Tuesday, July 04, 2006


CHOBITTO JAPAN VIDEO & SLIDESHOW FESTIVAL was held in Kochi city on the evening of July 1st. According to their pamphlet, it “began with a wish, on the part of the foreign residents of Kochi, to share their photographs and video with the community.” The foreign residents take photos and videos in Kochi, which reflect the changes taking place in this rural prefecture, but they are rarely shared with the people in the community. This was an attempt to share them with the local people in an Academiy-Awards-ceremony-like setting. As the title Chobitto Japan indicated, each submission was a three- and-a-half-minute long film/slideshow piece with or without background music, narration, and English/Japanese subtitles. ( "Chobitto" means “just a little bit.”)

Of course, like any other film festivals, there were prizes to be given. Instead of Oscar statues, they had gold, silver and bronze Ryoma Sakamoto statues for the top three entries. Elephant statues were given to good works, and elephant-shaped key chains were the prizes for participation. Why elephant? Because part of the word "Eizou映像," which is the Japanese translation of the “video and slideshow” in the title of this event, has the same pronunciation as the Japanese word for elephant (zou 象).

Hence, the mascot of this film fes was an elephant, named Eizo-kun.

And just like other community events held in Japan, ecology-consciousness was required.

The host and hostess of the ceremony.

The audience enjoyed watching 13 videos/slideshows, and voted for the three most favorites. The votes were counted while the audience was taking a break, then the awards were given to the winners.

All the participants
And of course, the ceremony was followed by a big party.

As they mentioned in the speech at the ceremony, there seemed to have been several areas needing improvements. But overall, I thought it was successful and the audience enjoyed watching the videos/slideshows very much. I cannot speak for all, but I guess the audience appreciated the common message form all the entries we saw that night, which, I think, was, “I love this place. Please don’t lose all the good things you have here now.”

Of course there is no quick and easy answer regarding “how” -- how we can keep all the beauty of the nature and warmth and laid-backness of the people, and at the same time boost the local economy to attract/keep younger generations here and secure good life for the elderly by combining the modern technology and information with our traditions. But maybe because the answer is not easy and lots of struggles are expected, receiving such a simple and strong message from people from different backgrounds can be so touching and encouraging.

There is another reason why I like participating in that kind of multicultural event. To me, that is where I don’t have to feel the pressure of having to belong to “either A or B.” Maybe this doesn't make much sense to you readers, but this post will be terribly long if I start elaborating, so I'll write about it some other time.

Anyway, now I’m awfully tempted to make my own chobitto slideshow about what I love very much in my hometown. I’m crazy about the idea of introducing it to the world in the way that only I can by taking photos, editing them, adding background music, narration and subtitles…!!! It must be so much fun, and therapeutic, too! Hope I'll be able to post the slideshow on this blog.

I wonder if those who submitted works to this film festival would feel like making chobitto film again, when they go back to their home countries, about the things they re-discover in their own culture or things that look differently to them after their stay in Japan or things they had been consciously or unconsciously avoiding before coming to Japan. My personal feeling is that doing so might give us a chance to see the other side of the coin… and even integrate something there (though I don't know exactly what).

posted by obachan, 7/04/2006 01:02:00 AM


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