Filmed entirely on location in Japan during the 2002 World Cup by director Pablo Aldrete, Nippon e Yokoso is a 75-minute feature about a Mexican soccer fan named Daniel (Nacho Sanchez) who confronts a young Japanese woman named Naoko (Honaga Yoko) after she steals his wallet on the subway. Daniel surprises Naoko by inviting her to go out for a meal, but she has other things on her mind: a yakuza boss assigned her to steal the wallet of an Asian man and she completely bungled it by targeting a Mexican guy who is now asking her for a date. Is he out of his mind? Realizing that the yakuza is closing in on her, she agrees to go with Daniel to buy herself some time. It's a simple plot with minimal dialogue, but set against the backdrop of the World Cupan exciting time to be in Japanthe film works well as a love story and travelogue/road movie, that is, if you like slow-paced films. The two talented young actors have excellent chemistry and Honaga, a butoh dancer, is a real discovery. She could be a real star someday. Perhaps Mexican directors just have a knack for guiding young Japanese actresses.
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