Day 234: 08.26.17:

“Cold, Cold Day”

I’m not really sure what happened. I woke up this morning with that itchy feeling on the roof of my mouth and that strained feeling when swallowing. I knew, it was going to be a hard battle with a pretty strong cold.

I had a runny nose the whole day, but since I wanted to get better by the next day, I went out of my way to buy honey and lemon to the grocery late in the afternoon. It was one of my quickest trip to Ayala.

On the other hand, I’m having a hard time sleeping. Too much going on in my head, so I couldn’t get the rest that I need.

So good luck to me tomorrow. Hope I don’t develop a fever, too.

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Day 233: 88.25.17

In terms of taking down notes, I will always still be a fan of pen and paper. I really enjoy the convenience of personal formatting one can do with a vast blank page and any color of pens one wants. I like that I can conveniently draw arrows and symbols on a page without needing to click and find it from a menu tab like in virtual notebooks.

Yes, I am using OneNote now with is a virtual notebook, but I don’t jot notes for it. So when they asked me to be the scribe for our weekly staff meeting using an iPad, I was like… WTF?

Haha! I admit there were some moments of utter ignorance, but I pulled through.

Technology is a friend, after all.

Day 232: 08.24.17

“Red Alert! Red Alert!”

I’m not a very grumpy woman on her first day of her period, but my patience really is thinner during red days. Therefore, my boss cornering us near 4 PM (going home time) and questioning our decisions for our class because of the same damn topic we’ve explained to her twice already plus my period twisting the fuck out of my abdominal muscles is not a very good combination.

Day 231: 08.23.17

Recently, I’ve been in a hunt for light romantic-comedies after “Koe no Katachi”, so I stumbled upon this simple movie from the net.

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Synopsis (from MyAnimeList : https://myanimelist.net/anime/21647/Tamako_Love_Story)

As she edges toward the end of her high school life, the energetic but generally clueless third-year Tamako Kitashirakawa has only one major concern: pulling off a stunning baton performance at the Usagiyama Marching Festival. But all too soon, she is confronted by the reality that all her friends have big plans for their futures; she, on the other hand, just operates with the moderate goal of continuing to work at her family’s restaurant.

Under the same brilliant sky, Mochizou Ooji intends to study at a university in Tokyo, leaving behind his family, friends, and most importantly, his first and only love Tamako. Unfortunately, the shy admirer cannot bring himself to declare his love, and Tamako is yet unaware that she is the source of such anguish. With time quickly running out, Mochizou must confess his feelings to Tamako soon, or his dream of romance will never be fulfilled.

I found this anime to be quite entertaining. It is romantic, but not cheesy. There is a push, and some attempt at awkward pulling that results to adorable awkwardness. There’s no There’s nothing very in-dept about this anime, but then there’s also the reflection of sometimes questioning yourself whether you’re completely satisfied where you are, like what Tamako began panicking about when Mochizou confessed about his feelings for her and his plans to move to Tokyo.

I guess one of the charms of this anime movie is the simplicity of the story, yet it is relatable to everyone.

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There’s the awkwardness two long time friend could go through when one confesses his/her feelings and the other is not on the same boat (yet, perhaps), thinking of the future, changes versus tradition. There’s some angst if you squint really hard since it is slice of life, but then the development of the story is of course towards the happy ending of the protagonists arriving at a point with mutual romantic feelings.

Three highlights I have from this show:

 

The Confession

Of course. This is anime after all. The first confession scene I witnessed was probably from anime. Anyhow, I love the simplicity and straightforwardness of the confession scene by Mochizou: he found the moment, he dropped the two bombs on Tamako and let her mull on it.

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I mean, he was dead serious on his feelings and his decision to move to Tokyo for his dreams anyway, so confessing to her was just one part of his process, his growth process. He knew he had to tell her about his feelings, or else he’ll have regrets especially if he moves to Tokyo with that secret with him.

