3-8-14: Film Recommendation
Three film students go missing after traveling into the woods of Maryland to make a documentary about the local Blair Witch legend leaving only their footage behind.
Okay, this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re looking for a horror film without over-dramatic theatrics and a film that places the fear of the characters in you, then this is for you. I love slow built up terror and this film embodies it; the fear gradually begins to weigh down the three victims as they find themselves lost in the woods and realize something or someone is stalking them. The film may leave you a little frustrated if you like direct answers (ie. what is causing their terror), but the unknown makes it more frightening.
3 Words to Describe this Film: Creepy, slow-paced, true-terror
2-26-14: Introspective Crisis
As of late, the last five years of my life, and increasingly apparent in the last few months, I have delved further in the abyss of confusion. My thoughts are incoherent, and quite frankly I do not understand what is going around me. Life, at times, seems pointless. People seem empty. I seem empty.
I think, and I think, that this may have to deal with the realization that I must decide how to go about my life after graduation. Education has been institutionalized so I saw it as something that was naturally part of life. I blindly followed everyone. Now I see that we all have a choice and I ask myself, “what will I do with my life?” and, “what the hell have I been doing with it?” Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is one right way to live your life. If you prefer to stay home and watch anime, then so be it. It’s your life. The problem with me is that I pitifully wished that I was supposed to change the world for the better; I was just waiting for someone to tell me what it was.
I’ve mentioned this in a previous post and like I’ve said, I know that is not true, but still I can strive for it. The problem is I’m unsure how to go about this and I fear that I will live through life never feeling I accomplished my dream. I worry if I even have the potential to make a small change. I look at myself and I compare myself to an ideal me, but I don’t even know how to measure myself. I’m merely a being of collected perceptions from outsiders. I ask myself, “how do people perceive me?” It’s impossible to measure. People essentially perceive me based on the relationship I have with them, how I make them feel, and how they perceive themselves. So I then turn inwards, “how do I perceive myself?” and to be honest I really have no clue. Like I said earlier, my thoughts are muddled.
I guess the only thing I’m left to do is simply move forward and interact with the opportunities I am given; I’ll have to continue living to see how my life will unfold. Maybe I will achieve my goal, maybe not. Here is a full length response to my doubts and worries: http://alchemychild.tumblr.com/post/77989035041/2-26-14-the-alchemist-the-alchemist-i-arrived
Maybe you too will find encouragement in my terribly written words.
2-26-14: The Alchemist
I arrived home from school, threw myself onto the couch, and switched on the television to my favorite anime show. This was my way of hiding from reality. I chose to be a recluse in my home and live in the world of fantasy. Through books and anime I could live lives I could never possibly achieve in reality. So I lied there; inside my home, but essentially I was traveling with the Elric brothers on their adventure. They are characters from the anime show I was watching. The two brothers were alchemists and attempted to bring their mother back to life through alchemy, but failed and ended up losing more than just their mother. One brother had lost his entire body while the other lost his leg and arm. They accepted their fate and they did not grovel in despair. Instead they moved onward and were on their way to restore their bodies even though they knew suffering was waiting for them. At one point one of the brothers had told me, “you’ve got a good strong pair of legs, I suggest you use them.” I realized that I had to stop hiding and I had to move forward. Even if that meant I would fail. I wanted to be like the Elric brothers, I wanted to be able to carry onward regardless the obstacles I encounter.
Pain is inevitable. Life does not always grant our wishes but it is the blessings in life that drive us to bear our sufferings. These blessings are sudden gifts, so we cannot expect too much. If we create high expectations they will lead to disappointment. On the contrary, appreciating what you already have can grant someone satisfaction. People can survive the most unpleasant situations as long as they have a small ounce of hope for the future.
People have the choice to view themselves as a victim or to look past their sufferings and look forward toward the future. Viktor Frankl, a victim of the holocaust, chose the latter and he “succeeded somehow in rising above, above the sufferings of the moment, and [he] observed them as if they were already the past” (117). Frankl saw the unpleasant present as the past, a past he did not dwell on and instead he welcomed the future with open arms. Because he embraced the future, he was able to survive the concentration camps. On the other hand, “The prisoner who had lost faith in the future – his future – was doomed” (117). This prisoner believed a future was not waiting for him beyond the concentration camps. He had given up hope. Since he believed the future was nonexistent, he knew he could not move forward into the future and therefore, death greeted him. Death was either the physical force that left the prisoner’s body immobile or death took place inside the prisoner’s soul and resulted in a walking corpse.
