arisha: (escaflowne van)
As of yesterday, I have finished my first full rewatch of the anime Vision of Escaflowne since the last time my friends and I marathoned it, which I suspect was in 2009. (It's true that last year I said I was rewatching it, but due to a lack of emotional fortitude I stopped three episodes from the end so it doesn't count. I also attempted a rewatch while I was in Japan but after watching the first five episodes in one night I got busy and kind of forgot I was doing it, whoops.) I am very happy to say that, fifteen years after I first saw it, I still love it completely. (Fifteen years omg, fifteen years is the same age as the protagonists of this thing.) I was a little worried that I wouldn't, not because of anything Escaflowne does but because this year has been a year of discovering I no longer like shows that I used to love! I attempted to rewatch Reba, Blossom, and Disney's Hercules and couldn't make it through any of them. I also read all of Full House Reviewed in a weekend and enjoyed it thoroughly but it's made me terrified to rewatch Full House for fear I will hate it, and if that happens then there goes my childhood! (In all honesty I am really not looking foward to Fuller House, although I'm glad it's providing Scott Weinger with the first regular non-Aladdin work he's had in quite some time.)

Well all that is off-topic when all I want is to ramble forever about Escaflowne like the good old days. <3

(GINORMOUS AND UNFORGIVING SPOILER WARNING)

The dragon still lacks the courage to cross the line. )

To avoid ending this awkward entry on that awkward note, here are the ten most played songs in my Escaflowne playlist:

Zone of Absolute Fortune )
arisha: (escaflowne mystic moon)
One last post before we return to our regularly schedule programming - here is a list of the plays in the Shakespeare canon, roughly ordered based on how much I like them (although they are alphabetical within each category because otherwise I would be here all day). This list is more for future!Sarah to look back and laugh at, because I am 100% sure that at least some of the plays will move up or down in my esteem as I read them/rewatch them/learn more about them. The first time I read Macbeth I thought it was boring and the first time I read Romeo and Juliet I thought it was stupid, and now both of them are among my favourite plays of all time. So anything can happen really!

For me, the plays in the first three categories really made the Shakespeareathon worth doing. Can I just reiterate how happy I am to have discovered Richard II?

Sell when you can: you are not for all markets. )
arisha: (troy helen)
It's done, it's done! It took me from mid-October to June 3rd, but I have completed my goal of watching one version of each of the plays in the Shakespeare canon. I'm very happy to have done this Shakespeareathon and I'm pretty proud that I was able to finish it. I learned a lot about Shakespeare's plays and I'm excited to keep learning about them (as well as the plays of other Elizabethan/Jacobean playwrights).

UNFORTUNATELY, this excitement is only just returning some twenty days after I finished the Shakespeareathon. I didn't plan it this way at all, but the last three plays I watched were among my least favourite plays of the whole thing, and that definitely killed a lot of my Shakespeare-related enthusiasm. With all apologies for a belated entry, here are my thoughts on the last seven plays of the Shakespeareathon~

Shine out, fair sun, till I have bought a glass, that I may see my shadow as I pass. )
arisha: (ai takahashi)
Apologies to those of you with no interest in these entries! I am a mere seven plays from the end, at which point we will return to our regularly scheduled programming of Sarah and her boring life.

If one good deed in all my life I did, I do repent it from my very soul. )
arisha: (reina tanaka heart)
I am currently halfway through Shakespeareathon #27 and will post an update to that list soon, but in the meantime here is a short post about a Shakespeare-related movie I watched recently: Goliyon Ki Raasleela: Ram-Leela, a Bollywood musical adaptation of "Romeo and Juliet." Based on the previous very few Bollywood movies I'd seen, I went in expecting this to be a colourful movie with a light story, silly songs and a happy ending, and for a while it fit my expectations exactly - Ram, the Romeo character, has an introduction song that's the most ridiculous thing I've seen in a very long time - but, as is only natural for a "Romeo and Juliet" adaptation, the second half was rather darker and oh my gosh you guys I LOVED IT. This is totally one of those movies where you could list a whole bunch of things they could have done better (Ram and Leela's relationship is based on nothing except that they are both very pretty! Major events happen and are never mentioned again! Everyone has a gun except when it would be inconvenient for the plot!) and I would agree with every one of them but super not care. As someone who spends entirely too much time thinking about "Romeo and Juliet," here are some of the things I love about this movie: civil blood makes civil hands unclean )

