"Maroon Spirit" portrays combining emotions fed out from the energies surrounding this distinctive colored train.
Shot between Osaka and Kobe, this is the 2nd largest populous region in Japan. And connecting the two large cities in less than 30 minutes is the Hankyu Kobe line. The trains that run between are all painted in a color known to locals as the "Hankyu Maroon" (Hankyu is the company name)
With a day pass in hand, I was able to get across shooting at different locations along the Kobe line. The first half of the footage was taken during the rush hour at a station called "Nishinomiya-Kitaguchi". This station is the connection hub for two other lines linking the Kobe line, so I had hoped to get some chaotic footage of commuters. In addition, there had been an accident that had caused the trains to run late, and this resulted in creating a major traffic on the platform which is seen in the footage.
As the viewers might imagine from this chaos, the packed train is a nightmare. But what is to be noted here is that in Japan, chaos is "ordered chaos". People tend to control themselves even in the most extreme situations. Lining up for an entrance into a train or sliding a few inches for other passengers for space, the Japanese are respectful and attentive. I feel this is some of the beauty and hope that still resides within the metropolitan chaos of Japan.
Later, the scene moves towards the gate where an employee is handing out a slip to passengers. This is an official note from Hankyu declaring that "the train had been late 20 minutes due to an accident" an official excuse for passengers to claim their situation at work.
After the rush hour chaos, I was relieved to get some fresh air, and rest while taking some shots of the train around Kobe in the rain. Later on I spent some time at a local zoo and headed back to Osaka just in time to capture some images of Osaka at dusk. (Time lapse/fast forward scene)
After dark, I wandered off to smaller stations under the full moon to get some night shots, and that was it for the day.
In regards to pre-production, the only factor I had in mind was the music score. The piece used is by Goldmund aka Helios (Keith Kenniff) called "Nihon". "Nihon" which means "Japan" was written by the composer after the tragedy of 3.11. for the charity compilation album. This piece is very tragically sentimental yet sometimes beautiful, and I felt that this best portrayed the emotions that flow out from the "Maroon Spirit"
The cinematic wide aspect ratio was used to best illustrate the long narrow bodies of the trains.
Overall, I was glad that I got the chance to shoot this. 11.11.11 is a very special date in our lifetime, and I hope people will realize the flaws of our system, and start making connections for a better society. Japan has been damaged, but I would like to think that people are starting to wake up. This is my contribution for "One Day on Earth" and I hope 50 or 100 years from now, the Japanese will be very surprised to see the crowded trains that was captured on this day. Hopefully the "Maroon Spirit" will have evolved into something more positive.
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