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Otaki Hideji

Everybody may have likes and dislikes. I'm not exception. I have, for example, distaste places. Usually the likes and dislikes is caused on trivial things. You could be disgusted with a country from just one bad experience. However if I wrote about my distaste country and the reason here, it wouldn't have any merit for you. It meant I should not talk about it.

Besides likes or dislikes, there are also the places where aren't impressive at all. They have something in common. And I found it. It's a bad weather.
Photo needs a light. Too much rain and short daytime takes off the shutter chances from me. No photo means no impression. My memory and camera is synchronized, I guess.
So where was the exact place such unimpressive for instance? Well, maybe Portugal is one of them. Quite unimpressive to me. And Portugal in winter had bad weather.

In the Winter, I went down to Portugal from Galicia region in Spain. I took RENFE (national rail way of Spain) train and got off near the border. To go to Portugal I had to change the train at the station. I remember it's called "Redondera"
I had a bunch of extra time for the next train. So I spent a time at bar. When I came back to the platform, many people were already waiting for the train. I asked an old man next to me if there was some border post between two countries. He simply answered. "No there isn't such a border post. All you have to do for entering Portugal is just keep going with the next train. That's it" The bald head, big lobe ... I thought he looked like the Japanese veteran actor Otaki Hideji.

The train was full of passengers, and I could not find a seat. So I was standing on the deck and watching the landscape through the window.
"It's rain, rain and rain everyday,uh?" When I looked back, I saw the Otaki Hideji. He also didn't have a seat and stood next to the door. He looked up the gray sky.
As he had said there was nothing at the border, neither post nor station. Under the gray sky, the river named Minho ran. The river became muddy because of heavy rain. The river surface rose up and was almost touching the bottom of the bridge. When the train crossed over the bridge, Otaki Hideji looked at me and shrugged his shoulders as if he wanted to say crossing borders was not big deal.
Then he said to me in hoarse voice "Portugal ... "

In the evening when I got to the city of Porto, the weather turned into almost storm. Since then, the bad weather had no sign to recover. I remember the movie theater I visited like everyday rather than anything in "Lisboa".
I think talking about unimpressive place was useful for nobody too.

Mar. 2007

Today's piece
" Tram on a rainy day" Lisbon, Portugal 1997

Lagos Christmas Special

Post Script

I was really sorry to mention this Japanese great actor in my tiny travel journal of Portugal. But later on I've always kept in mind his name.

Actor Hideji Otaki passed away on Oct. 2, 2012 at Age87. A chairman of the Theatrical Company Mingei. Film "The Funeral" directed by Juzo Itami may be the one of well-known works.
He was a main actor in his company all his life. Although for me, his impression was not a glittering leading actor but a masterful supporting actor based on the long career. A masterpiece is hardly made with just one famous protagonist. I believe there are many works which become masterpieces by Otaki's supporting act.

From rapid economic growth in post WWII to economic bubble in 90s, Japan which became the most successful economy giant in Asia used to be a glittering super star with no doubt. However now Japan cannot attract audience with its reputation any more.
Even though the yesterday's hero still believe "We are the leading actor of Asia" Young countries are getting their popularity with the fresh and energetic performance, but nevertheless, Japanese politician call their nation "A leader of Asia". The old protagonist try to compete with them for getting position of the leading actor.

Well, I talked in a roundabout too much. In short, I want say "Why doesn't Japan changes their aim from the best leading actor to the best supporting actor?"
For that Japan has to change their mind in several points. Firstly, they have to perceive they are a member of Asian community and economy. Must have a strong wish to backup other Asian countries, with a devotion. When Japan was a leading actor, he might always long for the Broadway musical far away oversea. But now as a supporting actor he may straightly face to company's performance which he belongs to. Can work hard not for his fame but the theatrical company's fame.

A leading actor and a supporting actor doesn't means ranking. Those are absolutely different roles. There are experts of supporting act. It means it isn't easy way to get reputation as a supporting actor for ex-leading actor. However in the critical moment whether he gives up his career or not, it's worth to try another way to survive. He cannot act like Otaki-San who has sixty more year career. But it's possible to open up new frontier in the deadlock.

Oct. 2012

fumikatz osada photographie