(Also, if any of you know anything about Bollywood, feel free to recommend me some movies! I will totally seek them out. At the moment I've only watched six!!)
arisha: (amadeus couple)
I apparently haven't LJed about it since 2010, but rest assured that Amadeus, the not-a-biopic about Mozart and his fellow composer Salieri, remains one of my most very favourite movies. I've seen the movie (in both theatrical and director's cuts) a kajillion times, but I'm much less familiar with the play it's based on. I had read it and I had watched an amateur production that I found on YouTube, but (now to the point of this entry) it wasn't until last night that I finally got to see it live! Some thoughts:

We are both poisoned, Amadeus. I with you: you with me. )
arisha: (potc3 liz)
· We are halfway through what should, if all goes well, be my final semester of undergrad. School, school, decluttering, and pirates! )
arisha: (reina tanaka)
So now that we're almost a month into 2015, how about I post the rest of the books I read in 2014?

Read more... )
arisha: (escaflowne mystic moon)
In March, when I posted my updated list of Shakespeare plays I'd seen, I was less than pleased to find that in four years I'd only added two plays to my list. I meant to watch some more Shakespeare over the summer, but only managed the James Mason Julius Caesar. In the middle of October I was feeling quite frustrated with myself about this, something like: "Sarah, you keep saying you want to watch more Shakespeare, don't you? So just do it already!!" At which point I decided that, over the next few months, I was going to watch all of them.

let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs )

Three more till halfway!! :D
arisha: (tangled in like flynn)
So I fail to post all of December (and it's probably a good thing that I did, I was pretty grumpy for most of it), and upon my return I bring you a most useless entry: a list of the movies I watched (or rewatched) this year. It's organized by decade because the past few days I've been feeling really curious to know how many movies I watched from each decade. I'm actually not all that thrilled with the answer. Every year I think "I want to watch more older movies!" and I thought I'd done better this year but looking at this I'm not sure I did? How is the 2010s list the longest one? Did I really only watch four silents? And how did I fail so hard at the 1930s when I seriously love 1930s movies?? Well clearly I am just going to have to make sure my 2015 movie list looks rather different.

(I am pleased to report that I watched three Rosalind Russell movies this year though. Great actress or greatest actress?)

Also, this is just a list because I'm lazy, but you are more than welcome to ask for my thoughts on any of these!

Sarah's 2014 Movies )

Also, in the summer I got it into my head that I was going to watch a whole bunch of old animated shorts, and in the end I kind of didn't, but if anyone is interested here are the fifteen that I did watch. Perhaps this is another list I will try to beat in 2015~

Special note, the 1953 "Tell-Tale Heart" is perhaps my favourite thing that I watched all year, you should totally watch it and let it creep you right out.

Sarah's 2014 Cartoon Shorts )
arisha: (dlr space mountain)
Today the bloggers behind Parkeology set out to ride all 46 Walt Disney World rides in one day. cut for gif )
arisha: (tarzan photo)
I saw Big Hero 6 today, making today perhaps the first time I've seen an animated Disney movie on its opening day. I went into this movie knowing basically nothing about it. I had seen one commercial and knew it was a movie about a kid and a robot. I kept forgetting what it was called. I thought maybe it was set in Japan, since all the posters had that annoying ~Asian font~ on them. Since I tend to be kind of indifferent to recent Disney movies that don't follow the princess story formula, I didn't expect to like it very much. I was really surprised when it only took two scenes for me to get super into it. And from that second scene straight through to the end of the scene after the credits I really enjoyed it. My only thoughts upon leaving the theatre were "That movie was AWESOME!!! (And don't tell anyone but it made me cry a little bit.)" So I hope it is clear that I liked the movie a lot and do recommend it!

