The Last Samurai… again

I’m not sure that I have ever watched a film with the director’s commentary, but tonight I did.

I discovered the other week, when I’d watched “The Last Samurai”, that the commentary was likely to prove exciting and valuable, and so I kept it on the list of to-dos until I had the time finally tonight to watch it… and I was right: It is spectacular.

I grew up in a world of theatre, often sitting next to a spectacular director, having him ask me questions and tell me little important tidbits about everything he was doing throughout rehearsal and preparation (and everything else, actually), and then, at other times, sitting with my mom as she worked on costuming or props for a show, and sometimes working on sets, myself…, and so I have not only an eye for many things in theatre and film, but also an extreme appreciation for what it takes to accomplish different aspects of a production.

Combining that with my experiences and understanding in Japanese culture, I found Edward Zwick’s commentary beautiful and deepening for the film’s overall power and impact… he and his crew were no surface-level group, but intentional, informed, respectful, committed, and honest workers in the task of making this beautiful, respectful, multicultural film.

Thank you, all of you, for all that you did in making that film. ūüôā

Post-a-day 2018


The Last Samurai

I just watched the film “The Last Samurai”, and it was the first time I’d seen it all the way through, as well as the first time I’d seen any of it post-Japan (remember that I lived in Japan for a while).

I balled my eyes out over and over and over again, and mostly for things I never would have considered before having lived in Japan.

As Katsumoto-San says, ‘There are many of our customs/traditions that seem strange to you… Yours are the same for us.’

And now I see both sides of it all, and I wonder at how anyone could consider that only one side to anything in life is good enough, satisfactory enough, adequate… for anything beneficial to anyone or anything.

It can be terrifying, but seeing through the eyes of ones we don’t understand creates a solution to any problem, because, as Ender Wiggin said, once we understand our enemies, we can’t help but to love them.

Post-a-day 2018

Be better for myself

Those late nights when I’m desperate for a movie before bed, and I have an early morning the next day… when I don’t watch a movie, but do something else beautiful, like play uke or guitar before my bedtime reading, and then just go to sleep…, those nights are each a success.

Depression has this sneaky way of, well, sneaking up from normally-no-big-deal things, like watching a good film, and taking hold before I’m even fully conscious of it…

And so those nights when desperation longs for a film, and I do not give in, and I do do something good for myself, are key to my being the happy, healthy, holy person I want to be (and know that I truly am on the inside).

Post-a-day 2018

Dirty Dancing Magic

Have you ever seen the film “Crazy, Stupid, Love”, with Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell (among other familiar faces)? ¬†(If you haven’t, you can watch it on Netflix!) ¬†***If you don’t want anything ruined from the movie, do not read this next part.*** ¬†Remember the scene where Emma Stone’s character asks Ryan Gosling’s what his line is for getting girls to sleep with him? ¬†So, he finally comes out with the fact that he does the “Dirty Dancing” lift. ¬†She doesn’t believe him, but they do the lift anyway, and, of course, she totally falls for him at the end of the lift.

So, why is this relevant?

You see, I do acro-yoga – at least, I have re-started doing acro-yoga again, after a three-ish-year break. ¬†The other night, at a sort of practice/hangout session (called a “jam”), one of the guys offered to test out a certain standing lift with me. ¬†It was not the most basic option, so we agreed to do the simpler option first. ¬†And what was that option? ¬†The “Dirty Dancing” lift.

It definitely takes effort from both parties to make it work properly, so the “Crazy, Stupid, Love” version makes it look too simple. ¬†“Dirty Dancing” is definitely closer to the kind of effort it actually would take a newbie flyer/follow to pull off the lift. ¬†I’ve done lifts in dance routines before, and even a throw/toss, so I’m practiced in the concept of lifts, but I’ve never done that particular lift in a routine. ¬†Anyway, so it took a few almosts, and then we had the lift down perfectly.

And it felt like flying… or something. ¬†I’ve never actually flown (I think), so I can’t actually compare anything to flying, but it definitely felt magical and like I was more than just physically ‘above’ everything around me – I felt like I was on a higher plane of life. ¬†And, of course, that I was utterly beautiful in this specific position, muscles flexed beautifully, like a fairy zooming overhead.

And this guy helped me to be in this position – it was because of¬†him that I was in such a place of wonder and beauty…. I suddenly totally could get why girls would want to ravish the guy who did that lift with them. ¬†Fortunately, I knew the guy and the general activity well enough to keep him and the actual task separate from one another in my head. ¬†Otherwise, I would have been a total mess full of goo-goo eyes for him for¬†weeks. ¬†But I fully understood what could be so attractive, so sexy, so desirable about doing that lift. ¬†I mean, how often do people normally put me into a place of magical wonder, and make me feel more beautiful than the whole world? ¬†(Perhaps your life is different from mine, but I’ll let you know: It is extremely rare for me.) ¬†ūüėõ

That being said, I have two things: 1) Totally try out acro-yoga, because it’s a blast and is totally easy, even if you aren’t super fit or anything. ¬†2) I recommend giving the “Dirty Dancing” lift a try at some point in your life, guy or girl, because it is magical and awesome (as I have already mentioned multiple times). ¬†ūüôā

Post-a-day 2018

Film ties

Sometimes, I see films that have a person as the main focus who struggles with certain situations, specifically socially. ¬†(Current society likely would call them people with autism or asberger’s, or something of that sort.) ¬†When I see these films, follow these people’s lives, I find it all too easy to fall into a similar pattern in my own life immediately after the film. ¬†I think to myself, ‘But I am not like this.’ ¬†And yet the¬†feeling is that the behavior is rather easy for me, as though I am at home in the behavior, in the odd habits. ¬†I go back and forth between seeing how I am so comfortably ‘normal’ in the world and how I have intense emotions and ties within myself when I deal with certain OCD-related situations…, meaning I go back and forth between feeling like I am a ‘normal’, sane person and a crazy person.

And I always just end up being unconvinced of either one.

I’m a little bit of both, it seems. ¬†And I think I’m okay with that. ¬†I’m not sure that I¬†like how it is – the OCD stuff can be utterly ridiculous even to me, and those situations are the worst, because they not only are intense feelings of needing to do something specific, but also the anger and frustration and embarrassment that I even have that feeling of need. ¬†I think I might prefer having little “quirks”, instead… kind of like how most people likely think about my OCD stuff already, if they even notice any of it. ¬†Yeah…, because currently, whenever I’m in a low rut, like tonight, after this film, if I think about the future, the feelings worsen. ¬†I struggle to imagine ever finding a partner in life who possibly could accept, let alone embrace certain things that I do, certain things that currently feel as though I cannot¬†not do. ¬†But something in me has faith and trust, and drags me out of that rut… I¬†will be okay. ¬†I will be¬†wonderful. ¬†And I have no idea if this stuff will stay with me forever or not. ¬†But, if they do, then I have many a plan for how to organize my life to minimize the struggle situations.

Post-a-day 2018

Unbelievable life

Do you ever find yourself filled with this unexplainable feeling of joy and excitement regarding the general idea of what’s happening in your life, and then suddenly realize that the feeling isn’t actually about your own life, but about the character’s life from a movie or book that you were just watching or reading?

And then, at that realization, do you find yourself suddenly totally miserable, and already considering what movie or book would be a good remedy for your current state, while simultaneously wondering if that wouldn’t just put you back in the same position as you are right now?

Life is nuts, I tell you… or, at least, I am, anyway.

Post-a-day 2018

A brief step behind the ocd and normalcy

Occasionally, I being to wonder if I might actually be a little crazy, or if it is all just in my head… and then I wonder if the two options aren’t one in the same…

I first saw the film “Girl, Interrupted” when I was little. ¬†And I loved it. ¬†But I have no specific reasoning as to why I loved it. ¬†I just did, and so did one of my best friends at the time, Jennifer. ¬†I even gave her the movie for her birthday one year, and she was exceedingly delighted. ¬†We just loved the film. ¬†For whatever reason, it was on my mind this week, and so I watched it today – day seven-ish of my illness-induced infirmity. ¬†Today, possible over a decade after the last time I saw the film, I saw something new in it. ¬†I watched the extras section on the making of the film, and it had, as I suspected to have been the case, the woman on whose life the film was based. ¬†She had written a book about her time in a mental institution in the 1960s, and this director had found the book, turned it into a screenplay (over about two years), and then made the film.

The lead actress, Winona Ryder, spoke of how she wished she’d read the book while she was a teenager, because it had ideas that would have been extremely helpful for her at that time. ¬†Having experienced genuine anxiety attacks, she’d had a glimpse of the sort of life the book described (but without the stay in the mental institution). ¬†And that’s what really got me thinking today.

They mentioned how so much of what the main character suffered was normal for people, very common, even. ¬†And I could relate to her. ¬†For certain parts, not at all, but, for others… completely. ¬†There are times when I look at myself as a sort of outsider, and I can say, ‘Oh, goodness. ¬†Whatever. ¬†Get over it. ¬†It’s not actually anything real. ¬†You’re fine.’ ¬†Today, I allowed myself to question myself after that statement. ¬†Am I actually fine? Or are you just saying that? Is it because what feels to be wrong just doesn’t make sense? ¬†Because I am better than this problem? ¬†It kind of felt like a 50/50, really.

So, I forced myself into my 200-dollar vehicle. ¬†After a few moments, I started it, and I drove to the store. ¬†I drove the wrong way to get there, thinking it was the faster way. ¬†And then I couldn’t figure out how I’d gone that way, because I’d known how to get to the store since before I could drive. ¬†When I arrived, I drove at an elderly pace through the lot, and eventually halted in a spot. ¬†It was the first spot, but I didn’t care and still don’t. ¬†For minutes, I sat there, car off. ¬†I looked around a little bit, and wondered what was wrong with me. ¬†This wasn’t the first time I’d had such an experience. ¬†Just recently, my mom had called me as I sat in the Target parking lot, and I was then wondering the same thing. ¬†I couldn’t figure out why I was – was it¬†afraid? – afraid to get out and go into the store.

I had driven to the store with two purposes in mind today (as is often the case when in similar situations): to get out of the house and to get food to eat. ¬†But I couldn’t figure out what to buy, and I didn’t know how to get from where I was sitting to the successful completion of my errand. ¬†And so I sat. ¬†I wondered about getting out of my head, because I was clearly stuck in my head…, except that I didn’t have any specific thoughts going through my head at the time. ¬†The only thought was about how I should probably get out of my head… but I couldn’t figure out what I’d been doing there, if I¬†had been in my head, because there were no thoughts there. ¬†I was just sitting, and I could feel how I was nervous about getting out of the car, but I had no thoughts or words to go with the feeling. ¬†It was just a feeling. ¬†When it finally hit the point of bordering on tears, I gave a big inhale-exhale and got out.

I went slowly into the store and got myself a basket. ¬†I went to the Texas wines to distract myself. ¬†(Not like I’d be buying any. ¬†You see, the rodeo showcases wines, and I always like to check the Texas ones in the store afterward to compare the wine garden prices to grocery store prices.) ¬†It worked. ¬†I sent a photo of a 23-dollar bottle to a friend of mine, telling her how it had been $10 for a little cup of it in the wine garden. ¬†I’d remembered the wine bottle.

And then I continued onward, found the smoothie thing I’d wanted, along with the noodle things I didn’t really want but felt I needed, because I wasn’t eating enough food otherwise (also part of the weirdness that made it difficult to¬†go to the store in the first place). ¬†I even gave myself two bananas and a special water (It’s a fancy, flower-infused water… oooh.). ¬†(I worried about the bananas, but I got them anyway, because they are good for me. ¬†Even now I worry that I might not eat them.) ¬†By the time I passed the Easter candy and had sent various photos to some of my Japanese kids in Japan, I was doing rather well, feeling rather normal and not so shaky on the inside. ¬†I played my audiobook on the way home, and it was splendid. ¬†I felt very much normal by the time I was getting out of the car at home.

And it makes me wonder yet again if anything is actually wrong with me, or if it’s all in my head… or, of course, if it isn’t just both.

I’ve had this thing around going to the store for quite some time. ¬†I don’t remember when it started, but today’s adventure was similar to the others. ¬†Oftentimes, I don’t even go to the store if I’m doing it alone. ¬†I scrounge for scraps of food, and make the unhealthiest of meals for myself in my desperate attempt to avoid going shopping on my own. ¬†If, say, my mom is going, I’ll go along easily. ¬†I even enjoy going along most of the time. ¬†But going alone is a rarity. ¬†I practically beg my mother to stop at the store on her way home some days, just so that I don’t have to go. ¬†I¬†do beg her to go with me regularly, and, when she declines, as she is apt to do, I usually end up not going. ¬†This applies to restaurants, as well as the grocery store or almost any other store.

To me, this all just sounds like nonsense. ¬†Like I’m just being dramatic, and¬†Goodness, get over it. ¬†That’s what my brain says to myself all the time. ¬†Sometimes it works. ¬†Yet this isn’t something that was around for just a little while, and has now disappeared. ¬†It actually seems like a genuine problem at times. ¬†I’ve actually not eaten multiple meals, because of it. ¬†And I’m not talking about only a handful here… ¬†doesn’t it just seem, well, crazy?

It certainly seems crazy to me. ¬†But I’m not crazy. ¬†I know that. ¬†This is just exactly the kind of thing they were referencing about the struggles people have in life that, when viewed with a certain perspective, have us viewed as insane, or borderline. ¬†If this were all someone knew about me, that person would have a completely different perspective than someone who has met me outside of this little pocket of craziness. ¬†And, like the main character in the story, perhaps that first someone would want to put me in a mental facility ‘to rest’ for a while, and the second wouldn’t understand why I kind of agreed that it was okay for me to go.

Anyway… hope that didn’t freak anyone out too much…

Post-a-day 2018