I sometimes manage to stay away from television, news, and real world in general so well that when I catch a glimpse of it by chance I suddenly find out that parts of country are being washed away with level 4 (out of 5) evacuation alerts, a number of very prominent and very famous tv figures got in organised crime-related trouble (which in this country means a big reconstruction on the tv scene because they will need to replace big tv shows that were in the same spots for many years and people who everyone was used to seeing all the time), and that some of my favourite (and very talented) musicians were arrested.
Feels like this world is never going to convince that there might be a merit in not living like an ostrich.
This first typhoon of the summer that just passed left in its wake smell of the sea so strong it literally burned my throat with all the salt on my way home.
It felt like trying to breath extra salty see water.
Japanese things that ‘everyone’ knows and likes and expects you to know and like, but I inexplicably can’t stand on some biological level and really don’t want to have anything to do with:
Nintendo (including Mario, Zelda, and pretty much every IP of theirs)
It’s an opinion that is equally difficult to express among Japanese people and not-Japanese Japan fans. And even more difficult to express when you work in gaming…
When you’re someone who (or in a stage) reads 20-30 books monthly (and also has trouble finding books that your sick and tired psyche can handle atm, so ends up discarding half as much as ‘read later when I have the right mood’, thus creating 80-90 book TBR piles on the top of your bookshelf), while also living in a small Tokyo apartment and not in an ancient castle with 2-floor library, opting for doing it through an ebook reader should be a no-brainer. The most logical, easiest option. The only acceptable option, some even would insist… Not only it would save you from struggling to find a space to store all your books, but also, kindle versions are very often come 5-15 dollars cheaper than buying paper books (not to mention sometimes having to pay for shipping to Japan, though having Prime helps). Why, sometimes, they are even free on kindle. So, really, a no-brainrer. Or it should be. …Unless you are also an aspie to whom the sensory experience of reading a book (holding it, touching the paper, smelling the paper, feeling exactly how much you’ve progressed) is as important as reading the words on a page and without it reading is not reading, and your brain actually misses chunks of content when you’re reading from an e-reader (tried and confirmed multiple times). Then all bets are off and you can only improve your ‘finding places to put bookshelves’ game and hope he floor doesn’t give up during the next earthquake. Or in general.
I do hate this very common occurrence of an almost empty cafe filling to its capacity 30 minutes after I sat down hoping to write in piece and quiet.
It’s not like I even come right after the opening hours or right before lunch hours when it could be logically explained and expected.
Specifically looking for a quiet spot in a quiet book cafe just to see it get overcrowded in less than an hour after you sat down is…just sad, frustrating, and feels like an insult when you’re in an especially self-centered mood.
upd. It’s also the same with the toilet. Say you sit with a clear view of the cafe toilet (1 person at a time kind of deal) for an hour and can see that it’s not crowded and no one is waiting in front of it, in fact it’s rarely occupied. But the minute you decided to go, not only someone tries the door less that 30 sec after you lock it behind yourself (before you even manage to take your pants off), you emerge to see a 3-people line waiting for you with offended expressions.
It makes me feel stalked by a crowd of humanity.
And reminds me of that feeling when I was going around taking pictures in parks and more often than not some old man would start following around and stop to take pictures at the exact same spot at exact same angle I did a moment ago. I’m not even kidding.
Yes, I did mention an especially self-centered mood. But it’s hard to blame my moods when these occurrences keep piling up.
Not going to work on a weekday and staying in a place where there are only the standard TV channels and no option to stick my HDD into the TV got me re-acquainted with such pearls of morning TV as 30-min discussion of bows on toiler paper, even longer discussion of a somewhat-famous couple enjoying sakura viewing in a park (seriously, what the fluff goes through people’s heads when they think it’s necessary to take pictures of two people sitting on grass in a park and looking at trees and then discuss every angle of those pictures at length on national tv?), and a very detailed discussion of the Imperial couple’s outfits as they pay last homage in shrines around the country before abdication. (Still better than what I caught on CNN and BBC before changing the channel though.)
In short, it’s days like this when I really begin to despise that part of my broken mind that makes me unable to function without having some kind of TV noise in the background…because no matter how much I try to concentrate on something else, time after time I catch glimpses of something that just sends the ‘damn, I really can’t understand or feel any kind of affinity with this humanity’ thought shooting through my mind.
The first impression is very simple—reading this is like watching anime in text. Not just because it’s Japanese. It’s the whole imagery, concepts, attitudes, flow of the narrative. I suppose it’s probably a very different book for you when you don’t actually live in Japan and feel like every image from this book you’ve already seen somewhere before. But I’m at least glad that this at least was written by someone who knew what they were writing about. I also suppose that his ‘anime’ nature fits very well with the YA trend of mixing childish with gruesome deaths and cringy concepts (of people not having free will and being tortured in general). And this is really all the description I can come up with: it’s like anime, childish and bloody at the same time, full of yokai monsters and talk of samurai honor; cringy enough to keep me from really liking what is going on. Minus points for the cliff-hanger ending, as predictable as that turn was, but plus point for the Epilogue—that bit was very satisfying. On one hand, I might be curious about what will happen to the characters from now on, on the other I don’t know if I’m actually willing to read two more books to find out…
Did you know that in Japan all hardcover books (and some of the bigger/thicker paper cover ones) come with their own attached thread bookmarks? I wonder why is it not a world-wide practice.
Learned a new word a few days before. 憤死 (funshi) – dying in a fit of anger or indignation. Love how there’s actually a separate word for that.
Amused by the culture where people believed it was easier to tell who was the father of a person, than who was the mother. After reading a number of biography notes starting “A son of B, mother was supposedly C.”
Heard people discuss a ‘dad dating’ game… with only appearing characters (as far as I saw), being the dads and their teenage daughters. Still didn’t bring myself to look it up (because scary, not knowing the actual name), because I really couldn’t tell who was supposed to be dating whom in that combination.
take a walk in Kyoto
Opened utube window that was not logged into my account for once and showed me the ‘common’ front page. And the first thing I saw was the ‘Let’s fry MacBook as tempura’ video with over a million views… Why, human beings, why…
What still shocks me from time to time in Japanese cicadas is how so much noise can come out from such a tiny body, which doesn’t really have much in it anyway. Sometimes you can walk under a tree that is making as much noise as an elephant would if it was a cicada. Literally, it is deafening. It is louder than my music and that says something.
There are dead tropical butterflies on the floor of Tokyo metro.
I find it fascinating how many bitter videos there are on utube of people ‘disappointed in Japan’ after they came here and it wasn’t the fluffy otaku land they expected… I never knew