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Northern Japan

What a day. In an effort to totally avoid paying for hotels we have worked out an elaborate system of only taking night trains, where we can sleep as we travel.

Today that landed us in Aomori, a small city in Northern Japan. After spending two hours researching things to do there, I had found only one possibility: eat apples. The city is known for having good apples, and nothing else whatsoever.

With 14 hours before our next train to Sapporo, we had to find something else to do. To fuel our brainstorming we found a little trendy Italian restaurant called Piccolo. Even one-street towns in Japan have restaurants with beautiful interior design. It's important here. We lucked out - they use high quality ingredients, make their own sauces, and use extra virgin olive oil.

5 Centimeters Per Second (2007) 65 Minutes

On Tsukamoto

[No-spoiler Policy]

"5 Centimeters Per Second" is a 2007 anime film Written, Produced, and Directed by Makoto Shinkai. Shinkai established himself rather well, 3 years prior to '07 with his film "The Place Promised in Our Early Days" and then, 2 years before that, he burst onto the scene with "Voices of a Distant Star". That having been said, Makoto Shinkai already had many years of due diligence in the animated world which he brought to this masterpiece "5 Centimeters Per Second."

What makes "5 Cm" so uniques right out of the gate, is its episodic format. It consists of three stories about the same characters at different times in their life. For the sake of genuinity, I am not going to hit up wikipedia or anything for titles and details. Also, my goal here is not to rehash the whole film, but to give my thoughts and critical take on the execution.

Shinkai delves into some very real, and very deep themes with this film. The first story is about a boy and girl who met in school and became very close. The girl moves away, but they keep in touch through letters. This is a very important time in our lives. When the decision to act or not act can follow us for the rest of our lives.

The second story in the film touches on a situation that many of us have been through. The boy from the first story is pursued by another girl, but he has his sights set on the one who moved away. Over the last 10 years, I have watched an uncountable amount of "slice of life" anime and I always pay attention to the accuracy and consistency with human emotions. Shinkai goes above and beyond, making you truly feel and think as though you are going through the motions of what you are seeing on screen.

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