 

Tamako’s Realization about changes

Part of the show’s theme is change. Takako and her friends (including Mochizou) are in the senior year of high school, so it’s that time of their life that they should be thinking of their future. Most of her friends are already decided on what to pursue. Tamako surely has a passion for making mochi since her family business is a mochi shop, so she wants to help out and eventually inherit it. When Mochizou confessed to her, there’s a sudden awakening that everything in her life is actually changing. Her future separation with her friends from school doesn’t seem to bother her that much, but since Mochizou had been with her her whole life, it felt like a part of her was separating from her without consent. Mochizou is part of her community life, that little community that embraced her life their own child, especially when her mother died while she was still young. While she is comfortable and satisfied with the image and life she has and in that tradition, she began asking herself about change. In my opinion, I hope Tamako continues with the mochi-making because I see her heart is into it, and tradition is just to important to preserve for culture’s sake, but I think this is also a very important realization for her to reflect on what she really wants and what she can let go, as well as to strengthen her decision-making skills.

 

Tamako and Mochizou’s friendship

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These two have a long history together, and no wonder one of them developed special feelings. Well, the other one was just delayed, I guess. Anyhow, I love how the show highlighted their friendship. They had been each other’s support in both fun and sadness. They don’t have to be best friends to treat each other as a special friend. As high school students, they are not shown to always be together, but when they are together, there’s that comfort and familiarity you feel between long-time friends, and not just because Mochizou is in love with Tamako.

 

The ending was a bit hanging for me though as it just closed with Tamako confessing her feelings back to Mochizou. The climax was reached alright, but where’s the falling action?! What happened to them after that? Demmet.

Anyhow, as this was such a nice, light and entertaining show anyway, I’d still give it a 4.5/5 🌟

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Day 231: 08.23.17

 

It’s one of those randomly picked titles out of desperation and boredom to find something light and funny. This did not disappoint one bit. I don’t even remember which came first for me, the anime or the manga? Anyhow, I loved both versions. The anime was faithful to the manga anyway, too bad there’s only 12 episodes. Hopefully, they continue with the animation as the latter chapters get better for the two.

Well, I just finished reading the last four chapters of the manga. I thought it had long been finished with Erika going to Kyoto for uni and then we’ll just assume that she and Kyouya ended up happily ever after. So, luckily, I checked up on it again. Erika and Kyouka actually lived together before getting married and then they were shown to have a daughter! They didn’t change that much in character, but in every problem they went through, their relationship got stronger.

Now, when I finished the manga, I couldn’t help but reflect on why I loved this manga. So much that I never gave up keeping up with updates, and well, so I lived to read the ending. Anyhow, I realized that Kyouya and Erika reminds me a lot of Qiang Xin and Zhi Shu of It Started With a Kiss (Taiwanese version).

Why?

I think it’s mainly of the male leads, but when I thought about it, the female leads are also similar, as well as the kind of dynamics they had.

 

The Guys: Sata Kyouya – Jiang Zhi Shu

Both of these guys are smart, handsome, popular, can be two-faced (proper = non friends and family; cunning and playful = friends and family), and has loud, positive, and cute girl friends completely different from them.

wp-image-1909928095.Aside from these traits, I think the way they handle their relationship with their loves are quite similar. They like to bully their girlfriends about how they look and their intelligence, but in the end they’re actually really serious about them. The way they both hate the cutesy, lovey-dovey stuff that both Erika and Qiang Xin like in the relationship, but do it in the end for the sake of their girlfriends and as part of a compromise. They both know that their girlfriends might be head over heels with them, but they don’t back down a fight when the boys are being too much, and they are strong enough to turn their backs on them when really needed already.

Quite similar too in the way Zhi Shu and Kyouya began realizing their feelings for the girls when they threatened to look at someone else: When Erika ended her fake relationship with Kyouya and began seeing Kusakabe, that’s when he realized he actually wanted their relationship to be real because his jealousy was already a sign that he liked Erika for real. On the other hand, Zhi Shu revealed (by second season, but heck that kiss is actually the title) that when Qiang Xin said she’ll look for someone else, someone better than him, that’s when he felt threatened and probably, he already like her that time, he just did not act on it as fast as Kyouya did. Well, Zhi Shu was really a brainiac and he was so keen on studying, but Kyouya fooled around while maintaining good grades, thus, the progress was different. Nonetheless, both stuck around with their girlfriends who eventually became their wife, and their very own kryptonites.

 

The Girls: Erika Shinohara – Yuan Qiang Xin

Both of these girls are not very smart, not very pretty (but they are cute), not very popular, but very positive and driven, quite the opposite of their boyfriends.

