charles rangeley-wilson – writing about fishing, travel, rivers, conservation

Fish! – A Japanese Obsession


It seems my film a Japanese Obsession was broadcast again on BBC4 last Monday night at 2310: which gives anyone reading this a few hours to catch it on iPlayer. I wish I’d known – I never saw the film when it broadcast the first time round and none of my DVDs of it actually work. Oh well. Anyway, I thought something was up when comments pinged in out of nowhere. I’ve copied each of them below as with no info on my site the comments ended up on random pages, but thanks for the feedback – much appreciated. I have now put up a short page on my Japanese foray. It is possible, I think, to view the film on one or two video streaming websites.

“Hi, I just watched Fish A Japanese Obsession on bbc 4. I’m Japanese chef and living in Scotland for 10yreas came from Hiroshima. I was correspondent for Japanese news paper when Syunsuke Nakamura was in celtic fc If you going to make any more program about Japanese fishing industry please let me come with you. I can interpret and translate. And I’m very keen fisherman. Mac.”

Thanks Mac – no plans at present. 

“Good documentaries. I watched ‘Fish!-A Japanese Obession’ again yesterday as it was on iplayer. You should make more documentaries. As much as the concept, I really enjoy the style and presentation of the documentary. Best wishes. SR”

Glad you liked these things SR.

“why is there nothing on your site about your visit to Japan? and the series you did there? who is Aki? did you ever meet him again? is there going to be a follow up on how anything has changed or not? Paul.”

There is now. Aki is Aki. I hear from him from time to time. He is a dude of note.

“Dear Charles, I’ve just seen your BBC4 project about Japan and fish on bbc iplayer. I am Japanese and knew about Minamata issues, but didn’t know that those who lodged lawsuits are still suffering from bullying, which is really shocking. It was good to know that. I just wanted to thank you to give me an opportunity to rethink about Minamata. Best wishes Yoko”

There’s a Minamata in every national cupboard Yoko.

11 Responses to “Fish! – A Japanese Obsession”

  1. Eugene McVeigh

    Dear Charles,

    This is by far the best documentary I’ve seen in a long time. I am not a fisherman but as a travelogue this film was simply wonderful. Unfortunately I did not record it on hard drive and viewed OT once on BBC iPlayer. Is this film due a repeat soon? If not it should!

  2. rangeley

    Hi Eugene, I don’t think so, but then I didn’t know it was being repeated either. I’m delighted you enjoyed it and much appreciate the comments.

  3. Dan

    Charles, I just wanted to say thanks for making such a great documentary! As a relatively frequent visitor to Japan – and an enthusiastic eater of Japanese cooking! – it was both super interesting and, it must be said, side-splittingly funny in places. You should try and get this more widely distributed, I only caught it by accident on iplayer!

  4. rangeley

    Hi Danny, thanks for the feedback. A lot of people found the film funny. Much of that was down to how well Gavin put the thing together and the fact that we kept filming when the day was obviously going sideways. Funasushi man was all for real and quite obviously mad as a bicycle, so we let him take over and the result was me para-gliding in a panda suit. Charlie.

  5. Dan

    Yes, not just Shacho – who was awesome in a way that totally encapsulates my experiences of travelling in Japan, where you can not infrequently find yourself in bizarre yet deeply comic situations with language/cultural differences at their root! – also e.g. the guy at the fishing “amusement arcade” in Tokyo, Aki suggesting the need for a chef to cook his prawns, the Fugu man talking about death… Great stuff! Dan

  6. Aidan Whitehall

    Just seen “Fish!” On BBC FOUR. What a wonderful programme. Well done, and thank you.

  7. Florent Madiot

    I love this documentary. It is just as raw fun, raw fish and good travel adventure.
    Well done !! It may me want to go back to Japan again and again.
    When is the next travelogue ?

  8. rangeley

    Florent, a good question. No more films planned, but I still have all my notebooks together with a slowly evolving idea for a travelogue/fiction in print … one day! Thanks for your note. Much appreciated. Charlie.

  9. mihail ion

    Hello Charles,
    just saw the film here in Romania, great documentary, I think it capture the Japanese spirit very well (I am a fan of the Japanese culture and civilisation). You use the fish as a way to explain a way of life and its mentality. Excellent work.
    Mihail Ioan
    P.S. the soundtrack comprise a very good selection. The one I liked much was the one when with the fish hunting by the cormorants. Is it a Led Zeppelin track? Which one?

  10. rangeley

    It was a rare version of Whole Lotta Love I seem to remember.

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