When 900 Years Old You Reach…Look So Good, You Will Not. – Watching Star Wars, Part 5 (Episode VI)

Time to do a recap of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, released in 1983. (When I was still not born.)

This concludes machete order. It’s been…a fairly peaceful and short journey. I’ve enjoyed myself a lot. I may have even become a fan of the franchise.

Jabba is absolutely disgusting.
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And finally, I understand what the famous Leia costume is all about…though doesn’t Jabba being next to her in most of the scenes where she’s wearing it make it kind of a waste?

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Why did I find this so amusing?

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I knew this guy would be back! It’s the bounty hunter’s kid clone, right? (That said, I was hoping for a better explanation of his story.)

So Yoda is 900. That answers some questions.
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And Luke and Leia are siblings…does everyone just ignore the fact that Leia kissed her brother in Episode IV??

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Am I the only one who finds the fish head scientist distracting?

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Hobbits! I don’t know what these guys are called, but they’re really cute.

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My favorite shot of this movie.

1) Let us never forget what a shitty father Vader was! He is domestically violent to his wife, completely ignores Leia, and only saves Luke at the very end. He also dies at the very end, abandoning them after being redeemed. A model parent, he is not.

2) I think that each trilogy is like a three-act play, no wonder they have Shakespearian versions of the movies in book form. I, II and III make a tragedy/tragic romance, IV, V and VI make a heroic epic drama…what will VII VIII and IX be?

3) So far, my ranking of the movies:

III&V

VI&IV

II

4) I do recommend Machete order for people who are watching this movie for the first time, though I imagine watching it in release order is good too. In the lucky case you aren’t yet spoiled for the big reveal, it’s definitely best to start with IV and V.

5) Strangely, It feels awkward calling it sci-fi. It’s more fantasy/adventure to me. Guess that’s why they call it ‘space opera.’ I imagine the story could work just as well even if it wasn’t set in space.

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Next: Episode VII: The Force Awakens (Yup, the new one. Went to see it over new years.)

To re-watch: Episode I: The Phantom Menace

“You’ve Changed.” Watching Star Wars, Part 4 (EPISODE III)

Okay, I kind of got ahead of myself. I’ve been falling behind in writing about these movies after watching them, and have now watched them all (including the newest one, and except Episode I, just because). Blame it on going back home for the holiday season and just generally being quite busy. (Excuses, excuses.)

Anyway, here’s my review of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, released in 2005.
It’s kind of hard to believe that it was the latest installment in 10 years.

So in the last movie, Anakin was really awkward and difficult to watch, but I found him less grating in this movie. Padme too. And their relationship, which backfired in a very predictable way. (Overly possessive and power hungry boyfriends lead to unhealthy relationships! Why didn’t you realize that sooner, Padme?)

It definitely brought the second trilogy to a nice close, and was a very good kind of dramatic. ALSO, I totally called Palpatine being evil. He turned out to be the big bad!

Things I’ve been noticing:
1. Love that Obi-wan hates flying, while Anakin is like, “WHOOOOOOO!”
2. I found it strange that Obi-wan and Anakin were still friendly to each other at the beginning of this movie. I was pretty sure they ended on bad terms at the end of the last one?
3. So the second Star Wars trilogy is a tragedy in three acts. That helps me make more sense of it.
4. I really like the Darth Vader theme and cannot stop singing it aloud whenever it’s played. DAN DAN DAN DANDANDAN DANDANDAN.

 

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R2D2, the BAMF destroyer!

 

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Yoda again is a badass. Also, this explains why he was in exile. Interesting.

 

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Winner of this Episode’s “Prettiest shot competition”

Next is Episode VI!

“Started Making Sense, This Story Has” -Watching Star Wars, Part 3 (EPISODE II)

Okay, now on to Star Wars Episode II: Attack of The Clones.
It was released in 2002, when I was still in middle school.

After watching IV and V, we get to see what I’m pretty sure is Darth Vader’s origin story. Despite the up-to-date graphics and CG, we’ve taken a jump back in time. I do remember parts of this movie, which means I’ve watched it sometime before, but it’s a good refresher for what is to come. And after seeing IV and V, a lot of things make sense now. And there were so many references and call backs to the original trilogy that made it fun to watch.

Let’s see the blow-by-blow:

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First of all, I feel for Obi-Wan. This story was basically Obi-Wan doing his best not to screw everything up and Anakin making his life impossible. Poor guy.

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Even Jar-Jar looks like he’s pitying him. He knows what’s up.

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Part one of the game, “Where have I seen this before?”

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“Poison Dart” –> WHY are you touching it with your bare hands?!

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I don’t know who this guy is, but he looks evil. Also, he’s talking about immortality. Ergo, he is evil.

