March 11, 2011 marked the world premiere of the movie “Liberacion” directed by Filipino indie film director Adolfo Alix, Jr. and starring Japanese actor Jacky Woo at the Osaka Asian Film Festival. I, together with my travel co-host, Nat Kiefer, producer Jonas Gaffud and travel companions Doc Gamboa and Mael Cautivar covered the event for our travel show “World Premiere.” This year, the festival launched its international film competition where Liberacion has been chosen to compete.
|Osaka Asian Film Festival 2011 (Photo by Mael Cautivar)|
|With my travel co-host, Nat Kiefer (Photo by Mael Cautivar)|
While viewing the film in the afternoon, we felt our seats slightly “shake” while the screen moved from left to right. The Japanese viewers remained calm while our contingency felt alarmed. After more than 30 seconds, we stepped out of the auditorium and could still feel the tremor. When it was over, we went back in and felt mild aftershocks. Since the Japanese seemed to be used to it, we remained inside the theater and finished the film. We proceeded with the open forum and conducted an interview with Jacky
|ABC Hall, venue of the Osaka Asian Filmfest 2011 (Photo by Mael Cautivar)|
|Jacky Woo receiving recognition after the Q&A portion at the Osaka Asian Film Festival|
After our shoot, we headed back to our hotel and we were shocked to find out about the tragedy in Tokyo and Sendai. We received tons of messages via FB and email from family and friends asking about our situation. We assured them of our safety and we were relieved that we were unharmed.
Despite the tragedy, the people in Osaka remained calm and collected. This allowed us to continue shooting for our travel show. It was a depressing time to be in Japan (especially when we tuned in to BBC in the mornings) but at the same time we had to stay and finish our job. For next four days, we explored Osaka, its culture, sights and sounds.
|Majestic Osaka Castle, one of the most famous castles in Japan|
|Cherry blossoms at the Tenmangu Shrine|
|The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, one of the largest public aquariums in the world|
|The "World Premiere" team in front of Tempozan Giant Wheel (Photo by Mael Cautivar)|
|The Japanese love color!! (Photo by Mael Cautivar)|
|Trainstopping in Osaka (Photo by Mael Cautivar)|
Our short trip showed us how the Japanese are different from the rest of the world, with their tranquility amidst the series of tragedies, their eagerness to help despite the language barrier, the contrast between the old traditions and latest pop culture. It was definitely one trip we will never forget.
|The Japanese were always helpful in giving directions (Photo by Mael Cautivar)|
|Japanese girls in their traditional kimono costumes|