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: (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: (mj)
Oh man I haven't updated my lists in forever. Books!

Hitching Rides With Buddha: A Journey Across Japan, Will Ferguson
In which the author chronicles (mostly humourously) his attempt to hitchhike from one end of Japan to the other. It's a pretty neat book and would probably make for an interesting introduction to Japanese culture. There were some parts where I disagreed with Ferguson - at some points it seemed like he was trying to pass off culture shock as something one only experiences in Japan, and of course I didn't care for his quick dismissal of J-pop - but I have to admit I loved the passage on Noh and yeah, overall I really enjoyed this book.

Building a Company: Roy O. Disney and the Creation of an Entertainment Empire, Bob Thomas
So a few years ago I read Neal Gabler's fantastic 800-odd-page Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, and every Disney biography I have picked up since has just paled in comparison. Unfortunately that remains true for this, the only biography I've seen so far of Walt's older brother and business partner. Building a Company isn't a bad book, and it included a number of passages that were new to me and really interesting, but I wish it was better organized and more fleshed out so that I could more readily recommend it. Less than a hundred pages into the book and we're already at Disneyland's opening day, what is that?!?

Also omg the last chapters made me so sad it was ridiculous.

In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers, and the Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build a Perfect Language, Arika Okrent
My own contact with conlangs is pretty much limited to that month or two in high school where I was sorta kinda learning Esperanto but stopped when I realized it was boring me. I borrowed this book from the library not actually expecting that I would read it. (I know that doesn't make sense. Don't ask questions.) Instead, I whipped right through it and now I'm sad to be done! This is a super interesting book about languages that people have created. Okrent profiles the creators behind the best-known conlangs, gives quick explanations of how the languages work, and discusses the themes that emerge when one looks at the hundreds of conlangs that we know of. There are also really interesting passages that describe certain features of natural languages, emphasizing the fact that words have certain meanings not because of any logical reason, but because that's what we agree that they mean!

Also, as someone who dropped Esperanto because its artifice bored her, I really enjoyed the chapters where Okrent described her experiences with Esperanto culture - and even with the evolution of the language! Of course now it seems obvious to me that if a conlang has speakers, it's going to evolve, but somehow that had never occurred to me before. So interesting!

So yeah - of the three books in this post this one is my favourite, and you should all be nerdy like me and read it because it's awesome. :D
arisha: (epic mickey: disney blows my mind)
So in cleaning out my bookmarks I came across a page that I bookmarked during my obsession with the Disney Rarities DVD, from which I have now learned that Virginia Davis passed away almost exactly a year ago. I missed this news when it broke, and I must admit that even though it's not exactly a surprise (she was ninety), I'm still a little saddened by it.

From 1923 to 1927, the bulk of the work produced by the Walt Disney studio (which had pretty much just begun and wasn't even going by that name yet) was a series of shorts that combined animation with live action footage of a little girl named Alice, who for the first two years was played by Virginia Davis. I have a serious love for these shorts; I find them adorable and super fascinating at the same time.

For those of you on whom I haven't been able to force this already, allow me to introduce you to "Alice's Wonderland," the first of the Alice shorts. I like that it begins with Alice and Walt just being their awesome selves. xD



Old Disney is the most fascinating stuff. <3
arisha: (epic mickey: in which disney blows my mi)
~ Is The Black Cauldron seriously getting a 25th Anniversary DVD release before Hercules or The Hunchback of Notre Dame get proper DVD releases? I mean, I'm digging the whole ~love for unloved characters~ thing Disney has going on right now, but seriously??

~ I got paid today and have already ordered another batch of JLPT books. I have soooo many language learning books now haha. I've been thinking of starting a blog or something and posting reviews of these things, but I can't decide if that would motivate me to study or if it would just distract me. :P

~ A couple days ago I finished the first chapter of the textbook I'm using to teach myself Korean! (Don't be too impressed - the most complex thing I can say so far is "I'm not Korean, I'm American," which isn't even true.) I don't think I picked the best language to try to teach myself - the pronunciation is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be - but overall it's been going okay. It's not as completely similar to Japanese as I had been led to believe (or maybe it is and I just can't tell yet, haha), but there are definitely strong similarities, and I do love it when I can guess what a word means just because it's pretty much the same. xD I have no idea how to transliterate anything, but "college student" is "daigakusei" in Japanese and "dehakseng" in Korean and I think that's awesome! xD Also, I love that some of the particles have different forms depending on whether the preceding word ends in a vowel or a consonant. Such a rule would be all but useless in Japanese! xD

~ In boring rl news, I've spent most of today feeling nauseous; I got sent home from work early (my managers are awesome sometimes) and fell asleep in my uniform, ewwww. So that sucked. (brb stocking up on stronger painkillers for next month. -_- ) But I also managed to get caught up on all the most recent Yesterland articles, which was a perfect way to spend the afternoon I think! Man that site is way too fascinating to me. :)
arisha: (reina tanaka imi ga nai)
I guess if I'm sitting here wasting time I might as well write a post, even if it's random and totally useless. :) The return of my favourite meme~~!

