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Dr Who by Science Museum London used under creative commons licence
Time takes a cigarette
Puts it in your mouth
David Bowie, Rock ‘n' Roll Suicide
Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river that sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that tears me apart, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.
Jorge Luis Borges, A New Refutation of Time
Did I ever make a Time Machine, or a model of a Time Machine? Or is it all only a dream? They say life is a dream, a precious poor dream at times - but I can't stand another that won't fit. It's madness. And where did the dream come from?
The Time Machine, written by H G Wells
We all have our time machines, don't we. Those that take us back - are memories. And those that carry us forward - are dreams.
The Time Machine, directed by Simon Wells
My name is Sam Tyler. I had an accident and I woke up in 1973. Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time? Whatever's happened, it's like I've landed on a different planet. Now, maybe if I can work out the reason, I can get home.
Life on Mars
I saw Chonmage Pudding (in Japanese Chonmage Purin ちょんまげぷりん) a few days ago. It's a romantic comedy. But it's also a time travel movie - in Japan they say time slip. A samurai from the Edo period somehow travels forward in time to the present.
Often a star from the music and entertainment world - so not primarily an actor - will be included in a Japanese movie or TV series to increase its popularity. Ryo Nishikido who stars as the samurai Yasube Kijima is a member of NEWS, an all-male idol pop group controlled by the powerful production company Johnny's Entertainment. Japanese acting generally is rather stylized and artificial and good natural actors like Ken Watanabe or Tadanobu Asano are rare. But Ryo Nishikido did a good job and Chonmage Pudding was clever and charming.
The story revolves around Yasube's relationship with a single mother and her son. They take him into their home. Then he discovers he has a talent for baking cakes and starts working for a patisserie. The film light-heartedly explores how he uses his samurai values as a surrogate father for the boy and in his approach to his new profession. There is a bit of sword action with a cake knife...
Humans have always been fascinated by time travel. Is there a way to defeat the inexorable forward flow of time?
In fact one of the earliest time travel stories was Japanese, the story of Taro Urashima. Only three days seem to have passed but when he returns home it is hundreds of years later. Washington Irving used a similar idea in Rip Van Winkle.
The theme in Chonmage Pudding of going from the past to the future was also seen in movies like The Philadelphia Experiment starring Michael Paré, and Les Visiteurs and the English remake Just Visiting both starring Jean Reno. Adam Adamant Lives! brought someone from Victorian England to the present, but because he was cryogenically frozen, not by time travel.
Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court takes someone from the nineteenth century back to England hundreds of years in the past. There was a nice movie version starring Bing Crosby. Going back in time was also the theme of the great BBC series Life on Mars. Or was it?
Kate and Leopold starring Hugh Jackman and Meg Ryan has people going in both directions, back in time and forward in time, through a portal on the Brooklyn Bridge…
The Back to the Future movies use H G Wells' idea of a time machine to voyage forward and backward in time. The movie uses a Delorean car. In the BBC series Dr Who the Doctor has a Tardis (Time And Relative Dimension In Space), a police telephone box time and space travel machine.
Sometimes a time travel paradox becomes important in the story. In Zipang, the story of a modern Japanese warship going back in time to the Pacific Ocean during the Second World War, the crew tries deliberately not to do anything that could influence the future. Doraemon is a very, very popular comic manga and anime about a blue robot cat. Some of the stories use time travel and the time paradox is an element in the end of the series. Incidentally Kiteretsu Daihyakka by the same comic artists Fujiko Fujio is about a boy prodigy who can make amazing inventions and it occasionally has time travel themes.
At an aikido seminar with Sugano Sensei many years ago a guy asked me earnestly if everyone in Japan wore kimono. Er, no.
The director of The Time Machine, Simon Wells, is the great-grandson of the writer of The Time Machine, H G Wells. Wait! Unless. Could Simon Wells be...?
tip for checking movies www.imdb.com directs you to a page with the title in your language (for example Spirited Away in English) . akas.imdb.com goes to a page with the title in the original language (for example Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi)