What did Bill Murray say at the end of “Lost in Translation”?

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I just watched “Lost in Translation” again last night probably for the 25th time.

It’s rare that you find a movie that sticks with you long after you’ve seen it for the first time. “Lost in Translation” was like that for me, for some reason. Maybe it stems from a time in my life where I was living and working in Tokyo and spent many days and nights at the very Park Hyatt this was filmed. Usually meeting with Western colleagues to de-cipher and untangle the day’s events and interchanges with my Japanese colleagues.

It had great appeal to me, despite the nature of being very much on my own there. I could relate to Murray’s character and the Japanese scenarios were almost too realistic making me cringe at points.

Perhaps that’s why “Lost in Translation” had the impact it did. Bill Murray, who plays Bob Harris, is in a strange country and cannot sleep, and he meets Charlotte, played wonderfully by Scarlett Johansson, who is also in the same situation, but almost totally alone as her new husband has other things to do.

They connect with each other out of their need to be with something familiar. Being in Japan with no English spoken, these two naturally relate and spend a lot of time together over the next few days, trying to hold onto this amazing thing they’ve found amidst their loneliness.

The movie did a superb job of bringing the audience into the emotions going on inside these two. You actually can almost feel what they are going through and how they long to just “be “ with each other.

And that brings us to the end of the movie. Bob has to leave, the filming is done on his TV commercial, and it’s time to go home and that means leaving Charlotte behind. But that’s the end really, they had no future, they were both married and their time was up. You felt their pain in ending the short relationship, but what other choice was there?

So Bob gets into his limo and is taken away, while Charlotte heads out onto the streets, back to wandering aimlessly like she did before, alone and out of place in this strange country.

But Bob stops, goes back and finds her walking in Shinjuku near the Hyatt…I know that exact street

They look at each other for a moment, and then they just hold each other. He whispers something to her, which makes her cry, makes her smile. They kiss, and she continues walking down the sidewalk, tears flowing, but a new look of happiness on her face. Bob gets into the limo and is gone.

I loved the movie, and I loved the final song in it so much that I now own the “Jesus and Mary Chain” album Psychocandy that it came from.

So the big mystery for all that saw it was this: What did he say to her?

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Some wise words of comfort from an older man that allowed her to move on? That he’d see her again? That he loved her?

Well, we now know. Someone took the scene and digitally enhanced the sentence that Bill Murray whispers to Charlotte and posted the video on YouTube. Sorry the link is no longer on YouTube.

It was hard to hear, but I think they got it right.

Now, not everyone wants to know. The way it ended was perfect in my opinion, leaving it up to us to decide what he said to her. It was fitting and obviously kept people thinking about it afterwards.

So if you don’t want to know, don’t watch the video or read on after this point. But if you do, check it out below.

Here is the final line from him again, if you didn’t watch it or want to see it again:

Bob: “I have to be leaving…but I wont let that come between us, okay?”

Charlotte: “Okay.” *gasp*

This exchange seems totally fitting to me. But the real meaning behind it will always remain a mystery. Did that mean he was coming back to her? Or was he just leaving her with hope. That in having this hope, she wouldn’t be completely miserable and lonely. Her gasp at the end was like a breath of relief escaping her, so the words he said were the right ones.

I don’t know what it means. I don’t think we ever will. They are both married, so the real guy inside me wants to think that they just return to their lives, but another part of me hopes they end up together.

What do you think? Does it make a difference knowing what he said? Am I the only one who really enjoyed this film?

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Stressed out? Try Tickle Therapy.

I wrote this a few year back but given the new pressures of our crazy US economy I though I should repost it.

It appears laughter is strong medicine. Really.

Did you know that when you laugh, you not only exercise almost all of the 53 facial muscles; you also spark a series of chemical reactions within the body? No one knows exactly what process takes place, but studies show definite benefits:

Levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, are reduced. This leads to a strengthened immune system and lower blood pressure.

You mean I’m taking Norvasc every day to control my blood pressure and all I needed was a tickle?

My friend is an advocate of natural health. While I am not ready to give up the Norvasc just yet a twice-a-day tickle therapy seems to help…although using this method may drive your neighbors crazy listening to uncontrolled laughter. I am definitely less stressed out since employing tickle therapy.

Stress is also associated with damage to the protective barrier lining our blood vessels. This can cause fat and cholesterol to build-up in the arteries and could ultimately lead to a heart attack.

So laughing is even thought to help protect the heart.

Endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, are released when we laugh, producing a general sense of well being.

The conscious thought process is bypassed – it’s like taking a weight off the mind! Hmmm…Sounds a little like hemp!

The reduction of stress-related hormones has also been linked to enhanced creativity and beneficial effects on conditions as diverse as insomnia, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

Everyone in Tokyo is so stressed out and serious…maybe they could employ a bit of “tickle” therapy! So the next time you are crammed in the subway next to some stressed out salary man…give him a little goose and see what happens.
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Look at this shot…no wonder Tokyo makes me stressed. The conductors are actually pushing the passengers into the packed train! At least they are wear clean white gloves.

Traumatized? Playing Tetris may reduce flashbacks!

Can this be true?

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A new study suggests that the rapid-fire visual puzzles that make Tetris so engrossing may also make the video game a promising treatment for post-traumatic stress.

Recurring, intrusive thoughts of a traumatic event are one of the hallmark symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a type of anxiety disorder. According to the study, which appears in the journal PLoS ONE, playing Tetris soon after a traumatic experience appears to protect against these flashbacks, by distracting the brain from the event and short-circuiting how upsetting memories and images are stored.

Not just any video game will do. Notably, the study found that games that rely on trivia or language skills don’t appear to have the same therapeutic effect as stacking Tetris blocks, probably because they activate different areas of the brain.

