East is East

Tree_with_sun-wtn-frame

Genre: Love Story

Logline:

A Caucasian-American woman, born and raised in Japan comes to America for the first time and meets a Japanese-American man. Their cultures collide in reverse, ripping open their deluded identities. They must find themselves and their own true value before they can find the love they so desperately seek.

Theme: Love conquers all. Strength comes from within.

**********






FADE IN:

Beautiful made-up ASIAN EYES.  They are closed.  Japanese SHAKUHACHI flute CRIES mournfully.  The eyes open, they look
this way and that.

The eyes are set in the stunning white face of a GEISHA, framed within a wild color version of a Geisha hairstyle.

As the solemn flute music cuts to intense GUITAR ROCK, this Geisha fashion model starts her sassy, hip swaying cake-walk down the runway in a Haute Couture gown by ISSEY MIYAKE.

More similarly clad models pour onto the stage behind her for what is the finale of the show.

 

INT. TOKYO – HOTEL BALLROOM – NIGHT

The Japanese hotel LOGO appears above the runway and applauding audience.

The original model leaves the runway for backstage.

 

INT. HOTEL BALLROOM BACKSTAGE – NIGHT – MOVING

Everyone SPEAKS JAPANESE and she trades obviously witty remarks with several PEOPLE on the way to the dressing room.

 

INT. HOTEL BALLROOM DRESSING ROOM – NIGHT

The girls file in and begin the laborious job of peeling off gowns, wigs and make-up, revealing pretty Japanese faces.  Ropes and splays of long hair tumble out and down their backs.  Others have short bobs beneath the cultured wigs, even with shocks of fluorescent colors blended into natural jet black.

The original model pulls the wig off and luxurious blond hair spills out.  A pad of cold cream wipes across her eyes.

As the pad pulls away and the eyes open, beautiful blue CAUCASIAN EYES stare into the mirror.

JUNKO (JAPANESE) (O.S.)

Karin, you coming to the club with us later?

KARIN is a 23 year old Caucasian woman.  Three grinning girls stand behind her, reflected in the make-up mirror.

KARIN (JAPANESE)

No, not tonight, Junko.  I’m going home for a few days.

JUNKO (JAPANESE)

(knowing look to girls)

Ah, Misumi-San.

Karin spins around, throwing her used tissue at Junko.

KARIN (JAPANESE)

No, not Misumi-san.

MIDORI (JAPANESE)

Oh.  We just thought because he was out there with his parents, that-

KARIN (JAPANESE)

His parents?

Tomoko nods.

KARIN (JAPANESE)

Well, I’ve other plans,
anyway.

Karin turns back to the mirror, speeding up her make-up removal. The three girls skitter away laughing.

TOMOKO (JAPANESE)

Just as well, then.  Guys will look at us first.

 

INT. HOTEL BALLROOM BACKSTAGE – NIGHT

Karin exits dressing room wearing a kimono robe, hair tied back, no make-up.  She sees KEISUKE MISUMI, early thirties, in a western suit, talking to his PARENTS. His FATHER wears a western suit, but his MOTHER is in full formal kimono.

Smiling, Karin starts to approach, but Keisuke does a low hand wave away, reinforcing it with his eyes.  Karin stops dead.

 

EXT. HOTEL – FRONT ENTRANCE – NIGHT

Karin strides out, dressed in a fashionable mini-skirt and leather jacket, a carry-all bag slung over her shoulder.

The blood-red, four-inch pumps supporting her 5′ 10" curvaceous figure, are a redundant accent in this part of the world to her already imposing height. 

The DOORMAN holds the door open to a waiting taxi.  He smiles warmly as she approaches.

DOORMAN

KONBANWA, Karin-san.  The show went well?

KARIN

(returning smile)

HAI.  Very well, DOMO.

She starts into taxi.

KEISUKE (O.S.)

Karin!  Karin, wait!

Karin turns to Keisuki, but doesn’t respond.  He stops before her, out of breath.  He eyes the doorman and speaks English.

KEISUKE

Karin, please.  Why are you leaving like this?  You must understand. The timing is not good.  I am, even now, talking with another big agency about taking our show overseas.

KARIN

You’re not coming with me, then.

KEISUKE

No, I am sorry, I can not

Karin gets in taxi.

