arisha: (epic mickey: disney blows my mind)
So here's another petty whine for an LJ that has become little more than petty whines: I hate when someone finds out that I am a Disney fan and they immediately assume that I am an idiot. I can't recall having quite this problem at home, but for some reason revealing my Disney fandom to other ALTs has so far only produced two reactions: the "omg I love Disney too!!" reaction, or the "omg you're awful" reaction. My neighbour M took the latter, and attempted to lecture me on how problematic certain Disney films are.

Dude.

If you want to talk about problematic Disney, I would love to do so. I could talk about problematic Disney all day. If you want, you can take a look through my collection of books and academic articles about the many gender- and- class- and- race-related problems in Disney films and parks. This is an endless topic that I am well aware of and have been reading and talking about for at least seven years.

So you don't have to start with a "You know, Disney doesn't portray its female characters very well." Because believe me. I know. It is also unnecessary to bring up Jasmine's unrealistic thinness like you think it's going to shatter my worldview and convince me to swear off Disney forever. Dude, I could talk for like an hour about the problems with Jasmine. This is stuff I have thought about a fair bit.

"Well there are race issues in Aladdin, too." Yes, I agree. Proceed. "Jafar is the villain and he has the most Middle Eastern accent of the whole cast!"

Uh ... by "Middle Eastern" do you mean "British"?

Have you actually seen this movie recently or are you just basing your entire argument off of things other people have said?

Okay well I don't know where this entry is actually going but I guess my frustrations are a mix of:
Why do people hear "I'm a Disney fan" and understand that to mean "I like Disney movies because I don't see any problems with them"?
Why do people hear "I'm a Disney fan" and understand that to mean "I like Disney movies but I don't know anything about them"?
Why do people think they can or should attempt to remedy these made-up problems by throwing out random things that are oft-quoted but a) not actually true, or b) only like 2% of the whole story?

It's like - guys! I am a Disney fan. It is pretty much my always and forever One True Fandom. I say this secure in the knowledge that a large number of Disney films and parks have parts that are hugely problematic. I also happen to know a fair bit about these films and parks and the problems they contain. If you want to talk about these problems I am absolutely always happy to do so. But that happiness fades pretty rapidly when I realize you don't actually remember the movie you are trying to argue against.

Basically: don't assume I don't know what I'm talking about when it's actually you who don't know what you're talking about!!!

In conclusion I am sick of people trying to tell me that movies like Anastasia and Road to El Dorado are Disney and then arguing with me when I correct them. Guys, would you like me to recite for you the entire Disney animated canon? No, I don't think you would.
arisha: (vampire scrabble)
So today was mostly kinda crummy, but one bright spot is that I started and finished another book~~

5. スパイダーウィック家の謎:人間、見るべからず (translation of The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide) by Tony DiTerlizzi (awesome name) and Holly Black
To be honest, even after talking about it excitedly in the past two entries, I have given up (for now) on that Surplus Anna book. I still want to read it but I think I will have to come back to it; I was getting lost in the expository passages and overwhelmed by its 400-page length. So today I read this book, which was rather shorter and easier. Not a lot happens in it, actually, apart from "don't mind us, just setting up for the rest of the series"-type things, but I still enjoyed reading it and will probably grab the next book in the series when I visit the library later this week.
arisha: (troy helen)
Had a pretty busy, sort of interesting week, so I'll try to write an actual ~Sarah's life~ post this weekend. But now I am just going to update you on my spontaneously made goal of reading thirty books this year.

1. Troy by Adèle Geras
A Trojan War book I did not care for say what!! You can read all my complaints over at the nerdiest blog I will ever have. You may or may not be surprised to know it has now received over 1,000 hits, although I suspect at least 70% of them were people looking for a copy-and-pasteable essay on the Odyssey.

2. にんぎょのいちごゼリー (Ningyo no Ichigo Zerii or The Mermaid's Strawberry Jelly) by Sueyoshi Akiko
It is kind of ridiculous how I have been studying Japanese for such a long time but still get really intimidated whenever I step into a bookstore here. I mean it actually really frustrates me because at home I LOVE wandering around bookstores. So I have decided to start reading a lot more non-textbook Japanese, and towards this goal I got a couple kids' books out of the town library. This one is aimed at pretty young kids (even the katakana has furigana) and is about a mermaid who makes strawberry jelly. So I mean it was cute, and easy reading practice, but really that's all I have to say about it. :3

3. きのうの夜、おとうさんがおそく帰った、そのわけは...(Kinou no Yoru, Otousan ga Osoku Kaetta, Sono Wake wa ... or Dad Got Home Late Last Night Because ...) by Ichikawa Nobuko
This book is aimed at slightly older kids, and I actually liked it a lot. It's written in a more spoken language style, where what you're reading is the story the father tells his son to explain why he got home late the night before. There are four stories and they're all pretty fantastical, but that's why I liked them! I also enjoyed how there were certain lines that were repeated in each story. Overall this book was super cute.

