One of the abiding memories of my trip to Japan was when I was in Kyoto, going for a walk along the river that runs through it, when I heard the sound of someone playing a trumpet. I looked, and on the other bank (it’s quite a wide river) was schoolgirl practising with a friend sitting nearby. I thought at the time it was like something out of a j-drama, and I dawdled as slowly as I could (without it looking odd) so I could listen for a while.
Then, over this last weekend, I saw the film Swing Girls which, indeed, contains not one but two scenes of schoolgirls practising playing brass instruments by a river. So at least now I know what inspired her.
This film is a determinedly upbeat feel-good movie, caring little for plausibility, and it glides from one minor setback to the next without ever seeming like a happy ending is ever in doubt. But that’s not the point. It never pretends to be anything it’s not, so you can relax and enjoy the performances (Ueno Juri, in the lead role, steals the show but everyone is good) for ninety minutes and then walk away with a warm glow that’ll last until bedtime/you spill some food down your shirt/you remember you still haven’t paid the bills. Whichever comes first.