KARIN

SHINJUKU EKI MADE, ONEGAI SHIMASU.  (Shinjuku Station, Please)

DRIVER

HAI.

KEISUKE

Karin, please.  Why don’t you just stay here?

KARIN

At your place?

KEISUKE

You know my parents are in town.  I will come to your apartment.

KARIN

You just don’t get it, do you?

She shuts door.

KARIN

Can we leave, please?

DRIVER

HAI.

The taxi pulls out into the ever-flowing stream of traffic leaving Keisuke staring after her.

 

EXT. SHINJUKU STATION – MAIN STREET ENTRANCE – NIGHT

Karin steps from the taxi, briefly glancing at the five story tall TV screen across the street.  Fifty foot tall news images of violence, death and starvation.  Not many pay attention.

 

INT. SHINJUKU STATION – NIGHT

Karin makes her way hurriedly through the throngs of scurrying COMMUTERS, for the last trains of the evening are departing from every platform.

The station is the biggest in Tokyo, but the claustrophobia one might feel clustered tightly amongst multitudes of people, is greatly reduced for Karin can see clearly over every head.  It’s as if she were looking down on a dark undulating sea.

As she moves along to her platform, those that notice this oddity weaving through the crowds, stop and stare, forgetting for a moment their purpose in life.

She arrives as the train pulls up, and waits quietly, as all Japanese do, for the train doors to open.  For several moments of stillness, most eyes are focused on this rare, blond, bright spot, rising up out of the dark sea of bobbing heads.

The doors slide open- SUDDENLY, the peaceful mass of stoic commuters surge forward.  Although there are hardly any human voices, people scream and shout with their bodies, arms and hands, as they push and shove their way into the train car.

 

INT. SHINSHIKU STATION – TRAIN – NIGHT

Karin gets carried along by the stream, and luckily, is one of the first in and slips rapidly into a seat.  The car fills quickly, every inch of sitting and standing space occupied.

Only then, does someone sit next to Karin.  She closes her eyes as the train doors close.  The only NOISE comes from AIR BRAKES RELEASING, the CREAK of wheels, PEOPLE BREATHING, and an occasional soft WHISPER.  Karin doesn’t react to anything.

 

INT. SHINJUKU STATION – KARIN’S PLATFORM – NIGHT

The train slowly pulls out of the station.  The huge platform is now completely empty.

 

EXT. TRAIN TRACKS – VARIOUS PLACES – NIGHT

Karin’s train from different views as it travels through the outskirts of Tokyo, becoming more and more empty.

 

EXT. KARIN’S VILLAGE STATION – NIGHT

The train pulls into the station.  The doors open and only Karin steps out.  She walks unhurriedly along the little rustic platform, her former show of confidence left behind in the city.

The train moves slowly beside her and out of the station, snaking majestically around a curve, the CREAKING and CLAPPING of the wheels SINGING with sudden CRACKS of electric arc that SPIT BLUE FLAME from overhead power cables.

 

EXT. KARIN’S VILLAGE – NIGHT – NEW ANGLE – MOVING

Karin crosses the tracks, and walks up the narrow cobblestone street of her FOSTER PARENT’S village. 

Her long legs, mini skirt, blond hair, even her gait, are anachronistic, not in time, but in place, for this little village is an antique in itself. Except for small paved roads, street lights and a few autos, you’d expect to see Samurai roaming about.

The only SOUNDS are dogs BARKING far off and the CLICK-CLACK, CLICK-CLACK of Karin’s high heels on the cobblestones.

She turns onto a tiny side street.  A few houses in, she unlatches a traditionally carved gate and enters a small yard.  A short curved path takes her to the front door of a charming house. 

She removes her pumps, placing them on a little shelf with other shoes, slips on nondescript slippers, unlocks the door and lets herself in.

 

INT. KARIN’S FOSTER PARENTS’ HOUSE – NIGHT

She turns on some small lamps.  The rooms are very small, traditionally decorated, with a mixture of old and new.

At every threshold, she has to duck down, but this motion is fluid, normal for her.

She enters her BEDROOM, a tiny room, about six feet by ten feet. Bookshelves along one wall, a chair, a small desk at one end with a little TV on it, beautiful color posters of Japanese nature, and a sliding-door closet next to the door.

