|07-02-2007, 01:35 PM||#1|
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: The Most Important State in the Union
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1 Litre of Tears
Has anyone else seen this? A Japanese student of mine recommended it to me and I thought it was quite remarkable so I thought I'd recommend it. Here's my review:
One of my former students had been telling me to watch this show on Youtube for months, but I kept putting it off. With summer vacation, I finally felt I had the time to keep my promise to check it out. I suppose I expected a lightweight teen melodrama with some heavy-handed tearjerker scenes and soap opera romance, but what I found instead was one of the most beautiful and inspiring television shows I’ve seen in quite awhile featuring powerful, affecting performances by the key actors including four-time Japanese Academy award winner Yakushimaru Hiroko. It was heart-wrenching, yes, but it was also uplifiting. 1 Litre of Tears is based on the true story of Aya Kito, a Japanese girl that was diagonosed with spinocerebellar ataxia, a disease that slowly destroys her ability to control her body, though her mind remains as sharp and healthy as ever. As the disease slowly took away the teen-aged Aya’s ability to run, walk, speak, and even safely swallow, she recorded her thoughts and feelings in a journal (at least until she could no longer write). Her simple desire was to live her life to the fullest because she believed that “just being alive is such a wonderful thing.” Eventually her writings were published in Japan as a book entitled 1 Litre of Tears. The book was a best-seller and brought encouragement and inspiration to millions of Japanese readers. About 15 years after Aya’s death at the age of 25, her story was turned into the Japanese television drama 1 Litre of Tears.
The first episode feels like an ordinary teen drama—a typical 15 year old Japanese girl about to start high school, playing basketball, eyeing the boys. But as the series—and Aya’s illness—unfolds, it quickly becomes evident that this story is something far more. Tears is the story of how a one brave girl and her family deal with losing what we all take for granted and finding a reason and a will “to live on.” There were a number of things I found remarkable about this treatment of Aya’s story. This is not the type of program you often see, at least in the United States. For one thing, you know from the beginning how the story will end, that Aya’s life will be tragically short. Where many shows would focus most of the drama on Aya’s pre-illness life, smacking the audience with the devastating news of her illness late in the season, and then the last few episodes quickly glossing over her illness and highlighting a few key tearjerker bedside scenes, the entire focus of this series is on Aya’s gradual descent into—and courageous perseverance in the face of—debilitation. The show also gives some valuable insights into the impact of crippling illness on a person and her family. After watching this series, I’ll never look at a person in a wheelchair the same way again.
As a Westerner watching the show, I found the glimpses of life in modern Japan to be quite fascinating. I felt like I learned a lot about Japanese culture from the show. The translators did a good job with the English subtitles and there are only a few places where the translation seems a little off.
Perhaps the most valuable thing I gained from 1 Litre of Tears is an appreciation for what I have been blessed with in this life, a recognition of the opportunity I have to make a difference in the lives of others, and gratitude for the people who have touched my life. For a TV show on Youtube that’s quite an accomplishment.
Right now the only place English-speaking viewers can see 1 Litre of Tears is on Youtube, as far as I’m aware. It is available on DVD but I believe it is only in Japanese. Which means that most of you have no excuse. It’s free, it’s easy, and I found the resolution to be quite good. Search for 1 Litre of Tears on Youtube and select the episodes uploaded by MoCaJJaR.
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