tsubame: (wings)
Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 01:54 am
I was at Sensei's house one time, and his son, and some of his son's friends, were studying in the kitchen. Sensei asked my then-roommate and I if we would come downstairs so that the kids could try their English on us; we agreed. We went downstairs and answered their questions in our best slow, clear English-teacher voices. I don't remember most of them save the last; they asked us, "what is your favorite place in Kyoto?"

My flatmate said Kiyomizudera, a beautiful temple perched on the mountains to the east of the city. It's the obvious choice, of course: the buildings and grounds are beautiful, there's a view of the city, the temples and relics are old and significant, they illuminate the cherry blossoms in the spring and the maple trees in the autumn, there is a perpetually-flowing spring of pure water you can drink right out of the ground. The road up the mountain is through a charming old district; the shops have been catering to tourists for hundreds of years. The great stage of Kiyomizudera is a miracle of engineering, built without a single nail. It floats among the trees, and catches a refreshing breeze even in the stickiest Kyoto summer. There are fun festivals there; it even boasts credible wisteria which grow on trellises and shade benches where pilgrims can rest. There are charming eateries tucked among the groves of trees beneath the temple. Maiko and geisha regularly come to visit in full regalia, since it is the patron temple of one of Kyoto's "flower towns."

Everyone nodded when my roommate gave her answer; clearly Kiyomizudera is one of the most wonderful places in Kyoto.

Then it was my turn, and I had to think. What place in Kyoto could compare to Kiyomizudera's virtues?

"This house," I said.

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I have no skill at art whatsoever, but I doodle for fun, and thought I might as well put up a few of my slightly-more-credible scribbles. Behind a cut to protect your eyes. Primary mediums are pencil (my favorite cheap-ass Bic mechanicals) and colored pencils.

Pencil Detritus )
tsubame: (wings)
Friday, June 10th, 2011 02:45 pm
"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."

~Antoine de Saint-Exupery


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I was discussing the concept of “good” vampires with Lázár. The group encountered a family of vampires who were living a life in which they didn’t harm humans-- instead they sponsored a blood bank and lived fairly normal lives. That they were killed meant that all the other vampires would see little point in being “good,” since they would be targets anyway.

His answer surprised me: “If they were just doing it to avoid getting iced, they still f--ing deserve to get iced.”

What he meant was that the vampires would only be behaving themselves to avoid the chance of being killed. If that threat was removed, they would go back to less wholesome habits. And there was no guarantee that the threat would always be there. External motivation wouldn’t be enough; the behavior cannot be trusted without internal motivation.

Tokugawa is still at the front of my head, since her game ended only recently, and she spoke up: “The threat is like a poised hammer; you worry what might happen if the hammer is removed. Bring the hammer down a few times. After that it will not matter if the hammer is actually there or not; it will remain always in their minds.”

What she meant was that if there are a few demonstrative punishments, people will fear the punishment and remember it, and behave themselves to avoid it. Once that is in effect you will no longer have to punish people.

. . . they both scare me.

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Variations on the Word Sleep, by Margaret Atwood )
tsubame: (wings)
Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 02:30 am
A fascinating link regarding a great editor.

Crowd-sourced publishing. An interesting idea, though we’ll have to wait and see how it goes.

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Edinburgh bears the unfortunate label of “not Japan” in my head, and so I tend to give the place short shrift, and easily forget just how lucky I am to be here. Since the culture and language are much closer to that of my native place, I don’t experience the same degree of foreign-ness, and so I don’t appreciate the city as much as I should.

So it’s good for me to go by North Bridge every once and a while, because out of all the places in the city somehow the view from their reminds me of just how lucky I am. And it reminds me that Edinburgh is an incredible place, a vision in buff stone, a place of history and wonders and mysteries if only I dig beneath the everyday to find them.

And it figures that I don’t have any particularly great photos of the view from there. It’s rather difficult to capture such a grand view on a 2D camera-- half the magnificence is the wonders receding further back into space. Carlton Hill with its whimsical structures falling away to the sky and the far-off waters of the ocean, seagulls wheeling in the wind, the impressive sweep of the bridge over the great ravine that holds the train station, the height of the hills on either side, the ornate stone buildings decorated with mythic beasts and reclining gods . . .


