THE FILIPINO-JAPANESE JOURNAL

YOUR ONLINE SOURCE TO EVERYTHING JAPANESE & FILIPINO | BEHIND THE BYLINE - MARIA FLORENDA N. CORPUZ a.k.a. Keiko Kurane is a freelance journalist and editor with over eight years of professional experience in writing. Aside from being a freelancer, she is the Editor-in-Chief of FilJap Magazine and the Japan Correspondent of Pinoy Gazette, publications catering to Filipinos living and working in Japan. She was also the former Editor-in-Chief of Philippine Digest and Philippine Correspondent of Maharlika, magazine publications based in Tokyo, Japan. Page Rank Personal - Top Blogs Philippines

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TOKYO, Japan – The 27th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) will open with the world premiere of Disney’s “Big Hero 6” animation while the Japanese live-action film “Parasyte” will close the fest.

“Big Hero 6” is the heartwarming adventure story of Hiro, a 14-year-old robotics prodigy, and a robot called Baymax. The film is set in the fictional metropolis of San Fransokyo (a combination of San Francisco and Tokyo). It will be released by Walt Disney Studio Japan on December 20.

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©2014 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

We are thrilled to premiere ‘Big Hero 6’ at the Tokyo International Film Festival; it is truly an honor to be selected as the opening film. The setting of our film, San Fransokyo, is a fictional, futuristic mash-up of two of our favorite cities in the world – San Francisco and Tokyo and the research we did in Tokyo informed every detail of the film. We look forward to bringing our film to this city that so deeply inspired us,” directors Don Hall and Chris Williams said in a statement.

“Parasyte” is directed by one of Japan’s best filmmakers, Takashi Yamazaki (“Always – Sunset on 3rd Street” and “The Eternal Zero”). The film was adapted from a Japanese comic by Hitoshi Iwaaki that was published in the magazine “Gekkan Afternoon” from 1990 to 1995 and sold 11 million copies. The film will be released by Toho Co., Ltd. on November 29.

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©”Kiseijyu” Seisaku Iinkai. All Rights Reserved.

Meanwhile, TIFF Managing Director Nobushige Toshima expressed his excitement about the upcoming fest. “This is an exciting year for TIFF. Not only we will be showing films in two additional festival venues – Nihonbashi and the Kabukiza theatre in Ginza – we also will be focusing on animation, the most popular content in Japan. The highlights of this year’s festival will be the world premieres of two blockbuster movies, one from Hollywood and one from Japan.”

The 27th TIFF will be held October 23-31 at Roppongi Hills, TOHO Cinemas Nihonbashi and other venues in Tokyo. TIFF’s affiliated multi-content market, TIFFCOM2014 (Japan Content Showcase 2014) will take place October 21-23 at the Grand Pacific Le Daiba in the Tokyo Bay area.

When I met Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise at the Japan premiere of his film “Oblivion” last year, I thought it was only a one-time opportunity. In my report, I described it as surreal for the simple reason that he is my ultimate idol.

That experience has taught me a lot of things—representing myself as a Filipino journalist in this foreign land being the most important.

“Come here, come here.” How can I forget this line uttered to me by Tom?

More than a year have passed since that encounter but it feels like it just happened yesterday.

On June 26, we were invited to cover the red carpet premiere of his new sci-fi action movie “All You Need Is Kill,” held at Roppongi Hills Arena in Tokyo—the same place where I first met him.

I was ecstatic beyond words. I never thought I’d be able to see him again in the flesh.

Together with FilJap Magazine’s perennial photographer Din Eugenio, we covered the event. And just like in all Japanese premieres that we attended, we were the only Japan-based Filipino media present.

“I love you!” were Tom’s first and last words for his excited fans.

“You’re here!” was his verbal acknowledgement when he saw me in the crowd of local and international media.

It’s because of these dreamlike encounters that we came up with the idea of having him on our cover—an act fitted for his charm, humility and kindness.

May this month’s issue bring you one step closer to Japan’s most beloved Hollywood icon Tom Cruise, as this is our way of sharing with all of you the priceless experience I had with him.

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Grab your FREE copy of FilJap Magazine August 2014 issue before stock runs out!

