Find your way within this "Lost in Translation" quiz.

By: Olivia Cantor
Image: American Zoetrope Tohokushinsha Film

About This Quiz

The 2003 film, "Lost in Translation" has been hailed as one of the best film of the 2000s. While it has its share of accolades and criticisms, the film’s themes resonate with different kinds of people in various intersections of life. Think you can decipher the film with us? Then take this quiz and find out!

In which country is the film set?

"Lost in Translation" is set in Japan.

The film is partly based on real-life travels by writer-director Sofia Coppola. It was also co-produced by her dad’s production company. Who is her legendary filmmaker father?

Sofia is from the filmmaking clan headed by Francis Ford Coppola. Brother Roman is also a filmmaker, who likes directing music videos.

The film’s main story takes place in which colorful and busy city in Japan?

The vibrant city of Tokyo is where the film’s story takes place. While it is also as multicultural as New York, one could still get lost in translation there since many Japanese aren’t so fluent in English, and most signages also lack English counterparts.

Tokyo could look like any other cosmopolitan area in the developed world, but this city’s nightly displays give a unique vibe that characterizes the film. What kind of displays are these?

The Japanese love their neon lights! Many of the colorful nightly displays of Tokyo are designed with these flashy colors.

The film’s story introduces us to Mr. Bob Harris, a visiting traveler, played by Bill Murray. What is Mr. Harris’ nationality?

Bob Harris is from the USA. He’s a middle aged American who looks disenchanted at Tokyo’s neon lights — or maybe he’s jetlagged.

Along the busy neon displays of Tokyo, Bob Harris spots a billboard with his face on it. What is his occupation, if he’s that famous?

Bob Harris is a Hollywood actor. And if you have a billboard in Japan, he’s still a famous one.

Why is Hollywood actor Bob Harris in Tokyo?

Bob is like many Hollywood A-listers who travel the world and do product endorsements. They seem to do that a lot more in Japan, though, where they shoot commercials exclusively for Japanese media airing.

What is the name of the product that Bob Harris is promoting in Japan?

Suntory is a Japanese-originated brand. It is known as a top producer of alcoholic beverages in the country.

Since Bob is a famous Hollywood actor, he can’t go outside that much — or even within the hotel’s premises — without this happening.

Bob easily gets recognized, especially by fellow Americans, whenever he steps out of his room.

What kind of alcoholic product is Bob endorsing for Suntory?

Bob is an endorser of Suntory Whiskey. It’s not clear if he is also an avid drinker of the product, but he’s happy to get the paycheck!

Meanwhile, another character, Charlotte, is introduced to us in the film. Who portrayed this young woman?

Scarlett Johansson played the twentysomething American college graduate, Charlotte. However, she was reportedly only 17 years old when they shot the film. Doesn’t look it!

In the film, we see Charlotte doing more touristy things than Bob, like visiting ancient temples. What kind of people did she see in these temples or shrines?

Charlotte is the one we see visiting Buddhist monks. There are many in Japan, for Buddhism is widely practiced there.

What traditional design-focused touristy exposure did Charlotte encounter in Tokyo?

Charlotte is also seen walking into a room where a class on the traditional art of Japanese flower arranging is being held. They call this art form ikebana.

Why is Charlotte in Japan?

It turns out that Charlotte, the young American woman in Tokyo, is there because her young husband, John, is working there for the meantime. Since she had nothing much to do, she went along for the ride.

What is Charlotte’s husband's job?

Charlotte’s husband, John, is a photographer who goes on shooting gigs wherever they are. And since he’s focused on celebrity shoots, he goes where he is assigned.

As a concerned husband, John wants Charlotte to stop doing this daily vice. What is it?

Charlotte seems to smoke a lot. John wants her to stop, since he doesn’t smoke.

Both Bob and Charlotte are booked in the same Tokyo hotel. What top brand hotel franchise owns their hotel?

Bob and Charlotte are both booked at the Park Hyatt Hotel. The hotel rooms are actually part of the bigger Shinjuku Park Tower building, located in the Shinjuku ward commercial district.

Bob and Charlotte meet for the first time inside the hotel’s premises. Where exactly do they meet?

Charlotte recognizes the lone Bob one night, so she sends him a drink. The next time, they start chatting, like what strangers or travelers do when meeting in hotel bars within a foreign land.

To entertain himself in the hotel, Bob tries out one of its sporty amenities. Which of these types of premises did he visit?

