28 January 2015

Kyoto, Japan

Less than four minutes of LOST IN TRANSLATION are set in Kyoto. In the movie it looks as if Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) makes a short trip to this city but even with a high-speed train it takes more than three hours when travelling from Tokyo with a distance of over 450 kilometers. Kyoto is known for its many temples and is nicknamed ‘City of 10,000 shrines’.

Kinkaku-ji, 'Golden temple', Kyoto, 6 December 2014
Just like Charlotte we visited three temples but not the same as she did. There are several walks that connects temples and shrines. Because it was very cold during our visit we only went to see three temples, including Kinkaku-ji, 'Golden temple'.
The history of this Buddhist temple goes back to the year 1397. The current building is located in a setting of gardens and is a reconstruction from 1955.

In the movie the view from the train to Kyoto is shown several times. Mount Fuji could be admired from the train both in the movie as well as during our journey. It is the highest mountain in Japan and actually a volcano, the last eruption dates back to 1709. Fuji is more than 100 kilometers from Tokyo and is visible from the city on clear days.

Lost in Translation, 1:13:36
Mount Fuji, 5 December 2014

Upon arriving in Kyoto Charlotte walks on the platform. The train station was renovated in 1997 when the city celebrated its 1200 anniversary. It is one of the largest buildings in Japan and accommodates a hotel, a department store, restaurants and shops, besides platforms at four different levels. Little has changed since the movie was filmed here over ten years ago.

Lost in Translation, 1:13:56
Train station, Kyoto, 7 December 2014
Lost in Translation, 1:13:58
Train station, Kyoto, 7 December 2014
Lost in Translation, 1:14:06
Train station, Kyoto, 7 December 2014

Screenshots © Focus Features

24 January 2015

Tokyo, Japan

In the film LOST IN TRANSLATION movie actor Bob Harris (Bill Murray) travels to Tokyo to star in a commercial. He stays at the luxurious Park Hyatt hotel where he meets Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson). The whole story is set in Japan and was filmed there from 29 September until 8 November 2002.

Lost in Translation, 0:02:05 
Filming was done on several places in Tokyo. This city of millions has an extensive metro system which enables to go to almost every location. It is very helpful that all signs in the metro are both in Japanese and in English which is not common in Tokyo. We had to search for a location or address more than once and we noticed how friendly and helpful the Japanese people are, even if you do not ask for help.

The movie opens with Bob Harris who has just arrived. On the way to his hotel his taxi is driving on Yasukuni Dori, one of the main roads in the centre of Tokyo. The neon ads have all been replaced but the Don Quijote discount store, which is also open at night, can still be recognized. Donki the penguin, the mascot of the store can be seen on the right on top of the building.

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Yasukuni Dori, Tokyo, 8 December 2014

Because both her husband and Bob are working in the daytime Charlotte goes into town by herself. The metro station she enters, Omote-sando, is not near the Park Hyatt hotel. It was probably used because the station has two platforms which made it easier for the camera crew to film a waiting Charlotte. She did not need to wait long because the trains are running just about every three minutes.

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Metro map, Tokyo, 7 December 2014
Lost in Translation, 0:12:05
Metro station Omote-sando, Tokyo, 4 December 2014

One of the most well known locations in Tokyo that Charlotte visits is the Shibuya crossing, famous for its scramble crossings. On the building with the Starbucks store are constantly commercials shown. The face masks that are worn by some Japanese are not to protect them from air pollution but because they have a cold and do not want to infect other people.

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Shibuya, Tokyo, 10 December 2014
Lost in Translation, 0:19:03
Shibuya, Tokyo, 10 December 2014
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Shibuya, Tokyo, 10 December 2014
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Shibuya, Tokyo, 10 December 2014

After a night of karaoke Bob and Charlotte drive back to the hotel. The taxi crosses the Rainbow Bridge that was completed in 1993 and connects Minato district with the Odaiba waterfront development. However, the bridge is located in another part of the city then the karaoke bar and the Park Hyatt hotel.

Lost in Translation, 0:52:44
Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo, 5 December 2014

At the end of the film Bob Harris is on his way to the airport and passes amongst others the Tokyo Tower, open since 23 December 1958 and designed by Tachū Naitō. He based his design on the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The skycraper in the background is the Atago Green Hills Mori Tower.

Lost in Translation, 1:35:26
Tokyo Tower, Tokyo, 4 December 2014

Screenshots © Focus Features