Saturday, October 28, 2006

America Listening

Last week, almost immediately upon my return to Japan from the UK, I had the pleasure of spending a few days in the company of an American documentary film crew. They were travelling the world to canvass current global opinion on the US, and it was a fascinating experience. Taking in 14 countries in total, Japan was 13th (Canada being the last one) having already been to Mexico, China, France, UK, Brazil, Israel, Palestine, India, Tanzania, South Africa and Afghanistan. They found me through googling the right terms that ended up with Peace Not War Japan.

I fixed them up with a load of interviews in Tokyo and hung out with them whilst they filmed, even being interviewed myself. I talked about positive and negative aspects of my opinion of the US; such as my experiences of living in Florida 11 years ago and my love of certain aspects of (initially) underground American culture such as jazz, the Beats, the hippies and hip-hop, countering it with my take on militarism and empire.

The main interviewees were Japanese people connected with PNWJ; a few musicians, a music journalist, people from Peace Boat, etc. It was the kind of project that I would have loved to have been involved in years ago (having made a documentary film myself at college) and so was delighted to finally get a chance.

Not only was it a really interesting project to be part of, but they were also really nice people too and genuinely keen to hear what the world had to say. Perhaps some new friends there.

Instead of telling you more about it myself, I'll let you read their words for yourself. Excerpts from their Japan journal can be read here, here, here and here.

Next stages for them are editing and then trying to find a distributor. I guess that in the post-Fahrenheit 9/11 climate and particularly with the Iraq War (or more accurately, the Iraq Occupation) going so wrong, it's easier nowadays in the US to speak out about the worrying directions the world has been led in during the past 5 or 6 years.

Further news about the film will be posted here, if or when I get it.

I'll finish this entry with a question or two, similar to those asked of me.

Q: What does the United States mean to you?

Q: If you could send a message to the people of the US, what would it be?

(Note: Abusive comments will be removed)

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