Are the Japanese more nostalgic than the rest of us? It's hard to say, but here cinematic look-backs tend to be more bittersweet than in the West, especially films set in Tokyo, which was obliterated in World War II and has undergone several reincarnations in the six decades since.

My boyhood neighborhood in Ohio still resembles my 1950s memories (though the trees are bigger and the sidewalks look smaller); for boomers raised in Tokyo, though, the physical world of their childhoods has mostly vanished — only a few random corners and memories remain.

In 2005, Takashi Yamazaki, then known as a sci-fi and fantasy specialist ("Returner," "Juvenile"), released "Always — 3-chome no Yuhi (Always — Sunset on Third Street — 2)" a warm-hearted ensemble drama, based on a comic by Ryohei Saigan, set in a 1958 neighborhood in the shadow of Tokyo Tower, then under construction.