We later watched Lost in Translation, which we'd both been interested in seeing. I'm still not quite sure how I'd rank it overall, but, quite enjoyable. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect, despite some worthwhile performances by both leads (although Bill Murray was, frankly, playing Bill Murray, in the same way Sean Connery and Christopher Walken also always play themselves), was that, aside from some karaoke and glimpses of pachinko machines and kanji-laden signs, there was little to suggest this was, in fact, Japan - the movie could quite easily have been switched over to any other country, including the US, with a few find & replace operations on the script. I also didn't, at the end of it all, feel we'd really gained all that much insight into either of them - ultimately, it's a perfectly enjoyable, very well-natured, light romance. But then, maybe I simply couldn't empathise with either - one's a more-or-less retired movie star, able to be flown around the world for endorsements and photo-shoots, whilst the other was the disillusioned wife of a photographer, both of whom are, apparently, utterly bored at finding themselves in Tokyo, with their rooms and the hotel bar providing the key backdrops. In Tokyo! Bah! Give me their money and a city of that caliber, and I'm quite sure I'd be able to have fun. ^_^
Speaking of Chinese, I just noticed a simple interactive (Flash-based) primer to Mandarin Chinese over at the BBC site. Other languages are also available, including French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Short for the day, courtesy of archive.org's presentation of some of past years' Siggraph Electronic Theater demo reels: Horses on Mars, available to download in a couple resolutions - the larger 126MB version is worth the wait.