Having said that, I've been thinking about it for a few hours now and here are some thoughts I have had. Cut for minor spoilers and major rambling! )
arisha: (tdr mount prometheus)
So it seems to be the time of year when all of a sudden I am really really really ridiculously looking forward to NaNoWriMo.

GUESS I SHOULD UPDATE THIS POST AT SOME POINT HUH
arisha: (shakira don't bother)
So I recently joined italki, a language exchange site that so far I am really enjoying. It has basically all of the get-your-writing-corrected-by-native-speakers features that Lang-8 does, plus a bunch of other features geared towards helping you find language exchange partners that you can communicate with via chat or messages or Skype. Not that long ago I would've been weirded out by the idea of Skyping with random strangers but now it seems like a completely logical thing to do when you have no one to practice with offline. I've been taking Japanese classes online for very nearly a year now and I feel it has really opened up my mind to the possibilities of online learning. Perhaps a weird thing to say when I have spent way too much time online every day since I was like eleven.

In any event, the reason I am posting is that I just finished a half-hour Spanish chat with someone from italki, and holy guacamole. My Spanish is terrible. Like, I know that I've been focusing on Japanese for two years. I knew it wouldn't be great. I knew that my brain would go "Oh, we're speaking a language that isn't English? It must be Japanese! Here's the word you want in Japanese!!" and I would have to translate from Japanese into English into Spanish, but even accounting for that! It's TERRIBLE!!!! Clearly listening to a couple Spanish podcasts every weekend for a month did basically nothing hahaha. Seriously.

Anyway so now of course I am panicking that after I've been home for a while my Japanese is going to become this terrible, too. I seriously cannot let that happen.

... This experience is making me feel really really happy with my current level of Japanese. Which is kind of nice since I spent most of the past week beating myself up about it.

Man in other news did I ever tell you guys about that time at the board that me and M were speaking in Spanish just 'cause ...

(this was a while ago so my Spanish was not quite so disgustingly terrible)

... and M's Spanish sentences kept coming out in Japanese word order?

It was the most adorable.
arisha: (vampire scrabble)
Oh man, super awkward story that I keep forgetting to tell!!!

So my JET interview featured three interviewers, as is the norm. A young woman who was the former JET, a young Japanese man but I forget where he worked, and an older man who only told me his name and that he was "from UBC." I never wrote about my interview due to fear of jinxing it and now that I have finally got around to it I am going to be lazy and only write about the awkward part hahaha.

So as you may remember, I volunteered in Peru for two months in 2010. This being my major international experience during the time I was applying for JET, it featured pretty heavily in my application, but my interviewers only brought it up when the guy from UBC asked about the organization I went with, saying, "I've heard of this organization. It's quite religious."

I don't know if this is true or not, but I'd read that JET interviewers will occasionally say something that's incorrect just to see how you respond. So I said, "As far as I know, it's not a religious organization." (Because truth be told, I wouldn't have gone with them if they were.)

He continued with, "No, I'm sure of it, they're really religious," and then followed with his question: "How much does religion motivate you in your interest in teaching in Japan?"

Being asked that question really felt like a complete disconnect in my brain. Religion features in my life about as little as it is possible for religion to feature in a person's life. This question is even more bizarre to me now that I can say that I have been asked to come to church more times while in Japan than I have ever been asked at home. Now, I knew that interviewers are not allowed to ask about your religion, but I didn't/still don't know the specific details of that and I didn't know what to do when it happened in an interview for a job I really wanted. I thought of telling them that religion didn't have anything to do with my interest in JET, but I was afraid they might not believe that or they might keep asking about it, and I really wanted to get away from this topic completely because it had nothing to do with me at all!! So I answered, "I'm not religious." Which is true and got them to drop it.

When I told my dad afterwards he was kind of horrified and all "They're not allowed to ask about that!!" and I was like I knooooow but I didn't know what to doooooooooo.