Here’s the one shot I do have of Carlton Hill. They hold the Samhain and Beltain celebrations up there-- both of which I missed, alas. But if I were going to pick a likely spot for magic in Edinburgh this’d be it, with the eclectic buildings, the observatory dome, the obelisk, the tower. It would be a great location for a school of wizardry, a part of the town and yet separate, a lofty place between land and sea, sky and rock, looking over both the cultured city and the barren wildness of Arthur’s Seat.

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I wanted to put up more writing for [livejournal.com profile] saiun_challenge’s birthday celebration, but alas it seems this is all I’m going to manage. And I still have one more bit to write before it’s really complete! ::sobs:: Oh, and I haven’t edited it yet, so it’s probably so terrible as to be embarrassing. But I’m too tired to look it over now, and the deadline will be past if I wait to do so until I’ve had some sleep.

This AU makes me nostalgic for high school. How weird.

Dark Jewels Saiunkoku

Roseford's Queen: Part 1
Roseford's Queen: Part 2
Roseford’s Queen: Part 3

Roseford’s Queen: Part 4 )
tsubame: (foot-mouth)
Thursday, March 31st, 2011 11:10 pm
I have FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY finished chapter 3 of Demon Hunter! We’re not going to talk about how long I’ve been working on it.

Demon Hunter: Previous Installments
Chapter One: Departure
Chapter Two: The Long Road
Chapter Three: Learning Experience (part 1: Gold)

Chapter Three: Learning Experience (part 2: Soap) )


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One of my previous roommate's cats, Shunki, as an adolescent, having a stretch on my futon. An absolutely gorgeous cat, and well aware of it. Like my Jackl she was also a rescue-- my friend fished her and her littermates out of a box in a river in Tokyo. All went to good homes and have grown up to be wonderful pets. Shunki and her brother Ensei are now living happily in the United States, where they are referred to fondly by my previous roommate as "her Stupids."

The kanji for Shunki's name is "春姫", which translates to "spring princess." Rarely have name and personality suited each other so well in anyone.

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5 Reasons Humanity is Terrible at Democracy

Deeply interesting and informative reading. Terribly depressing, though.

Bioware Tells Straight Men to "Get Over" Being Hit on By Gay Men in "Dragon Age 2"

Good for them. An intelligent and reasoned response to a complaint probably wasn't either.

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A Color of the Sky, by Tony Hoagland )
tsubame: (hey!)
Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 12:38 am

There is a rather remarkable propensity towards flowers in Scotland; hard to believe in a country so far north and yet true. Summer, for instance, is nothing but endless green and gold where I grew up in the States, but here there were more flowering things than I could name. The roses, too, grow splendidly, and last well into fall.

I never did find that camera cord; I ended up replacing it.

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The birds outside our window are dinosaurs. WE NOW HAVE THE BEST FACT.


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while reading the Mauritius Command:

Oh, Stephen. Jack was up all night worrying about you and you come back with an albatross egg and a parrot that speaks French.

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geekery and fanfic in an email today:

I have a crazy Ryuuki, a three-eyed demon Ryuuki, an assassin Ryuuki, a chichi-ue Ryuuki, a Ryuuki hooked up to computers, a ridiculously cute Ryuuki, a Ryuuki with piercings, a courtesan Ryuuki, a dragon Ryuuki . . .

::is beginning to suspect that she's deeply insane::

You know what I don't have? A one-eyed warrior Ryuuki!

::glowing cheerfully at the thought::

::fairly certain that she is quite insane, actually::
Friday, January 21st, 2011 12:48 am

Some of my friends in front of one of the great trees of Koya-san in Wakayama-ken. It is the center of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, and it's . . . amazing. There are more than 120 temples there, and a lovely and tranquil graveyard that takes several hours to walk through. It felt like another world, up there amongst the peaks.

I wanted to put up this picture because my incredibly-PC-calendar (it has Thich Nhat Hanh quotes!) lists Thursday as Tu B'Shevat (the Jewish New Year for Trees). According to teh interwebs this is the date when the trees begin to flower in Jereusalem. Other than that I know nothing of the significance of the holiday, but I think it a beautiful thing that there should be a new year devoted to trees.

Of course, since I believe Jewish holidays start on the previous night at sundown, I guess this holiday is already over . . .

Behind which I ramble on insanely about Pandora Hearts. Replete with question marks, because every time I learn something in this blasted series I end up with 5 new questions. er. EDIT: FULL OF SPOILERS. I should have said that before, sorry. )
Thursday, January 20th, 2011 12:54 am

Last spring I was able to go to a huge roller coaster park in Japan with some of my friends. Among the ten coasters in the park they also happen to have the world's largest wooden one; this is a view of it from the nearby Ferris wheel. I rode it once, but found that it gave me a pounding headache. Looks like I've gotten too old for wooden roller coasters. I did fine on the modern ones, though.

I might also have been more prone to headaches at the time, seeing as my parents were visiting. When my parents visited me in Japan I was usually in a state of high stress and constant sleep deprivation/exhaustion.

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Wednesdays are going to be my busy days; biweekly that means class from 9 AM to 9:30 PM, with an hour's break for lunch and dinner/transport each. And then walking 40 minutes home. Today was the first of them, and actually I found myself enjoying it. I like being busy; it makes me feel useful. Which explains why I so mercilessly over-scheduled myself while I lived in Japan; I did in fact enjoy it.

I've actually been rather lazy since coming to Scotland. I think I need to take further steps to remedy this.

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Over the vacation I had a chance for some long talks with my various family members, some of which were quite interesting.

Regarding a conversation with my little brother with attendant thoughts which cover socialism in Sweden, the causes of the American Civil War, rappers, and lottery tickets. )

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I had half an hour during my busiest busy day in which to procure dinner. I wanted to go to the Black Medicine coffee house, because its name is so cool, but I ended up wandering the wrong way. I was thinking thoughts of going into the KFC-- I was running out of time-- it would be easy to order there-- but at the last second I gave in to the terrible yellow plastic beacon of a down-at-the-heels middle eastern place with cheap battered tables and faded posters of deserts on the walls.

And glad I was to have done so. Their baba ganoush was LOVELY. And I found out that the "sh" sound at the end has a bit of a hard "g" sound in it. I am enlightened!

. . . okay, nowhere near. But I get a little closer every day!

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I found some fun and interesting things on the internet recently. Let me share them with you!

A friend who is obsessed with a cartoon show called Phineas and Ferb linked me to this episode which makes reference to Carmell Dansen. At which point I told her that about two years ago Japan discovered this song in its original Swedish. And before long ALL OF JAPAN WAS INFECTED. It caught on so hugely that every anime currently on the air (and many who just have extremely obsessive fans) was making their own version of it (Jack Sparrow's at 2.16, fyi).

The same friend taught me a new French phrase!

déjà moo - the distinct feeling that you've heard this bull before

My stock of French phrases is growing once again! I can now add this gem of wisdom to my recently-acquired "tes moeurs crapuleuses" ("your sordid morals") and "tu cherches à corrompre mon paresseux" ("you are trying to corrupt my sloth"). Thankee, Patrick O'Brian!

This picture is my current desktop walllpaper. About which I said . . . )

To which my adorable sister replied... )

She's so cute! <3

This comic is quite adorable.

Reading through Pandora Hearts led to this string of (mostly) non-spoiler comments on Facebook:

Comments Ahoy! )
tsubame: (reading)
Saturday, January 15th, 2011 10:14 pm
I thought I should put up photos, every now and again . . . didn't really feel like doing big long photo posts the way I did once upon a time for my China trip, but single ones ever now and then I think I can manage.



This is one of the first pictures that I took in Cambodia, when my roommate and I were just wandering around Phnom Penh getting our bearings. It remains one of my all-time favorites. I took five pictures of this cat, and I still can't decide which I like best.

For those who have been asking me for photos of Scotland and Edinburgh, my apologies, but I was not able to find my camera cord over the Christmas break. Which means I need to figure out how to buy a new one. I am at present conducting research with that end in mind.

I admit to being somewhat inspired in the photography respect by [livejournal.com profile] apis_cerana, who linked me to this Japanese photoblog, which I find I rather adore.

Today was grey and rainy but warm; I was accomplished in that I went jogging and stretched and did That Awful Exercise. Otherwise I spent most of it reading Pandora Hearts, which I adore.

Officially, now, since it's on livejournal.

But oh gods there's so very much to love. The Japanese obsession with Alice in Wonderland continues unchecked, in case you were wondering. I've also given up fighting my love for Gil, who is awesomesauce oftentimes and adorably hilarious for the rest of it.

Veryvery high recommendation for this series. There is an anime, but I've only watched the first episode . . . but seeing as I'm further along in the manga already, I'm too impatient to get more of the story to watch my way through the anime up to the point I am now. So I can't give any verdicts on the quality of the show.

