A couple of weeks ago, I saw the trailer for an upcoming movie called Jumper, a science-fiction thriller starring Hayden Christensen (you can see it here, at Apple's trailer page). One bit caught my eye, in the scene (45 seconds in) where the main character is standing in front of an auto showroom; namely, the dealership name, Yanase, which is the name of a big luxury-car import business here in Tokyo. (That's a screenshot, to the right.)
"Huh, someone did their research," I thought, assuming (given how relatively generic that sort of setting is), it had been filmed in Los Angeles or Toronto using some random storefront with the "Yanase" sign attached. Nice touch in putting a Japanese taxi on the edge of the scene, I thought.
Last night, I was walking through the Ginza, having left someone's sayonara party1 and having walked with several participants as far as the karaoke place that they were bound for afterwards. Since there's not enough alcohol in Tokyo to get me to sing karaoke, I left them there and cut through the back streets on the way to Shimbashi station. Which is where I ran into this strangely familiar building:
Yes, it's the same building. Which means some Hollywood film crew came all the way out to Tokyo to set up and film (what I assume) is a short scene that -- practically speaking -- could be faked relatively easily (assuming the art director was a stickler for details) in downtown LA or Toronto. 2
Man, that's going the extra mile for authenticity.
1 At a nice Italian place near Yurakucho station called "Scorpion Stazione". Next to the big Muji store and highly recommended.
2 I mention Toronto because it's a very common location for film producers looking to save a few bucks over filming in Hollywood, though I don't know how the weak U.S. dollar is affecting that business.