and a heartwarming story in Lady Maiko. Is there any better way to kick off a festival than with a musical? Of course not, and Masayuki Suo's Lady Maiko was the ideal candidate - fresh out of Japanese cinemas, it is a film that combines all the joy of a good old fashioned sing-along with a distinctly Japanese setting.

Hello Asia! Album Review: Kaimokujisho - "Jidou" (Japan, 2014)

Kaimokujisho - "Jidou"

My introduction to Kaimokujisho, a three-piece grunge band from Japan, was via their set at the Japanese Music Festival in April this year. They were the second band to play, but the most memorable by far - in large part due to tiny female vocalist Natsumi Nishida’s larger-than-life stage presence and voice to match. Nishida is Kaimokujisho.

Hello Asia! Album Review: Super Junior - "MAMACITA" (South Korea, 2014)

Labelled by critics as one of the most renowned artists in South Korea music scene, Super Junior ended their two years hiatus last month with a bang. Get ready and sit tight for MAMACITA, the group’s most distinctive and experimental album yet, presents you one hell of a ride.

Hello Asia! Theatre Review: Goowoonmong (구운몽) - The Zenith Theatre, Sydney

It’s Thursday’s opening night of Goowoonmong at the Zenith Theatre and a woman has been murdered. Or has she? Who has murdered her? Has anyone murdered her? Why are we all concerned about this box? “Do you know who killed her? Do you? How about you, Sir? No? Anybody?”

Hello Asia! Event Review: Korea Resounds - Brisbane City Hall (25.09.14)

Korea Resounds: Jinjo Crew

Brisbane City Hall was bursting with energy, culture and tradition on Thursday evening with Korea Resounds, the Korean Cultural Office's dynamic half-traditional, half-contemporary, all-Korean spectacular.

Hello Asia! Live Review: Nana Mizuki Live Flight 2014 + - Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore (27.09.14)

As I roamed about outside the concert venue of Resorts World Sentosa where Nana Mizuki's concert was to be held, this thought struck me. I have usually been assigned to the "Korean Beat" and have mainly covered Korean events where I am used to seeing extremely long queues and screaming fangirls. I truly thought that the Japanese wave was weakening for a long time.

Hello Asia! Live Review: B1A4 Road Trip - Big Top Luna Park, Sydney (20.09.14)

“What’s Happening?” What’s up, what’s up, B1A4 is what’s up! After hitting off their Australian Road Trip World Tour in Melbourne, B1A4 proceeded to bring the fun to Sydney. Jinyoung, CNU, Baro, Sandeul, and Gongchan were ready to have fun with their Sydney BANAs (B1A4’s fanclub) who have been waiting patiently under the bright Sydney sun to see their idols performing live before their eyes. Since K-Pop fans in Australia do not get many chances to see their idols live, there were a lot of other K-Pop fans that came to watch and support B1A4.