“Verbal tasks may not be as effective because they will not affect the same neural networks,” says Dr. Alexander Obolsky, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois, who specializes in the treatment of PTSD. “It’s a different part of the brain that processes that information.”

Actually playing Tetris may even build up your brain. The researchers concluded that, “A visuospatial task such as Tetris may offer a ‘cognitive vaccine’ against the development of PTSD flashbacks after exposure to traumatic events.”

I don’t know if I am buying it but I have been using “Angry Birds” to ease some stress at work and I think it has helped me sleep too.

Maybe Tetris could replace medical marijuana?

All You Can Eat Dessert In Japan…$15!

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My friend V told me about her favorite place in Japan to eat and If I was there I am sure it would be mine too.

It’s a place called Sweets Paradise. It’s an all-you-can eat dessert restaurant, and for those who enjoy sweets it must be basically heaven on earth!

Sweets Paradise is like a chubby kid’s dream come true. The premise or “CHALLENGE” is simple: you pay ¥1,480 (about $15.00) and they give you 90 minutes to gorge yourself into a diabetic coma on, as the sign says, Cake! Pasta! Sandwich! Drink!
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A quick guide to visitors to Japan on a budget (or lovers of all-you-can-eat deals in general) here are the characters to look out for when scanning restaurant signage

The characters 食べ放題 (tabehoudai) mean “all you can eat.

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Similarly, the characters 飲み放題 (nomihoudai) mean “all you can drink.”


The characters バイキング (baikingu) mean “Viking” and is a slang Japanese term that refers to a “buffet.”

“Dessert Viking” is the theme at Sweets Paradise. The term “Viking” probably has its origins in the more appropriate Swedish word, “Smörgåsbord.”

V says everything is delicious…I hope to check it out on my next trip to Tokyo, of course after my sushi fix and midnight ramen run.

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How Nike and Pepsi Again Hijack the World Cup


The world’s greatest sporting spectacle, the World Cup, began this weekend. Do you know who the “official” sponsors are?

You might think from the prevalence of its “Write the Future” campaign on the web and in pop culture, that Nike is an official World Cup sponsor. It’s not. Nor is Pepsi, whose “Oh Africa” has been racking up millions of views on the web since May. Rather, the official sponsors are Adidas and Coke — and both have also produced compelling online videos in association with their campaigns.

As we all know, brands often pay significant sums of money to be the exclusive sponsor for high-profile sporting events including the World Cup, Olympics and Super Bowl. These sponsorships typically include a number of elements and are supported by TV, on premise and promotional support. To their credit, the event organizers themselves go to great lengths in order to protect the value of the sponsors, and the relationship they have with the event.

I remember that before the Beijing Olympics, the government assumed control of the outdoor ad space so that the sponsors would be given access to it. I thought it was a great idea.

For as long as brands have sponsored these events, other brands have tried to ride along on the brand equity of the events as well. This concept, known as “ambush marketing,” involves running similarly themed campaigns around the time of the event without actually mentioning the event itself. A famous example of this was American Express’ campaign around the Barcelona Olympics, “You don’t need a visa to go to Barcelona” (Visa was the Olympic sponsor). Aware of this practice, sponsoring brands usually think ahead of how to counteract them on site or on TV.
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Enter the web…

As Nike and Pepsi have recently demonstrated, the open distribution and viral nature of the web create a whole new path for ambush marketing. In the “Write the Future” campaign, Nike produced a video starring their top-tier talent.

They then used the web as an initial distribution ground. Two weeks and 15 million-plus views later, Nike has created a brand association with soccer, and likely the World Cup itself. Adidas also produced a very compelling video using talent as well — only it debuted a bit later and was far less seen or distributed. While Adidas may have a significant TV or local presence planned over the next two weeks, it got hijacked online.

So what can a brand do to protect itself, or alternately, what can you do to best position yourself to steal someone else’s thunder?

Start early!!!!

While you might not be able to own the conversation, you can at least start it. Plan far in advance — it is better to be a bit early to the party than to miss it completely. Starting the conversation immediately allows you to insert yourself into it.

Spend early!!!!

Don’t just plan your viral campaign to start early — adjust some of the spending cycle as well. Social media, rapid news cycles and thousands of bloggers are all affecting marketing plans in ways no one would have predicted 10 years ago.

With these new tools, people have more outlets to talk about big events way in advance and websites actually have incentives to do so to increase search and other referral traffic. As a result, there is no shortage of relevant content to associate with from a very early stage, and users are in the right mindset well in advance of where they were years ago.

As a frame of reference, type World Cup 2010 into Google — you get 196,000,000 results. Think about that –- there are close to 200,000,000 million pages that have already been indexed about the topic and the event hasn’t even started yet.

Be Clear as well. While I assume that event sponsors have many restrictions on how they can market their association, it is increasingly clear that subtlety does not work online. As creative as the Adidas video is, it does not directly refer to their sponsorship.

Wow factor

It seems that the High Jackers always have more bling than the High Jackee. The videos produced by Nike and Pepsi both have what I call “the wow factor.” You watch the video and want to share it as a result of the story and creativity. Adidas and Coke also produced high quality content that was interesting and compelling –- but needed more “wow” to succeed online.
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Target an audience

Targeting a specific audience may seem like impractical advice when talking about events like the Super Bowl or Olympics, which are inherently broad and have mass appeal. In reality though, you need a core group of evangelists to help spread the word for you, or you will never reach the broad audiences. Reach out to these evangelists early, let them know what is coming and get them excited.

In today’s world, the web and social media are rewriting the rules of marketing. This presents both new opportunities and challenges for brands, but in any event, it is a factor that must be considered when hundreds of millions of dollars in sponsorships are on the line.