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Girls, if you tell a guy to stop doing something that makes you uncomfortable and he makes this face? Don’t fall in love with him. Call the police. Creepy, Anakin. Creepy.

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“I hope he doesn’t do anything foolish” –> Who wants to bet that he will later on in the movie?

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I love the small detail where he’s pulling up his pants.

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This face is extremely creepy.

 

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Winner of the “Prettiest shot” competition. I want a galaxy map like that.

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Wait…is this the couple that raises Luke in Episode IV???

 

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Creepy face #201

 

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Master Yoda’s badass entrance!

 

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I have a feeling we’ll be seeing this kid again soon. Revenge story?

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OOOOOHHHHH it’s the death star!! Things are coming together!!!

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#notimpressed

 

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Love the way master Yoda fights. He’s so fast all of the screencaps came out as a blur.

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It’s that guy from the hologram in Episode IV!!!

  • Things are finally starting to make sense. The Death Star, the Dark side, Obi Wan and Anakin too.
  • I really see now that I was deceived by Episode I Anakin, whom I assumed to be a good guy when I was a kid. (I was still in elementary school!) Do not be fooled by the cuteness, this kid is dangerous. Definitely villainous material.
  • Starting to see a trend of arms getting lopped off.
  • The character I really feel for is Obi-Wan in this movie. Nobody listens to his instructions.
  • I really want to know what happens in VI already, but patience, young padawan, patience.
  • The romance was very very awkward, and a lot of the acting was, too. But I’m pretty sure by now nobody is coming to see Star Wars for the acting.
  • The various outfits for Padme were interesting, I liked the blue long dress the best. (Also, the black one was obviously used to distract the audience from the acting during that terrible romance scene.Onwards to Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which I have never seen. We’ve now hit the halfway point! No turning back now!

 

“No. I am.” Watching Star Wars, Part 2 (EPISODE V)

I watched Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

First thing I noticed: Huge jump in quality all around. There was more watching it for the story than scratching my head while thinking “There’s definitely someone in that robot suit” or “Hmmm…that food looks suspiciously like corn with the husk still on…” like in Episode IV.

Even the way people were falling down was better. The lightsaber fights were kicked up a notch too.

I also noticed the iconic Darth Vader theme music started in this movie.

Most importantly, the quote I’d learned was wrong. It’s “No, I am your father.” How did that become “Luke, I am your father?” It’s the biggest cinematic reveal in history and one of the most known movie quotes (even I knew it, and I hadn’t even seen the movie) and everyone is saying it wrong?

Screencaps and thoughts:

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I don’t really understand this relationship. It’s a red flag for me for Han and Leia romance, though I don’t really think it’s necessary. The following kiss with Luke was even more unnecessary.

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Awww Chewie you’re the best.

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This is my favorite scene so far, art wise. So pretty!

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Finally, Master Yoda appears! Just how old is this guy? Also, he’s much more eccentric and kooky than I remember in the other movies. Old age?

Thoughts- I liked the quality of the movie. Still not clicking emotionally with Luke (or Leia or Han for that mater) so it’s getting harder to root them on. But because of the non-human side characters (Chewie, R2D2, Master Yoda) it is still fun to watch.

Onward to Episode II- Attack of the Clones

“We’re doomed, sister.” (Watching Star Wars, Part One (EPISODE IV)

Here’s a little movie background knowledge about me:

First, I’m a true (younger) 90s kid, and I never had an 80s movie phase.

Second, I wasn’t too big on going to the movies growing up, preferring books, manga, anime, and soccer to everything else.

So as a kid, I was not quite as well inducted into Hollywood movie culture as well as my peers. I didn’t know the names of a lot of actors and actresses (preferring the characters within the movies rather than the real people acting them) and preferred story-based movies over action and Sci-Fi. A lot of things I thought I knew were actually second hand knowledge, for example the bullet dodging scene from The Matrix and “Luke, I am your father.”

Thus, I’ve never had a huge interest in Star Wars. I know, it makes me sound like someone who’s been living under a rock. Actually, I was living ON a rock in the middle of the pacific ocean, but…yeah. Let me educate myself.

I know now that the reason it never caught with me was because the first Star Wars movie I saw as a child was Episode I, the Phantom Menace, which after some short research online, is apparently the worst movie to start with of the entire series if you really want to enjoy it. First of all, the name is EPISODE I, which kind of sounds like the beginning of something, which it really isn’t. I also wasn’t aware of exactly how many movies there actually were and how they were all linked together as one story. I figured any earlier movies either weren’t relevant to the story or just stand alones (BIG mistake, I know. But remember, I wasn’t born when they were made. I didn’t even know the first trilogy existed!

I didn’t realize how awful my situation was until yesterday. (I will go into detail about this later). Watching Episode I, I was unable to understand or connect with any of the characters, and nothing made any sense to me. Everything was confusing, and the action, while exciting, was simply that, action. I remember most of the character names and some random events, but not what they contributed to the story.