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Like their boyfriends, I think the girls are quite similar when it comes to handling their relationship with their boyfriends. Although, I think Erika is more headstrong than Qiang Xin when it comes to fighting with her boyfriend and Qiang Xin is a bit more submissive, but both have their own unique ways in pacifying the rude mouths of those handsome, but overly bearing men. Erika really verbally fights with Kyouya and he actually admires this about her, while Qiang Xin is more timid, but her honesty and sincerity usually puts Zhi Shu in his place, especially when he’s being too mean to her. The girls love doing lovey-dovery stuff as girlfriends, but having particular boyfriends, they know that compromise is the key. Zhi Shi is a little bit more unlucky since Qiang Xin has Mama’s full support, but he does so anyway to make her happy (as a happy Qiang Xin makes him happy); on the other hand, Erika tried to push her luck with Kyouya on their first date as lovers, but they ended up fighting. Nonetheless, after this fight, that’s when Kyouya learned the importance of compromise, especially since their preference are different from each other.

These two girls are so strong and driven! Don’t mistake their softness as weakness, since the sincerity of these girls actually make men fall in love with them! I’m very happy that Erika found her passion towards the end of the manga. So even though it meant being away from Kyouya, she pursued her dream while not ever letting him go. She trust Kyouya enough to work for them too. I once read a comment about if ever they meet someone like Kyouya who treats them like a dog, then they’ll dump him right away. Well, that’s why Erika is so strong! Kyouya is not for the faint of heart, and since she stuck around, Kyouya knew she was worth it. On the other hand, Qiang Xin is really more Zhi Shu-driven (haha)! She’s probably worse in intelligence than Erika, but with her strong love for Zhi Shu, she goes forth with courage at every struggle and problem. Even though nursing was such a difficult course for someone like her, she pulled through because her goal was to help Zhi Shu. Nonetheless, along the way, I was very happy to see Qiang Xin grow even when she didn’t even realize it. This was apparent when she gave first aid to a man who had a motorcycle accident and she instantly went-nurse mode: confident, quick, smart. She didn’t need Zhi Shu at that moment to do her job well. Also, with Zhi Shu as someone you’re aiming for, a genius with a tongue as sharp as a blade, that mission is not for the faint of heart. As Zhi Shu said, he could do 90% of what Qiang Xin can, but the rest only she could do it to the point of unique perfection, and that’s why he was moved by her (out of all the girls and guys that flocks him). That’s why, respect to you girls.

 

The Relationships

Both ISWAK and OSKO (Ookami Shojou to Kuro Ouji) are romantic-comedies. Lots of crazy antics from the heroines and the funnier reactions by the heroes. There’s always a glimpse of the girls being mesmerized by the men, and those silent moments when the men are completely taken by the girls in their own, fascinating way. I love it that both stories showed the characters in long-term, serious relationships wherein there’s growth as individuals and as a romantic and life partner.

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Qiang Xin and Zhi Shu’s relationship were more as husband and wife since their boyfriend-girlfriend status was immediately changed by Jiang Mama, so there’s a lot of adjustment they had to do. e00a278d-d0e4-4c93-a4d2-c53f4b137e64While finding their purpose in the things they study as university students, the couple also were finding their foot as a marriage partner and making it work. There’s a lot of ups and downs including jobs, being away from each other, studies, having a baby, and jealousy, but they made it work. Too bad we never knew if they had a baby in the end, but I think they did. wp-image-256533812.It would have been so nice to see how they were as parents, especially with that eye condition of Qiang Xin still looming in the air. The last episode really solidified for me how much this couple love each other as they are willing to fight the disease together, and it was Zhi Shu declaring verbally how much he loves Qiang Xin. So nice since the whole time, we know that Zhi Shu loves Qiang Xin, but it’s only her who usually voices it out. So when he did finally say it, emergerd. My heart.

 

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Kyouya and Erika are the teenage couple who grew together until they had a family. By the end of the manga, they already had a toddler daughter. They started dating in first year high school, so they probably had been together for more than ten years by the end of the manga. Things were fun for the two and lots of funny episodes with their friends. The usual highlights for me of the manga was seeing Kyouya have these little realizations about his feelings for Erika, how much she is changing him, and how willing he is to let her change him. wp-image-940979874Being used to playing with girls, he was surprised when he fell in love, out of all people, to the girl he played as his dog for a fake relationship. It was like resetting everything he knew about relationships. When he thought he knew Erika, he’s always taken by surprise. There’s a part in the manga that he confessed that he felt so nervous about doing the deed with Erika. Erika was confused about this since she knew about his playboy side before they dated, but he admitted that it was the first time he was going to do it with a person he cared about, so he became nervous. It was probably a revelation for him. wp-image-1712229982.jpgEven though Erika’s clingier between the two of them, by the end of the manga, he was the one who became dependent on her warmth. At first Kyouya didn’t want Erika to go to Kyoto, even wishing that she failed her exam so they can stay together, but of course they worked it out in the end. And in the end, after being reunited after four months, he asked Erika to live together with him once they graduate.

