This week’s pairing is the 2003 classic Lost in Translation starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, and my four-ingredient vegan Teriyaki ‘Chicken’ on rice.
The film follows American movie star Bob Harris (Bill Murray) as he arrives in Tokyo for a whiskey advertising campaign. He meets 25-year-old Yale University graduate Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) who is in Tokyo with her husband while he works as a celebrity photographer. Suffering uncertainties within their respective marriages, and feeling alone and depressed, they spend a couple of days together and share their most personal fears, secrets, and dreams. The pair share a brief yet intimate connection, until Bob leaves to go back to America and they are separated.
What I love, about this movie, is the soundtrack. Alongside the versatile and chaotic music selection including 80’s and 90’s bangers, and rock hits from bands such as My Bloody Valentine, director Sofia Coppola also uses natural sounds such as Tokyo city life, and oftentimes silence to add dramatic effect to scenes. The film is about what is left unsaid. In the last iconic scene (spoiler alert!) they exchange final words, and Coppola makes a brilliant directorial choice: we cannot hear what is said.
Silence can be extremely powerful, but in our current climate (social, environmental, economic) it is so important for us to use our voices. This means standing up for what you believe in, speaking up against what you don’t, and supporting those who don’t have the capacity to stand up for themselves – sometimes it is as simple as voting in the upcoming election, or attending a protest you feel passionately about. If we want to be our most authentic selves, we have to muster the courage to sway from the status quo sometimes, even when it is difficult, and potentially make family and friends ‘uncomfortable’ by disagreeing with their particular beliefs. A good first step is having conversations with people who are not necessarily like-minded. Listening to one another, without judgement, and finding core similarities so that working on our differences becomes less daunting.
Coppola has described Lost in Translation as a story about “things being disconnected and looking for moments of connection”. These themes are prominently conveyed throughout the film. Initially, the main characters were unable to relate to those around them due to cultural differences as well as the obvious language barrier. They were ultimately able to overcome these obstacles by finding core similarities with their peers, and taking the time to understand each other. As a result, they were able to deeply connect with each other and form a relationship that benefited them both greatly as they endured similar problems in their lives. This is an important lesson to take from the film – everyone has a need to be understood. Sometimes, this takes genuine effort from both parties, but at the core we really aren’t that different.
My vegan Teriyaki Chicken on rice recipe is equally as simple as the key messages of the film. There are days when the last thing you feel like doing is cooking, but you still want something delicious and reasonably healthy. This recipe is easy, affordable, and consists of only four main ingredients – A perfect meal for uni students to make and enjoy alongside a nouveau classic such as Lost in Translation.
– Vegan Chicken (I used Sunfed meats)
– Culley’s teriyaki cooking sauce
– Culley’s sriracha mayo
– White rice
– Add any toppings of your choice for extra flare e.g. green onion, chili
1. Cook “chicken” according to instructions on the package. I pan fried mine along with diced white onion (optional).
2. Pour in teriyaki cooking sauce, I used 3/4 of the sachet. Mix well.
3. Cook rice according to instructions.
4. Serve and garnish with chosen toppings e.g. green onion, chili, sesame seeds, and a drizzle of sriracha mayo.
(follow @ChefXzadz for more recipes)