FilJap Magazine is published monthly for Filipinos living and working in Japan.

http://issuu.com/filjapmag/docs/filjap_aug_2014

(Photographed by Din Eugenio)

TOKYO, Japan – Hollywood actor Tom Cruise made his 20th official visit to the country as he toured three cities in one day to promote his new sci-fi film “All You Need Is Kill” a.k.a. “Edge of Tomorrow” on June 26.

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Together with director Doug Liman and producer Erwin Stoff, the 52-year-old action superstar successfully traveled over 1,770 kilometers in a single day, flying from Osaka to Fukuoka to Tokyo, meeting press and greeting fans. The ‘loop around Japan’ promotional campaign meant to mimic the time loop experienced by Cruise’s character in the movie.

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“Konnichiwa! I love you. I love Japan. I’m so happy to be here. Thank you so much for this warm welcome. I’m overwhelmed and humbled. I truly appreciate it,” Cruise told fans. 

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Cruise’s visit kicked off at Dotonbori Riverside in Osaka where he was given a hero’s welcome. Then they flew to Fukuoka to attend a fan event at Hakata City. They capped off the day by hitting the red carpet at Roppongi Hills Arena in Tokyo.

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“I work very hard because I make these films for you,” Cruise said at the premiere night. “This is a very special film because the novel originated here in Japan. It’s a very unique love story, very unique characters, wonderful humor. I can’t wait for you to see it. I’m very proud of it.”

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Liman also expressed his happiness over the warm welcome he received throughout his stay in Japan, “I love Japan and I love Tokyo. It’s my favorite city. I can’t thank you enough for making me feel like I’m home.”

He admitted that it was a dream come true for him to work with Cruise. “Nobody works harder than Tom Cruise, nobody gives more, nobody cares more. From the first moment we started working on this movie, Tom would bring up the fact that we’re gonna be showing this movie back here in Japan and he was talking about this moment three years ago when we started.”

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“Tom is not only a brilliant actor, he’s a brilliant stuntman. He’s just the best. And there’s not one moment, not one frame on screen where it’s a double, and it’s always Tom Cruise. It’s never a digital Tom Cruise and it’s never stunt double. It was my dream to work with Tom Cruise. And now it is my dream to work with him again,” Liman said.

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Hiroshi Sakurazaka, the author of the novel, “All You Need Is Kill” in which the film was based, made a surprise appearance on stage as well. His book was first published in 2004. It was later serialized in a weekly magazine as a manga adaptation.

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After speaking of their love and affection for Japan and their Japanese fans, Cruise, who turned 52 on July 3, got an unexpected pre-birthday treat from his legions of admirers when they sang a special rendition of “Happy Birthday” for him. “That is the best birthday present I’ve ever gotten! Thank you,” Cruise exclaimed.

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Cruise, who is known in Japan for his lenghty red carpet appearances, happily signed autographs and candidly posed for photos with ecstatic fans.

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Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, “All You Need Is Kill” opened in Japan on July 4.

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———————————————————————————————————————————-Since 2006, October 10 has been recognized as “Tom Cruise Day” in Japan honoring the fact that he’s visited the country more than any other Hollywood star.

(Photos by Din Eugenio)

TOKYO, Japan – Hollywood actresses Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning have touched down on Japanese soil to attend the premiere of their latest film “Maleficent” held at Ebisu Garden Place on June 23.

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Jolie and Fanning made an elegant entrance as they get out of their chauffeured black Mercedes Benz car and arrived on the red carpet to greet their fans.

The 39-year-old actress was stunning in her black Atelier Versace strapless dress and snappy black heels while Fanning looked lovely wearing an Alexander McQueen gown as they walked the red carpet and hit the stage.

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“Hello, Japan! Good evening! Thank you so much for coming out. We’re so excited to be here with all of you and we hope that you enjoy the film,” greeted Jolie who landed at Haneda Airport with her children Pax, Shiloh and twins Knox and Vivienne, who made her acting debut in the film.

A day before the premiere, the UN Special Envoy took her brood to Kiddyland in Shibuya and spent the evening eating shabu-shabu. “I always love Japan. I’ve been here many times and I look forward to the next time.”

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“This is my first time in Japan and I love it. It’s fantastic and you guys are so great and so sweet,” Fanning gushed.

The teenage actress revealed she spent her first day in Tokyo buying souvenirs for her friends in Harajuku.

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The “Maleficent” co-stars obligingly signed autographs and posed for selfies with excited fans.

