Isaka World, Part 5 終末のフール(The End’s Fool)

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Well, I sure did not expect to read another apocalyptic story since I stumbled across Alas, Babylon years ago in my local public library, (Which I especially liked, and which fully fulfilled me enough not to need any more similar stories in the future) but props to Isaka Kotaro for this interesting collection of short stories.

They take place in pre-apocalyptic Sendai, Japan, following the lives of a bunch of different residents of an apartment building two and a half years before a meteor is expected to crash into Earth, thus ending the world completely.

Interestingly enough, the story takes place before the destruction and also after the initial “end of the world panic” occurs. It’s a sort of weird peaceful time where people are still wary, but weary enough not to cause any trouble.

The book had a light but melancholic feel to it, and was the right mixture of hopeful, dreadful, suspenseful, and depressing.

It’s about the survivors still alive at that point in time, and the lives they’ve lived since the meteor was announced. Rather than big adventures or rescue missions, it’s just people living and surviving, in a terrible situation, making everyday choices. There are a few tense moments, like the brothers trying to get revenge on a TV announcer and his family by holding them at gunpoint, but there’s also the old couple awaiting their estranged daughter coming home, and a couple who need to decide whether they should have their baby or not with the future so bleak.

Whether people would really calm down after a few years of knowing that the world is going to end is extremely debatable, considering how people tend to freak out over the world ending in real life, but I found the stories all enjoyable, and they all have their little twists near the end, as usual.

The chapter titles are all stylized to use the same phonetic katakana pattern, which of course sounds awful in English but clever in Japanese:
The End’s Fool
The Sun Sticker
The Sieged Building (Beer?)
the Hibernating Girl
The Steel Wool
The Celestial Night
The Play’s All
The Deep-Sea Pole

…See what I mean? It was actually the title that made me take so long to read this particular Isaka book, because every time I saw it, it confused me. フール? It looks like pool and full, both of which make it incomprehensible, and even if you know it means fool, it still doesn’t make any sense until you finish the story.

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From 週末のフール(The End’s Fool)
「お父さんって、頭の良さってなんだと思ってるの?成績とか学歴とか、ステータスだとか、どうせそういうのでしょ。どうせ。そういうのは、わたしがひきうけるから、いいじゃん。ばかじゃないの。あのね、お父さんが馬鹿なばかりに、兄貴は不幸なんだって。」まるで、犯罪者を告発するかのように、康子はこちらを指差し、声を荒げた。「兄貴はもっと大きいことをやれるんだよ。」
“Dad, what do you even think it means to be smart? Good grades, or going to a good school? Status? That’s what you think, right? That’s fine, I’ll get all of those. You’re an idiot. That’s why my brother is so unhappy, because you’re so stupid.” As if she were pointing out a criminal, she raised her finger at me and said in a wild voice, “My brother can do even bigger things.”

From 深海のポール(The Deep Sea Pole)
生き残るっていうのはさ、あんあ風に理路整然とさ、「選ぶ」とか「選ばれる条件」とか、そういうんじゃなくて、もっと必死なもののような気がするんだ。「必死なもの?」「じたばたして、足掻いて、もがいて。生き残るのってそういうのだよ、きっとさ。」
“Surviving, I don’t think it’s that logical, like people are chosen, or that there’s categories that decide whether you’re chosen or not. I think it’s something more desperate.”
“Desperate?”
“Panicking, struggling, agonizing…I think that’s probably what surviving is more like, really.”

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Current Isaka Count: 19/32

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Isaka World, Part 4- The Monkey King

Before I go off on Star Wars again, let’s take a short trip back to Isaka World, shall we?

I read his novel, SOSの猿 (The SOS Monkey).
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Like the cover implies, yes, it is a bit chaotic.

To be honest, it wasn’t my most favorite of his works. It’s still low key mystery/suspense but has a half-comical, half-serious kind of atmosphere that is really hard to describe. With a catholic exorcist, the monkey king, guerrilla acapella singers, a software engineer, and a huge problem with stocks, it’s hard to imagine what kind of story it is just from the synopsis.