Now I am reading 2140 サープラス・アンナの日記 (2140 Surplus Anna no Nikki or 2140: Surplus Anna's Diary), which is the translation of a book called The Declaration. I borrowed it just because I liked the cover but actually I'm really enjoying reading it. It's aimed at about a fourth grade reading level but it's much longer than the above two books and even though I am only having to look up one word every couple of pages I am definitely going to have to put in some hours of reading this weekend if I want to finish it before it's due back. :d Hopefully I will start reading faster soon~

4. The Prestige by Christopher Priest
SUPER VAGUE COMMENTS WRITTEN IN AN ATTEMPT NOT TO SPOIL ANYONE: I've seen the movie twice, and liked it enough to want to read the book, but at the same time I kept putting it off because I thought the book wouldn't be that enjoyable if you already know all the secrets that get revealed at the end. Well I was totally wrong. Most of the book is set in the 1800s, like the movie, but it also includes a few chapters about the main characters' descendents. I'm not entirely sure why they would still be interested in the feud between the two magicians, and as a result it took me a bit to get into their chapters, but the ending was totally worth it. OH MAN the ending was soooooooooo creepy from one character's point of view and soooooooooooooooo heartwrenching from another's. I seriously feel like it is going to give me nightmares forever, but I mean IN A GOOD WAY. And it was pretty significantly different from the ending of the movie. Actually, overall I was really surprised how different the book is from the movie; the general plot and characters and themes are the same, but they frequently take different paths. What I felt was the biggest reveal in the movie is kind of just dropped into conversation in the book, haha. And it was really cool to see the book doing things that the movie wouldn't be able to do, simply because it's a different medium. Waugh you guys it was so good, I'm afraid to start another book now because I will be disappointed if I fail to choose one that keeps me engrossed for hours every night even when it's totally creeping me out. xD
arisha: (escaflowne merle freak out)
Sarah: "I was actually pretty happy with how my house was when I got back from Canada. There were like three inches of ice on my bathroom floor--"

Teacher: "Ice?!?!"

Sarah: "Yeah, and the drain was frozen and wouldn't drain, but it was okay because the taps still worked so I just sprayed everything with hot water and it all melted. I think I was really lucky because when my neighbour got back from his trip his bathtub was filled with this huge block of ice--"

Teacher: "What!!!"

Sarah: "Yeah, his faucet had been leaking the entire time he was gone. And when he went to turn it off, the thing popped off and it started spraying more water everywhere!"

Teacher: "What did he do? Did he call your supervisor?"

Sarah: "Yeah he did, and our supervisor came and turned off the water in his house."

Teacher: "What! How's he supposed to live with no water?"

Sarah: "I don't know, I mean I assume our supervisor has a plan but it's been two days now that he hasn't had any water."

Teacher: "...... I think it's time to move."

Me too, Teacher. Me too.
arisha: (mj bad tour)
APOLOGIES FRIENDS FOR THIS IS A ~*~FANGIRL ENTRY~*~
(I also apologize for the terrible writing in it. Unfortunately I really want to get this posted before I go home for Christmas and as such I don't have time to make it coherent! >xD )

So for the past two months I have basically been nine years old again, in that I suspect there are artists other than Michael Jackson on my iPod but I sure haven't heard them in a while. I totally blame being in Japan, where for the bulk of October you could go see Captain EO, the MJ costumes exhibit and the show Thriller Live all in one day. (Also, four fifths of the original Jackson 5 were here last week - and also felt the longest earthquake we've had since I got here - but for some reason both concerts they held were in the middle of the work week?? Someone tell me whether or not I'm bummed that I had to miss them, I can't decide.)

