Marianas Variety, Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Visiting Japanese actors lead Paupau Beach cleanup
By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor
Variety Features Editor
MOTIVATED by the cleanups of Beautify CNMI! and Japanese volunteers on island, a famous Japanese actor led several actors and actresses and the entire production crew from Japan in cleaning up Paupau Beach on Monday.
Coming all the way from the Saipan International Airport, Ishibashi Tamotsu, whose filmography includes “Aito Yu No Motoni”, along with 12 other actors and actresses and 13 crew members doing a location shoot on island, joined Pacific Eagle and Beautify CNMI volunteers in an effort to keep the island clean.
According to Pacific Eagle vice president Aya Matsumoto, “Tamotsu really wants to volunteer in the cleanup because he was thinking to make the island of Saipan beautiful.”
This is Tamotsu’s third time to visit Saipan, with the first time spent on commercial production while his second visit was solely for vacation. Tamotsu said that his favorite place is Managaha where he enjoys “diving, snorkeling, and fish feeding.”
Matsumoto also said that it was also the film’s producer Chiaki Nagumo who expressed interest in doing a location shoot on the island. “Mr. Nagumo, who is a tourist ambassador, is the producer of this film and brought all staff and actors (from Japan) for a location shoot on the beach so they want to do clean up here.”
Matsumoto said that “Nagumo called me up about his plan and we coordinated on Saipan for him.”
Beautify CNMI!’s restoration chair Angelo Villagomez welcomed the visitors and praised their volunteerism. Villagomez said, “I was called by Aya Matsumoto to tell me that Ishibashi Tamotsu wanted to do a cleanup of Paupau beach and she told me that one of the reasons he wanted to do that was he heard of Beautify CNMI! and the cleanups we have done at Banzai Cliff Memorial and Suicide Peace Memorial. He wanted to do his part.”
Villagomez added that in is capacity as restoration chair, “I came out here to support our visitors to helping us make this a beautiful place. That has been Beautify CNMI!’s goal to make this a better place to live and for those people who are going to visit.”
Rep. Cinta M. Kaipat, Covenant-Saipan, also praised the Japanese group. Kaipat said, “When Angelo called me up and mentioned to me that this is what they wanted to do, I just couldn’t believe it. I am just thankful to Aya-san and Willie-san for introducing this group. They mentioned that they heard about Beautify CNMI and they wanted to do (cleanup) it — I am so happy.”
Kaipat added, “This just goes to prove my theory that everyone deserves a nice and clean environment. I think when they came here, a famous actor like him (Tamotsu), he is setting a good example that no one is too big of a star to pitch in and help clean up the place.”
Aside from Kaipat and Villagomez, Ken Kramer, Steve Hiney, Capt. Carl Brachear, Pacific Eagle’s Aya and Willie Matsumoto, James Davis, among others, were seen at the site.
James Davis, who has been on Saipan for 16 years and who owns Davis Translation and Consulting Services on the sixth floor of Nauru Building, served as interpreter when Variety interviewed the Japanese visitors.
Through Davis, Nagumo shared his thoughts about the island and the location shoot. Nagumo said, “I’ve been to Saipan over 60 times so I have a lot of affection for the island. And there is an old Japanese movie that I am going to do a remake on and this setting here is very much in sync with that original movie.”
The Japanese production crew, Davis translates, will be doing location shoots “in front of Nikko Hotel, Ladder Beach, Managaha and some Capital Hill locations.”
Through Davis, director Suzuki Kosuke said that film’s story revolves around four elderly gentlemen in their forties who are taking their first overseas trip. They have a local friend who invites them to the islands. They are going to spend their time enjoying the island and will be buying gifts that they can take back home.”
The director also said that production was to begin early Tuesday morning and they will stay on island until the 30th of the month.
When asked about his role, Tamotsu said, “I want to come to Saipan and rethink my life and my future and what is my next step. I will be doing some soul searching.”
His female lead star also said that the movie is “actually a movie about filmmaking.” Davis translated for her and said her role is actually a real actress in the movie and she’s here on Saipan doing a production and having similar questions about her life.
The lead actress, through Davis, said that they are filming about an actual production onscreen and “in the end, I resolve a lot of issues in my head and I have a good resolve with the production.”
Davis, who was invited by Aya Matsumoto to join the cleanup and served as interpreter of the Japanese visitors, remarked, “I like to get involved with particularly things involved with the Japanese community— (whatever) promotes the CNMI, promotes my business.”
“I just like to see more people involved in taking responsibility for cleaning up the island because the tourists are not going to do it for us, no one else is going to do it for us. It is really going to come down to members of the community putting forth their own effort to make sure that when tourists, film crews, and other people come here they have a very good image of the island,” said Davis.
The complete list of Japanese actors and actresses who took part in the cleanup is as follows: Ishibashi Tamotsu (lead star), Nakano Hideo (lead star), Endo Kenichi (lead star), Shimizu Akihiro, Amaka Takafumi, Kawamura Aki, Hata Mizuho, Ikeno Hiroko, Morikawa Yui, and Yoshino Megumi. On the other hand, producers Nagumo Chiaki and Takami Nakano brought to Saipan their production crew that includes director Kosuke Suzuki, Inoue Yuusuke, Yamada Akihisa, Ito Nobuhisa, Takahashi Jun, Mizuno Mikiko, Matsushita Izumi, Kimura Akio, Shigematsu Kentaro, Muraki Tsukasa, and Nomoto Koichi.