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During the photo call, Jolie and Fanning were all smiles as they posed together. 

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“I think what is unique about this film is that it follows a character that we’ve known as a villain; that I think the lesson we all know is that for all of us who have felt different or bullied or less than, we feel that way sometimes. But then we have the choice to rise above and to change and also love others, we can do that. I think it’s a very strong message for all people, especially children,” Jolie who played the iconic Disney fairy queen told the host.

Fanning, who took the role of Princess Aurora expressed her excitement about the film. “I’m so excited for you guys to the see movie because I love it and I think you will all love it too.”

“I think that our film shows that love comes in all forms. Love is all around you and it’s not difficult to find it,” she added.

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“Maleficent” will be shown to the public in Japan on July 5.

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(Photos by Din Eugenio)

Located in the central part of the island of Honshu, Kyoto is an ancient city, which became the imperial capital of Japan for over 1,000 years. It is the country’s  seventh largest city with a population of almost 1.5 million. Regarded as the cultural center of Japan, Kyoto is famous worldwide for its beautiful temples and shrines.

There are thousands of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in Kyoto. Some of the most visited attractions include the Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion), Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Yasaka-jinja Shrine, Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine and Heian-jingu Shrine.

Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion)

Kinkaku-ji, formally known as Rokuon-ji, is said to be the symbol of Kyoto. It is a Zen temple located in the northern side of the city. Originally built as a villa for Ashikaga Yoshimitsu at the end of the 14th century, it was converted into a temple after his death. This temple is covered with gold and stands at the edge of a pond. It has been burnt down many times, and was rebuilt in 1955, with major improvement work performed in 1987. Kinkaku-ji is recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage.

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Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Designated as a National Treasure, Kiyomizu-dera Temple is one of the most famous temples in Kyoto. It was built in 778 while the main hall was constructed in the 17th century overhanging a cliff. Tourists marvel at the magnificent view of the city below. A three-storied pagoda, which is designated as an Important Cultural Property by the national government can be found at the temple precinct.

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Yasaka-jinja Shrine

Built in 876, Yasaka-jinja Shrine is a popular downtown shrine situated between the Gion District and Higashiyama District. It entices many visitors throughout the year, especially during the Gion Festival in July.

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Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine

Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine is the main headquarters of all the Inari shrines in Japan, and one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Kyoto. It was founded in 711 and widely popular for its thousands of vibrant orange torii gates.

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Heian-jingu Shrine

Established in 1895 to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the founding of Heian Kyo, the former name of Kyoto, Heian-jingu Shrine draws large number of visitors to admire its large red front gate and beautiful gardens. It is a partial replica of the main administrative building of the Heian Capital and dedicated to Emperors Kammu and Komei.

(Photos by Din Eugenio)

(Published in FilJap Magazine July 2014, Japan)

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Grab your FREE copy of FilJap Magazine July 2014 issue before stock runs out!

FilJap Magazine is published monthly for Filipinos living and working in Japan.

http://issuu.com/filjapmag/docs/filjap_magazine_july_2014_issue

Ichiran is a cool and interesting tonkotsu ramen shop with over fifty branches all over Japan. Here, each customer gets a cubicle and fill out a form for the kind of ramen he/she prefers.

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Ichiran in Koshigaya

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Buy your ramen ticket

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Find an available seat

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Personalize your ramen by filling out a form

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Oishi!

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Itadakimasu!

http://www.ichiran.co.jp/english/index.html

TOKYO, Japan – He’s back!

After just nine months, Australian actor Hugh Jackman came back to Japan to promote his latest movie.

The 45-year-old thespian who has been portraying the role of Wolverine for 14 years, looked rather handsome as he attended the Japan premiere of “X-Men: Days of Future Past” at Roppongi Hills Arena in Tokyo on May 27.

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Jackman wore a black suit with a grey tie as he hit the stage and walked the blue carpet.

“Konnichiwa! It is great to be back here in Tokyo. Less than a year ago, I was here. I love coming to Japan and I have to say congratulations on the 2020 Olympics,” greeted the Wolverine actor.

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Jackman, who was the only cast member to attend the premiere, was joined by Japanese actress Ayame Gouriki who voiced Mystique in the Japanese dub version of the movie.

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“I’m so excited to present this movie. This is the biggest of all the X-Men movies. By far, it is the greatest danger the X-Men have ever faced. And to battle it, we have an all-star X-Men mutant cast. We love making the film and I hope you enjoy as much as we love making it. Arigato gozaimasu,” he said.