ANYWAY since I keep missing things when they are first announced I didn't see Thriller Live until the end of November. I had absolutely no idea what to expect but in the end I saw it twice because it was TOTALLY AMAZING. Click the cut for super awesome ramblings~~~

Get the point? Good. Let's dance. )
arisha: (mj tape)
So I feel like so far this winter I have suffered rather less than I had by this time last year. I'm still not sure how to fix the fact that I am guaranteed to wake up at five a.m. every morning with a frozen nose, but during my waking hours I have been much less timid with the kerosene heaters and as a result have been much happier. Neither of my ALT neighbours have started using theirs yet, which is INSANE to me as the past week or so we have had some minus temperatures. One of my neighbours never uses her kerosene heater, so intense is her dislike of the smell, and one of them is trying to hold off as long as possible in an attempt to save money. Well good luck with that you guys. As soon as it hit like fifteen degrees I was pulling my heaters out of the closet. :P

Had a pretty good day at work today~. According to the schedule the board gave us this is our last week of school before break, but because the board doesn't actually seem to consult the schools when it makes our schedules I always ask my teachers if they want me to keep coming in up until I leave. So I will probably go to school for most of next week as well, at least. But today was my last day at this particular elementary school and I quite happily had four classes, two of which were spent decorating these really boring posters I made of Christmas trees haha. Before lunch I gave a candy cane to each of the teachers, and omg I absolutely love when I manage to bring something in that I feel is a worldwide item only to discover that nobody here knows what it is. It's this weird mix of mindblowing and humbling and just really interesting. I gave candy canes out last year as well (and got a bunch of "How do I eat this? Do I put all of it in my mouth at once??") so I already knew they were a rarity here, but today my teachers went even further and asked me if they were candles and where do they light them. Haha, man! Cultural differences! Fascinating!!! Clearly I need to get better at explaining what things are when I give them to people!!!!

Aaaaand I hope this entry is readable because I have an online lesson now and thus no time to proofread~~ xD
arisha: (Default)
I am really getting tired of having to be the one to break it to people that their chances of seeing the Northern Lights during their week in Toronto are pretty slim. :(

Also I am already on my second cold of the season. ;_; I feel like I am sick enough to justify taking tomorrow off ... but I only go to this school once a week and I took a sick day from it less than a month ago ... augh ;_; ;_; I can't believe I had perfect attendance for over a year and have now completely destroyed that.
arisha: (yurina looks down on you)
1) So on Wednesday after school I went to a meeting for the San Francisco trip that select eighth graders get to go on, and afterwards the other ALTs decided to go out to dinner before we all had to go to eikaiwa. When I said I was just going to grab dinner at home of course I got asked why, and deciding to be honest I said that it's difficult for me to be around other people for thirteen hours straight and if I could get even just half an hour to myself it would help me to recharge a bit. Replied my Extroverted-with-a-capital-E neighbour, "You'll be by yourself at the restaurant! You'll have six inches to yourself on either side!"

Sarah's first attempt to honestly explain her introversion: FAIL

2) The past couple days I have been thinking about how technology must surely be making the lives of current JETs ridiculously easier than the lives of the first JETs who arrived back in the late '80s. I mean, the Internet and cell phones have brought us e-mail and Skype and GPS and a whole bunch of different dictionary apps and they're all super easy to carry around. But the main reason I started thinking about this is because this week my dad received an honorary degree. I suppose the fastest way a JET twenty years ago would be able to see footage of the ceremony would be if their family sent them a videotape, or if they went home for the holidays and watched it then. But I just went onto the university's web site after I got home from work and watched the video that they had live streamed and then left online.

I am of course mostly glad to have all these things that make my life abroad way easier ... but at the same time it's hard not to be all "but if I didn't have the Internet, I might be studying more~~~"

No you wouldn't, Sarah. Don't fool yourself.

3) Fifth grade boy: "Hey guess what! Today I'm wearing my mom's socks!"
Second fifth grade boy: "Haha, that's hilarious! I'm wearing my mom's socks, too!!"

I have recently been realizing the awesomeness of older elementary schoolers. xD
arisha: (mj)
So near the end of October I had a pretty awesome fangirl weekend in Tokyo that started with a French performance of Gérard Presgurvic's musical Roméo et Juliette. fangirl fangirl fangirl )

Uhhhh anyway. When I got off the train to go to the musical, Shibuya Station was plastered with posters advertising a museum exhibit of Michael Jackson music video and concert outfits that I have no idea how I didn't hear about before!! fangirl fangirl fangirl )
arisha: (shakira don't bother)
So if I had posted last Tuesday you would have seen how unusually happy I was, but serves me right because since then my grandfather has died and I have caught a heinous cold and all in all it has been a less than fantastic week. (Also I ruined my perfect JET school attendance record.) I still intend to write a long and fangirly entry but now it will have to wait until after the Kanken this Saturday. I will be writing Level 6, which covers like 800 kanji all the way through grade five, and I am embarrassingly behind in my studying. I'm almost passing the practice tests though, so hopefully the three days I have left will be enough ...

