On My Watchlist!
When you feel stuck at home or just plain bored, scrolling through NHK’s free-to-view OnDemand catalogue brings up new and interesting recommendations across a broad spectrum, from travel to technology and traditional craft to animation.
Duration: 10 mins, available until January 18, 2022
Anyone living in a city is all too familiar with rush hour traffic jams and overcrowded transport systems. By taking on questions submitted from NHK’s international viewers, this episode of What’s Your Connection? sheds light on how Tokyo, one of the most densely populated cities in the world, copes with its transportation troubles.
This episode’s question is about traffic jams, so the programme found the candidate with the best answers: Professor Nishinori Katsuhiro from University of Tokyo, who specialises in analysing traffic congestion. He’s also in charge of planning traffic for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, and offers sage words of wisdom on commuters and the importance of kindness.
To provide alternatives for its overstressed transportation infrastructure, the government has implemented various innovative programmes across different modes of transport. Wenning tests them all out, from reserved seats on rush hour trains, to new water taxi options that allow commuters to view Tokyo from a refreshing perspective.
The final option is to use the mode of transport nature blessed us with – our legs. An official Fun + Walk mobile phone app with cutesy animated characters rewards commuters who choose to walk instead with coupons redeemable at various businesses.
This episode made me reflect on what my country is doing to alleviate the burden on the transportation system and what alternatives there are. What about yours?
Anime Supernova - Drawing Emotions That Words Cannot Explain
Duration: 15 mins, available until January 7, 2023
Anime Supernova is one of my favourite series as it delves deep into the psyche and motivations of Japan’s finest animators. What’s more, you get to watch their animations in their full glory, which would otherwise be only available to view in Japan’s museums, exhibitions and in Yashiro Takeshi’s case, planetariums.
A master of multiple perspectives, Yashiro’s work spans across genres and interests. Besides commercial ads, Yashiro has also produced a short feature commissioned by NHK titled “What Is Normal Anyway” to spread awareness on people with developmental disorders.
His creative expression of emotions has won him multiple awards from the Image Forum Festival, Asia Digital Art Award Fukuoka and Japan Media Arts Festival Animation Division. Anime Supernova is a great opportunity to view Yashiro’s acclaimed work, in which he pays close attention to non-verbal emotional expressions, colours and movement.
Yashiro believes animation is for creating new worlds and hopes people appreciates his alternative angles of viewing the world. With a background as an art director in advertising, he is particularly skilled in drawing the viewer’s eye with his outlandish yet uncannily familiar portrayals of everyday life. My favourite is Fluffiction, where Yashiro imagines an ideal world with colourful fluffy animals that are useful for health, entertainment and as a labour force. Yashiro’s work is freely available on NHK OnDemand for your enjoyment too!
Quarantine-time-only chef and baker who is temporarily enjoying travelling vicariously online.