March 24, 2014
Today I’m leaving Tokyo, and today I’ll be back in Los Angeles. My wife and I made a decision to live here in Tokyo and in Los Angeles as well. We have a home here, or I should say a very small room. I’m looking forward to my dual-life of being a Tokyoite and an Angeles man. As I get older (and I’m old) my life is just about to enter a great adventure. For my whole life, I often felt like Steve McQueen in “The Great Escape.” As a kid, I went to see that film at least five times in a movie theater. I think being an only child, I sort of identified with the McQueen character. For some reason I suspected that he too was a single child. In fact, I heard he had a rough childhood. Mine, on the other hand was the life of a prince. Nevertheless, I was quite attracted to the image of McQueen on a motorcycle trying to escape from the prison camp in the film. I haven’t seen the film for decades, and I don’t think I really want to re-visit the images, because they’re so strong in my head.
As a child in Beverly Glen, I would often see Steve McQueen on a motorcycle driving through the canyon. One time I was having lunch with my dad, when all of a sudden he appeared in the cafe. He looked exactly like his character in “The Great Escape.” In fact, my memory of him that day was his wearing a sweatshirt and khaki pants. He also had a leather jacket on, because he was riding his motorcycle. Through out my life I have seen images from films, and come upon them in real life. It is still disconcerting to see an actual image in front of you coming to life.
Tokyo is the same way with me. I know that city through films. Mostly by works of Ozu and Kurasawa. Whenever I see a structure from the 1950s I sort of feel star-struck at its appearance. The film world of Tokyo is exactly the same as when one is here. Los Angeles can be altered in the cinema world, but for some reason Tokyo remains Tokyo no matter what. Even with The Godzilla films, the Tokyo that is displayed as little models is very much the Tokyo I know. I don’t know why, but the city can’t help being what it is - Tokyo!