ANYWAY the main point of this entry is directed towards my LJ friends who are leaving LJ for Dreamwidth! Add me!!! At this point I am not intending to leave LJ, but I don't want to lose contact with the people I like who are leaving, so I guess I will ... cross-post? I mean I am pretty guilty of never posting anymore so it's not like it will be difficult.

I'M TRYING TO POST MORE GUYS I SWEAR. It's really awful how I'm all depressed that awesomely long posts like used to be more frequently found on LJ seem to be fading in favour of super short posts like on Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr but meanwhile I am also guilty of posting on Facebook these days way more than I do on LJ. SARAH! FIX THIS!!!
arisha: (mj tape)
so you know the glove that is in this icon

I totally saw it yesterday

IN REAL LIFE

unnecessarily long LJ entry about my amazing fangirl weekend to come when I actually have a moment of free time~
arisha: (vampire hobbies)
So if you Google "v-card" a couple companies come up, which makes me think the slang use of the term isn't super widespread, but anyway I once had a co-worker who used it to mean virginity. This past week I discovered that in the new elementary school English textbooks there is an alphabet card exchange game that comes with an audio track in which a middle-aged man says, "I want the v-card, please" and oh my god I was dyingggggggggg. With any luck the people who made the Eigo Noto video will get ahold of it hahaha.

Also, I wrote another dialogue for my JTE to use on an exam. This one was about recycling because the new junior high school textbooks are obsessed with talking about recycling. Anyway, excerpt from my original:

A: "How do you recycle paper in Canada?"
B: "We put paper into a special blue box. One day a week, we put the box outside and recycling trucks take the paper."
A: "What about bottles?"

When I handed this to her I was all if there's any problems let me know and we can fix them together, but yeah. When I saw the test, she had added to A's second line, making it: "You have such a system in Canada. What about bottles?"

I ... what ... why ......

IN MUCH MORE AWESOME NEWS, yesterday I told some of the seventh graders that I like Fullmetal Alchemist and one of them clapped his hands together and then slammed his fists on his desk like he was Edward Elric and it was kind of the highlight of my week. xD

Unrelated to ALTing, recently I read two awful books that are kinda sorta based on the mythology of the Trojan War, and if you are interested you can read my thoughts about them here and here.
arisha: (tangled in like flynn)
So between kindergarten sports day and hanging out with a fellow Iwate ALT who I like quite a bit but never get to see and a random trip to the beach and conveyor belt sushi and taking a picture of my neighbour posing between a Nazi and a nun, I had a most seriously awesome weekend, but I think my favourite part of it was when we realized that we were on our way to see a performance of The Sound of Music, we had an extra ticket ... and we knew where the nearest ALT lived.

So we went up to his house and knocked on his door and had a conversation that basically went like this:

Us: "Hey, you haven't met any of us but we're fellow JETs and we knew your predecessor. We have an extra ticket for The Sound of Music and we'll totally give you a ride. Do you want to come?"

Him: "Uh ... Sure!! :D"

Man, I dunno, I just got a huge kick out of doing that and I feel like I am not likely to ever again be in a situation where I can just randomly go up to the house of someone I've never met and invite them to something and have them accept and have it all turn out awesome. It made me really happy. x) Somehow I feel like my best and most lasting memories of my time on the JET Program are going to be the totally ridiculous ones that I never would have expected at all.
arisha: (walls of troy)
2,500 words of me rambling about "Troilus and Cressida" over heeeeeeeere

... oh my god that took entirely too long to write.

Also, apparently someone in the cast discovered an app that lets you take Street Fighter-esque photos, hence this one of Ajax and Paris and this one of Achilles and Hector. And meanwhile the Ninagawa x Shakespeare blog keeps posting pictures of Achilles and Patroclus just hanging out in random places in the theatre and I am like

you guys

why are you so adorable

I can't even handle it
arisha: (troy words)
So I know that I have complained a lot about my situation here, and I'm sure I will complain again, but this weekend I went down to Saitama to watch the Yukio Ninagawa production of "Troilus and Cressida" that I was freaking out about a few months ago, and

it

was

amazing.

I don't really have the time tonight to write about it in extreme detail (especially as I am sure that once I start I WILL NEVER STOP), but rest assured that I will do so!!! But you guys, you guys. I am so, so grateful right now that I am here and was able to go to this play. I mean, Ninagawa seems to be directing Shakespeare and Greek tragedy and other plays pretty much constantly, so I was confident I would be able to go see something by him, but how completely amazing a coincidence is it that my time on JET managed to line up with the summer he directed a play I have been pining for years to see. And clearly I am saying this as a total fangirl of basically everything to do with this production, but -- you guys. It was amazing.