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After the stage greeting and photo call, Jackman signed autographs and posed for pictures with some lucky fans.

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Japan was the last stop of the movie’s global “X-Men Xperience” press tour. Released by 20th Century Fox, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” also stars Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence under the direction of Bryan Singer. It was shown in cinemas on May 30.

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(Photos courtesy of 20th Century Fox Japan & Din Eugenio)

(To be published in FilJap Magazine July 2014, Japan)

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Grab your FREE copy of FilJap Magazine June 2014 issue before stock runs out!

FilJap Magazine is published monthly for Filipinos living and working in Japan.

http://issuu.com/filjapmag/docs/filjap_magazine_june_2014_issue

What better way to revive my blogging career here in Manila than to cover the special screening of Disney’s “Maleficent” at Cinema 1 in TriNoma – my favorite mall in Quezon City.image

TriNoma Cinemas has the most comfortable reclining chairs and armrests. It’s very clean and well-maintained. You can also find the most helpful staff here.image

So if you’re planning to watch Angelina Jolie’s latest flick, which was fantastic by the way, head to TriNoma Cinemas for an enjoyable, beyond expectation experience.

TOKYO, Japan – Style, designs, trends. That’s what Japan-based Pinoy fashion bloggers Gervin Macion, Carey Watanabe and Ashley Dy had in mind when they covered one of the most anticipated fashion events in the world – the Japan Fashion Week (Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo) last March 17-22.

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L-R: Carey, Ashley & Gervin meet Misha Janette (2nd from left) at the Nozomi Ishiguro Haute Couture Show.

Japan Fashion Week is the most glamorous semi-annual event in the country’s fashion industy. It is the best venue for fashion bloggers to make connections with different brands and PR agencies, and penetrate the fashion scene.

“Covering Japan Fashion Week is a way to really know how unique and different Japanese fashion is,” Gervin said.

He started his blog, “Jenne Chrisville”, some three years ago, as a way to express his thoughts, desires, joys and pains. 

“As a fashion enthusiast, covering Japan Fashion Week is a thrill of a lifetime! Not only do I get to know next season’s trends, but I get to experience and enjoy the showmanship of every designer,” Carey enthused.

A self-confessed shopaholic, she began running her personal blog, “Chic Sensei”, to document her outfits, shopping adventures and fashion musings.

“This season, I chose to dress up according to the brands I’m attending,” Ashley shared.

She decided to join the blogosphere the day she turned 22. The blog, called “Candy Kawaii Lover”, showcases the girly and cute side of her.

Meanwhile, former model and lifestyle columnist Tetta Ortiz-Matera was also seen covering the by-invitation only event. “It’s my first time here at Japan Fashion Week. I just presented my media credentials and they allowed me to cover it.”

The four fashionistas together with famous fashion journalist Misha Janette and photojournalist Kjeld Dujits were seen exchanging pleasantries after the Nozomi Ishiguro Haute Couture Show at Laforet in Harajuku.

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L-R: FilJap editor-in-chief Florenda together with Japan-based fashion bloggers Ashley, Carey & Gervin, former model Tetta and photojournalist Kjeld pose for the camera in this outdoor shot.

(Photos by Din Eugenio)

(Published in FilJap Magazine May 2014, Japan)

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Grab your FREE copy of FilJap Magazine May 2014 issue before stock runs out!

FilJap Magazine is published monthly for Filipinos living and working in Japan.

http://issuu.com/filjapmag/docs/may_2014_issue__17

TOKYO, Japan – Marvel superhero Spider-Man swung into town last March 31 as the cast and crew came out for its Japan premiere.

Hollywood stars Andrew Garfield, Jamie Foxx and Emma Stone, together with director Marc Webb and producers Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad, attended the “Amazing Spider-Man 2” press conference at Toho Cinema 7 in Roppongi Hills.

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Garfield said it feels great to be back in Japan following the world premiere of the first installment of the Marvel series in June 2012.

During the press conference, the 30-year-old actor said he is elated to return to the country and promote the sequel because it is a chance for him to be reunited with his Japanese fans and supporters.