Written during his “Don’t give a rat’s ass” period, it is one of those books where he just wrote whatever he wanted to write, so it’s not written to please the audience, in a good way.

It’s a bit similar (and written right after) Aru King, where he connected the story to Shakespeare’s Macbeth, except this time, he’s completely referencing Journey to the West. Yes, Journey to the West. Chinese literature that I haven’t read yet.

If you’re not familiar with Journey to the west, remember that the Manga/Anime Dragonball (the original, where Goku is still small) is also loosely based off of it.

Unfortunately, any references I further make in this post will be using the Japanese names of the Chinese characters.

From information I’ve gathered online, Journey to the west is the story of the Buddhist priest Sanzo Houshi, who has three disciples:
Son Goku (The Monkey King),
Cho Hakkai (the pig/boar), and
Sa Gojo (the water sprite).

They all have some kind of issue (too violent, too gluttonous, etc) that needs to be fixed, and have shenanigans together on their journey to the west. That’s all I know.

Also, Goku has a long stick, a cloud to fly on that only those pure of heart are able to ride, and is able to create copies of himself by taking a piece of his fur and blowing on it.

I was about half confused throughout the first 60% of the story, which takes place in modern day Japan and follows about three different narrators talking about two different people who haven’t met yet. It jumps around from character to character, narrator to narrator until you’re not sure who’s actually telling what story anymore.

Then, little by little, things begin to piece together (as most of Isaka’s books do) and by the end, you get to enjoy looking at everything fit nicely like a jigsaw puzzle in retrospect.

It really is too bad that I’m not familiar with Journey to the West, because I’m sure there were things I missed because of it. I was able to read it through, especially near the end, when things got really exciting and the huge twist was revealed.

My favorite quotes this time were:

物語は、語り手が喋ればそれが真実となる。鬼がいるといえば、鬼がいるのだし、証券会社の総務部長が牛魔王だというのならば、部長は牛魔王に他ならない。
“In a story, when the narrator says something, it becomes the truth. If he says there is a demon, there is a demon, and if he says that the chief of general affairs of a stock trading company is the Ox-King, that chief must be the Ox-King.” pg 88

ばらばらに存在している星が、遠くから眺めると獅子や白鳥に見えますよね。それと同じように偶然と思われる事柄も、離れて大きな視点から眺めると、何か大きな意味がある。
“Stars exist on their own, but can look like a lion or a crane from far away, right? Just like that, some things that seem to be coincidences, when looked at from a wider viewpoint, have a much bigger meaning.” pg304

それこそが作り話の効力よ。物語は、時々、人を救うんだから。
“That’s the power of a story. Sometimes, they save people.” pg 212

That last quote is, in a sense, the moral of the story.

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Current Isaka Novel Count:
18/32

 

 

Kanji

When I first started learning Japanese, the first wall I hit was the Kanji wall.
It starts off nice and easy, with characters like 一 (one)、上 (up) 、日 (sun, day) that are easy to recognize and remember.

The first wall comes up at the intermediate level, when they start getting more complicated. I remember struggling with kanji like 練(to polish)、境 (border)、送 (to send)、and 曜(weekday) back in my second or third years of learning Japanese.

If you take the time to get past that first wall, you’re generally doing a great job, and can pretty much get by without much trouble.

Then, there’s the second wall,much taller and imposing than before.  It’s the Joyo Kanji wall, or all the Kanji learned up to high school, and the ones used in newspapers and publications.

For the past few years, I’ve been studying and taking the Kanji aptitude test, which is broken down into 12 levels, with level 10 being the easiest, and level 1 having a pass rate of about 10 %. I started from Level 5 about two years ago, and am slowly working my way up to level 2.

I just took the Pre-2 level last weekend. It covers about 1940 characters. I have to wait another three weeks for the results, which I believe I have about a 50% chance of passing.

