Japanese actress Mikako Tabe visited Sydney recently as part of the Japanese Film Festival. Mikako Tabe is an accomplished actress who has worked in theatre, musicals. television and the big screen. In Piece of Cake Mikako Tabe plays Shino Umemiya, a twenty something woman who falls in and out of love in modern Japan. Hello Asia editor Johnny Au speaks to Mikako Tabe about playing Shino Umemiya and her career so far.

Your character Shino in Piece of Cake is seen to be a very vulnerable character. How did you prepare for the role? And do you empathise with Shino and as well as her love competitor Akari as well?

I did read the original manga Piece of Cake and I felt great sympathy for the character Shino as a woman who is in her mid 20s. I was 25 when I first read the manga so I had a great deal of sympathy for the pain she was feeling and the things that happen when you fall in love and then fall out of love and you have failures in your romantic life. Yet, you hold out hope for the next thing. So I was trying to express myself fairly directly in terms of my own emotional experiences to do with that and I hope that was put across in my performance.

What attracted you to Shino and work on Piece of Cake? What was your first impressions of the film after you read the script for the first time? What challenges did you have playing the role of Shino?

Having read the manga and feeling a great deal of sympathy for the character Shino when it actually came to performing the role I always had this feeling that I wasn’t sure it was coming through 100% what I was feeling about Shino and allowing it into the performance.

You have appeared in many films, television dramas, musicals and plays. Is there one particular discipline of performing which you are most interested in? What has been your favourite role so far n your career?

I particularly like the stage so all the characters I’ve played on stage I liked.

What was it like to work with Mr Taguchi as your director? What have you learnt from him whilst working on Piece of Cake?

Mr Taguchi took time to rehearse so we had a day of rehearsals before we started shooting the movie. Before each shot we would rehearse the take quite thoroughly. Of course what happens is when you keep doing the same thing over and over again there is a part of you that gets bored with it and it ceases to be fresh. But you have to sustain your sense of freshness about that moment over and over again so that was quite a challenge whilst I was working on Piece of Cake. But that is how Mr Taguchi likes to work.

What is your next role? I hear you just wrapped up filming on a new film?

It’s a comedy. Yes we have just shot the film.

Ms Tabe thank you for your time and please enjoy Sydney!

Thank you very much!

Catch the Japanese Film Festival in Melbourne November 26 – December 6.

Visit Japanese Film Festival for more information and session times.