There is a great deal that's excellent about this series. The characters are diverse but compelling; the mains especially so. There's a great many complicated interconnections between them. And although much is revealed, there's always more that remains mysterious, or the revelation leads to another question, and another. For instance, something that I thought would be drawn out-- the identity of Raven-- was quickly revealed in the 2nd volume. But far from lessening the tension, this revelation just lead to more complicated and intricate possibilities.

While I'm recommending things, this video made me laugh. A lot.

tsubame: (yue)
Friday, November 12th, 2010 12:18 pm
First, for anyone who's not aware, [livejournal.com profile] saiunkoku_fic is holding their annual Secret Santa exchange. Everyone should head over and sign up, it's going to be awesome!

Here's an interesting blog post for anyone who reads George R.R. Martin-- basically a critique of his story structure in writing A Song of Ice and Fire, and how it might be linked to the long delay in the writing of A Dance with Dragons.

I ended up there because I was reading Orbit's post on breaking the rules of writing in NaNoWriMo, which is also well worth the read.

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I got back one of my assessment grades today, and it was . . . not terrible, but also not awesome. I have a feeling that a distinction in this particular course is pretty much impossible. Which leads me to doubt whether a distinction is possible in my other courses.

Which, of course, makes me feel . . . well, terrible. Because somewhere in my brain there's something that demands that I excel at whatever I'm doing, and when I don't . . . it's this sick twisting in my gut again, the understanding that, as always, I'm not good enough.

I became a great deal more confident during my time in Japan, I think. I had work for which I was praised, friends who bolstered my self image, hobbies at which I could succeed. Just the fact that I was living in Japan made me special. After five years, I suppose it's only natural that I acquired a swelled head.

And only natural that, once again, the world will show me just how misplaced my self confidence is. Will demonstrate that I'm not nearly as smart as I think I am. Will illustrate that I'm barely average, barely adequate to the task to which I have set myself.

Oh, I will pass. Of that, at least, I have no doubt. I will do reasonably all right.

But that's all. Because in the end, I'm not special, I'm not amazing. I'm just ordinary, one of the crowd, shuffling along somewhere in the middle line. Unremarked, unremarkable.

tsubame: (hey!)
Saturday, October 30th, 2010 01:35 am
I finished watching Soukyuu no Fafner.

Behind which I am a scary fangirl, without any real spoilers )

Soukyuu no Fafner, or Fafner in the Azure, hereby receives a hearty recommendation from me. GO WATCH IT SO WE CAN FANGIRL TOGETHER.

Nothing good ever comes of of talking to shoulder demons.
tsubame: (reading)
Monday, September 6th, 2010 02:59 pm
"I'm beginning to think that Turners are a bit like jazz-- they must be experienced in person or not at all."

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My hometown is beautiful. There's really no denying it. There are endless seas of green lawns, gracious houses, stately trees casting dappled islands of shade. There's an abundance of chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, skunks, songbirds. Lately we've been acquiring brown-dappled hawks, badgers, foxes, and owls. The streets are wide and well-paved, and once and a while a car glides through. The sky is so blue that at its xenith it is almost purple. The wind sighs gently through arched cathedrals of branches.

It has always been amazing to me, as I moved through this peaceful land of gold and green, that I so seldom see people out and about enjoying it.

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The cast for the Ooku movie is so hilarious and awesome that I can't believe it. I really, really want to see that movie now. Nino as the lead role?! Hilarious enough, but they also cast TAMAKI HIROKI?!

and Tadayoshi Okura from Kanjani8 as theguywhohasamassivecrushonhim.

Oh great gods I cannot stop laughing. And I lack words to describe how awesome this is. And I want to go to Barnes and Noble to read the rest of the manga. Well, the rest of the manga that's out, as it's one of those that is published exceedingly slowly. I understand that they're planning a ten-book release, of which four have come out in English. Looks like there are six out in Japanese, at least according to amazon.co.jp.

oh come on they're all playing men who live in the (female) shogun's harem HOW CAN THIS NOT BE AWESOME.
tsubame: (hey!)
Tuesday, August 31st, 2010 11:47 pm
This isn't a spoiler, so don't worry.

BUT. D.Gray-man. IS. SO. MESSED. UP.

Every chapter, I think it can't possibly get more messed up! And ever chapter, it gets more messed up! I mean, the last chapter, that was pretty messed up. Mindfuck wheeeee! And I thought, well, that's it. It doesn't get much more messed up than that.

But if the spoilers released for the upcoming chapter are true?


. . . this is probably part of the reason why I love D.Gray-man.

