0 Items | £0.00

VIEW BASKET

From Naoshima With Love

Sunday 14th October 2012

Jonathan Clements on 007’s Japanese trail


You Only Live Twice

Japan’s idyllic Inland Sea is the setting for several crucial events in the life of James Bond, who, you will remember, read Oriental Studies at university, and revealed in You Only Live Twice (or in Japanese, just to be difficult, Die Twice) that he spoke fluent Japanese. In the original book, he ended up living for several months as a fisherman on the coast of the Inland Sea, shacked up with Kissy Suzuki and waiting for his memory to return after some sort of SMERSHy trauma. Unknown to him at the time, when he left, Kissy Suzuki was pregnant with his son, James Suzuki, who turns up in a later James Bond story.

The Man With the Red TattooIn 2002, author Raymond Benson wrote a follow-up called The Man With the Red Tattoo. Officially approved by the Ian Fleming estate, it featured an older James Bond returning to Japan to hunt down the origins of a deadly poison. He ends up back on the Inland Sea, on a tiny little island called Naoshima, which has now gained its own James Bond Museum. It is a single large room containing Japanese language histories and paraphernalia about James Bond, as well as a section dedicated to The Man with a Red Tattoo. This includes Raymond Benson’s first-draft outline for his magnum opus, as well as the inadvisably legible manuscript of his booze-soaked “research trip” to Japan. Here’s a man who knows his way around junkets, who managed to get a chunk of his holiday paid for by the Japanese National Tourist Board, on the understanding that he would write something about Naoshima.

Considering that one of the non-Fleming James Bond novels (Icebreaker) is literally the worst book I have ever read, I doubt that Benson’s effort will set the world on fire. However, it has obviously charmed the locals on Naoshima, who were ecstatic that someone mentioned their pokey little island in a book, and have clearly been praying for the last decade that someone will be mad enough to turn Benson’s novel into the next Bond film, and thereby put it firmly on the international tourist map.

NaoshimaPride of place in the museum is given to a TV running a constant loop of From Naoshima With Love, a clumsily written, leadenly-paced, “thriller” about a British secret agent who is sent to Naoshima on a quest for a vaguely defined MacGuffin. On the way, he discusses artwork installations with various stuffed shirts. Clearly, at a long and boozy lunch, the local bigwigs of Naoshima had voted to spend their 2007 tourism budget on making a film about their island, in which they themselves starred as the local equivalents of Q and Tiger Tanaka.

Hence, we have a handsome but wooden British “actor” (played by the local JET coordinator, Andrew Cockburn), stumbling around Naoshima, for a series of scenes with even woodener middle-aged Japanese civil servants, who robotically recite dull details about the island. Cockburn’s character refers to himself as “JB”, and the inattentive visitor who only stays for five minutes is presumably expected to believe that this is a bona fide, Fleming-approved James Bond story. The sign next to the screen optimistically calls this a “television show” although it is difficult to imagine any other television that is likely to be showing it apart from the one in the museum itself.

NaoshimaAt the end, “JB” ends up shagging his Japanese assistant in a boat on the beach, while a Moneypenny substitute tells him that the mission was a diversion merely to give him a day’s vacation in Naoshima. I pondered the implication that Naoshima tour guides are actually pimped out by the town council to visiting Englishmen – hopefully that wasn’t on Raymond Benson’s itinerary, but who knows? The final title pops up with “James Bond will return to Naoshima again… hopefully”.

I found the whole thing rather sweet. Where else would a town devote so much time and effort to celebrating a mere media tie-in novel (the prison-shower bitch of the writing world)? And no matter how doomed to failure, imagine the money it would have made for Naoshima if it had somehow worked – well worth the effort, and hopefully a creative leap that other small towns should embrace. And just think of the fun they must have had – a JET coordinator is responsible, among other things, for improving their district’s cultural relations. This usually means making sure that nothing obscenely inappropriate is written on the municipal website in English, but can also mean they get to play at being producers and event organisers. Mr Cockburn, who graduated in Japanese and Management from the University of Leeds, clearly had a whale of a time spending Kagawa Prefecture’s tourism budget on making a silly movie. The local girl he gets to mount in the final scene apparently won her role in a talent contest. Make your own jokes.

