Animalistic interactions with strangers and a fantastic Japanese indie film


Three nights ago when I was coughing my face off, my partner finally got me to watch a film she’s been talking about for weeks. It’s a Japanese indie film called”Chihiro-san” in Japanese or “Call me Chihiro” in English.

From the beginning to the end I was completely engaged and it was not a very eventful film. All that really happened for most of it were these little interactions between the main character, an ex-sex worker who now sells lunch boxes in a local town.

This kind of uneventful and slow paced film doesn’t usually interest me that much, it really depends on the sense of the director, what they are trying to say or show…but this film just had me saying “yeaaAaaaahh” from start to finish.

It’s one thing to show you a character having a pleasant interaction with a stranger. It’s another to actually give you the feeling of having a pleasant interaction with a stranger. I couldn’t stop thinking about all the similar interactions I’ve had with people and how they matter more than I give then credit for.

Chihiro felt like who I aspire to be, a bit animalistic in her interactions but not in a predatory or reckless or aggressive way, more like just expressing herself as honestly as possible without overintelluctualizing. Conversation doesn’t have to be forced nor does it have to be avoided.

The fact is, you should be able have a decent interaction with almost everyone you encounter, and while you can’t force people to be something they aren’t, you can encourage then to be their best and most natural self by being your best and most natural self. Anything other than coming from your honest instincts and givingnothers space to do the same can complicate things.

In society, conversations are way harder than they need to be. We imagine that they are supposed to go a certain way or that we need to respond in certain ways. Usually someone wants something, even if it’s just a minute of attention or distraction. We feel obligated to respond sometimes.

Chihiro (and I) live in a world where you can respond however the hell you want, and it usually makes sense to be as amiable as possible. You can also end the conversation at any point and in any way you see fit, and people give you more leighway when you are fun about it.

That’s not to say things always go right, but there is always some amount of influence that you have over every single situation. At the very least you always have control over your focus and how you chose to respond, as well as your overall atittude towards things.

Society has it’s norms and people feel pressure from there but there is nothing forcing you to follow these norms and live inside of them. You can make your own rules, and if you are playful and respectful about it, hardly anyone minds, evenc in a country like Japan which is very bound by tradition.

I can attest to this. I break rules constantly and no one minds, not only because I am foreign but because I am gentle anout it and I have good intentions and its obvious.

When Chihiro sees an old homeless wanderer being bullied by kids she tells the kids to piss off and then gives her lunch box to the homeless man while chatting with him only to discover he’s mute. She invites him to her house for a bath and when he finishes, she goes to get him a beer only to find him at the door.

He bows and leaves and she smiles and says goodbye and drinks the beer herself.

No one is bound to us. Of course we can make promises and agreements but in the end its generally up to us whether or not we want to create or honor such things.

I felt a bit sad when I saw the wanderer so eager to leave because I wanted to know his story, but later we reconnect with him and he introduces us to a secret space that later becomes a refuge for a few of the kids who Chihiru interacts with. The space reminds me a lot of the community spaces I’ve been a part of (although a lot quieter).

I often wonder why people bring their emotional baggage into every interaction. If i ever avoid social interaction its because some people get addicted to you or see you as something convenient that they have attained and don’t respect your sovereignty. Example:

I would love to play music on the street in my neighborhood again but because it’s such an energetic neighborhood with a lot of alcoholics, I’m bound to be PULLED into conversations I don’t necessarily want to be pulled into. That’s not to say it’s not worth it for the interactions I DO want to have.

But It’s this pulling that is not natrual. If we are honoring other people we don’t feel any need to pull them to do something they don’t want to do. We don’t feel the need to pressure them to go along with us. We can be friendly without any strings attached, and if we are bored or uncomfortable or have something else we want to do, we just leave.

Obviously phsyical safety plays into the mix in real life. But funny enough I notice that people in some very dangerous areas are much more willing to start a conversation than in safe places, and I am not just talking about people who are looking to catch someone in a trap. I mean the customer next to you at a restaurant or someone on the bus. The safer places I’ve been are the least likely places to have such interactions.

In the end, if I want to live this kind of animalistic social life where I just do and say what I want minus any disrespect for others, it doesn’t really matter that no one else is doing it. I can do it whenever I want.

That’s why I try hitchhiking in the countryside and use cafes to practice languages when I am in the beginning stages, asking questions to the people next to me. Sometimes I start small talk despite not liking small talk just to say “hey I’m not an enemy, we are cool”. And sometimes I end those conversations as quickly as I start them.

This is all just what it looks like when you flow together with life instead of expecting it to be something it’s not.

Please check out Call me Chihiro if you have Netflix or can find another place to watch it! It’s a really beautiful film!

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Thanks for the recommendation; will definitely have to check this one out. I really like films that are a little off the beaten track.


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I hope you like it! Let me know if you watch it anytime soon 😃


Finally I'll know what movie to watch! :)
I like how you call her interactions "animalistic"...anything dragging you into something you don't necessarily want would be a predator then...?
Enjoyed to read through, I see myself in some parts and others do sound unfamiliar but inspiring!:)