When: June 2012
Where: Chinatown, London and Odeon Covent Garden
I think this combination was a match made in heaven, simple delicious Japanese food with a heartwarming, nostalgic romance to follow. We started going to Tokyo Diner as an alternative to Okawari, a Japanese/Korean restaurant a few doors up the road. However, as Okawari has now changed name and possibly owners at least twice in the last few years we now are left with Tokyo Diner for cheap Japanese food. The restaurant is supposed to be authentic Japanese complete with Japanese staff, small chairs and tables and a no tips policy. The owner is authentically eccentric English. A perfect combination indeed.
As we sat over green tea debating whether I should join my partner whilst visiting her family that weekend I realised how much I missed coming here and how long it had been. The menu had changed a little and the prices had increase but once my Katsu Don arrived with steaming hot rice, freshly scrambled egg and pork in breadcrumbs I felt right at home. As such a simple please was devoured with a cold can of beer and a warm glass life felt really good right down to the last grain of rice. The one thing I really love is how fresh the food feels, though maybe one day I'll try something else on the menu that isn't Katsu Don!
Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
After a filling and tasty meal it was time for the film. We finally decided on Odeon Covent Garden, I can't remember exactly why. For some reason they had three films starting at the same time and whilst I'm sure it helps with staffing costs the small lobby area was totally over-crowded and it was quite unpleasant to wait for the doors to open. I was glad we got there early as the surprisingly (even though it was a Wednesday) the screening was completely full bar a few of the Premier seats.
I liked Moonrise Kingdom, the casting, acting and atmosphere was great but in particular it captured a world in transition where the outcasts become the wanted ones and the wanted ones become cast out a little, yet through human decency we all pull through. I loved the nostalgia of the scout camp and of being 11 years old and taking your fist steps into an adult world. In the case of our hero it is love and responsibility. For our scouts it is acceptance of those different from yourself. Bruce Willis' character is able to start a family and give someone a home. For Ed Norton his Scout Master saves the day in the face of disaster after he overcomes his own mistakes.
The film is tied together with some Coen Brothers style narration that somehow made me think of the Big Lebowski and adds a layer of distance to the film that we often forget about. We are watching a re-telling and not the story itself. I think it also fits well with Wes Anderson's nostalgic images that look like a cross between a fashion shoot and a glossy magazine from the 1960s with a nice dose of exaggeration that comes from re-telling a story.
So in all a perfect evening of warm nostalgia from the copy of an authentic Japanese restaurant in the heart of London to the re-creation of small town (or in this case island!) American life in the 1960s.