Sake-Bomb

  • Written by 
  • Thursday, 26 December 2013 00:00
Sake-Bomb Photo courtesy of Sake Bomb Films, LLC

This buddy comedy had its world premiere at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival and won outstanding screenplay at the 2013 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF). It hit theaters in the U.S. in November 2013. TJ spoke with the Osaka-born, L.A.-based director Junya Sakino and in-demand Japanese actor Gaku Hamada.

TJ: Can you tell us a little about “Sake–Bomb”?
JUNYA: A sake bomb is an American mixed drink between beer and sake that we don’t have in Japan. The movie is about the passion of Sebastian, an angry Asian American living in California. His Japanese cousin Naoto, who is the successor to a sake brewery, comes to California to look for his ex-girlfriend. They go on a road trip and meet a lot of different colorful people along the way. The movie deals with the meaning of being Asian and Asian American, and the cultural clash.

TJ: Gaku, was this your first English language movie? Were you able to communicate well with everyone?
GAKU: Yes. It was a piece of cake! (Laughs.) I had Google Translator on my iPhone!

TJ: Was this the most fun you’ve ever had making a movie? What was your favorite part about making “Sake–Bomb”?
GAKU: Yes, of course it was fun, because I got a free ticket to L.A.! (Laughs.) Just like my character in the movie, this was my first time coming to California. Doing an English-language film was one of my dreams, so it was a great experience for me and one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

TJ: What was the most challenging part of the movie?
GAKU: I had a lot of dialogue in English with the actor playing Sebastian…. but I don’t speak English. I tried to memorize the last word of Sebastian’s dialogue so I would know the right time to speak but sometimes I couldn’t hear when he said the last word and it was really hard to know when he finished his sentence.

TJ: Gaku, you’ve been in the movie and TV industry since you were nine years old. Don’t you sometimes wish you weren’t so busy your whole life and had some time off?
GAKU: Sometimes I wish I had a chance to do a part-time job.

TJ: A part-time job? What kind?
GAKU: Working at 7-Eleven! Because working at a convenience store is the most popular part-time job for high school students in Japan. I couldn’t do that at the time, so that’s something I wish I could go back in time and do.

TJ: What is the main point of this film?
JUNYA: It’s a comedy, but eventually the story shifts more to a drama. The story starts out about Japanese and Japanese-Americans, but Eugene Kim is a Korean-American actor and his character Sebastian is actually Japanese-Korean-American. So the movie is really about Asian stereotypes and the situation with Asian Americans.

TJ: Is there anything else you want to tell us about the movie?
JUNYA: When I came to the U.S. when I was 19, I experienced very different Japanese culture, Japanese-American culture and Asian culture. That’s why I made the film. When I was growing up I had no idea there were so many Asians living in the States. Ever since I lived in Los Angeles, I noticed the media doesn’t seem to focus on Asian Americans so I was inspired to make this movie to show the culture. I tried to tell the story from a foreign guy’s point of view to give a different perspective about American life. We’re planning to release it in Japan next year so hopefully if anyone is interested in not just American pop culture but about life in California or in the States, I think it will be quite interesting. tj

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