Noka Films

films that challenge preconception and bias

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Architecture student Ichiro decides to go cheap and not visit his family back in Japan for New Year’s. But living in an apartment in Times Square, he quickly finds the night more annoying than festive. Disgruntled by the bacchanal outside, he spends an anti-climatic countdown alone in his living room.

Meanwhile, the gods insist that no one should spend New Year’s alone…and send Sadako, the Ghost of New Year’s, to make noodles for Ichiro. Throughout the night, Sadako and Ichiro get to know each other the Japanese way: by rounds and rounds of sake. They discuss relationships, culture differences, future aspirations, and top off the night dancing in a drunken stupor. But Sadako has an agenda, and Ichiro has no idea that the fate of his new year is in her hands.

Director’s Statement

The idea of A Happy New Year comes from true experiences that the director had during her 4 years of living in the center of Times Square. Her apartment was in the heart of New York; yet at times, no place could have been more lonely. One New Year’s Eve, she decided to stay in New York for the holidays….only to discover that Times Square on this day is a nothing but a big rowdy mess.

New Year’s is the biggest holiday in Japan, and it is a time when family and friends get together in good spirits to wish each other a good and prosperous new year.  The city is blooming all night long with events and parties. The shrines and temples are open for visitors who come to enjoy the vibrant festivals. In the home, we all gather by the TV and watch special “New Year’s” programs. We play games in the kotatsu, a table with a comforter skirt and a heater underneath. And as a wish for a long life, it is customary to eat long noodles (soba or udon) around when the time hits midnight.

The start of a new year is very important in the Japanese culture. The first greeting, the first shrine visit, the first dream you have–are all factors that shape the fate of your new year. So how you spend your new year’s is crucial and never to be underestimated.