The future is a garden and what will blossom are the unknown blessings people receive. Sometimes, weeds will sprout, they are stubborn and sprout out whenever they desire and we must pluck those weeds in order for the flowers to bloom. Those weeds represent unavoidable adversities and we must remove them in order for flowers to bloom. We must move forward and not fear the days which will bring pain because, there will also be days that will bring happiness.
Thorny weeds infested my garden and I was afraid to pluck them because once I did, the thorns would paint scars onto my bare skin. I was unaware that all I had to do was pluck from the root which was free from the thorns. Because of my ignorance, the weeds had trapped me and I was unable to move forward. My weeds grew because I victimized myself. I thought to myself how can I possibly accomplish anything. I am one person, and an ungifted one at that.
I faced the world despite my fear because I wanted to achieve my dream. Dreams are the treasures that we hope to proclaim, but life does not always grant us our dreams. A favorite director of mine, Park Chan-Wook, had once said, “I’ve always tried not to fall for the lies that say things like ‘you’re the only one who can carve out your own life.’… [because] life doesn’t go your own way.” We do not always have the ability to control what happens in life, such as the death of loved ones, but we do have the ability to accept and move forward. Maybe I cannot achieve my dreams, but moving toward my dream is enough. Life in itself is enough. We may continue to search for the chest filled with golden amulets, beaded pearls and silk embroidered with our desires and we also have the choice to realize that what we already have are the hidden treasures we have been searching for.
The Elric brother’s adventure was coming to an end. They were unable to completely restore their bodies, but they were still content. Even if fate did not want to completely give them what they wanted, they would continue to find a way to achieve their dream. They would search even if there was a possibility they would never achieve it. They continued to move forward no matter what. I took their advice; I began to use my legs. With my legs I treaded toward the weeds and ripped them out from the ground. I wanted blue bells, poppies, and cherry blossoms to ripen in my garden. I have realized that I will never know whether or not I can achieve my dreams unless I continue to move forward. Like the Elric brothers, I have become an alchemist; an alchemist is someone who creates gold out of ordinary substances. I am an alchemist who is transmuting every moment, even the difficult ones, into a moment of great value; these moments are necessary so I can move forward on my path toward my goal. Whether or not I achieve my goal, by the time I lay on my deathbed, I will know that I have planted an abundant garden.
A psychological thriller of a grieving mother turned cold-blooded avenger with a twisty master plan to pay back those who were responsible for her daughter’s death.
So I’ve been meaning to watch this film for a while and I wish I hadn’t waited a long time to see this film. The film’s play on images and music is quirky and intriguing. My favorite aspect of the film was the way the story was told. The film is sectioned by different characters. Since the film is narrated through first perspective, the audience can intimately connect to each character, although, many may feel uncomfortable in the thoughts of each of the characters. Initially, I thought the film’s plot encompasses the reveal of who was responsible for Moriguchi’s daughter’s death, but the film immediately exposes the murders and instead I began to anticipate each character’s take on their actions.
3 words to describe this film: disturbing, introspective, worth-your-goddamn-time.
2-21-14: Sakurasou no pet na kanajo review/ thoughts
3 words to describe this anime: heartwarming, slice of life, adorable
The school romantic comedy revolves around a second-year high school student named Sorata Kanda who lives in Sakurasou, the dormitory for problem children at Sorata’s school. One day, Mashiro Shiina—a cute girl who happens to be also a cosmopolitan, brilliant artist—moves into Sakurasou.
Sorata thinks to himself that he should protect Mashiro from the weirdos at Sakurasou, but Mashiro has a surprising secret: she has no idea how to take care of herself. She gets lost if she goes out, and her room is a complete mess. Sorata’s dorm mates designate him as the “master” of Mashiro, and thus, an ordinary boy and a brilliant girl must live like “a master and his pet.”
This anime is adorable. I didn’t expect much from it, but this anime was able to tell the truth through a work of fiction.
One of my favorite scenes was when Nanami cried out that she shouldn’t be treated like a saint and that she was selfishly helping others because she didn’t want the past two years to go to waste. I truly admired Nanami after that scene, because I believe stories tend to depict self-sacrificing characters and usually it doesn’t depict reality. Nanami is admirable because although what she did was for selfish reasons, she was able to admit that and still aid her friends.
