You know Osusowake?

17 Jan

I grew up thinking that Japan had something that I didn’t and by going there, a part of me, maybe some cultural identity section of my existence, would be completed. I suppose this wasn’t inaccurate, but I expected to visit solely as a recipient, not as a benefactor. It was a reminder and a wake up call arriving in Japan hearing Yu Shibuya state the heart he wanted us to have on this shoot: something along the lines that we are here to bring hope to a land that has wandered into an ether of tradition, naturalism, and unsteady spirituality, starving for a beacon to an absolute truth. We were commissioned here by something greater than ourselves to tell a story hinting at the ultimate and the real. We were not here to just receive from Japan, but we were here to bring a gift.

I became ill on the way to the airport to Japan and my immune system only deteriorated over the long flight. I remained sick for the first location scouting day, and with my nose incessantly draining runny battery acid into my neck, I had little hope of recovering in 4 degrees celsius weather on five hours of sleep a night. Eventually I had to take a day off, my body revolting against my audacious behavior, and I felt like I was betraying the team. My job was to be present, physical, and at the ready, and instead I was unable to even move out of my bed to eat. I began to despair, and wondered why would God bring me here to just waste a chance to experience the land of my ancestors, and to not fulfill the role that this entire family of friends entrusted me with? But I remembered that this was a mission for Japan, not just a film for our benefit.

Sick in Tokyo

Spiritual warfare is real, and I saw this sickness as well as that of some of the other crew as confirmation that this film was a maneuver that was important enough to be noticed. It made me realize this is something the opposition doesn’t want made. Which probably means we are doing something right. Going over the gorgeous dailies when the rest of the crew got back that night, it made sense. What we were seeing was almost too good to have been made by our mere hands. We had gotten some kind of help elsewhere. We needed God and we needed each other to do this, and it was a project and a process that would only be possible if it was shared. There was not one person who would or wanted it to be about them.

I think this theme of sharing with a neighbor some of a large gift you’ve received, or Osusowake as it’s called in Japanese, really became the theme of the shoot. Our mission in Japan was not merely to make a film, but it was to share the gift we’ve received from God with the people of Japan and everyone who would see this film. We were living the beauty of the message of the film each day: the beauty of what death can be and the enrichment it can bring to life. I think the knowledge that this film would have a death, that it wouldn’t be everlasting made each day something worth cherishing, and the death of the shoot is in a way the birth of the film, and we were all working towards this paradoxical goal as a team, sharing with one another everything. From food, to jokes, to even a cohesive attitude of tenacity and trust, we were all there to serve each other.


Even our director Dean Yamada, who could have easily tried to micromanage the many creative and technical aspects of the film which he delegated to mere college students, he trusted us in doing our jobs and granted us the honor of truly being able to give ourselves to this project as much as we wanted within our roles.

Happy Camera Teams come from La Mirada

Jordan Crabtree cut together a beautiful montage of scenes from the film just for the first wrap party to see, and it’s been a very long time since I’ve felt the kinds of emotions that I did while watching that preview. Dean did a brilliant job directing the actors and orchestrating the story, Yugo’s performances were arresting, Zack and Nick’s work composing the shots and dressing the set and look of the film was visibly effective and gorgeous… I could go on. But I didn’t see names. I saw all of us all at once. I saw Joey and Trevor helping Zack compose the shots that even were inspired by the lights Jordan set up with Steven and I, and that couldn’t be divorced from the energy that Nick, Takaki or Angela displayed at a lunch break, which we had because Rachel, Ellie, Maki or Brian were all doing their jobs so our worries were minimized to our own tasks, which is rare for a crew that small. I couldn’t be more proud of everyone and honored to be serving such a God in such a way, with people like this crew.

About to get our Oishii on

So in the end Japan did give me a lot. It gave all of us a lot, and others can talk about that here, and I really hope that we can give back like how I know the crew has been giving to each other during this entire trip.

Persimmon. A film by a family who received much and just had to share.

– Jordan Nakamura.


One Response to “You know Osusowake?”


  1. Cameras in Japan « Space Invasion prayer alliance - January 17, 2011

    […] a short film directed by one of our professors Dean Yamada. We’ve been blogging avidly, and here is a thing I wrote for it. Read the rest if you are interested, I really think this will be […]

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