In terms of dynamic, this kind of opposite pairing is very balanced. While one is passionate and burning, the other is cool and logical, although who takes the label is also sometimes interchangeable.

Hopefully, I’ll get to discover more stories with this kind of formula for characters and relationships.

Since I’m on the topic of manga (ISWAK is based on Itazura na Kiss manga), I’ll recommend reading these other shojou titles:

Kokou Debut
Kaichou wa Maido-sama
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun
Orange
Kimi ni Todoke
Switch Girl
Lovely Complex
Ao Haru Ride

Ja!

 

Day 230: 08.22.17

After finally finishing all my observation notes about all my students, I ought to give myself a reward. I thought a good movie would do.

Easily found a synopsis of this anime movie that followed the success of “Kimi no Nawa”, and now here I am about to rave about it.

Koe no Katcachi (A Silent Voice) is about a boy named Ishida Shoya and a deaf transferee student named Nishida Shoko, one is a bully and the other is the bullied, the long term effect of these acts to both, and the redemption from their shared past.

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I think that should be enough synopsis to have you watch it, really. I watched the film out of curiosity and because I really like delving into the subject and psychology behind bullying and it’s effects. Anyhow, as usual, let me point things that I’m raving about this movie in a list:

Water

After watching the film, I realized that there was actually a lot of scenes that involved the main characters being submerged in water and they were all turning points in the movie.

1) During their elementary school days when Ishida threw Shoko’s conversation notebook to the fountain. After this scene, the bullying was finally addressed in public (to the class). The teacher pointed Ishida out, including his friends.

2) When Ishida was the one in the fountain when the tables turned and he was the one bullied. Afte this scene, Ishida’s mom was informed about what he did to the girl and they had to apologize to the Nishida’s. This is when Ishida realized the gravity of what he did because his mom had to carry the shame and get hurt for him. It was a turning point for him and connects to the older Ishida which would be introduced a few minutes after. A fight between Shoko and Ishida also took place after this water scene. That fight scene finally gave us a glimpse of Shoko’s pain behind all the smiles and apologies she always have ready.

3) When Shoko’s notebook fell into the river, she and Ishida both jumped to get it. This is right after they met again as high school student’s. After that encounter, they started to steadily see each other in the same area which was of course a big plot point because being connected again, they began healing their past as they connected with old classmates together.

4) When Ishida fell in the water after saving Shoko from her suicide attempt. This was the climax of the movie since part of Ishida’s retribution is having Shoko realize that she needs to love herself. Through this incident, he was able to understand her more, her depression, his part because of it, and how he can help her improve her life as she help him with his.

Water, in literature, is mostly used as literary device to symbolize rebirth. Rebirth can be good or bad for a person. You can either be reborn with a good life, or a bad life, depending on your actions.

This brings me to my next point: Karma

Ishida pointed out about his karma from the very beginning of the movie. He knew that because he bullied Shoko, he was reaping the consequences of his act: he was also bullied. He wanted to kill himself after “repaying” some people in his life as part of his retribution: He paid the 1.7 million yen his mom paid Shoko’s parents after he destroyed and threw out eight of them when he bullied her. If he was gone, she wouldn’t have to be ashamed of having a son like him. He searched for Shoko and gave her back her notebook which somehow ended up with him. He also learned sign language so he can understand her when they start talking again. Ishida knew that by doing some retribution and then killing himself, he’ll be reborn with a better karma.

Good thing that in the end, he also realized that killing oneself is not the best solution to earn good deeds again. This thought, through experience himself, he will help Shoko with.

Realistic look at the effects of bullying to the bully and the victim

Bullying had been the subject of many movies, films, and stories set in Japan. Why? Because it really happens. There’s a lot of factors that come into place as to why it happens, but you can do the research on your own. I can give you a bibliography if you need it since that was part of my undergrad thesis lol. This is actually one of the reasons I am a bit scared of living in Japan. Being single at a marrying age, fat, and losing some hair, oh I’d be a favorite of bullies there! Well, as if I’d let them, but still, it would be troublesome.

