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Author, scriptwriter and director Nguyen Thu Phuong – “There are similarities between Vietnamese and Japanese culture that encouragingly germinate new creative Japan-related ideas in my mind”
Not only famous of her own work related to either literature or drama and film, author Nguyen Thu Phuong has recently been also known as a talent scripwriter, director and an active MC. She has ever worked for the “Love Bus”- a new version of one of the most well-loved television reality show in Japan, which has been being implemented by a private Japanese television station (Fuji). The show is estimated to be broadcasted on the first of December through channels Hanoi TV, HTV9, HTV7.
Nguyen Thu Phuong is now living and working in HCMC. Inspite of not being able to directly meet and talk to her, the JPF has luckily invited her to join in an online-interview.
1. Ms. Nguyen Thu Phuong! The “Love on a bus” has passed through its first time of running and you must have had unforgettable memories with the program! Could you share with us?
Thank you for the question! Well, it’s possible to say that the “Love Bus” is a relatively huge scope project, which was provided by Fuji – a Japanese television station and is still run and televised not only in Japan, but also in other countries worldwide. The “Love Bus” has always been being loved by the Japanese Young people for the past 9 years. However, setting up a so “Love Bus” in Vietnam was the idea of a Vietnamese Japan overseas student who lived and studied in Japan before and whose wife is Japanese. Now, he becomes director of MCV- an entertainment TV company and takes up the duty of the “Love Bus” production manager.
The “Love Bus” is recognized as a useful and humane TV program. I remember watching original fisrt “Love Bus” runs in Kenia, Romania, etc., I bursted into tears when witnessing 7 Japanese males and females discussing about doing charity and cooking meals for hunger and poor children in Kenia on their own little living allowance. Only beholding and thinking insight of what they did, can we have deeper understanding on how interestingly the Japanese carried on that program.
“Love Bus” in Vietnam first departed from Hanoi to other provinces in the North-West of Vietnam. In addition to connecting friends, the programs aimed at create chances for the participants to discover their country’s beauty as well as to share their hand with community through massive charity activities. However, the program was almost new in Vietnam, so I with the program’s assistants faced numerous difficulties right from the beginning to all of the working process. For example, in the first trial of the itinerary, due to the huge number of registers, we had to set up three competition rounds to examine who could become the itinerary’s fellowships because the program restricted to only 7 people (4 males and 3 females). Besides, we had to run the program consecutively like “rolling up a mat” in chronological order, so we were pulled in higly tense work pressure.
However, the first Love Bus itinerary was successfully completed and ready to be televised that encouraged us to confide in the future of the program.
2. As far as concerned, the program has received positive response and support from the Vietnamese audiences and attracted many participants. So why did you decide to say a farewell with its production group right after it gained some certain success?
I spent almost my time, vigour and heart for the “Love Bus” then. Although that was a short time, I always recognize it a start for my next challenges and difficulties that beset. Besides, I’ve learnt a lot from my own work and from my collaborators during the “Love Bus”. However, I’m always attracted by new trials that make me want to discover and conquer. I always challenge myself to experience more in my own life…so I decided to give it up. I still have to confuse that I was really interested in and ignored so much to have that work. In fact, leaving the “Love Bus” made me feel empty for quite a long time. It was like you say good bye to a just- aqquainted friend that you love…Hardly had my time been not fulled with different projects, could I persue it to the end.
3. The old said “Grasp all, lose all”. Now, you are working either as an author, a journalist or as a scriptwriter and director but can still perfectly coordinate and balance all. How did you do that, especially to a married woman like you?
Well, I can not remember how I struggled with those all things. I just spent my 24 hours and passion on my work and as a result, it passed fluently. I always think about the future and ignore things already done without anxiety and harassment. Besides, I divided my own life in to pieces in order to shoulder all and to live a longer life. That, to me, was quantatively useful way of living despite qualitatively I have the same life span as of other people.
Also due to my passion in working, I had to sacrify a lot. That was about my happy time with family, my relation with friends and my own health. I remember the two months spent with “Love Bus”, there were only several times I enjoy meals with my family. It is, however, for sure that I always highly valuate family life, where I always receive sympathy and sharing on my work burden. A Thing that I most wonder is my health. During the past several years, the hospital became my second home. It sounds funny but to state that “God never gives a man all what he wants”. May be I want to satisfy my ambition by living that way! So I would never feel regret!
4. You might have a strong and optimistic spirit! And your future plans? Would you mind sharing with us?
I have many plans of my own, but one thing I most nurture is to make a TV program on tourism relating to Japanese Culture. Now, I’m working as a collaborator for the program “Vietnam – a hidden beauty” which has been attended by well-known people in various fields to broaden peope’s understanding about Vietnam’s culture, history and tradition. The program is broadcasted on VTV1 (4 times/ week) and on VTV4 channels. Besides, I also take part in other programs such as “Tourism and life” on HTVC, talkshow “warm up family”, etc…Additionally, I still maintain writing, scriptwriting and working as an on-stage director.
I must unveil before “Love Bus” I just look at and think about Japan from a far distance. When I was a child, I watched a Japanese film titled “Moscow, my love”. You know what! I cried a lot. The film was about a love story of a Japanese girl with a Soviet young man. However, the blood cancer that she had got stole her love and forced her to say good bye with him. Not only the girl, but many Japanese were infected by the desease caused by the Agent Orange toxic (mentioning the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki)…An unhappy ending, but a beautiful love!
If I have chance to make films that introduce about Japan in Vietnam, I’ll choose Vietnamese characters of culture and art fields. The films’ contents will illustrate what they will have experienced and felt during their discovery trip to Japan.
Besides, I am working in stage field. So, I think it should be a great idea to effectively universalize Japanese culture to Vietnamese people through massive Japanese drama performances in Vietnam. (For example: Kabuki, Noh). I hope to receive goodwill support and corporation from the Japan Foundation Center in implementing the above mentioned cultural projects!
5. To the greater development of the JPF Center for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam, the Center always hopes to broaden relation with Vietnamese experienced art activists like you. On this chance, would you to send messages to the JPF Center for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam?
I identified that, along with the establishment of the JPF Center for Cultural Exchange in VietNam, the Vietnamese people are having chances to have closer access to Japanese culture. I also found the similarities in the two countries’ culture. To the art activists like me, it serves as an encouraging factor for us to germinate new creative ideas. It’s possibly a Japanese cultural project which can attract people’s attention to discover and love Japan like me.
At last, I wish for long-period cooperation with the JPF Center for Cultural Exchange in VietNam!