For a Japanese national, the question of why a person from the West would come to Japan is a fascinating one, so much so that there’s even a TV show about it: “You wa Nani Shi ni Nihon E?” (“Why Did You Come to Japan?”).
For Jared James the answer is, eventually, that the people he met made Japan “feel like home.”
The New Zealander is profiled in the short documentary “Union,” currently streaming on the website Loading Docs. Directed by Jericho Rock-Archer, the piece dives into the foreignness of Japan, without judgment, as seen through James’ eyes. He moves to Shizuoka in an attempt to reinvent himself and falls into a bit of a rut before finding salvation in rugby, which helps him join a community. The general beats of the documentary are no doubt a familiar tale to many non-Japanese living here currently.
“Union” is meticulously shot and covers a lot of ground in its three-minute running time. It’s also just short enough to get sucked into the many other documentaries posted on Loading Docs, which was launched in 2014 to promote novice New Zealand filmmakers. Among some of the other works on the site are “East Meets East,” which follows elderly Chinese in Auckland, and “Asian Men Talk About Sex,” which features a candid discussion about stereotypes.
“Union” is currently streaming on Loading Docs. For more information, visit www.loadingdocs.net.