Title: Winter in Tokyo (2016)
Director: Fajar Bustomi
Writer: Titien Wattimena
Based on: Winter in Tokyo by Ilana Tan
Cast: Dion Wiyoko, Pamela Bowie, Morgan Oey, Brandon Nicholas Salim, Kimberly Ryder, Brigitta Cynthia, Ferry Salim
Genres: Drama, Romance
Running Time: 103 minutes
Languages: Indonesian, Japanese
Rating: Remaja di atas 13 tahun (teenagers over 13 years old)
Production Companies: Unlimited Production, Maxima Pictures


Film “Winter in Tokyo” bercerita tentang Ishida Keiko (Pamela Bowie), seorang wanita blasteran Jepang-Indonesia yang tinggal di sebuah apartemen di pinggiran kota Tokyo. Keiko bekerja sebagai petugas perpustakaan. Ia menyimpan sebuah impian untuk bisa bertemu kembali dengan cinta pertamanya yang bernama Kitano Akira (Morgan Oey). Di sisi lain, Nishimura Kazuto memutuskan kembali ke Tokyo setelah bertahun-tahun tinggal di New York. Hal itu disebabkan karena wanita yang selama ini ia cintai, Iwamoto Yuri (Kimberly Ryder) memutuskan untuk menikah dengan pria lain.

Saat musim dingin tiba, Keiko bertemu dengan Kazuto (Dion Wiyoko). Kehadiran Kazuto sebagai tetangga barunya, yang baru saja kembali ke Jepang setelah lama tinggal di Amerika itu membuat hidup Keiko yang awalnya kaku, menjadi lebih bersinar. Karena terus bersama-sama di sepanjang musim dingin, alhasil benih cinta tumbuh di hati Kazuto. Namun, Keiko justru memilih Akira.

Sebuah kejadian di suatu pagi, Kazuto terbangun dan tidak mampu mengingat apapun, bahkan semua yang pernah terjadi di antara Kazuto dan Keiko juga terlupakan. Pada saat itulah Keiko baru menyadari bahwa ia baru saja kehilangan seseorang yang sangat berarti dan telah menjadi bagian hidupnya.

Film Winter in Tokyo merupakan film drama romantis Indonesia yang diadapatasi dari novel berjudul sama karya Ilana Tan.


Winter in Tokyo is perhaps the second film I’ve ever watched in the cinema after Habibie & Ainun (2012). I mean, Habibie & Ainun was so good that I decided to watch it. Habibie is Indonesia’s third president and Ainun is the love of his life. The story of that film is about Habibie’s life in Germany and how did he fell in love with his late wife. It was based on President Habibie’s book and what can I tell you is that the film was really good. Seriously. Anyway, we’re not talking about Habibie & Ainun, so let’s get back on track. I decided to watch Winter in Tokyo because it’s based on my favourite novel, written by my favourite author, Ilana Tan. Unfortunately, I never really intended to watch it until Ilana Tan released a short story that tells about the life after Winter in Tokyo. The book is placed on a pre-order and the first 240 buyers will also get a film ticket along with the book. Since I really want the book so bad, I then pre-ordered the book and guess what? I get the ticket as well! I have to come to the premiere and take the book alongside the ticket for the film because apparently, I can’t have one without the others and therefore, I should come to the premiere. This is my first time going to a movie premiere like that. So many actors and actresses that I have recognised were there, but I don’t really don’t know their names. Surprisingly, my mother knows many of them. I also happened to see the one that I have known for years. Though none of them are my favourites. If Raline Shah or Christian Sugiono came, perhaps I will be more excited. So when people got excited and asking for photographs and signs, I just stared at them blankly and stood still. Though my mother is a little bit excited about it. She likes to see actors and actresses in person. Even though she never asks for any photographs or signs, she just loves to see them in person. That’s funny and cute at the same time, Mama! Anyway, let’s talk about the film.

To tell you the truth, I don’t know much about Indonesian actors or actresses, or should I say the newest ones. Don’t ask me why. However, I do know about some of the characters here because they happen to be not-so-new actors and actresses. Before this film, another Ilana Tan’s novel is also made into a film but it wasn’t a major success because there are so many problems in the production, including the choice of the main female character. I can’t say much about it myself since I haven’t seen the film. However, I think this time, Winter Tokyo is better. The choice of actors and actresses is definitely better because they look quite like in the novel. Not exactly the same, of course, but similar. At least I can imagine them fit into the story. They all look pretty much Japanese enough. It’s necessary because the book is all about Japan.

