Yesterday was my 3rd time going to movie in Japan. It was my first time going alone, though. The previous two I went with friends, one of whom speaks Japanese very fluently. Mind you, Japanese fluency is not enough to bring you an enjoyable movie experience 😀
Holiday and ladies day. Many options for child-friendly movies. The queue was so long it reached the front of store next to the cinema. I came only 20 minutes before the schedule and lined up in jittery. To my relieve, I got my ticket in 15 minutes and the theatre was pretty vacant.
If you are Indonesian who want to watch a movie in Japan, there are not much difference (other than language used) than the cinemas in Indonesia. Regardless where you come from, there are precautions:
- Language. Would you mind the movie is dubbed in Japanese or would you like it in its original language (mainly English as most of non-Japanese movies are Hollywood movies).
- Price. Do you mind paying full?
- Type of audio/visual experience. 3D? 4DX?
Unless you are not aiming for any specific movie, do check the schedule at the cinema’s website (uh, yes, mostly it’s in Japanese). Because, when a (Hollywood) movie is set to release, it’s not necessarily screened at the same time in Japan. (been there waiting for Spectre… and now still waiting for Deadpool)
Also, seeing the options beforehand can help you to decide on what time to come. For example, yesterday at Movix Iias Mall Tsukuba, the subtitled Civil War is only screened twice a day; 11.20 and 20.20. No, you don’t want to spend that much time at a mall just to wait for the next screen time.
If you want a 3D or 4DX movie, make sure you deliver the message correctly. Worry not, you can just point at the screen the attendants provide to make it clearer.
Unlike movies in Indonesian theatres where they are available ‘as is’, (most) movies in Japan are available in Japanese (dubbed) unless it says not. If you did not specify, you might get an interesting experience 😀
If you are expecting to watch Hollywood movie in English (or other movies in its original language, maybe), make sure you look for the kanji shown in the picture above (ji maku; subtitle) in front of the movie title. It means the movie has Japanese subtitle. How to order? Say “Jimaku no [movie title] onegai shimasu”.
The default ticket price differs by the cinema. But they usually have different scenario such as student price (you have to show your student ID at the purchase counter), person in wheelchair (along with 2 companies), senior citizen, ladies/men’s day etc. which may vary.
It’s common for cinemas in Indonesia to choose your seats. This may not apply to every country. In Japan, it applies the same. You choose your seat when purchasing the ticket. If you don’t mind to sit anywhere, you can try tell the attendant so. “Doko de mo daijoubu.” (but I suspect s/he will want you to choose anyway, just pick randomly then)
Food and beverage are available. Popcorn, fries, hotdogs (I think), sodas, tea… I did not mind them because I usually eat first or later and not a popcorn person :p (well, unless… uhm… hehehe… too hungry)
Surely you are not allowed to record or take picture, talk, use cellphone (your screen glares!), disturb others, etc. The common restrictions you find on cinemas are also relevant here.
What makes watching movie in Japan different is how obedient the people is. The Japanese are quiet all the time. The only thing disturbed me was my own friends talking and using cellphone (tsk, gaijin :p ). So when yesterday I watched movie alone, it was totally quiet.
I used to consider myself very quiet during movies. In Indonesia. (any friend who had gone to movie with me would confirm that). Not here, apparently. The audience was so quiet that I felt a bit tense because… I was the only one laughing, gasping, giggling (fan-girling… nyaawwww… ). So I was self-conscious all the time, trying to well behave ^^;