Sunday, October 08, 2006
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
My Munich Story
I was in Baden-Baden yesterday, and wanted to go to Munich. Easy enough, I had to take a train to Karlsruhe, take one from Karlsruhe to Stuttgart and one from Stuttgart to Munich. When the time comes for me to catch my train I go to the station and there's a notice saying it would be delayed by half an hour, and on top of that it wasn't going to Karlsruhe anymore - we would have to get off at another station and take a local train to Karlsruhe.
So that tacked on extra time and I missed my connection. I wound up getting to know some American tourists (SOOO American! The guy was like: yeah, when we went to Rome I had this coffee that was like REALLY strong but in a tiny cup... *smacks head*) and we went for a beer. The bartender was slow, and I missed my next chance at making the connection to Stuttgart.
I grabbed the next possible train going to Stuttgart, and got there at like 11:00. Since it would be 1.5 hrs for the next train to Munich, I called the Stuttgart youth hostel and they told me that they were only taking guests until midnight. So that was no problem, it was just a 15-odd minute train ride away. I waited for the train and realised that I hadn't bought a ticket, so I ran up to buy one and when I got back down, the train had come and gone.
Now, by the time the next one came, I would be arriving past midnight at the hostel, which was really out of the way. So I thought "fuck it! I'll take the 12:30 train to Munich! I'll sleep for the 3 hour ride!"
I had plenty of time to kill, so I grabbed a Leberkäse sandwich (translates as liver cheese, but there's no liver or cheese - it's bacon and beef cooked in the shape of a salami and cut up like one, too. Delicious.) and a bottle of water, and the guy at the store where I got the water was closing up, so he gave me a cup of pineapple. The rest of the time was killed at an internet kiosk...
So anyways, I get on the train and manage to find a seat in one of the cabins. We go one stop, and then someone comes in with a seat reservation for where I was sitting. So I had to give up my spot and sit in the hall (I was only allowed on 2 cars with my pass, both of which were full). So there I am, sitting in the hallway - I can't sleep because (1) it'd be too easy for someone to steal my stuff, (2) people kept walking by and I would have to move every time (the hallway was only around 1m wide) and (3) it's extremely uncomfortable. So I spent 3 hrs in a cramped hallway, and to top it off, I missed my station.
I get off at the next one and have to wait another 20-odd minutes surrounded by loud, drunken 18-24 year olds, take the train for a few stops, and then I still had to get to a hostel.
I call them up, and they have no room. I call another hostel, and they only have single rooms, and they wanted 70€!!! So I went on a 30-minute long walk to a few hotels from my guide, only to find that they're all either (a) full, (b) over 50€ to get in, or (c) nonexistent (the one I really wanted to go to seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth).
So there I am, in the middle of Munich, with nowhere to stay, at around 4:30 AM. So I sit down at the train station, and kill time reading my travel guide and writing in my notebook. At around 6AM I get some coffee (no breakfast places were open yet cuz Germans are weird with business hours so I was hungry, too) and tour the old city on my own. By the end, my feet are killing me, I'm limping, and it's only 8:30 by the time I get back to the train station. The hostel I'm at now (where I wound up sleeping from noon to 6 pm) did not start check-in until 11:30. So then I still had a big chunk of time to kill, because even if I wanted to do something, my feet were hurting too much to do any walking.
Don't get me wrong, I'm loving it here, but today was just one of those days...
Friday, July 14, 2006
A Bittersweet Life
A Bittersweet Life (달콤한인생) embodied just what I love about Korean movies, and had few of the downsides. From director Kim Ji-Woon (A Tale of Two Sisters) and starring Lee Byung-hun (Three… Extremes) it was just one of those insane revenge pics that only Koreans can pull off so precisely.
The film is about Sun Woo (Lee), who is assigned to tail his boss' lover, whom his boss suspects of infidelity (ironically enough, the boss has a wife as well). Sun Woo is told that if she is found to be unfaithful, he must kill her. Upon confirming her cuckoldry, his conscience does not allow him to kill her; when his boss finds out about this, loads and loads of violence result, and Sun Woo opens up a Kimchi jar full of whoop-ass. The movie is definitely not as brutal as Oldboy or Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, but it's still a very violent movie, with incredible timing, gradually escalating to the final showdown.
The movie was gorgeously shot, with some fantastic scenes as well as excellent sound. Everything was absolutely top-notch. Definitely one of the better movies I've seen over the last while. Not only was it well done, I also had a lot of fun watching it.
Tokyo Zombie (東京ゾンビ), directed by Satou Sakichi (screenwriter for Gozu and Ichi the Killer) takes place in a near-future Tokyo, where, on a mountain of garbage (including junk, dead bodies, etc.) known as Black Fuji, the souls of the abandoned objects present therein have resulted in the resurrection of all dead bodies in the mountain. What follows are your pretty standard, run-of-the-mill zombies: taste for human flesh, you get infected if they bite you, sluggish movement, etc.
The story centres on a pair of friends (played by Tadanobu Asano and Shou Aikawa) one of whom has aspirations to become a jujitsu champion. Tokyo gets destroyed, with non-zombie people living behind high walls, with the rich exploiting the poor, with the only chance for any significant cash earnings being in the fighting ring, where they pit the living against zombies.
Overall, there was a lot of random comedy, but nothing was really funny enough, with a lot of deadpan humour, but not coming anywhere near the better Japanese comedies. The movie felt like it was dragging on, and if I have to look at my watch repeatedly in a film, odds are it’s not gonna be too great. And it wasn’t.