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Jump outside the box.

-Introduction by Ken Ochiai

Though I was born and raised in Japan, it wasn't until a short time ago that I realized the importance of my heritage. Seven years ago, I came to the U.S with a dream of becoming an international film director like Akira Kurosawa. I was like a pretentious frog in a shallow well, knowing nothing of the great ocean.

When I first arrived in the States, I tried to speak and think in English and make friends with Americans; I wanted to be an American. However, when my American friends asked me about Japanese culture and history, I realized that I didn't know very much about it. I was embarrassed and I started having an interest in my heritage. Strangely it took me leaving my home country to understand that where I am from somewhat defines who I am.

Since then, every time I went back to Japan for holidays, I took a trip to the countrysides of Japan that I had never been to. I took photos and wrote ideas on my notepad. After a couple of notepads, Justin Miller, my classmate from USC, and I wrote a feature film script, "Summer 47": a film about four Californian college students on a road trip through all 47 Japanese prefectures over the course of a summer.

This short film is based on one of the four main characters in the feature script combined with my personal experience and family story. Justin and I went on a three-week journey through Japan from the northernmost city to the southernmost city, taking 16,000 photos and 8 hours of footage on Canon Mark II 5D along the way. Our goal was to capture and condense the essence of Japan into a 15-minute short film.

I hope this film may serve as a catalyst to spark their interests in Japan.
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