I saw my two male interviewers once more at the pre-departure meeting in Vancouver. The Japanese guy told me that he'd been hoping I would be accepted, which was super nice of him and actually still makes me happy when I think of it. When I saw guy-from-UBC, however, I guess I came to the conclusion that awkward assumptions are his thing. He asked where my placement was and when I told him he said, "Oh wow, I heard that area was really badly hit by the tsunami." I tried to tell him that my placement was nowhere near the water and that according to both my predecessor and her neighbour the town had been badly shaken by the earthquake but had quickly recovered. He interrupted and said, "I remember hearing about that area - it's in real bad shape."

So at that point I just nodded.
arisha: (koharu kusumi)
So on top of the regular work week plus two-hour eikaiwa that I've been doing since I started JET, about a year(!!!) ago I started doing a second monthly kindergarten class. At first I was quite nervous about doing a kindergarten without my two fellow ALTs (this was back when they were still pretending to help me with the kindergarten class we share, I guess), but now I really enjoy it. I mean kindergarteners are adorable and etc. whoops this got long )
arisha: (morning musume shabondama)
So last night my neighbour C told me she found out where our successors are from (apparently that's all we're allowed to know so far um okay), and then I came home and went to bed and I swear to god I had a dream in which the principal of my Tuesday elementary school hired a new ALT without consulting me about it at all, and at first I was pretty happy to have a new friend, but then the principal started hanging out with her all day and I would hear them laughing together from the hallway and then all the teachers liked her immediately and started asking her to do English classes for them every week but never invited me to join and so I just sat in the staff room slowly hating her more and more and when I woke up I was like

Dear Brain,

I honestly can't think of another time when you were so completely not subtle about showing me what I am afraid of.

Love,
Sarah

IN OTHER NEWS, one of our eikaiwa students started working at my junior high part-time in April. Last week I handed out the latest issue of my newsletter and today I found a copy of it on my desk with a bunch of compliments on it in this guy's handwriting?? Like, at the top of the newsletter I put a picture of myself when I was four, mostly just 'cause, but beside it he wrote "You look pretty as a princess ... still do" and I was like whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat. Can I just ignore this till I leave in three months? I mean - please don't tell me that I am going to have to tell a sixty-year-old that I am just not that into him.

Also I don't think I react to compliments about my appearance the way ~society~ imagines I should haha. I mean, I don't get complimented very often because I spend about thirty seconds on my appearance every day because as long as I'm clean I don't really consider any other part of it a priority. So when this guy says the above and when the guy who was crushing on me when I worked at the movie theatre says I'm beautiful I'm mainly like "Okay. Cool." and then I forget about it. Dear the very few guys trying to get my attention: how about you compliment me on something I might actually care about? Just an idea.
arisha: (yurina looks down on you)
Okay let's try to write an entry that isn't totally grumpalicious. I swear I keep coming up with ideas for happy LJ posts but then as soon as I go to write them I forget what they were. x)

I signed up for Level 5 of the Kanji Kentei! This level tests all of the kanji learned in elementary school. Over a thousand!! Unfortunately I didn't study as much this holiday weekend as I'd hoped to, but I don't think I'm too behind. I'm going to take the test at my junior high on July 12th. It might be a little weird because July 12th is my last day at my Friday elementary school, and I'll probably have to ask to leave a couple hours early so I can catch the train to go write the test. I suspect it's rude to ask to leave early on one's last day, especially as they'll have to figure out how to schedule in my good-bye ceremony before that, but hopefully it will work out. I really want to write the Kanken once more before I leave you guys. :B July 12th is also my last day at any of my schools, so I look forward to having my junior high good-bye ceremony and then waltzing back in the very next day to write this test hahaha. Awesome.

