Today I'm gonna waltz on into a big ol' cultural minefield and try not to get blown to smithereens in the process.
We'll see how that goes as we stomp full steam ahead and discuss Wes Anderson's new movie Isle of Dogs.
It opened here yesterday but has already screened in other parts of the world where it left audiences divided.
While many enjoyed it, others labelled it racist at worst and cultural appropriation at, well 'best' is clearly the wrong word here, so let's just say at equally worst.
At its core the movie is about a 12-year-old boy who goes on an adventure to find his pet dog. Ain't no one mad about that. The problem is that it's set in Japan. Nothing wrong about that?
Yes. Lots. Apparently.
The crux of the problem is that Wes Anderson is a white dude. This offended some who thought that a white dude should not be writing stories set in Japan.
Look, I'm not gonna presume to tell people what they can or can't be offended by. Everyone's experience in this world is vastly different from mine and people treasure different things.
Me? I thoroughly enjoyed it. But I'm a big Wes Anderson fan and Isle of Dogs is most assuredly a Wes Anderson film.
But if the thought of a middle-aged American with Swedish and Norwegian ancestry making a movie about a Japanese boy looking for his Japanese dog offends you then anything a middle-aged New Zealander with German and Lebanese ancestry says about it is hardly gonna change your mind.
Here, he's been accused of using Japan as nothing more than a pretty backdrop. Well, yeah. But that's where the story's set. What's the backdrop supposed to look like?
Other complaints include scenes of Sumo wrestling, the soundtrack of Taiko drums, the cartoonish look of the human baddie, said baddie's Yakuza-esque back tattoo, and that many speeches end with haiku.
Are these indicative of day to day life in Japan? Well, it's unlikely Tokyo's Govenor Yuriko Koike ends every speech with a thoughtful haiku. Though I did chance upon a Sumo tournament when I poked my head into the Budokan on a random Wednesday arvo during my travels through Japan.
The one westerner in the film is an exchange student. White, freckled and sporting an afro she's been seen as a problematic example of the 'white saviour' stereotype. While she's nowhere near as white saviour-y as Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai or Matt Damon in The Great Wall I appreciate this, though I saw her more as a direct comment on that particular trope. More so if you accept her hair do itself has been casually lifted from African-American culture.
Another point of contention was the use of onscreen interpreters to occasionally 'voice' the human Japanese characters. I thought this was an inventive way to dismiss the need for subtitles, while still keeping the untranslated Japanese always audible. The boy, whose name is Atari, speaks wholly in Japanese and is rarely subtitled, interpreted or translated.
The dogs, however, all speak English. But should they too be speaking Japanese? Isle of Dogs is set in Japan, but it's not a Japanese movie. It's an American studio movie. This one makes for an interesting - though potentially endless - debate.
The Japan Anderson presents is filled with familiar touch points sure, but it's a celebration and obviously comes from a place of admiration and genuine fondness for its people and culture.
Really, the fim is a love letter. Not just to the bond between man and man's best friend (say the title quickly three times and it'll click) but also to Japan.
Yes, it's super-stylised and filled with affectation but hey, we're talking about a Wes Anderson picture here, not a nitty-gritty documentary.
At the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year Anderson agreed that Isle of Dogs could be set anywhere, but he wanted to set it in one of his favourite places in the world.
Was that wrong? Should he only make films set in Houston, Texas where he was born? Should imagination and inspiration be strictly limited to your immediate experience, geographical area and heritage?
Well, bollocks to that. If the people, art, food, or history of other cultures inspires you then you should be free to draw upon that. To create new stories that will, all going well, open people's eyes to new and wonderful things outside of their own personal reference.
If we all stayed in our lanes the world would be incredibly dreary and much culturally poorer. Just be respectful. Do it right. And go hard. Art should be about breaking down barriers, not putting up walls.
And you shouldn't have to tiptoe through a minefield of potential outrage and offense to say this.
Boom? I guess that's up to you.