Well, first off... don't expect that anything you see in film is going to remotely prepare you for life in Japan. It won't.
If you want to know what Japanese media is REALLY like (aside from all that anime garbage), just imagine the most boring variety shows from the 1960s, add color and lots of kanji, make it about ten times as boring, and you've got about 40% of all Japanese TV right there. Another 20% is taken by news, which is pretty much exactly like Western news, but with less sensationalism and more Japanese. The remaining 40% is mostly about food--food cultivation, preparation, pictures of food, video of food, people eating food, famous people eating food, people talking about food, people talking about eating food, people talking about famous people eating food, people talking about famous people talking about food... You get the idea.
Movies that will show a Westerner something of what modern Japanese culture is like... Hmmm. Waterboys and Swing Girls offer a sort of accurate (though rather whitewashed) look at Japanese school culture (student culture; anyway).
You should probably watch Tonari no Totoro and Ponyo. They're both anime movies, but they're Miyazaki movies, so they can't be classified in the same vein as Naruto and other sh*t like that. Tonari no Totoro will give you an interesting--though quite dated--look at inaka life. My village looks almost exactly the area featured in that movie. Ponyo offers a much more modern perspective, and the lifestyles and behaviours of the people featured in that movie are very accurate, but, of course, the entire movie is seen from the perspective of a five-year-old. It's a fascinating movie, though; I now think it's Miyazaki's best, although I didn't really care for it the first time I saw it (okay, I thought it kinda sucked). Took me a while to understand the point; and it hit me like a ton of bricks when I did. Watched it again and decided I loved it.
Things that you shouldn't watch: The Last Samurai. You will gain nothing but an inflated ego and a complete misconception of all things Japanese. Any anime featuring ninjas, pirates, scantily-clad schoolgirls, or anything supernatural. You should receive a vigorous, roundhouse crotch-kick for even thinking about watching one of these in an attempt to understand anything about Japan.
Last edited by word
on Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
coop52 wrote:Get a thicker skin, and let it go.
Apologies for "The Last Samurai" title. I consider that movie horrifically racist and offensive, an unfortunate perpetuation of the "white messiah" concept. If I could remove it, I would.