The Naoshima James Bond Museum is one of those bizarre curios that makes travel on Japan's backroads such a  joy, and should surely be on the itinerary of any Bond fan. You can even have your photo taken dressed as Bond, and inexplicably punching a sock monkey. So, something for everyone.

James BondThe Naoshima James Bond Museum is a short walk from the ferry terminal at Miyanoura. Open 9-5 364 days a year except New Year’s day. Admission free.

From Naoshima With Love

MANGA UK GOSSIP

One Piece (uncut) Collection 1 (episodes 1-26)

£31.49
sale_tag
was £34.99
Set Sail for One Piece!
Monkey D. Luffy is a boy with big dreams. This daring rubber-man refuses to let anyone or anything stand in the way of his quest to become king of all pirates. With a course charted for the treacherous waters of the Grand Line, Luffy strikes out in search of a crew – and a boat. Along the way he’ll do battle with scallywag clowns, fishy foes, and an entire fleet of marines eager to see him walk the plank. The stakes are high, but with each adventure, Luffy adds a new friend to his gang of Straw Hat Pirates! Like his hero Gold Roger, this is one captain who’ll never drop anchor until he’s claimed the greatest treasure on Earth – the Legendary One Piece!

FEATURED RELEASE

RECENT FEATURED POSTS

Bleach Music: Miwa

Tom Smith rings the ch-ch-changes…
Bleach series 13 continues the clash between Soul Society’s Shinigami and Sousuke Aizen’s Arrancar army. It also brings with it a new talent in Japanese pop-rock: miwa. This fresh-faced female, armed with a guitar and an arsenal of upbeat pop-rock songs, provides the series’ twelfth opening theme, ‘chAngE’.

One Piece Cosplay: Boa Hancock

Paul Jacques finds a Pirate Empress at the Birmingham Comic Con
"Whether I kick a kitten, tear off your ears, even slaughter innocent people, the world will never cease to forgive my actions! Why, you ask? That's right, it is because I am beautiful!"

Cosplay: Dragon Ball Z

Paul Jacques goes on the prowl at the London Super Comic Con
Cosplayer Kasey Wolfe goes for a beardy version of Gohan from Dragon Ball Z, caught by our roving photographer Paul Jacques at the London Super Comic Con. Dragon Ball Z is out now on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment.

Eureka Seven Ao Part Two

Spoilers for part one ahead, as Andrew Osmond gets timey-wimey
The show’s finale is squarely in anime traditions, combining heartfelt child-parent reunions, a boy’s resolution to ‘lift the curse’ of his origins, and an orgasmically explosive deus ex machina that lets a character write the end he wants – one that happens to have shades of another Gainax anime classic, Gunbuster. There’s fanservice for you!

Turning Point 1997-2008

Hayao Miyazaki's 2nd volume of writings reviewed
Turning Point offers invaluable peeps at Miyazaki’s mind at work, including the way he grows his imagery out of lyrical ideas. “I am experiencing old age for the first time in my life,” he comments at one point, managing to be both wise and dotty at the same time.

Interview: Yui Tanimura on Dark Souls II

Matt Kamen speaks with the director of the toughest game you’ll play this year.
For Dark Souls II, new directors Yui Tanimura and Tomohiro Shibuya promise the upcoming sequel will be every bit as challenging as its precursors.

Cosplay: Pokemon

Paul Jacques has gotta catch'em all at the London Super Comic Con
Lisa Moffatt and Natasha Fountain spread their wings as Moltres and Articuno from the unstoppable Pokemon franchise, snapped by our roving photographer Paul Jacques at the London Super Comic Con back in the spring.

Samurai Westerns

Andrew Osmond investigates the long love affair between samurai and cowboys
28th February sees the classic Hollywood Western go East. Yuresarazaru Mono has the English title Unforgiven; it remakes the celebrated 1992 Western of that name, which was directed by its star Clint Eastwood and won the Best Picture Oscar.
Contact Us   |   Refund Policy   |   Delivery Times   |   Privacy statement   |   Terms & Conditions
Please note your card statement will show billing by MVM. From Naoshima With Love from the UK's best Anime Blog.