This was followed later by Episode II, which, combined with my second-hand information of the original trilogy, just confused me even more for a variety of reasons, mostly including:

  • Padme and Anakin’s relationship, which is unrealistic? (Also, it’s borderline creepy. Come on, try imagining it with the genders switched, I dare you.)
  • There’s two Skywalkers? (Thanks to vague second hand information, I’d completely confused this information.)
  • All the boring people talking about boring things that made no sense in the senate.
  •  I’m pretty sure I thought that Princess Amidala was Princess Leia and Anakin’s full name was Anakin Luke Skywalker.

Basically, thanks to secondhand information, I was spoiled for best reveal in cinematic history forever and consequently confused it with the worst movie in the series. Sad, I know. I think I lost interest in the series altogether after that. I think anyone would after starting like this, it was brutal on my attention span as a kid, especially because I disliked anything without a proper story. In short, I was doomed.

But now, with all the hype about the new movie coming out, and a kind friend who explained that there’s a better order in which to watch them, I felt compelled to finally watch the rest of the movies. (He said to watch 456123, but I checked online and decided to go with Machete Order (from this website) So let me be free from ignorance from today on, for I have finally started watching these movies in this order: IV, V, II, III, VI, then I as an afterthought.

(Who in the world would think to start watching a series from episode IV, and completely ignore episode I? Think about it, it sounds absolutely ridiculous.)

Let my journey begin now, only when I’ve finished all prior movies will I allow myself watch the newest. Also, I’ll be documenting my thoughts and screencaps, because that sounds like fun.

For the record, this is my prior knowledge and what I could remember of Star Wars before starting. (From watching what I think are  Episodes I and II, or from second-hand knowledge.)

  • “Luke, I am your father”
  • Annakin being a really cocky son of a you-know-what
  • Pod-racing
  • That one scene where they’re tied up to pillars and have to fight monsters in a colloseum
  • The golden arm and kiss (My reaction then: ??????!!!!)
  • Yoda’s famous “fear leads to hate” speech
  • Yoda being badass
  • Jar Jar saying me-sa and you-sa
  • Darth Maul vs Qui Gon Jin -Maaaaasterrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!
  • The way Chewbacca cries
  • The girl switch

So let’s begin with Episode IV: A New Hope, released May 25, 1977. Here’s the scene-by-scene rundown of my thoughts:

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Awesome, characters I know. Didn’t Annekin make him?

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 8.19.19 PM.pngI could watch a movie just about these two having their own adventures.

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 8.21.54 PM.pngFirst impression of Luke Skywalker: He’s got a lot of hero-angst-itis . Biggest symptom: he whines a lot.

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First surprise: Obi Wan’s an old man? This made it easier to recognize that it takes place after episode one, though.

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I really want to nitpick about how they’re conversing in two completely different languages. But, remembering that this was made in the 1970s and is a made up world, let it pass. Also, my first impression of Han Solo is that he’s sassy.

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 9.25.30 PM.pngThis fight scene! So low key! It made me laugh. Reminds me of kendo, without the yelling.

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So much sass!

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Oooh, pretty fireworks.

Thoughts after episode IV: Overall, it worked out nicely. I’ll continue to go with machete order. Despite the 70s graphics, episode IV actually has a story, and is easy to follow. It’s also interesting. Even the cheesy graphics were great. Nobody unnecessary showed up and most of all, it made sense.

Other thoughts:

  • Love how we know what R2D2 is saying to C3P0 without him actually speaking. That’s a creative way to move dialogues around.
  • Sorry, but none of the human characters were really likable. Props to the writers for not making everyone perfect. (My main problems with the main trio: Leia-bossy Han-sassy Luke-whiny)
  • I enjoyed the 1970s speech patterns, it was very distinct, sister.
  • Sensing a love triangle forming, but I really don’t think it’s necessary. Is that also Han and Leia foreshadowing? Seriously, they just met. And this is an adventure. Why force it?
  • Without R2D2 and C3PO, I probably wouldn’t have made it past the five minute mark.On to Episode V!

Pleasant Surprises

I believe a life update is in store. Many surprising events happened lately, despite it being (or perhaps, because it is) summer vacation. First good news: Mother dearest is currently visiting me in Japan, and we are preparing for an adventure to Okinawa starting tomorrow. I’ve been little by little learning more about History, especially World War II, which I have been reading a lot of fiction about lately, so this will be a great place to see and learn for myself more about this post-war battlefield. 

My impressions of Okinawa at the moment without looking anything up are these:

1) The last stages of the WWII fought in the pacific were fought there. There is still an American military base there getting a lot of attention in the news because the Japanese government wants to move it somewhere else and the citizens of Okinawa do not. I expect they are used to foreigners, but I’m not sure how the local people feel about them. There is a song called “sugarcane fields” written and sung by an Okinawan artist that is about the bloodshed in the cane fields of Okinawa, and it’s a very melancholic, depressing song about the cruelty of war. 