List seven songs you are into right now, no matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they're not any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your LiveJournal along with your seven songs.

男なんてなんて信じない )

Okay, now to spend the rest of this lovely day off studying!! :D I feel like I keep forgetting my intention to attempt the JLPT at the end of this year, whoops.
arisha: (myrna loy is awesome)
Book!

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell
My goodness but I'm failing at finishing any book that isn't pop psychology. :/ This book was interesting enough and I whipped through it pretty quick but I dunno, it wasn't amazing. I felt like its conclusion contradicted itself. The part where he talked about how improv works was really interesting to me though, and actually answered some of the questions I often have while watching Whose Line is it Anyway? x)

Movies!

Libeled Lady (1936)
Man, how awesome are Myrna Loy and William Powell, I wish they could star together in every movie ever. I really enjoyed this movie, and I loved that it includes a scene where a woman proposes to a man. I don't even know if I've ever seen that in a movie before! How awesome. :D

Ladrón que roba a ladrón (2008)
I took this out of the library expecting a fairly bland thriller; the only reason I borrowed it was because it was in Spanish. So I was quite surprised when it turned out to be pretty much a comedy! And I really enjoyed it - it was really well done, ignoring the plot holes I'm choosing to ignore. x) Also, I loooove that the movie takes place entirely in the U.S. but like 95% of the dialogue is in Spanish. (And there's also a shot taken at those who think monolingualism is awesome, aw man I loved it.) You can watch the trailer here although it makes the movie seem a lot cornier than it actually is.

Easy to Wed (1946)
A colour remake of Libeled Lady that stars Lucille Ball. I almost didn't even make it to the end of this movie; they pretty much took the exact same script used for Libeled Lady, changed the locations, added some filler, and then filmed it in such a way that made it SO AWKWARD. I felt like all the jokes that worked in the original version just fell flat in this one. I did like the very last scene a bit better in this version, but overall I'd definitely say to avoid this one and watch the original.

Black Rain (1989)
A Japanese movie about a family and their neighbours in the years following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. This actually wasn't as completely depressing as I thought it would be, which in a way made it feel more realistic to me. Like, of course the family had bad days, but they managed to have good days, too. This was a really good movie, although both the ending and the alternate ending left me going, "... What? That's the end? It can't end there!! I don't get it~~~~"

Toy Story 3 (2010)
This is definitely not the deep thought I promised, but I was telling my brother about this movie today and very minor spoiler )
arisha: (epic mickey: in which disney blows my mi)
Super short and only a little bit spoilery (but I'll cut it anyway) first thoughts on Toy Story 3 before I run back to the theatre to start my shift aaaaaah~!!!

Buzz-- Buzz-- Buzz Lightyear to the rescue! )

Also, we got to watch the Tangled trailer but apparently there was a mix-up of some kind because we watched it in FRENCH. xD
arisha: (al is confused)
More things I forgot I'm excited about:

- EPIC MICKEY. What I know of the plot so far makes it sound like little more than a less confusing Kingdom Hearts, and the gameplay graphics I've seen haven't impressed me terribly much, but oh my god the concept art-- and the unloved characters-- and PLEASE NOTE 0:40 OF THE ABOVE VIDEO

THAT IS THE PARTNERS STATUE WITH OSWALD THE LUCKY RABBIT IN MICKEY'S PLACE

ADLGHSDKAHGELWIHQLDHG!!!!!!! THIS IS GOING TO BE THE BEST OFFICIAL ALTERNATE REALITY FANFIC OF MY LIFE

SERIOUSLY CAPSLOCK DOES NOT EVEN BEGIN TO TELL YOU HOW I HAD TO PAUSE THE VIDEO THERE AND FREAK OUT FOR LIKE FIVE MINUTES

If Alice of the Alice shorts (which I looooove) manages to make her way into this game in any way at all, I am pretty much guaranteed to pass out from OH MY GOD DISNEY YOU JUST BLEW MY MIND.

- Tangled! I am glad to see Disney carrying on their new tradition of ridiculous heroes. First Edward, then Naveen, and now this guy? I'm down with that. xD

- Toy Story 3 is tomorrow and DON'T TOUCH MY MOUSTACHE!*

* Seriously guys, this joke is in Toy Story 2 and I really want to know how many people get it because I didn't get it until a good six years of studying Japanese. "Don't touch [my] moustache" is a beginner's way to remember how to say "Dou itashimashite," which means "you're welcome." How awesome is it that this joke made it into the movie, man I'm still not over it.
arisha: (tarzan photo)
Thank you to everyone who indulged my request to hear your list of favourite Disney songs!! :D Now of course I am wondering how many of you are hardcore enough to make a list, however long or short you'd like, of your favourite Disney background music! >xD

ARE YOU UP TO THE CHALLENGE???

MINE! )
arisha: (hercules)
OKAY EVERYONE

I KNOW I ASK THIS QUESTION LIKE EVERY YEAR BUT I'M ASKING IT AGAIN

I WANT TO KNOW YOUR TOP TEN FAVOURITE DISNEY SONGS!!

I'm limiting myself to just the animated movies, and one song per movie (and I'm leaving out "That's How You Know" because I already talked about it today) but you don't have to if you think a certain movie's soundtrack is vastly superior. xD

MINE! )

I would say I'm sorry for posting twice in one evening about essentially the same thing, but ... I'm not. :D
arisha: (dlr aladdin)
I love how listening to Disney songs in foreign languages is something that even people who aren't interested in foreign languages sometimes do. xD (And something I did even before YouTube, ngl.) I was partaking in this most excellent of activities last night and I managed to get stuck on "That's How You Know" from Enchanted for like half an hour. Here it is in Japanese (although the subs are a little off in parts and it's irking me), Latin American Spanish, and Quebec French (haters to the left, 'cause that's my favourite kind of French xD ). I had completely forgotten how much I love this song! Fingers crossed that Alan Menken writes the songs for the sequel. <3 (The sequel is due in 2011? Oh my god, it's going to be another Pirates and Enchanted year and I AM SO DOWN WITH THAT.)

Uh ... insert some deep observation here. I'm off to find some more Disney dubs to listen to. xD (I'm also kind of in love with the Latin American Spanish version of "I Won't Say I'm in Love," mostly because of the way Megara sings "no van a oir" and "porque no todo es maravilloso." Awesome!!)
arisha: (tdr mount prometheus)
We interrupt this program to bring you THE PERU POST! )
arisha: (ai takahashi)
HEY SARAH WHY ARE YOU WRITING A TRIP REPORT ABOUT A TRIP THAT ENDED (unfortunately ;_; ) A YEAR AGO

BECAUSE I WANT TO SO SHUT UP AND ENJOY IT!!

For months now I have been completely stuck on how to write my Universal Studios Japan entry, so I guess I'll skip it for now and write about it alongside my other theme parks at the end.

day thirteen )
arisha: (troy achilles)
How weird that the year I wasn't really feeling the Christmas spirit turned out to be the year where I got some of the bestest presents evarrr! First world materialism, go! )

And I feel like I've said this about a million times already, but I have also been LOVING the fandom card exchange I took part in. You guys are amazing and I'm glad to have been able to share a little bit of the holidays with you. <3 :D

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go clean off my desk so I actually have somewhere to put all this stuff when I leave for work in two hours. :P
arisha: (dlr space mountain)
Another sad day on my friendslist, this time from a different fandom: Roy E. Disney passed away today, forty-three years and one day after his famous uncle. I confess I don't pay as much attention to the people in charge at Disney as I probably should, but I definitely knew of Roy and his continued efforts to protect the company from falling into the wrong hands. So I definitely consider this sad news. :(
arisha: (hercules)
Since sometime this past summer I've been slowly watching the anime Shoujo Kakumei Utena. Last night I finally got to episode twenty, and discovered that the song that plays during the duel scene is about Neoptolemus and Priam. OMG AWESOME. The Trojan War is everywhere!! xD

Book:
23. Every Living Thing: Man's Obsessive Quest to Catalog Life, from Nanobacteria to New Monkeys, Rob Dunn
Oh my gosh I loved this book. It's similar to Night Comes to the Cretaceous, which I read earlier this year, in that it discusses scientific discoveries, but with a strong focus on the lives of the scientists who made those discoveries. And the subject is so interesting and the writing style is so smooth and beautiful~ haha so yeah, I would definitely recommend this book. I continue to wish though that I had a brain for science ... I finished this book ten minutes ago and I already feel like I've forgotten most of it. :(

Movie:
52. The Princess and the Frog, 2009
GUYS. 2-D Disney is back and I could not be more thrilled!! princealia's review and the_wykydtron's review pretty much cover everything important that I wanted to say about this movie, but if you want to hear my nitpickier (and SPOILERIFFIC) points, then read on ... )

Edit: Just read the Kills Me Dead review, which offers a different opinion (although I agree about the songs). I am ridiculously stoked to read all the different opinions of this movie! Oh, Disney. It's been way too long. <3
arisha: (reina tanaka kanashiki koi)
51. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), 2000
I can count this as a movie if I want to count it as a movie, haha. I heard about this play when [livejournal.com profile] the_wykydtron went to a local production (without me!! HOW DARE SHE), and so intrigued was I by her report that I looked to see if I could find a version of it on YouTube. Lo and behold, I found the entire thing! I finally finished watching it last night, and, while it was a little more ridiculous than I'd been expecting, overall I really enjoyed it! They actually manage to include pretty much all of Shakespeare's work, including my beloved but much-ignored "Troilus and Cressida," which is awesome! As a wannabe Shakespeare fan I was definitely laughing through the whole thing (except for the occasional serious moments, which were also very good), and I'll probably be looking into the Reduced Shakespeare Company's other productions in the future. xD

In other news, last night [livejournal.com profile] trumpydoesmagic and I watched The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which was most excellent, and then I had a dream that Lady Gaga featured Morning Musume's Reina Tanaka in one of her songs. Uhm. Awesome?

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