How long have you been here? 10 months? A year and 10 months? More?!!? Or maybe you haven't got here yet.....While I am sure that many of us have good grounding in Japanese culture, and I'm sure many of you have better grounding than me, sometimes you're just stuck for something to read/hear/watch, or a friend calls from back home and says "So, what cool stuff have you seen in Japan recently?" and all you can reply is "Errrrrm, well, last weekend I saw Shall we dance. That was based on a Japanese film".

So here is a little list of stuff I have enjoyed over the last couple of years....(have you noticed how guys love listing stuff they like, Top 5 whatever....hmmmm)

Wild Sheep Chase by Murakami Haruki - Fuckin' classic. Strange tale of a man searching through Japan for an evil sheep.
Coin locker babies by Murakami Ryu (no relation) - Dark story of two boys abandoned as babies in coin lockers, who grow up together and try to take revenge on the world
Death in Midsummer and other stories by Yukio Mishima - Some old school short stories about traditional Japanese values diminished in modern Japan
Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edogawa Ranpo - Edgar Allen Poe influenced gothic tales set in Japan.
N.P. by Banana Yoshimoto - Four young people are drawn together through the mystery of a book

Kuroshiya Ichi (Ichi the Killer) directed by Miike Takashi - Insane yakuza film, so very funny, cool and flamboyant about the ultimate masochist's hunt for the ultimate sadist.
Sonatine directed by Kitano Takeshi - A bunch of gangsters are stuck in Okinawa with nothing to do
Majo no takkyƻbin (Kiki's delivery service) directed Hayao Miyazaki - Kiki is a witch and so at 13 must leave home for a year, and to survive starts up a delivery service. Really sweet and enjoyable film
Yojimbo directed by Kurosawa Akira. My favourite samurai film, Yojimbo is the biggest badassed motherfucker, and plays off 2 opposing gangs to save the victimised village
Ocha no aji (the taste of tea) directed by Katsuhito Ishii- Set in inaka, this describes the odd and excentric happening of a family. Slow, odd and hilarious

Actually, if anyone could in turn add good films, books and albums, i would be most grateful, running a little low at the mo on resources.

Secret seb