When I met Shinobu Yaguchi at a Chicago sushi restaurant on March 1, I made my usual mistake with well-known directors: mention that I had interviewed him before. He, understandably, blanked, since the interview was 20 years ago for his 1997 indie comedy "My Secret Cache" ("Himitsu no Hanazono")

But if I'd had one-to-ones with him about other films of his I'd reviewed for this newspaper, starting with his 1993 feature debut "Down the Drain" ("Hadashi no Pikunikku") and continuing with his 2001 smash "Waterboys," his response may well have been the same. In general, journalists begin to dissolve in a director's mind the moment they exit the room. After about five introductions, if you're lucky, you begin to stick.

This time, though, I was going to present "Survival Family," Yaguchi's latest comedy about the journey of a Tokyo family across Japan after the world's electricity grid goes down, at Asian Pop-Up Cinema, a festival founded by Sophia Wong Boccio, a longtime friend and colleague.