Somewhere along the way, after hours and hours of intense studying, I’ve learned to like Kanji characters quite a bit.

It helps that I’m also learning calligraphy, but there’s something amazing about spending the time to learn almost 2000 different characters with various meanings just to read. And the more you learn about them, the more stories they tell you about themselves.

The best thing I like about Kanji are the four letter idioms.
In the Japanese language, most wisdom can be shortened into a concise phrase using just four kanji characters.
The kanji aptitude test covers these idioms, and after buying a dictionary and copying down the ones that were relevant to my level, I found a few gems.

鯨飲馬食— Whale, Drink, Horse, and Eat.  It means, “To drink like a whale and eat like a horse.”

失笑噴飯 — Lose, Laugh, Erupt, Meal. It means, “To hear something so funny that you spray your food out of your mouth laughing”

I spent so much time studying that now, I’m actually feeling a sense of loneliness from not studying.  Perhaps I have a kanji studying addiction?

Graduation

Thought of the day:

There’s just something special about elementary school graduations in Japan.
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Beautiful chalkboard art drawn by a teacher at my school.

It says, “Congratulations!  May all your futures be full of happiness!”

Spring is finally here.

Here we go, 2015!

Happy New Year!

It’s a bit late, yes. I spent my holidays this year back home in the islands, which was excellent and rewarding, except for the nasty bout of influenza that was going around infecting all of my family right after new years day, myself included. After that nasty cough I was sporting for about two months, It was not the best experience ever, but I can say now that despite being a little chubby (thank you, father dearest, for that comment) I am back to proper health now.

I am also proud to announce that I now have a Dan in Japanese calligraphy! I was surprised when I went for class as usual after break and finding that they’d advanced my level despite me being on the verge of crying every time I wrote that particular piece, which had about nine characters (twice the amount we usually practice) and being written in the beautiful yet very difficult “gyosho” style, which is like cursive but with kanji.  I didn’t expect it, so I was so happy when all my hard work from these past few years was recognized. According to my teacher, this is just the beginning, as there are higher dan to aim for. Now, I am regularly writing the six-letter monthly piece, no longer able to send in just four like before. It’s harder now because it requires a lighter touch, which I have a hard time channeling through my brush. However, I’m starting to really like kanji lately. There’s just something about how aesthetically and intellectually provoking they are.

I meant to study more kanji while I was home, but there were so many things to do that I just ended up reading instead. Here is my book roundup for late December to February.

Box! – Hyakuta Naoki- Strangely, I read this one after watching the movie first.  I enjoyed the movie, which I watched a while ago. It’s a story about a weak but intelligent kid with an extremely strong friend that boxes, and is encouraged by this friend, bullies, and his crush on his teacher to join the boxing club. I really enjoyed it because I really like sports movies and manga (tears and training and getting strong for the right reasons!) There’s a lot of technical descriptions of boxing, along with drama to keep it running along. It helps that I myself have been boxing now, so it made it much easier to get through the technical parts. I got a good rundown of the Japanese high school boxing situation, and I’m impressed with Hyakuta because he’s also the writer of Eien no Zero, that book about Kamikaze pilots I read a while ago, and those books are like oil and water. He’s writing about a lot of diverse topics, from the other titles of his I’ve seen at the bookstore.

Ed Sheeran: A Visual Journey, Ed Sheeran and Phillip Butah– I went to Barnes and Noble in Maui when we were visiting grandma for Christmas, (We no longer have any bookstores in my hometown) and this is one of the books I found there. First thing about it, its neon green hardcover caught my eye. Noticing how nice the design was and how much Ed Sheeran I’ve been listening to lately, I bought it.  It’s an art autobiography of sorts, it was nice to read about his musical influences and life while enjoying Butah’s art. One thing I noticed when reading it: Ed Sheeran swears a lot, wasn’t very great at school, but had very supportive parents and a love for music, along with a positive get-to-it attitude which led to his success. As for his songs, I’m digging Drunk, The A Team, and Small Bump, in that order, the most.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, Malala Yousafzai– Yes, she’s an amazing person. We should all strive to be like Malala. She is much wiser and writes better than me, so I’ll just take my favorite quotes and introduce this book that way:

“I am only human, and when I heard the guns my heart used to beat very fast. Sometimes I was very afraid, but I said nothing, and it didn’t mean I would stop going to school. But fear is very powerful and in the end it was this fear that had made people turn agains Shabana. Terror had made people cruel. The Taliban bulldozed both our Pashtun values and the values of Islam.”

