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Screening report 16.05.2009

I had a screening on last Saturday in my home town, Hachioji, Tokyo. The screening was held in Mt. Takao.

Mt. Takao was rated by the French Michelin Red Guide, and it got  three stars along with the famous tourist spots like Mt. Fuji and Kyoto. You can enjoy the nature and the beautiful scenery unlike the other places in Tokyo. However, there has been a big government project since 20 years ago to build a long motorway which goes right through Mt. Takao. Local people have been protesting against the project to protect the nature of Mt. Takao.

Screening on 16th May was organised by the Mt. Takao's environmental NGO, Kenjyu-no-kai. I met the Kenjyu-no-kai members at the peace demo against G8 summit in Sapporo, 2008. I had been familiar with the British/European style demonstartion, but I was fascinated by the Japanese style protest. Because there were bout 5,000 people with very colourful style joined the peace walk. I could see the Kimono ladies, paper origami cranes, costumed people, and Chin-don-ya (a banc of musical sandwichmen)! I thought it was a collective of Japanese culture! I spoke to the Chin-don-ya people, then I knew they were the member of Kenjyu-no-kai.

I think there are a lot of different styles of protest on many different issues like anti-war, climate change, human rights, and so on. Brian's protest is just one of them. But I assume the reason why I was fascineted by the Parliament Square peace campaign and Kenjyu-no-kai is their colourfulness and unique style even they are facing very serious issue. I was impressed to see their musical sandwichmen style, and also, I was intrigued by their tree house they built in Mt. Takao for their demonstration! So I asked Sakata-san if I could have a screening at the tree house.

I had never seen a tree house before. I just looked it at their website. But the picture was small and not clear, so I wondered how they put the house on a tree.....

On the screening day, the weather forecast was cloudy/rainy. I was a bit worried about the weather and arrived at Takao station.

The sign of Takao station
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Takao is famous for Tengu (long-nosed goblin)
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We got off the bus at "Hikage" station. There was a trout fishing place. The liver was beautiful!
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We walked along the road and wondered where the tree house located. Suddenly, my friend said "Is this tree house?!", we looked up.

Yes!!! It must be a tree house!!!!
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We walked through the gate and arrived at the small office. I said hello to Sakata-san. Normally, when I have a screening, I have a little meeting with the organiser before the screening. But on the day, we were already very excited about the tree house, so we ran into the tree house!! I took so many pictures and climbed onto the roof, and.....I'm sure I didn't look like the film director.....!!!!

The bridge to the tree house
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The tree house was hold tightly by the 80-year-old tree. The tree house was made by the staffs. It took a year to build it! (They had weekly workshop to build it with specialists.)
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The holes for plants.
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Opening the little window on top, you can go to the roof! (Up to 5 people)
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Full view of the tree house
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After enjoying the tree house, the sun was going down. It was my first time to show Brian & Co. outdoors. Behind the screen, there were beautiful green... it was so nice!
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Staff people prepared the foods and drinks.
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About 15 people came to the screening. The weather was OK. But I thought Mt. Takao was definitely colder than city of Hachioji. I regretted I only wore normal clothes. During the screening, the foods were delivered, so it was very good timing to warm up.

After the screening and the food, Sakata-san, me and audiences joined the talk. We talked about how we could protest effectively. Demonstration? Petitions? Strike? There are many ways of protest which we and our ancestors have tried. Kenjyu-no-kai also has been trying every possible ways of protests to stop the motorway project. However, like other protests, they are struglling with government pressure, and the government is going to start destroying the Mt. Takao to make the motorway tunnel.... People talked about Brian's protest, and we exchanged the ideas if we did the same thing in Japan, or the cultural and social differences between UK and Japan.

I made the film about the Parliament Square peace campaign, but I do not think the Japanese people can import the style as it is. Because our situation and culture is different from UK. But I think the Japanese people can share the spirit of British style protest, especially their sence of humour. (Also there are things which British people can share the Japanese demonstration style). In practical way, I still don't know how we can protest effectively though....

Many of Japanese people have a negative image against the protest. Some people think the protests (or the protesters) are dangerous, dark, etc. But through the screenings, I met so many Japanese protesters who are very positive and enjoying their act. Kenjyu-no-kai is definitely one of the example!

On this weekend, 23rd May, Kenjyu-no-kai has an even "Jyo-mon Calling" at Hikage-sawa camp site, near Mt. Takao. There are workshops and live music and talk.
http://homepage2.nifty.com/kenju/htm/event.html#event_20090523
(Sorry, it is written in Japanese. But the event is open for everyone:-)

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