In other news, my laptop is now running Ubuntu. My geekiness has leveled up. Granted this was more due to necessity than choice, but. I'm quite enjoying playing around with it and finding out how to do things. But my laptop works! And I have an N key again! You have no idea how nice it is to be able to type without having to copy-paste Ns all the time.

Now that my laptop's working, my MP3 player's on the fritz. Wouldn't it just figure.
tsubame: (combini)
Thursday, August 26th, 2010 11:51 pm
[livejournal.com profile] subsiding_leaf linked me to this review of Yakuza 3 (龍が如く3). A game about Yakuza, reviewed by Yakuza! And lots of spot-on observations about the seedier side of Japan, enough that I was in stitches. I particularly liked this line: "Don't say gaijin. Say gaikokujin. It's more polite. Jake's a gaijin."


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For my own reference, the lyrics to an excellent Porno Graffiti Song, again courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] subsiding_leaf.

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On my way back from the supermarket I passed a bunch of kids employed in that standby of American childhood-- the roadside lemonade stand. I pulled over the car and walked back to do my part.

"I take it you guys are selling lemonade?" Because what other reason could there be for a group of kids to be out on the curb with a pitcher and two stacks of cups?

"Yeah! Do you want some?"

"I would like some, indeed."

"Big or small?"

"Well, I'm pretty thirsty. Better give me a big one."

"Okay! That's 75 cents."

"All I've got is a dollar. Is that okay?"

"Sure! Would you like change?"

"No, that's okay. Consider it my donation to the education fund."

"Thank you! Oh, wait, wait!"

"Hm? What is it?"

"We give all our nicest customers flowers. Here's yours!"

I got back in the car, poorer one dollar, richer one cup of lemonade, one bright yellow daisy, and the feeling that this day, at least, was one worth living.
Saturday, August 7th, 2010 07:45 am
Megaupload link to Within Temptation's "a Final Dream," as quoted in the previous post.

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Even Through the Summer Storm, by Carol Clark Williams

wild geese imagine the moon and
row toward it, writing
lines of poetry.

Against the gothic clouds they sketch
sestinas, every stanza
beginning with the letter "v".

They search the lightning-punctuated sky
for words that rhyme with
"flight" and "night".

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. . . yeah, I wrote more Kingdom Hearts fic. Even more plotless and pointless this time! I blame [livejournal.com profile] majochan, because I think the initial prom-shenanagins idea was hers. She's the one with the truly brilliant ideas about it, too. Had me in stitches.


Title: Dance Lessons
Fandom: Kingdom Hearts

What are we gonna do at prom? )

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I wanna be a member of the Grown-Up Party! With maybe a little humor thrown in, since I don't want to be a part of an organization that lacks a sense of humor.

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The problem with many computers has its roots in a problem with humans-- we don't like to think. We're lazy, and if we can help it we'll take the easy way out. This is why Apple and Windows are more successful then, say, Linux-- they make things easier for people. If something seems to hard, we give up on it fairly easily.

So computers do things for us so that we won't hit that threshold. Which works . . . up to a point. Problems arise when the computer assumes it knows what you're trying to do and starts doing it for you-- but gets it wrong. The subtleties of human purpose in using programs are often lost on the programs themselves, which in trying to help too much end up hindering or even preventing. Ironically, for most of these programs there's no easy way to tell them to stop doing it. No easy way to reassure them that you know what you're doing, however strange that might seem, and you don't need the computer's help to do it.

Which of course leads to the comical situation of me shaking my fist at the computer screen and yelling, "stop assuming you're smarter than me!" I bought my camera for the express reason that, while I can definitely use the help in setting up my shots most of the time, not to mention the convenience of having the balance adjusted for me, I want to be able to tell it to stop and leave me alone, that I can take shots that its tiny computer brain can't conceive the purpose or propriety of.

I just wish I could do that with Word 2007. Maybe if the damn thing was in English rather than Japanese I might have a chance of figuring it out . . .

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There was a full glass coffee pot mostly submerged in a sink-full of water at work today. A moment's thought gave me the answer to why it was there. Still, I spent a minute smiling at the serene ridiculousness of the image, and thought to myself happily, "the world is stranger and more wonderful than I was previously aware."

I love those moments, I really do.

Recently my father sent me a postcard from where he was attending a seminar on radio telescopes in North Carolina. The card read, "I thought you would find this particular postcard funny."