“Education is our right,’ I said. Just as it is our right to sing and play. Islam has given us this right and says that every girl and boy should go to school. The Quran says we should seek knowledge, study hard and learn the mysteries of our world.”

“When someone takes away your pens you realize quite how important education is.”

“The Taliban is against education because they think that when a child reads a book or learns English or studies science he or she will become Westernized. But I said, ‘Education is education. We should learn everything and then choose which path to follow.’ Education is neither Eastern nor Western, it is human.”

“Malala, you have already faced death. This is your second life. Don’t be afraid–if you are afraid, you can’t move forward.”

2BRO2B,  Kurt Vonnegut- From my experience, Kurt Vonnegut’s writing feels like like he’s slicing up your heart with a cleaver. This particular story is a short story, just a few pages, but it’s about some dystopian future where population control is a thing, through a government supported suicide hotline (for inducing it, not stopping it) and birth regulations where you need to find someone to die if you want your child to live.  It’s chillingly scary, and was really uncomfortable to read.

Divergent, Veronica Roth– My cousin is all for this book, and I watched the movie with her during the holidays, but to me it just sounded like a cross between the Hunger Games and Harry Potter, and reading the book kind of didn’t make it any better. It was well written, but I kind of didn’t appreciate the overly religious tone of it near the end and the simplistic logic of most people only having one of the five characteristics they were being sorted into…in real life, wouldn’t almost everyone be divergent? I couldn’t stop thinking about that, and will probably not be reading the other two books in the trilogy, sorry.

Alice’s Tale, Tadanori Kurashita – A compact Japanese story that was one of the winners of the light novella translation contest I entered. Of the three stories, I helped translate another one, but this one was really nice, and the translators did an excellent job. It’s a story set in a very futuristic world, about a successful stockbroker who works with Alice, his AI who he calls his ‘partner’ and is the peak of technological advancement in the future. The story reads like a hardboiled detective novel, but has a few neat twists and very perceptive comments on the future of technology and the relationships between humankind and technology.

Lastly, here are my goals (I refuse to set myself up for failure with resolutions) for this year:

1) Pass level 2 of the Kanji Proficiency Exam.
2) Get back to around 50 kilos, weight-wise, in a healthy and sustainable way. Also, if I can’t lose the fat, at least be fit and chubs.
3) Don’t chicken out on turning in translation contest submissions (You gotta start somewhere! Just do it and turn it in even if it looks awful!)
4) Write and send letters to all the friends I’ve been neglecting. (Sorry guys!)
5) Stay healthy and sleep well to do so.
6) Blog more often so I don’t do super long posts like this one.
7) Get more flexible, physically.

…And that’s about it.

Winter?

Oh geeze I can’t keep up with this at all.  There is snow all over the place (It’s really been a strange year weather-wise) and I’m leaving for Christmas back to the islands tomorrow…There’s a Japanese saying for this, [光陰矢のごとし」, which means “Time flies,” but is literally “Light and dark, like an arrow.” As always, the Japanese way uses very indirect metaphors (light and dark refer to the passing of days, and the arrow is something which moves fast), while English is rather direct.

My national kanji exam results came in, and it looks like I’ve passed level three, by the skin of my teeth! I now can prove I know as much kanji as my students, as level three covers all kanji studied during mandatory education in Japan. The true test comes next, as my goal is level two, but there’s also a pre-level two to pass before that.