I definitely identified myself with Sorata when he was crushed after putting all his effort and his dreams would not flourish, and Shiina would continue to have everything. What I loved about Sorata was that he was willing to admit this to Shiina and still say/ and still be in love with her. He was also still willing to pursue his dreams despite the many times he failed.
"Your future is decided by forces beyond your power. no matter how hard you work, there are things you cannot change."
"But if you put your mind to it you can change the color of the world in an instant. What color do you want to be?" - Sorata
So my character in my story was pretty much inspired by the drawing above. This story is a work in progress. I have yet to title it. I simply copied the drawing and hopefully soon I will draw her transformation from there. This is how my character initially looks, but as the story progresses her appearance changes. Not because of age, but because of simply her character developing.
The story line follows a teenager, Evalyne, who obsesses over perfection and purity. She comes across a dead woman in a river and becomes infatuated with the corpse. She then finds herself behaving in a manner she has never acted before: far from the pure child she feigned herself to be. She claims it is the dead woman threatening her.
Picture source: http://www.behance.net/jennifermadden
2-14-15: A lesson learned from Monogatari
“I’ve got a great story to tell you. It’s about that man who tried to rape you way back. He was hit by a car and died in a place with no connection to you, in an event with no connection to you. Without any drama at all …That’s the lesson for you here: you shouldn’t expect your life to be like the theatre.”
- Kaiki Deishu
I guess I’ve always known this, but I didn’t want to acknowledge it. I wanted to believe I was going to change the world; that I was special. Yes, a foolish thought or perhaps it was a wish I was trying to deceive myself in believing.
I remember asking myself why I deserved to be cursed with an illness; I cried and asked the God I believed in then, ‘why me?’ I made myself out to be the victim. I’ve come to learn I’ve never been the victim, but it was only an illusion I created. How childish of me. Yes, I have suffered, but that’s it, I’ve only suffered. I’ve pained, but I have learned and evolved from it, whether for the better or what some people may think, the worse. I am becoming a whole person and moving past the helpless child who believed the universe was against her. I was self-centered enough to think the universe was against me. Ha. “Even when our eyes are closed, there’s a whole world out there that lives outside ourselves and our dreams,” said by Edward Elric. I was experiencing the world as if I was the protagonist and still today I may act as if I am, but I’m moving forward and acknowledging that I am not.
I am not the protagonist, nor the victim. I am no one, but everyone. There is no self. I’m equally significant as every form of life thus I have liberated myself to experience life and the grief that may come along with it and I will not wither as the victim. I am liberated because I am no longer bound by the laws of a protagonist: I do not have to feign purity or heroism, and I’m finally allowed to grow and maybe just like everyone else, if I can, I can become a part of the world’s evolution.
Picture Source: http://www.zerochan.net/full/1643334
Kowarete Iku Sekai Excerpt:
“Why did you do that?” She asked.
I looked down at my carved tattoo and I thought how Akio never waited till the spring to see the Sakura flowers in full bloom. He left with only the memory of them drowning in the water canals. If Akio was still alive, I would tell him that the world is dark and cursed, but still you find reasons to live. Didn’t he think I was a reason? Maybe; maybe not. I looked at Mitsuko and she smiled at me. I knew I would suffer, but I would set it aside and watch Mitsuko’s smiling eyes. It was like waiting for spring to come and to finally see the trees decorated in cherry blossoms. It was beautiful yet it was a pain to wait for a year to come, but I waited. Why couldn’t he?
“Akio believed that the living couldn’t sprout flowers.” I answered. I did. I did.
An excerpt from my short story Kowarete Iku Sekai.
If you know the source of this photograph, please let me know so I can link it. Thank you.
So after going to a Japanese bookstore and falling in love with the Midori travel journal, I had to buy it, but there was one huge problem: it was too expensive. It was around $50.00 and as a saving college student, I didn’t want to spend my money on it. I’ve hounded and searched and finally found a replica of this beautiful journal, which was significantly cheaper: 20 bucks! Here is the link to the ebay user from whom I’ve purchased from:
I’ll be going to South Korea this summer and hope to fill this journal with beautiful drawings and give the journal itself justice. Here are some inspiration travel journal pages:
and lastly the original Midori travel journal: