Of the classic Japanese directors, you probably know Kurosawa but what about Ozu? Some of you may know his most famous film, Tokyo Story (Tokyo Monogatari), but how many of his other excellent work such as Late Spring or Floating Weeds. In this post, I talk about Ozu's final film, An Autumn Afternoon.
A rainy night. A man and a woman sit in a car. The man, wordless and mostly unseen, drinks from a bottle. Jazz plays in the background.
Varying shots of the man drinking play across the screen. Only the sounds of rain, music, and swallowing. In a lilting Osaka dialect (think American Southern accent), the woman speaks in a voice over.
Ah. I’m parched. Can I have some JAZZINN. Come on. Give me one sip. You’re such a cheapskate.
The woman glares face forward into the camera. Her left eye-brow rises and rises.1
The commercial closes with an announcement by a male voice in a strange faux non-Japanese accent.2
A delicious adult beverage for everyone. Now on sale.
This was from the 1990 commercial for the launch of JAZZINN, a tea soda beverage produced by Pepsi Inc. Japan for an all too brief three years. I was a teenager living on a naval base in southern Japan when I discovered it. I can’t specifically remember my first taste but I loved it right away. And I remember the adult feeling it gave me with its slightly sweet, slightly bitter flavor. I loved the off red can, the cheesy English copy (below), and the big JAZZINN and 350 (for 350ml) printed on the can. I searched for it at convenient stores, supermarkets, and in vending machines. It wasn’t a secret but it was my hidden portal into a world that was less childish than the world of cokes and juice. The copy gets it right. It had an adult taste- whatever that means. It tasted of tea but it was a soda. It was mysterious and irresistibly satisfying. If it went back on sale I’d make a mad dash to the nearest place selling it. At the same time, I’d be afraid to drink it and be disappointed. The memory is a ghost but such a delicious ghost. That’s probably how it should remain. RIP JAZZINN 1990-1993
JAZZINN: THE NEW SOFT DRINK WITH THE ADULT TASTE. YOU'LL BE SURPRISED AT THE UNIQUE COMBINATION OF BLACK TEA AND CARBONATION. AND, THE LESS SWEET, LONG-LASTING FLAVOR OF CAREFULLY SELECTED INDIAN TEA LEAVES IS IRRESISTIBLY SATISFYING. YOU ALWAYS FIND IT JUST WITH YOU. JAZZINN: IT'S THE WHOLE NEW KIND OF SOFT DRINK.
- Natsuki Mari is a Japanese actress and singer. She voiced Yubaba in Spirited Away and played Obaba in the manga-based table tennis cult classic movie Ping Pong. Interestingly, she uses a Kansai dialect in the commercial, even though she was born and raised in the Tokyo area. I think her accent is pretty good but would have to ask a Kansai native to be sure. ↩︎
- Japanese sometimes use a fake foreign accent to make something seem more exotic or cool, or to micro-aggressively mock foreigners speaking Japanese who often do not even realize they’re being mocked. ↩︎
When I was 13 or so I had the greatest movie watching experience of my life. To this day, that magical evening where I was transported to a bittersweet nostalgia-filled post-war Italy remains one of my most memorable moments. In this episode I talk about this and other important movie going experiences in my life.
The first fantastic episode of a self-important show on my thoughts and ideas.