Also, I was able to protect my spot as champion in the health boxing tournament in the women’s light fly and fly weight classes. (For this tournament, we’re separated by height, though) This year, we had an influx of girls because some high school girls from Iwate came to join the tournament, so I had one more match than last year. I also got the “Nice fight” trophy and my team placed second altogether.

A bad case of bronchitis caught me in late October and wouldn’t go away, leading to a very frustrating experience with going to three different doctors to 1) diagnose me properly and 2) find medicine to make me better. I had a fever and had to take some time to rest from work, and I was still coughing a month later during the boxing tournament. It was terrible.

I have no idea how on earth I still found time to read despite how busy life has been lately, but I suppose that to me,  reading is kind of like shaving your armpits, you can choose not to, but if you don’t, it feels awful and gross.

Here’s my Fall/Winter book roundup:
Breakfast at Tiffany’s  Truman Capote
I chose to read this because I found out that Capote is the childhood friend of Harper Lee, and I’d heard the title from my friend. I think I was either taken aback by how different it was to how I thought it was going to be, or perhaps I didn’t really understand it much.  I may have to try rereading it again later.
The one quote I liked was this one:

“You must catch a wild bee, he said, and hold it in your closed hand…if the bee does not sting, then you will know you have found love.”

Emma      Jane Austen
If Jane Austen was born in this time, she would definitely have been a romcom script writer. I read this while also watching the Emma Approved mini series on youtube, which is awesome and has adapted it surprisingly accurately and meticulously into a modern setting.

For more evidence, there’s that one quote where Emma friendzones Mr. Knightley (poor dude) and he totally falls apart.

“As a friend!” repeated Mr. Knightley. “Emma, that I fear is a word-No, I have no wish-Stay, yes, why should I hesitate?-I have gone too far already for concealment.-Emma, I accept your offer-Extraordinary as it may seem, I accept it, and refer myself to you as a friend.-Tell me, then, have I no chance of ever succeeding?”

and there’s that one quote about the difference between men and women:

The ladies here probably exchanged looks which meant, “Men never know when things are dirty or not;” and the gentlemen perhaps though each to himself, “Women will have their little nonsenses and needless cares.”

Lastly, this tickled me because I share Mr. Knightley’s sentiments on dancing:

“…and I will keep as much awake as I can; but I would rather be at home, looking over William Larkin’s week’s account; much rather, I confess.–Pleasure in seeing dancing! –Not I, indeed-I never look at it–I do not know who does.–Fine dancing, I believe, like virtue, must be its own reward. Those who are standing by are usually thinking of something very different.

Bossypants       Tina Fey
It was an amusing read, Tina Fey is funny. I particularly liked her explanation of the golden rule of improv comedy: Never say no, Always say yes. Then, improve on it.

The Phoenix and the Turtle      William Shakespeare

Venus and Adonis      William Shakespeare
Laughing because this is the story of how Venus, the god of love and beauty, finds out that she’s a frog in a small pond ignorant of the ocean. (Yes, another Japanese quote.) Basically, the moral of the story is  there’s always someone  prettier than you.

The Merchant of Venice (Reread!) William Shakespeare

白雪姫殺人事件 (The Snow White Murder Case)      Minato Kanae

Another case of me happening upon a movie trailer online that looks interesting and reading the book instead. This time, Minato Kanae wrote a murder mystery/suspense about  the murder of a beautiful lady who works for a cosmetics company. The two things that made it interesting were the Snow White tie-ins and the index, which includes (fake) newspaper and magazine articles, twitter account feeds that you can reference after each chapter (when they are introduced in the story). It’s quite cynical about the media and news industry and I appreciated the twist at the end. The “unreliable narrator” format is perfected here.

Now, looking back on all of those titles, I can say there’s a lot of women involved in the titles I’ve been reading lately. Stories mainly about girls, written by girls, or written by guys who were best friends with girls who became famous writers (in the case of Truman Capote.) This is purely coincidental.