ANYWAY you will definitely hear more about this (as well as the production of "Macbeth" that I saw in Harajuku!) before the week is out; I just wanted to whip up a super happy and positive post while I still felt this way. xD
arisha: (escaflowne mystic moon)
So as I'm sure I've mentioned before, Victoria and Morioka are sister cities, and recently the mayor of Morioka was in Victoria to help celebrate Victoria's 150th anniversary. And oh man I know it's dumb but this cracks me up. I just imagine him sitting there the whole time like, "Yeah, happy 150th, I guess. I mean, my city was founded in the 1500s, but you know. Whatever."
arisha: (yurina looks down on you)
So I was telling my mom about a "What have you done since JET?" thread I was reading where it seemed that the people who had planned what they were going to do went home and did great and the people who hadn't planned a thing went home and got stuck for years in a mess of reverse culture shock and jobs they didn't even like.

Me: "But I think I'll be okay because I'll be busy going back to school."

Mom: "Maybe ... or maybe you'll just sit at home forever, too scared to go out into a world where people don't bow all the time."

Well ... I'm glad she's preparing for the worst?

Man I can tell you right now that when I go home the culture shock is going to be heinous. OH WELL no point worrying about that until thirteen months from now!!

P.S. The online classes are going amazingly, everyone is super nice~. I'm going all out and doing private lessons (twice a week) and ~supplementing~ them with group lessons (when I feel like it) so here's hoping it doesn't take too long before I feel like I'm improving. Also KANKEN IN TWO WEEKS aaaaaauggggggggh~ I've been studying the 200 fourth grade kanji since January so I'm feeling pretty confident about passing, but since I got a perfect score last time I feel like I gotta try to get as close as possible this time! ~~PRESSURE~~
arisha: (shakira don't bother)
Things I am comfortable with:
- visiting Tokyo Disneyland on a Saturday during Golden Week
- being surrounded by twenty first-graders all trying to get my attention at once
- getting onstage and leading a version of the Hokey Pokey that involves ~putting your bottom in~ at an event where my boss and his boss and his boss are all in attendance
- giving an improvised presentation on Christmas in my second language to an entire elementary school while dressed in a Santa outfit
- travelling to and within a third world country by myself

Things I am apparently very uncomfortable with:
- a night out with thirteen other people, nine of whom I'd never met before

UGH you guys I dunno. Last night I forced myself to get out and attempt to be social. I was invited to what I was told would be a small dinner with just a few other local ALTs, but it turned into a large dinner followed by a visit to a bar and I spent most of the time really not wanting to be there. Everyone was very nice (except for the guy who had issues accepting the fact that I don't let people I've just met try on my glasses - dude, they are not a toy!) and if it had been a smaller group and in a different setting I would've been just fine, but in such a big group in such loud settings I guess there is just no forgetting what an introvert I am. And I feel bad about this whole thing because I think my neighbours noticed I wasn't enjoying myself, and I mean the last thing I want to do is ruin someone else's evening, but unfortunately I think their promises that we would leave soon and split a cab home made things worse ... if they hadn't said anything like that I would've left earlier and caught the last train and maybe we all would've been happier for it. :/

Ugh, I seriously feel awful about the whole thing. Back to figuring out how to best enjoy this JET experience in my own way I guess ...

PSA

May. 21st, 2012 10:47 pm
arisha: (liar game damashiai no geemu)
Very short entry before bed, but! I feel I should ~announce~ that over the past few months I have reached a point where I am 99.9% decided that I will only be doing two years on JET. There are some things I absolutely adore about living here and will pine for terribly when I leave (to the point that I am not going to rule out working in Japan again in the future), but I think you guys have seen that I am not really in love with my house, certain other aspects of where I live, or the A part of ALTing. Plus I am actually really stoked to go back to school. Being here is giving me a clearer picture of the kind of work I want to be doing in the future so here's hoping I can make it happen!

I'm also hoping that my Japanese will be slightly less sucky by the time I leave ...... I might see if I can spend some time in an ~intensive language course~ before I return to Canada. I would really love to but I'm not sure yet whether or not it will work out. Lots of planning to do!
arisha: (vampire productivity)
So in the past six weeks I have been to Tokyo three times and Sendai once. Thoroughly awesome, but tiring! I am THOROUGHLY EXCITED to spend tonight moving as little as possible. xD

Unrelated, omg I am loving Tohoku in spring. Maybe it's just because winter was such a long and horrible experience, but seriously every day now I'm like omg it's WARM and GREEN and the sun no longer sets at FOUR and life is wonderfullllllllll

I feel like most people would feel like late May is too late for an "omg it's spring" entry, but most people don't live in northern Japan. So yeah.

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