I’m still abuzz and I live in Canada!

Japan Abuzz With ‘Translation’ Reviews
TOKYO – To some, it’s a superficial look at Japan that pokes fun at the natives. To others, the quirky side of Tokyo adds comic relief to the plight of Americans adrift in a foreign land.
“Lost In Translation” is still months away from opening in Japanese theaters, but Sofia Coppola’s U.S. box-office hit is already causing a stir, generating a mix of admiration and exasperation in Japan.
Despite its critical acclaim, including three Golden Globes and four Academy Award nominations, the tale of two jet-lagged and lonely Americans stuck in this high-tech metropolis could be a tough sell in Japan.
“It’s a comedy. But some Japanese might misunderstand that,” said Fumihiro Hayashi, a friend of Coppola’s who has a bit part in the movie. “I can see how those people will think it promotes stereotypes about Japan.”
In the film, Bill Murray plays a washed-up actor shooting a whiskey commercial in Japan. Suffering from insomnia and culture shock, he finds unexpected kinship with a bored young wife, played by Scarlett Johansson. Together, they explore Tokyo’s bizarre nightlife and pop culture.
Since the movie’s U.S. premiere in September, Japanese abroad and a few at home have weighed in their opinions on Internet message boards and Web journals. For a small-budget, art-house production, it’s getting plenty of attention.
Among the reviewers’ biggest concerns: how the movie shapes the way the world sees Japan.
“There are stereotypical portrayals of Japan and discriminatory jokes,” wrote Mirai Konishi, a movie columnist for “But I wasn’t that offended. For an American movie about Japan, it’s a frank, if somewhat exaggerated, snapshot.”
Some reviews laud Coppola’s deft directing and Murray’s tragicomic confusion. Others complain the director too often shows Murray puzzled by Japanese people speaking broken English.
In one typical scene, Murray is stumped when a call girl unexpectedly arrives at his hotel room, hikes up her skirt and demands, “Lip my stocking!” ó mispronouncing the word “rip.”
Everywhere Murray and Johansson go, they are struck by the bizarre and unfamiliar. At a hospital, nobody translates as a receptionist and doctor prattle in Japanese. In the street, a political candidate in a suit hollers slogans and runs alongside a campaign van. At a videogame arcade, a teenager with spiky hair and a dangling cigarette strums an air-guitar game.
When Murray or Johansson flicks on the TV, it’s almost invariably weird: an aerobics instructor leading a troupe of women dressed in police outfits with plastic miniskirts; an effeminate talk show host who guffaws and prances around in a pink and blue patterned suit.
Murray can’t even figure out the hotel gym equipment, which drones on in Japanese and only seems to run on hyperspeed.
For some Japanese, the weirdness of Japan was sadly exaggerated.
“I was depressed by how the movie seemed to state as fact, ‘From an American’s perspective, Japanese are strange and we can’t communicate with them,'” a reviewer nicknamed Asian Muskrat wrote earlier this month on, an online movie information and chat site.
A few of the critiques sting. “I just pray that those who get interested in Japan after seeing this won’t have a warped view,” wrote a reviewer, Taa-chan, on a movie fan’s personal chat room.
The vast majority of Japanese will have to wait until the film’s opening in May to form their own opinions.

Japanese distributor Tohokushinsha Co. said “Lost In Translation” is opening so late because it’s not typical Hollywood fare. Big-budget films tend to debut in Japan within weeks of their U.S. premiere at major cineplexes, while smaller ones stay at obscure theaters.
Even with all the publicity, Tohokushinsha is playing it safe. The movie will open at one Tokyo theater with seating for about 300, and so far the only advertisement is a Web site with a trailer and a brief plot introduction, company spokesman Yosuke Watanabe said.
Depending on ticket sales in the first two weeks, other theaters may show it for about a month, Watanabe said.
“We expect it to go to other theaters, in Osaka and other cities nationwide,” he said. “But if it doesn’t do well in Tokyo, its run could end there.”