Anyhow.

In anime with bullying as part of the topic, usually the characters make up and then they are friends. In reality, people relations are much more complicated than that. Victims of bullying are traumatized, they hold grudges, and some become very depressed which leads to suicide. Thus, it is very refreshing to finally watch a movie with the bully’s point of view about their act covering most of the narrative. Ishida learned how it felt to be bullied back, that’s why he felt more guilty of what he did to Shoko. Some bullies probably don’t do anything about what they did or don’t even try to apologize to their victims, but I’m sure, given the circumstance to see the effect they had to their victims, they will feel something.

Ishida developed anxiety attack so his perspective of peole has their faces with an X and whenever he is inside a crowd, he hyperventilates and get dizzy. This is to show how untrusting and scared he is of those people as they will judge him like he was judged and betrayed when he was young for what he did to shoko. Once he relaxes with them, the X is removed. Shoko, with her unfailing smile, actually had been depressed and suicidal ever since she was in elementary because of the bullying she had experienced in school.

These victims try to live their life as normal as they could, with or without the mask of pain. They develop low self-esteem, anxiety disorders, and depression. They may seem okay as they try to survive life day to day with these emotions in their heart, but the battle is very hard.

Alright. I’m sure there’s still a lot more to love about this story, so I’m going to read the manga version, too. Please watch it!

5/5 🌟

Day 229: 08.21.17

It’s a holiday today! Woot woot! No work-day!

On the other hand, as I owe my students three weeks worth of Observation and Recordings (we use it to write reports and track progress), today is that day to cram it all up!

SHIT.

I have 15 students (16 tomorrow) that I have so much to say about already. Everyday, I discover something good and bad about these kids, so there’s really a lot to write. As of this time (6:21 PM), I’ve finished at least five, but I actually began around 1 PM. Of course there’s the occasional distractions with the wifi on, so… erm. Haha.

On the other hand, my time had been preoccupied learning the work-about of Microsoft One Note which is like a virtual notebook. Now, I thought my co-teacher was standoffish when she made a comment about me still using a notebook and pen to write down my notes, especially long ones like O&Rs. I just commented that I’m old-school, because well, I am. The age-gap was glaring at that moment, I tell ya.

Anyhow.

That encounter made me think, well, why not try it. If I can find a good platform to use as a notebook, why not? And so I remembered MS OneNote and so here I’m using it.

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I like how I can organize the notebooks and have sections and pages as sub-folders. I made notebooks for my class templates, recordings, and even reports in the future. I’m also using this as my notebook for my UPOU class. I guess no more notepads for me? Nah. I still love notepads, but this is really great to have all my documents in one place, instead of having separate files in different folders in my computer drive. Moreover, the files are synced from my laptop to my desktop and phone, so I can work anywhere and still have the same files, just like how I use Google Drive.

So as much as I love old tricks, I’m definitely open to what technology can also offer for me.

Day 228: 08.20.17

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So I’ve been on a hunt of light, entertaining rom-coms from Taiwan because I think it’s a subconscious longing to go back to that country. Sadly, the plans for December had been crossed out with no budget until now, no ticket yet, and my best friend has more important matters to use her money for. Although, I really really hope to come back to this country again, hopefully next year. Spring would be nice again. 😀

Anyhow, there had been a string of Taiwanese films I’ve watched before this one like “At Cafe 6”, “Yesterday Once More”, etc. They were so-so. This one is not any different.

I decided to watch “20 Once More” since it was well-recommended in different websites. It was easy to find a copy and so I was ready to go.

Overall, the movie had it going great, until the ending. What a shame.

The main character, the old woman, had no character development whatsoever. If the ending was any hint to change, it was like a short, unnoticeable burp then the screen rolls the credit. No one in the story actually had any development. By the end of the movie, I think the problem within the family, especially between the grandma and the daughter-in-law, had no clear resolution. I mean, the reason why the wife collapsed was apparently because of stress from the mother-in-law (grandma), right? Thus, why she was to be sent to the nursing home then she encountered that magical photo studio that turned her into her youthful version.

At the end of the movie, I still felt sorry to the mom as I did at the beginning. Being old and experienced doesn’t give one the right to be mean and overbearing. With age we feel entitled, but you can be wise and guide others without putting others down.

3/5 ⭐