映画

Book quote of the day:

"確かに、生きていくのは、計算やチェックポイントの確認じゃなくて、悶えて、「わかんねぇよ、どうなってんだよ」と髪の毛をくしゃくしゃりながら、進んでいくことなのかもしれない。"  伊坂幸太郎 ー 砂漠 pg346

"It’s true; living isn’t about calculation or making sure you’re hitting the right checkpoints, but is probably the sort of thing that goes on and on continuously with you agonizing and messing up your hair, saying stuff like ‘I don’t know! What the hell is going on?’" -Isaka Koutaro, Sabaku

Above is one of my favorite quotes from this novel that I’d like to share, because it rings so true. This is definitely a great description of my own life. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound as great in translation (or perhaps that’s just because I’m the one who translated it.)

A word I didn’t know: 悶え, which is read もだえ(modae), and means "agony," or "anguish." I’m writing it down here so I don’t forget it.
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I watched Honokaa Boy today on my laptop. It’s the kind of movie that evokes a lot of different emotions-it had me wavering between laughing out loud (something I only do by myself when something is really funny) and tearing up (something I hardly ever do nowadays , especially for movies). I liked it a lot mostly because it was actually shot in Honokaa, which is on the same island I’m from, and they did a really good job of showing the island’s general atmosphere: a slow, old-fashioned kind of feeling. It also had that repetitious, ‘same old, same old’ kind of feeling that is absolutely spot-on for the Big island.

Other things that were spot on include the costumes, especially for the main character, who was rocking an Hawaiian Airlines t-shirt for a few scenes, the references to relatives on Oahu, the little boy and his ukulele playing, the japanese tourists, and the old Japanese lady’s house (especially the kitchen, which reminds me of my own grandma’s kitchen.)

Things that I’m going to be picky about include the way even the young people were speaking Japanese, the overuse of "Aloha" as a greeting, and some of the cars (not that many people have convertibles on the Big Island; it rains way too much.)

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I also burnt my thumb a bit today while roasting kabocha, yet another new ingredient for me to start making stuff with. Unfortunately, the oven was up to 400 degrees, so when my thumb brushed the pan after taking out the first batch (of about 5), it made a small blister. The food turned out good though.

Another new experience: I made a new gyoza/shumai variation yesterday where I used shrimp and tofu for the filling. It did turn out okay, but I don’t think it’s something I’ll try again without any pork or beef. It was messy, and was made with whatever was in the fridge at that moment, which is significantly limited by the end of the week.

shoots den.

スペイン語

Now that I’m in my second week of learning Spanish from basically scratch (I could barely count to ten and not much else), I’m finding that:

1) For the first time In my life, I’m learning a language the hard way. That is, going in knowing little to nothing about it. Japanese always came easy to me, but Spanish is making me feel bad for everyone else who always has trouble learning languages. It also makes me want to bang my head against a wall sometimes.

2) Spanish pronunciation is easier than English pronunciation, and also very similar to Japanese pronunciation. The vowels are used similarly and have only one sound each (unlike English, where vowel pronunciation is half a guessing game and half stupidity) and even the rolled R sounds similar to the Japanese R. This is the main reason why I will learn Spanish before even attempting French, as I am, according to my previous roommate, incapable of pronouncing the French R.

3) When teaching foreign languages, explanations are crucial, and you need people of the same level if you want a class to go smoothly. Unfortunately, these are not happening in my class, where the majority have already taken spanish in high school and my teacher likes to ramble in Spanish for extended periods of time.

4) It seems that my one year of high school latin will pay off later on when we learn verb conjugations. bam bas bat. bamus batis bant. It’s the chant that Ms. P promised we would never forget, and I still haven’t, for the most part. Romance languages were based off of Latin, so it makes sense.

In other news, I worked on book reviews at my internship today. Something I found I was quite proficient at, really. The process was simple, and I did do quite a few. The only problem is, my “to read book list” has once again increased by two books. Luckily, these books don’t come in until the end of January and February, so I still have time to wait on those while I try to finish reading everything else.

