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March 2006 Archives

Here's a sad yet hauntingly beautiful Japanese folk tale which centers on the profound admiration and appreciation of the beauty and value of Nature itself, depicted here in the form of an elderly man's aged cherry (sakura) tree. Intermingled with this are core spiritual intuitions involving Shinto animism (which regards all animate and inanimate objects as possessing a soul/spirit) and traditional Japanese beliefs regarding the inherent value of noble suicide.

Read this carefully and ponder. You may not look at a aged, lone-standing cherry tree in full bloom the same way again.

Many thanks to journalist James Hadfield of Japanzine Magazine for again deeming this site among "The Best of Japan on the Web" in terms of our Japanese movie reviews.

And I quote:

Scott David Foutz is still plugging away with his idiosyncratic, insanely upbeat reviews of populist fluff and cult oddities...

Japanzine best of the web 2006 To show you how SaruDama has matured and elevated itself into ever higher echelons of civilized culture, compare the previous description with the one Mr. Hadfield bestowed on us last year:

SARUDAMA.COM's Scott David Foutz has pretty questionable taste, but his reviews of offerings from the populist/schlock end of Japanese cinema are nothing if not entertaining.

My mother wept, presumably with pride, after reading these!

In any event, check out Japanzine Magazine. Its published out of Japan, is written wholly in English, and covers a wide range of contemporary Nippon-centric topics. I'm certainly happy to appear therein. (They needed a little more populist schlock and cult oddity!)

I had the pleasure of meeting Matt Kennedy, President of Panik House this weekend at the Fangoria Horror Conference here in Chicago. Both Matt and Panik House moved from Los Angeles to Chicago in December 2005, no doubt to escape the oppressive warmth and sunshine of the West Coast.

This guy (Matt Kennedy) has been single-handedly responsible for Panik House's recent release of several excellent Japanese titles, such as Sex and Fury, its sequel Female Yakuza Tale, and the entire The Pinky Violence Collection. Panik House's most recent Japanese title release is Tokyo Psycho, a 2004 film by Tomie director Oikawa Ataru, SaruDama's review of which is in the que.

In addition to these Japanese titles, Panik House has also recently released Bangkok Haunted (2001) and Omen (2003), two Thai horror films which have both received widespread positive reviews (and awards).

I had already reviewed all of the The Pinky Violence Collection prior to talking to Matt and had constructed my own theories regarding the collection as a whole (which you can find in the reviews) but through my discussion and brief exchange of e-mail with him, a whole new window of perspective into the process of compiling the collection came into view. (For example, you can read his informative comment to one of my reviews here.) For this reason I hope to post here an interview with him in the near future.

I had the pleasure of a very memorable homestay experience on Sado Island (Sado ga Shima), a relatively small island (approx. 330 square miles / 855 square KM) with a population of around 70,000. It is located off the northwestern side of Tohoku, Japan's main island and resides in the Sea of Japan between mainland Niigata Prefecture to the West and and Russia to the west. (Not in the middle, of course. It lies within an hour's boatride of Niigata shores.)

Here are a few (non-digital, scanned) photos I took during my time there. Please forgive me for the quality of these pics. I took these with a disposal camera purchased on locale.

Here's the type of boat I took from Niigata to the Sado. Very smoooooth.

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