The postcard is a before-and-after sort. The top shows the radio telescope standing proud and lovely, a lacework flower-cup of whitewashed girders. The second picture is from the next day, and shows a pile of white wreckage where once the telescope stood.

It did, indeed, make me laugh. One day-- beautiful functioning high-tech scientific instrument! The next day-- pile of twisted rubble! Aaaah, I can't believe it just collapsed like that-- like a fflan in a cupboard, to quote Eddie Izzard. Just imagine, some poor dude left work, locked the door behind him, everything was fine. He drives up the next morning, and wham! I bet he totally BSODed. Or maybe just sighed and drove off to find the nearest bar.

I'm still laughing about it, yeah. Apparently my father knows me quite well, including my odd sense of humor.

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I don't know what it says about me, but pictures like this one, of the First Family visiting a National Park, make me really really happy. That strange feeling of pride and hope-- I don't know where it comes from, but it's all the more welcome given my generally somewhat depressing news-reading hobby.

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An article written by a hibakusha on her experience in Hiroshima. I am adamantly anti-nuclear weapons, under any and all circumstances. I further believe that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were absolutely wrong and should be a source of national shame to the U.S.A., instead of an oft-ignored, bare paragraph in history textbooks. Considering that WWII is America's last "just" war (or possibly our only one, though I'm reluctant to even go that far), my opinions on the matter are hardly what one would call widespread.
Friday, March 23rd, 2007 09:29 pm
The following have made me laugh in recent days:

This page from the webcomic Friendly Hostility. Specifically panels 2 and 3. "Sweet Neietzche, what the hell?!" I DIE.

Maura-san's livejournal. She regularly astounds me with her laconic and utterly original wit. Usually I'm left blinking in bemused, amused astonishment.

This page from the webcomic Gunnerkrigg Court. Specifically the last panel. One finds such interesting things by reading Neil Gaiman's livejournal, really.

Skippy's List. A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

Calvin & Hobbes. It doesn't matter that I've read every single strip at least ten times. They're still funny.

This page from the webcomic Questionable Content. Actually QC makes me laugh on a regular basis. The punchlines tend towards awesome. They're killer, really. It hits all the bases; it even has robots! With existential crisises! This strip, though, is my all time favorite. It is made of SOLID GOLD PLUTONIUM SLEDGEHAMMERS NAMED SVEN. That's how hard it kicks your ass.

Kanshou and Bakuya in the Demon Hunter AU, as per my icon. It's [livejournal.com profile] majochan's fault, really, since it was her idea to have the swords literally talk in the first place. Now they won't shut up. Why is it that when I write inanimate objects or pets they always end up having as much or more personality than their supposed owners do?

This is possibly the sweetest poem ever:

roses are #FF0000
violets are #0000FF
all my base
are belong to you

Where do I find these things, anyway?
Wednesday, January 31st, 2007 11:24 pm
Normally I don't do memes, but this one seemed somewhat intriguing and had potential amusement value, so I thought I'd give it a try. For songs covered by another artist, I put the cover artist first, then a semicolon and the original artist. And so:

Here's how it works!
1. Open your library.
2. Put it on shuffle.
3. Press play.
4. For every question, type the song that's playing.
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button.
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool...
7. When you're finished tag some other people to do it!

Opening Credits: Aaron Copeland, Fanfare for the Common Man
(Wow, that’s one heck of a dramatic beginning.)

Waking Up: Final Fantasy, DJ Epic (Rave Mix)
(And a rather bizarrely perky beginning of my day. Anyone who’s seen me stumble around upon first waking knows just how ridiculously funny this is.)

First Day of School: Savoir Faire; Tori Amos, Cornflake Girl
(That . . . kind of makes sense. I don’t remember any of my first days of school, but it seems appropriate somehow.)

Falling in Love: Tom Lehrer, the Masochism Tango
(This one is just really freaking funny. I swear I’m adhering to the rules of the meme.)

Fight Song: Koisuru Minaru, Fence of Defense
(Not a very dramatic fight, though at least the name is appropriate. I tend to fight defensively, it’s one of my weaknesses.)

Breaking Up: Radiohead, Idioteque
(Ouch. Apparently a lot of fallout.)

Prom: Hayashibara Megumi, Raging Waves
(The prom actually was pretty fun, as I recall. Rained something fierce, so this is not inappropriate.)

Life: Tori Amos, Butterfly
(Disturbing . . .)