She strips to underwear, hanging each article away in the closet, then goes to her knees and pulls out a rolled-up futon.  She quickly makes up the bed on the floor.

At the bathroom door, she switches into plastic slippers, before entering.  She bypasses the mirror, siting on the only modern convenience this room offers.  She fills this traditional room like an out-of-scale doll in a dollhouse.

Back to her room, she closes the light and climbs into bed.

In the dim light from the windows, Karin and her futon take up every square inch of available floor space.  From the stillness comes the barely audible sound of CRYING.

 

INT. KARIN’S FOSTER PARENT’S HOUSE – NEXT MORNING

Karin ducks into the DINING ROOM, wearing a kimono and sleepy eyes. On the way into the KITCHEN, she slides open the SHOJI screen to the little JAPANESE GARDEN, then puts an old iron teapot to boil and makes other preparations for breakfast.

She goes to the living room and looks in.  The decor is that of older Japanese people.  She scans the artifacts of the room, subtle emotions playing on her face.  There are pictures of her at different ages, some in school uniforms, some with an OLDER JAPANESE COUPLE, her foster parents.

She looks out to the little garden and its serene beauty.  A gentle MALE VOICE speaking in English with a Japanese accent comes into her mind.  It belongs to OTOHSAN (meaning father), her FOSTER FATHER.

OTOHSAN (V.O.)

Ah, little sparrow, how are you today?  I’ve missed you so much.

KARIN (V.O.)

(young girl’s voice)

But, Otohsan, I saw you this morning.

The image of her old foster father partially materializes in the garden, a memory image, not a ghost.  He’s dressed in garden clothes, a straw hat, and holds a garden tool.

OTOHSAN

That is very true, but I miss you every second you are away.

(concerned look)

But tell me, little one, what is that I see on your face?  Why are you looking so sad today.

KARIN (V.O.)

I don’t know, Otohsan.

OTOHSAN

Are you having trouble with your friends at school again?

KARIN (V.O.)

I don’t have any friends.

OTOHSAN

What?!  No friends. Every little girl has friends. Come here to Otohsan and I’ll give you a big, big hug and I’ll be your friend.  I’ll be your friend forever and ever…

(fades out)

forever and ever… and ever…

Otohsan’s image fades, but another VOICE comes up. That of OKAHSAN (meaning mother), her FOSTER MOTHER.

OKAHSAN (V.O.)

You’re not a child any longer, my Karin, and it is time for you to be among your own people for a while.

KARIN (ADOLESCENT) (V.O.)

(older girl’s voice, starts to cry)

What do you mean, Okahsan?

Karin looks around into the living room where Okahsan’s memory image comes up, an old woman, and herself as an adolescent.

OKAHSAN

There is a school in America-

KARIN (ADOLESCENT)

I won’t go, I won’t go!

OKAHSAN

You need to be with your own people-

KARIN(ADOLESCENT)

You are my people!  I was born here!  I have no connection to America!

With a stern look, Okahsan takes Karin by the arm and forces her over to an old mirror hanging on the wall. Their reflected image is a striking physical comparison.

OKAHSAN

There, there is your connection, my daughter!  Our love for you is complete in every way, but we are not your history.  We have been selfish in our love and raised you only in the Japanese way.

KARIN(ADOLESCENT)

Okahsan, you and Otohsan have raised me in the proper way.  I couldn’t be anymore Japanese. 

OKAHSAN

Yes, Karin, that is true, the way of your heart is Japanese, but… but also the truth is, you are not Japanese and can never be.

Karin renews crying.

OKAHSAN

This is why we speak to you in English.  Life for a GAIKOKUJIN, a foreigner, in Japan, follows a narrow road. It is very hard to find career and hard to find… family.

KARIN(ADOLESCENT)

You mean no man will marry me because I’m GAIJIN!  So, that is your plan?  To send me off to America to grow up and find another GAIJIN to marry me, so we can have cute little GAIJIN babies?!

The gentle voice of Otohsan comes up again.

OTOHSAN (V.O.)

Maybe the child is right, Eiko.  What future would a Japanese heart find in America?

OKAHSAN

The future is always uncertain, ANATA (honey), but the heart finds its own way.

The teapot’s hissing scream brings her back, calling her into the kitchen.

 

 
 

end of sample EAST IS EAST

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