“Kenapa harus takut gelap kalau ada banyak hal indah yang hanya bisa dilihat sewaktu gelap?”Nishimura Kazuto

As for the story, let me summarise it for you in English. Winter in Tokyo is about a girl named Ishida Keiko who has a new neighbour called Nishimura Kazuto. He’s a photographer from New York who moved to Tokyo because he wanted to start a new fresh. The two of them started to hang out together and Kazuto starts to fall in love with Keiko. Keiko has always liked her first love named Kitano Akira, whom she never met ever since he helped her ages ago. However, without her realising it, Keiko also starts to fall in love with Kazuto too. At Christmas day, Kazuto finally expressed his feeling towards Keiko before Keiko went to his parents’ house at Kyoto and Kazuto is going to wait for her answer when she gets back to Tokyo. Unfortunately, when Keiko comes back, Kazuto went missing and when he finally returned, he completely forgets about Keiko or the last two months in Tokyo. Not only he came back alone, he came back with Kazuto’s previous love, Iwamoto Yuri.

The story in the film, compared to the book, doesn’t change much. Some scenes were combined with other scenes as well for film’s purposes. Well, of course, it happens, right? You can’t possibly put everything in the book to a less-than-2-hours film, don’t you think? But I’m glad it doesn’t change the story at all. The languages they used are a mixture of Japanese and formal Indonesian. I thought it was weird, but as the film goes on, I find it unique. And they are using formal Indonesian to cultivate the right way of our language. I think that’s a smart choice! Today’s slang words are just not that good to be cultivated worldwide. I think Dion Wiyoko really suits the role. His hobby of photography is useful in this story because of Nishimura Kazuto also a photographer. However, I don’t know if Dion Wiyoko looks Japanese enough, but Pamela Bowie surely does. She really fits the role of Ishida Keiko. About the acting, I think Dion Wiyoko’s act is the most natural. I mean, I’m not saying the others aren’t. It’s just compared to him, the others still have the flaws. Yeah, Dion Wiyoko really feels more natural. I like Brandon Salim and Ferry Salim too. Like father like son, Brandon’s acting is very natural. Ferry Salim is indeed a very well-known actor since a long time and his talent is inherited to his son, apparently. Most of them didn’t speak their Japanese like the real Japanese. It’s not fluent enough, but it is still acceptable.

Let me tell you about the story. You have to know that I’ve read the book so many times by now. The story is just too sweet and funny. Every time I read it, I will smile and laugh over and over again. Yep, the book is that good. That’s why my standards are high for this film. I think they put a good portion of comedy and love story here. I expect more from this film because I always imagine how Kazuto would be like and how he would treat Keiko. However, I think they really have done a good job in making the novel to a film. It’s sweet, though not as sweet as in the book—yeah, I know, the book is way too sweet—but it’s sweet enough to make me smile sometimes—no, not all the time like I did when I read the book, but still, it’s good enough. I think this is the downside why people should watch the film first rather than read the book because I can’t stop myself comparing the two of them, even though I know they are different. What can I say? I think all people will do that, right? Some of my favourite scenes are not in the film. I think those scenes are actually the sweetest one. But well, the film is still enjoyable.

Perhaps what I don’t like about this film is the ending. Yeah, I know, again, the ending? What’s wrong me? So, if you’re expecting the same ending, please don’t. Because it’s not the same. Is it still happy ending? It is. But why I don’t like it? Well, I can’t tell you that because it will spoil everything. It’s a good ending and I think it’s more make sense in the real world, but I like the ending from the book better. I don’t know. I’m still debating about the ending, though. The filmmaker said that they don’t want to make a film exactly the same as the book. What’s the fun in that? Yeah, I get their point of view, but I’m still a reader turn to film viewer, so of course, I expect the film would be like the book. Anyway, it’s just a minor flaw that I think we can overlook. Everyone can have their own opinion, right? Therefore, it’s not a big deal. Winter in Tokyo is sweet, romantic, funny, and most importantly, worth to watch.

I give Winter in Tokyo 8 out of 10 stars.

😘   Toodle-oo,