by Chris MaGee
Here's a very neat story that may not fall into the Japanese film category, but it definitely has a film component. German arts collective Rimini Protokoll has organized "Cargo Tokyo-Yokohama", a "documentary performance project" that takes busloads of people on a road trip between... you guessed it... Tokyo and Yokohama, but with an added and ingenious twist. The bus that can seat roughly 45 riders is equipped with three large video screens that run its length and as guests take the trip they are treated to a documentary on the elaborately decked out trucks that move goods along the highways and byways of Japan. If you've ever seen those old Norifumi Suzuki "Truck Rascals" films from the 70's then you'll know the kind of trucks we're talking about.
Hosted by two retired Japanese truck drivers who inform riders that they "are the cargo" the road trip/ documentary gives people the feel of this rarely glimpsed aspect of Japanese society and industry. Both the hosts and the drivers in the film discuss everything from the brakes on their trucks to the finer points of regional brands of sake. Plus getting to travel the routes that the drivers take beats being sequestered away in a dark theatre.
You can read more about "Cargo Tokyo-Yokohama" over at CNN Go, and if you're in the Tokyo Metropolitan area then you can head to the Crystal Yacht Club near Tennozu Isle Station for the once a day journey/ screening that runs from November 25th to December 21st.