Nos Vemos! (See you!) <—-See, you only learn/understand it if you also have the English translation! (see "Chosho's What I'm Finding out Through Learning Spanish List", #3)

泣く。

So, the speech contest is over and done with…I must say, I’m pretty happy with the results. Because I was the only contestant in my category, I didn’t really get placed or anything, but I did get a 10 dollar gift card and a bag of goodies for participating. Plus, it gave me an excuse to visit Denver.

This year’s speech contest was full of people who talked about themselves. Mainly, why they’ve been learning Japanese, what has influenced them, and what they think about their own progress in their pursuit of fluency. Some people talked about Visual Kei, and some about Anime, some talked about dramas and boybands, too. One guy preformed a Rap explaining how he wants to use music to connect cultures.

It was all very fascinating and also done at a very high level, considering many of these students haven’t been studying the language for very long.

It may finally snow tonight or tomorrow! I’m a bit excited!
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Today’s List: Dramas and movies that made chosho cry (just a little).

Because I’m an INTJ and thus an emotional rock, I don’t usually cry when I watch things that were made to be shown on screens. When I do end up crying watching movies, it’s definitely when I’m alone and watching something particularly sad. Some work, most don’t. These are the ones that did:

I Liter of Tears: Gosh, I don’t know a single person who wouldn’t cry watching this, except perhaps father dearest. I remember tearing up during the scene where she tells the guy she likes goodbye, because she’s dying and knows that nobody wants a dying girlfriend. And he accepts this, because she’s dying. (What’s the point in going out with someone with a disease?). This logic makes way more sense than other movies because it’s more bound to happen in real life, in my opinion.

Akai Ito- The only romance drama that I remember ever crying at. I think it was because this one had drugs as one of the main plot problems, and it just really made it more depressing than it could have been. It was sad not because of the relationship issues, but because of the drugs.

10 Promises between me and my Dog- I really cried a lot watching this movie. I think it’s because of the dog. Anything with animals, especially dogs, makes people 10 times more susceptible to crying. That is a fact.

Rescue: It’s weird that I cried watching this one, because it’s about Rescuers. Glorified firefighters, you know? They’re saving people from helpless situations, and you’re ready for that. But somewhere around episode 7 or 8, there’s a scene where this one (kind of) old guy who is about to retire from the Rescue Squad to spend more time with his (really cute and enormous) family gets caught in a cave in, separating him from everyone else. At first he seems okay, and it looks like they’re about to dig him out, but then the camera pans over to where a GAS TANK IS LEAKING on his side of the rubble. All of his coworkers frantically work to dig him out, but they don’t make it in time and are forced to evacuate when the explosion ignites.

Loss: Time: Life- I probably cried for this because it’s about death in general (every episode is a stand-alone story about someone who is about to die but gets some extra time soccer-wise to take care of what they need to do). The first episode, though, first got me, and the sukiyaki episode also got me soon after. Then, it just kept going until the last story, where I laughed more than I cried because the guy was given 12 years more before he actually died for the second time choking on mochi.

一番好きな漢字とは

I think for today, i’ll introduce my favorite kanji. I’d like to have three, but have only found two that meet my standards so far.

First, the one I like the best is…

When it’s all by itself like that, you read it “sai.” It means the most, the utmost, extreme, or the best. For some odd reason, I memorized how to write this particular kanji just after writing it down once, because for some reason, I feel happy whenever I write it.
Strange, huh?
Words that use this kanji include 最高 (saikou, the absolute best), and 最も(mottomo, meaning the most).

Next, the kanji that I’ve just started liking a lot recently:

When it’s all by itself, you read it “jyun” or “jun.” I like this one purely for its meaning, which, coincidentally, is just that–“pure,” or “genuine.” You see this kanji in words like 清純 (seijun, innocence), 純正 (junsei, genuine), and 単純 (tanjun, simple).

Okay, back to work again. 🙂