Re: how much has my Japanese improved during my time on JET, the answer is unfortunately not as much as I'd hoped. whoops this got long )

And on a related note, it's lessened now but a couple weeks ago I crazy wanted to start learning a new language. It barely even mattered which one hahaha. I get this urge once in a while, I think partly because the beginning of learning a language is so exciting to me!! When you're just beginning, everything you learn is huge, right? Like, you learn the alphabet or whatever and suddenly you can read!! You learn the past tense and now you can talk about the past!! Like every step forward changes the way you're able to use this new language in huge and exciting ways. I'm kind of at the point in all my languages where I'm learning these smaller grammar points that I might see or use occasionally, and it's not exactly the same. I mean I know I'm far from fluent in all of them and still have a long way to go, but I do yearn sometimes for those more exciting days hahaha. I wish I could start a new language but I really gotta focus on the three(!!!) I'm already working on. D: In preparation to go back to school I have started listening to a couple podcasts in French and Spanish, trying to get them back into my brain. While I'm still in Japan I feel kind of guilty working on languages that aren't Japanese, but it's not like I'm spending my kanji studying time on them or anything so maybe it's okay. x)
arisha: (escaflowne mystic moon)
I'm getting a little tired of the people who write on my Facebook just to say "I miss you! When are you coming back?," completely ignore my attempts to start an actual conversation with them, and then write the exact same thing on my Facebook a couple months later. Is that better or worse than the people who promised to send me care packages and snail mail letters and then never so much as e-mail me? Is it impossible to keep friendships going over long distance? Lately my hope in that idea has taken a mighty hit ...

In other news, my neighbour M loves technology and uses it for everything he can, including studying. And so long as he's not trying to give me unasked-for advice (which luckily has mostly stopped since I snapped at him the last time he did it ... oops), this is totally fine. I mean, I really don't care how you study or whatever. But the other day he had a need to write several words in hiragana, and he had to keep looking the hiragana up on his phone in order to be able to do so. After seeing someone who's studied Japanese for two years struggle to remember how to write hiragana, I think I'll be sticking to my mostly pen-and-paper study routine ...

In better news, I very much enjoyed the first long weekend of this year's Golden Week. I worked quite a bit on my writing, which I haven't done at all since February and then September before that. One thing I've noticed here is that my mood when I've been writing is always vastly better than my mood when I haven't been writing. So why don't I do it more often?!? Seriously, I think I need to start making time for it not because of any goals towards being published or whatever but just because it seems to keep me happier.

In other news, the other day in junior high we were at my least favourite page in the textbook, where an American character talks about Japanese spring traditions for like two full paragraphs and then throws in a "In America, we paint Easter eggs" at the end. Pretty weak attempt at cultural exchange there, you guys. Luckily my JTE has started asking more of me and so I got to do a short presentation about Easter. Well to be honest I didn't do a super fantastic job, but I did pass around an empty bag of Mini-Eggs to be all "This is my favourite Easter candy~" and then all of the kids decided to smell it which was the highlight of my week. xD I accidentally left it on my desk at school when I left on Thursday so here's hoping my entire work area now smells like chocolate-y goodness lol lol lol~~
arisha: (vampire productivity)
Oh my goodness how have I not posted since February. :|

Well if you would like to read posts by me I have just written a stilted couple of reviews here in the [livejournal.com profile] japanesebookrec community. Which reminds me -- I have books to add (totally out of order) to my list!!

6. 劇団6年2組 (Gekidan 6nen 2kumi), which you can read about at the link above.

7, 8, 9, 10. The Spiderwick Chronicles #2, #3, #4 and #5 in Japanese!
I quite enjoyed this series for its content but also because my current reading level is such that I could understand them easily but still pick up a lot of vocab on the way. Now that I have finished them I feel like I am floundering a bit trying to figure out what else I can read. I got out the first book of the sequel series but it looks like it might be aimed at slightly older kids and so perhaps more difficult? We'll see I guess. At the moment I am reading Coraline which is going better than I would have expected. I really need to stop picking books from the translated section though ...

11. The Homework Myth by Alfie Kohn
An argument that there is no evidence that homework helps kids learn, and in fact it might be doing the exact opposite. I found this book perhaps abnormally interesting. It is pretty ridiculous how few studies have actually been done on the effects of homework! Also, my least favourite thing about this book is how every negative review on Goodreads employs an argument that Kohn totally deconstructs in the book. Did ... did you guys actually read it??

12. Achilles by Elizabeth Cook
I've mentioned this book before, but this time I wrote a much longer post about it here.

By the way, my super nerdy and ridiculous Trojan War blog has seven followers now.

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