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“Spider-Man does have super strength. But what makes him really strong, I think, is that he’s just a regular boy. He’s just an imperfect, regular boy, trying to figure out how to live and how to be the best man he can be. And I think that’s why we all love him, that’s why we all want to put on that costume, that’s why we all want to put on that mask, because he wasn’t always strong,” Garfield told a fan who asked if Spider-man was strong.

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“He didn’t use to be strong. He used to just be like me, like everyone. And it’s his compassion and his heart and his goodness that allow him to use the power he gets for good. And that’s what Spider-Man is all about. Thank you for the best question ever,” he added.

Stone, on the other hand, shared some anecdotes that specifically happened while they were shooting in New York. “It’s completely fascinating to shoot this second movie in New York because the crowds were so enormous that there were barricades in the middle of the scenes, holding people back from storming the set, which was really energizing and slightly terrifying.”

Meanwhile, Foxx who played villain Electro also revealed his excitement about the sequel. “I was really excited to be part of this film. My part, I believe was to be the best villain that I could be. It’s beautiful to join a big blockbuster film with real thespians.”

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Kabuki actor Shido Nakamura who voiced Electro in the Japanese dub version also made an apperance at the event.

After the Q & A, the cast and crew started releasing fake spider webs into crowd of fans as well as to each other. 

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About 400 fans were invited to the event including two boys wearing Spider-Man costume who were called on stage to meet their idol.

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Japan was the last stop of the “Amazing Spider-Man 2” global promotional tour. Distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment (Japan) lnc., the film opens in theaters on April 25.

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(Photos by Florenda Corpuz)

OSAKA, Japan – While attending the 9th Osaka Asian Film Festival, comedienne and actress Eugene Domingo was given one-day leeway to visit some of the popular tourist attractions in Osaka, marking her third time exploring the country’s third largest city.

Domingo’s first stop was Osaka Castle Park, the symbol of the city, where she learned about its rich history. She also had the chance to enjoy the beautiful flowering cherry trees and plum trees around the huge lawn park.

“They begin to blossom. My first time to see and smell them,” Domingo said.

After spending almost two hours at Osaka Castle Park, Domingo excitedly went to Shinsaibashi, a shopping street, and Dotonbori, the city’s most famous amusement district, for some spending. She also tried Osaka foods such as takoyaki and okonomiyaki. “I’m so glad to be here again in Osaka. It’s my third time here and I do not intend to leave. I just want to stay here.”

During her tour, some Filipino tourists saw her and asked for photo ops. The very down-to-earth comedienne gladly obliged.

Domingo stayed for a week in Osaka to serve as a jury member for the Competition section of the OAFF. 

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(Published in FilJap Magazine May 2014, Japan)

OSAKA, Japan – The 9th Osaka Asian Film Festival ended successfully last March 16 with an awarding ceremony led by international competition jury members, including award-winning actress and comedienne Eugene Domingo, who is back for the third time at the festival.

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“It’s an honor serving on the jury of the 2014 Osaka Asian Film Festival. As much as it is not my dream, I think it is part of thanking the festival for being very generous to us and for being very trustful and having the confidence, especially to Filipino films,” Domingo said.

Last year, she won the Best Actress award at the 26th Tokyo International Film Festival for her portrayal of an abused wife who ended as a revolutionary in the film “Barber’s Tales”.

“When Osaka Asian Film Festival invited me not only as an actress but as a member of the jury, Direk Chris Martinez told me that maybe one of the factors is that I won the Best Actress award at the 26th TIFF. I can say that it gave me some credibility as far as my dedication to the craft is concerned,” she explained.

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Domingo narrated that things have come full circle for her in Osaka. She first attended the festival in 2009 where her film “100” was screened followed by “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank” in 2012 and “I Do Bidoo Bidoo” in 2013. “I will not forget Osaka. After three films, I should be really grateful. Everybody here is a friend to me.”

Domingo’s starrer, “Instant Mommy” was also screened in the Special Screening section of this year’s festival.

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Written and directed by Leo Abaya, the film tackles the story of a single woman pushing forty, who gets pregnant by her Japanese boyfriend.

“Direk Chris Martinez and Direk Jeffrey Jeturian gave me the original story by mistake. They gave me another story, but I liked this more because of the idea of deception. It took me eight months to actually develop the story and have the courage to submit it to Cinemalaya,” Abaya shared.

(Photos by Din Eugenio)

(Published in FilJap Magazine May 2014, Japan)