To brush off his malaise, or to pass away time, Bob decided to visit the hotel gym one day. But since he had a brief gym machine malfunction at the treadmill, he quit after a few seconds.

Since Bob is shooting a commercial to be shown in Japan, his director is Japanese. How do they communicate?

A female Japanese interpreter doesn’t seem to be doing a good job for Bob, as he noticed. When the director would explain many sentences to her, she would translate it to Bob in just one sentence. So something indeed gets lost there.

What is the TV ad tagline that the Japanese director wants Bob to say out loud?

The Suntory Whiskey tagline is “It’s Suntory time!” The director wants Bob to mouth the words in the coolest way possible, which he doesn’t understand via the poor translation.

Apparently, they use fake whiskey in the shoot, as Bob discovered. What do the Japanese film crew substitute for the whiskey in his glass?

Since iced tea looks like whiskey, the Suntory commercial crew uses it as a prop substitute. Why they can’t use the real thing baffles Bob so much.

The Japanese photographer specifically wanted a “Sinatora pose” from Bob, which he didn’t understand. But when the photographer said “Old Blue Eyes,” he understood what he meant. Who is the photographer referring to?

Sinatra is apparently known worldwide, so the photographer wants Bob to mimic Old Blue Eyes’ Rat Pack dapper pose. Bob gets it!

When the Japanese photographer asked Bob to do a “Loger Moore pose,” the Hollywood oldie didn’t get it. But when the photographer said “007," he got it. What did it mean?

James Bond is another internationally famous character from western movies, popular in the east. So both the photographer and Bob knew what 007 meant.

Every country has their own version of a Hollywood figure. In this case, Bob got invited to a talk show, of which the talk show is dubbed as the "___ ____ of Japan." Which American late night talk show host is he patterned after?

Bob’s agent told him that he got an invite from the "Johnny Carson of Japan." But the Hollywood oldie is not so sure about this.

Bob and Charlotte shared some stories over drinks while in the hotel bar. When it was revealed that Charlotte just graduated from college, Bob asked what her major was. What is her major, anyway?

Charlotte mentioned that she just "graduated last spring” and that she is a “philosophy major” back in school. She’s currently unsure of where to go next, career-wise, after school. Thinking too much?

How long did Bob say he had been married?

Charlotte confessed that she was only married for two years. Bob has been married for 25 years, so she says he’s due for a midlife crisis.

Since Bob and Charlotte started talking, they also started hanging out, later doing touristy things. What specific entertainment activity did they do in Tokyo one night?

The very Japanese way of entertainment in a videoke place has become mainstream globally. But Bob was still game to sing a tune with Charlotte and her friends somewhere in downtown Tokyo.

Bob and Charlotte also went inside a very noisy entertainment place usually full of kids and teenagers. What kind of place is this?

Bob and Charlotte passed inside an arcade without engaging in anything there. It’s just like American arcades: too noisy and full of kids playing.

Aside from trying Japanese entertainment, Bob and Charlotte also tried Japanese dining together. In what place did they go out to eat one time?

Bob and Charlotte went to a small sushi bar to have a meal. Good thing they both like raw fish!

Bob and Charlotte also experienced the weird side of Japanese entertainment, thanks to Charlotte’s bohemian friends. What type of adult entertainment did they walk out of?

Charlotte took Bob to the Orange Place where she was supposed to meet some friends. But when they arrived, there was a dancing topless girl in front of them. They felt uncomfortable and left.

Global impact: One of Charlotte’s young Japanese friends decided to adopt a nickname from a classic American comic strip character. Which kiddie character was this?

One of Charlotte’s bohemian friends named himself Charlie Brown. Yes, they’re that bohemian!

Once in a while, Bob corresponds with his American wife via this means.

Bob still calls long distance and phones his wife. However, it’s hard for them to talk because of the time zone differences, as well as other unseen emotional differences between them...

All talk and no oomph: So did Bob and Charlotte finally have a sexual affair?

While the emotional tension may have been leading to sexual tension between Bob and Charlotte, they didn’t have a sexual affair. However, an emotional one might be more powerful, so...

For their last Tokyo encounter, Bob rushed to Charlotte on a busy sidewalk, where he gave her a brief kiss. What else did he do?

Bob whispered something intimate to Charlotte, and she responded positively, but the audience can't hear what it was. Director Sofia Coppola didn’t want us to hear it, as she said she wanted for that to be the two characters’ secret. But it worked!

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