Driving: M.H., This Illusion
(Techno-ish stuff is always good for driving, I approve.)

Flashback: Globe, See the Light
(No real comment, but I swear my playlist is not entirely techno. It’s not even mostly techno.)

Getting Back Together: Madonna, Dear Jessie
(Um? Well, it’s a very cute song, I guess? I don’t really get it, but it’s certainly happy.)

Wedding: Yunna, Houki Boshi
(Fun wedding, then! Well, actually the translation for the song lyrics is quite sweet, so.)

Party: Brahms, Double Cello Concerto 1: Allegro
(Apparently this party was DJed by Ikari Shinji. Well, if Yo-yo Ma put on a personal appearance, I’d sure as hell come.)

Birth of A Child: Weiss Kreuz, Beautiful Alone
(Going to be an interesting kid with a start like that.)

Final Battle: the Police, Every Little Thing She Does is Magic
(What the hell kind of wimpy final battle is that?!)

Funeral Song: E Nomine, E Nomine (Pontius Pilot)
(Sweet, they play German religious techno at my cremation! That ROCKS!)

Ending Credits: Tori Amos: Stevie Nicks, Landslide

Apparently the movie of my life is a bizarre post-modernist arthouse comedy. Can't say I'm surprised. Probably shot on a very low budget, and the scriptwriter was also the cameraman. Critics have no idea what to make of it, most common response among audiences is, "well, I don't think I quite got it. But it was . . . interesting, don't you think, dear? Yes, very interesting."
Thursday, December 21st, 2006 01:44 pm
Finishing up the year of Shakespeare quotes. I admit to not being much for Romeo and Juliet, but it has some of the most beautiful language of any of Shakespeare's plays . . .

sing to the holly . . . )
Saturday, December 16th, 2006 11:36 am
Reasons to be happy:

In one week, I get to see my family. One week!

Sensei is back from his trip. I adore Sensei, and Sensei's family. He found some Flemish paintings in Belgium that he really liked, and I was able to tell him a lot about them due to my own interest in religion and having taken my mother's art history course. Not to mention, well, living with my mother. Then spent a half-hour after lesson talking to Sensei, Satoshi, and . . . um, their guest, I forget her name. It was wonderful.

It stopped raining! The sun came out! My laundry might finally dry!

Kuttaro and karaoke tonight!

I'm a millionaire! Well, we'll ignore the fact that it's in yen, that I won't be a millionaire anymore once rent and bills are drawn out, and that I'm about to buy a new computer. But still. There aren't many people who can claim at 23 to have about $10,000 in the bank. $10,000 that they earned themselves, by their own hard work. I think I have a right to be proud of myself. This is the first time in my life that I've ever felt rich, even though comparatively it's not that much money. I should start thinking of investing.

Collaborating on the Saiunkoku AU project with [livejournal.com profile] majochan is a cause for great happiness. I love co-writing. When you have an eager recipient of your ideas, and you get more ideas from your co-writer, and the everything builds with breathless speed-- the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts. I can't even begin to say how much I've missed having someone to write with.

Even I have fallen to the fanservice. Saiunkoku episode 29! )

I'm buying a new computer! No more random shutdowns, no more freezes, no more not being able to do just about ANYTHING other than browse on the internet! I will be able to download once again! I will be able to burn CDs and DVDs! I will rock the entire world!

Making cookies with Ashley tomorrow! And then, yet another lesson with Sensei!

My students are wonderful. And nothing but fun Christmas lessons until the time I leave! I get to wear my Santa hat and listen to my favorite Christmas music and a few students might even make me lovely Christmas cards. I get paid to do this? Why yes, yes I do!

Tchaicovsky's Nutcracker ballet.

Baked goods. And speaking of, tons of rye bread to be eaten upon my return! And brie, don't forget the brie! And a grilled cheese sandwich, my mother promised me a grilled cheese sandwich . . .

Now, must get a move on if I'm to go Christmas shopping in Kyoto this afternoon.
Wednesday, December 13th, 2006 08:44 pm
Wednesday is my "free night," such as it were, and now that my stomach's complaints have been satisfied, at least for the time being, I'm free to sit at my kotatsu and do not much of anything. The apartment is cold despite the electric heater's constant blowing, and every ten minutes or so I'm forced to put my hands under the kotatsu blanket to warm them.

