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The task this month is to read or watch something scary, spooky, or suspenseful, and Japanese of course!

Immediately after I had read about this 1st Hello Japan! mini-challenge on October 2nd, I ran to to the video store and rented the dvd of Dark Water, a horror movie directed by Hideo Nakata. It has been on my wish list for a long time — I guess ever since I saw Nakata’s 4 movie cycle of Ringu (or Ring). Ringu posterNow, you need to know I am not really a scary-movie-grrl… I can manage maybe 3 of ‘em a year ;) But I was fascinated by Ringu, especially compared to the not-so-impressive The Ring, an American remake by ‘Pirate of the Caribbean’ Gore Verbinski. I found the Japanese original really chilling. I still shudder when I think back  — without spoiling anything — to a certain scene in a well, or how  ‘the girl’ moved… Even though many years have passed since I saw it!

The American version did absolutely nothing to me. I guess Japanese film language is much more frightening! ;)

But I am getting sidetracked… It wasn’t Ringu I watched for the mini challenge, but Dark Water, or Honogurai mizu no soko kara (I love the sound of those Japanese titles ;)

Dark Water got rehashed in the US as well, by Walter Salles. I thought the main character was played by Jodie Foster, but it appears I’m confusing her with Jennifer Connelly — what on earth made that happen? A while ago I started watching the remake on tv, until I remembered my experiences with The Ring — and decided I should wait until I had seen the Japanese original.

A woman and her young daughter move to an eerie, run-down apartment building pending the decision of guardianship after a divorce. The ceiling of their ‘new’ flat has an active, dark leak. In the upstairs apartment, which appears to be the source of the leakage, used to live another young girl that went missing more than a year before…

Dark Water posterI enjoyed watching Dark Water. It find it an entertaining movie, even though I was never terrified during the film, just a little tensed sometimes. The story is more… gross, and above all SAD. Because of that it made me think of a book I like a lot: Strangers, by Taichi Yamada. I didn’t find that ghost story horrifying either — and it moved me to tears. I figure there’s a certain distinction between Japanese ghost movies and horror, in which tragedy plays a main part!

I really love the idea of these Japan related mini missions and plan to do all of them. When do you think our host tanabata will challenge us to go to Japan?? :))

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Sunday Salon logoThe Sunday Salon is a virtual gathering of booklovers on the web, where they blog about bookish things of the past week, visit each others weblogs, oh — and read ;)

Let’s start this Salon post with a confession: I have been a bad grrl and bought 3 more books for myself!

  • I Am a Cat (Natsume Soseki)
  • The Old Capital (Yasunari Kawabata)
  • The Housekeeper and the Professor (Yoko Ogawa)

I’ve got a great excuse though: I joined the new online Japanese Literature Book Group and Read-along at In Spring It Is The Dawn — and these are the first books on the agenda. I am really looking forward to it!

Hello Japan! logoAnother fun thing to do over there is this months Hello Japan! mini mission:

Read or watch something scary, spooky, or suspenseful, and Japanese of course!

DarkWaterSince I have enough to read already I decided to rent a movie that has been on my wishlist for a long time now: Dark Water (Honogurai mizu no soko kara), by Hideo Nakata. You might have heard of the American remake with Jodie Foster, but I prefered to see the original. I’ll tell you why in my upcoming review post! It was a nice Friday night activity to surprise Mr Gnoe with, especially with the stormy autumn weather that has set in :)

But back to bookish things. For the last three months of 2009 I am also participating in the Set It Yourself Challenge (SIY) #10. Just to keep the pressure on my challenges: I have listed all 5 books I need to read before the end of this year:

  • The Chosen (Chaim Potok)
  • The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
  • The Pillowbook (Sei Shonagon)
  • The Sea, the Sea (Iris Murdoch)
  • The Old Capital (Yasunari Kawabata)

I have joined this Bookcrossing challenge before in 2008 and 2009; succeeding twice, failing once…

Speaking of Bookcrossing: I made a first attempt at the Bookcrossing monthly readathon. 24hrreadathonbuttonBut instead of 24 I read for 15 hours and 8 in the last week of September. So technically I failed but I am actually quite proud of the result because it was an awfully busy week. You can read about my thoughts concerning the readathon in Friday’s post. Now I am really looking forward to the autumnal 24 hour read-a-thon of October 24th! I am already making a list of books and snacks to lock myself in with :)

Partly thanks to the readathon I finished more books in September than I usually read in a month:

  • Vlinder in de wind (Butterfly in the Wind) by Rei Kimura (reviewed)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (review pending), #4 on the list of Banned and Challenged Classics
  • Het pauperparadijs (Pauper Paradise) by Suzanna Jansen (no review planned)
  • Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates (review pending)

Current book: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Wednesday’s update post will tell you why I picked this book. I am ‘buddy reading’ with two Boekgrrls: MaaikeB and Manon, so one of these days I should mail them my thoughts so far!

Another exciting thing going on this week is BAFAB! Buy A Friend A Book. One of my favourite reads of the past years is on its way to a long time friend that is on a busy schedule at the moment. I’ll give the book a chance to arrive for a few days longer, so I can’t say more! ;)
Do you BAFAB?

Challenges / Bookgroups etc.

Progress update on my challenges that I have not yet mentioned above:

Current Bookgroup reads:

  • Boekgrrls September book: Away, by Amy Bloom (read and reviewed in Dutch on the mailing list)
  • Boekgrrls October book: Revolutionary Road, by Richard Yates (read, to be reviewed)
  • Japanese Literature Book Group for November 30th: The Old Capital, by Yasunari Kawabata (TBR)
  • Japanese Literature Read-along for November 15th: I Am A Cat (part I), by Natsume Soseki (TBR)

That’s it for now. I need to get up my review of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird a.s.a.p. so that I can send this Bookcrossing book along to the next reader. Better get on with it!

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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