2) Nankurunaisa is an awesome word from Okinawa that means something like “It’ll all work out in the end.” I think Okinawa has its own language. One guy told me not to call it a dialect, but a language. 

3) I hear that Okinawa is similar to Hawaii in climate and culture, and they also eat a lot of SPAM. 

4) I have a feeling that Okinawa has a politically tragic past, but I know no details about it. I should look up the details. 

5) The two top touristy places I would like to go to there are the aquarium (I love aquariums!) and Shuri castle!

6) Okinawa music is famous for shamisen and is very unique.

7) Okinawa is famous for a mythical creature called a shiisa? It’s like a dragon dog.

I will write about my findings after I come back from my trip. We will see how they change.

The second good news is that my Japanese calligraphy level is now Jun Shodan, pre-first mastery level! 

All that agony of not being able to write…
Writing the same kanji over and over again for an entire month and still making the same mistakes…
Wanting to give up and cry because “I can’t do it I can’t do it I can’t do it” is all I can think of…

I guess it pays off, because my level went up for the first time in months! Also, during my last lesson, I was able to finish my piece in two sheets, which is a new record for me. Usually, on the day I have to write the piece to submit to HQ in Kyoto (once a month), I don’t finish it until many many pages later and I’m on the verge of crying. Perhaps mother dearest coming to watch helped calm my nerves or made me even more nervous. Either could have helped me focus better.

Third is that I’ve been studying translation on my own, bought many books on the theory and application of it, and have been studying as much as possible. Lo and behold, I actually won a contest to be the translator of a light novel from Japanese to English! My first real translation job, with compensation! An actual novel (light though it may be) that will be published and sold somewhere! I’m so stoked because I’ve been worrying all the time about not being good enough and never getting a chance to get proper experience translating, and thus missing chances to get a foot into the industry. I’ve been applying for some contests, been afraid of submitting to other contests (why so scared, I do not know), so I’m glad I finally am seeing results!

I see this as my new first step towards achieving what I feel like I’m meant to do in the world, and that is such an awesome feeling. Baby steps, but moving forward.

This post’s book roundup- BURN by Kato Shigeaki, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (reread, always worth it), most of Bye-Bye Blackbird by Isaka Kotaro, Matilda by Roald Dahl,  and the start of David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.

I’ve also been on a superhero movie streak with Captain America, The Avengers, X-Men Days of Future Past, The Dark Knight, and Ironman. Also watched (skipping the scary gory parts) The Silence of the Lambs, which happens to be mother dearest’s most feared movie of all time. I think I also re-watched Porco Rosso, but in Japanese this time.

Next time: a story about one of my students, maybe.

 

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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.

There is a magnificent frown adorning my face at the moment because despite the weather forecast saying it was supposed to snow last night, it didn’t.

This weekend, I rewatched Adam Sandler’s movie, Waterboy on the internet with my roommate because we were both appalled at the fact that her friend hadn’t seen it after we quoted the “mama said” lines and she looked at us like we were crazy.
Through this, my roommate and I, who at first seemed to have nothing in common, have found that we have a similar sense of humor and taste in movies.

I find it highly ironic that most of my favorite movies are Football comedies, for obvious reasons.

On that note…
Today’s Favorite:Remember the Titans- I loved this movie a lot when it came out. I was in the fifth grade. I have proof of this because I took the time to write about it in my GT English journal that we wrote in every day. It even surpassed my usual rants about Pokemon. In retrospect, back then, I only appreciated it for the humor and didn’t understand much about the plot. (I was a pretty stupid kid). It’s kind of strange that it is one of the few American movies that I’ve seen many times but am not tired of.

After that, since I was waiting for the snow (which didn’t come -_-), I decided to start watching Star Wars, which I’ve been wanting to do for a while. After re-watching episodes one and two, (and a follow up on wikipedia for the other episodes) I had a revelation.

“Luke, I am your father!”
I never understood this line before, but now I do.
The reason being, of course, that the last time I watched Star Wars, it was both out of order and when I was young. (As I said before, I was an unbelievably stupid child). In any case, I’m done with watching Star Wars for now. I don’t even have the motivation to watch it for Chewbacca (whom I wanted to see because I was compared to him once) because I got absolutely fed up with Anakin Skywalker’s character. He changed from a cute little boy with amazing talent and potential to an arrogant Romeo (the worst kind of guy, in my opinion) between episodes one and two.

I also finally understand why it’s been difficult for me to make friends here, (more than usual, anyway) but more on that later.

More progress has been made on the soccer team; only two more people to go!