I have two episodes of Saiunkoku to watch, the sub of 23 and the raw of 29, both of which are finally available on YouTube. Indeed, they're already qued up on my computer, waiting for me, but despite my eagerness to see them I'm holding back. Right now the Nutcracker by Tchaicovsky is in the CD player, and I'm most of the way through the first act. In fact, as I'm typing, the snowflakes are beginning their dance. I can see them twirl, remember exactly the white balls of fluff they carried on delicate wands.

The Nutcracker has for a long time been a Christmas tradition for my family. Three out of every four years, we'd all pack ourselves into the station wagon for the trip to Manhattan, then park and walk together to the Met. Sometimes it was cold and bitter, and the sidewalks covered in ice. But the time that I remember most clearly it was warm and sunny, enough so that I wore short sleeves and removed my motorcycle jacket during the wait in the courtyard. A picture of the moment exists still: me sitting on the black marble ledge before the dancing plumes of white, my younger sister contentedly wrapped in my arms, the sky a perfect pale blue.

Listening to the music, I know exactly what happens, who is dancing and when. The story plays out in perfect time to the music. Now the Prince is re-enacting his battle with the mice before his court, and Marie and her shoe are coming to his rescue. Soon his various courtiers will dance for him and Marie . . . my favorites will come, the energetic Candy Canes, Mother Ginger and her Polichinelles, the leaping Cavalier, elegant Coffee, mischeivious Tea, the warm, dark-clad Trepak . . . Other things, as well, I can see; the chandeliers in the ceiling, the sweeping marble staircases, the huge pane windows. My father used to take us up to the top teir that ran by those windows, using the long, hanging ball-chain blinds to demonstrate the movement of a wave. I remember standing by him, watching the ripple travel all the way to the end of the rope, then turn in a split second and head back up to me.

Bizarrely, all my memories associated with the ballet are good ones. Even the year when our car actually caught on fire as we entered the toll gate for the G.W. Bridge is a good memory, because somehow no one really cared that the car had caught on fire, and that we had to have it towed. No, we all happily piled into my sister's boyfriend's car and continued right across the bridge despite it all, and had a wonderful time. Despite the fact that we had all just experienced it together, the rest of the trip was spent recounting the adventure to each other and laughing about it.

When we had all gotten to the point where we could easily identify when one of the dancers made a mistake, we unanimously and silently decided to give our attendance a break for a couple of years. Still I listen to the music every year at Christmas, and no matter how cold it may be I always feel warm.
Saturday, November 18th, 2006 11:52 pm
I am alive, in case anyone was wondering.

For some reason this fall the weather has been bad . . . on weekends. During the week, when I'm at work, it's sunny and lovely and, while not warm, certainly it is not raw and miserable. During the week, it has been an utterly ideal autumn.

On weekends, however, it's been grey, rainy, and cold. According to Accuweather they're expecting this trend to continue next weekend, as well. Perfect weather for sitting around one's apartment reading and browsing on the internet; not so good for seeing the justifiably-famous momiji of Kyoto at their spectactular autumn best.

I grabbed my umbrella, stuck A Clash of Kings in my bag, and went to Tofukuji anyway.

I'm glad that I did, because this week it looks like the leaves are at their peak. They're late this year, but then it's been a fairly warm autumn. And Tofukuji is one of the most famous places to view the leaves, with a high stage overlooking a valley full of brilliant momiji. The hordes of Japanese tourists were somewhat less than they would have been due to the threatening weather and the lateness of the hour at which I dragged myself reluctantly out the door, and so I was able to enjoy myself. The rain managed to mostly hold off until I was leaving, too.

After that I spent some time in Kyoto, shopping for Christmas presents. I was not able to resist picking up a copy of Beans Ace, though. The reason for picking up this particular magazine, of course, is also one of the reasons that I've disappeared from livejournal for a month and a half. That would be Saiunkoku Monogatari, which I will obsess about behind this cut. )

I grabbed some taiyaki before I went further into the city-proper . . . taiyaki with custard cream! The more I eat them, the more I like them. They're not as sweet as the red bean ones, and though I do like the red bean ones it is a well known fact that I'm not a big fan of sweet things. This seems to be a good weekend for deserts, though. The chocolate mushrooms that I bought yesterday turned out excellent. Apparently they're some sort of winter special. I love the fact that they have crushed macademias mixed in with their chocolate caps, it's delicious. And just the other night, for the first time in a long time, I sat down with a carton of ice cream and had as much as I wanted-- the equivalent of a full bowl! I haven't done that in . . . ages and ages.

These small mundanities are the foundation of my life.