Miley on my mind

My brain all this afternoon:

…..
Here I am for the first time
Look to my right and I see the Hollywood sign
This is all so crazy
Everybody seems so famous

Na-na na-na na-na naaa-na
na-na naaaa na-na turned on the radio
And a Britney song was on
And a Britney song was on
And a Britney song was on

So I put my hands up
They’re playing my song,
And the butterflies fly away
Noddin’ my head like, yeah
Movin’ my hips like, yeah
I got my hands up,
They’re playin’ my song
You know I’m gonna be okay
Yeah, it’s a party in the USA
Yeah it’s a party in the USA

This morning, we visited the site of the first McDonald’s location, from before it was fully franchised and all that jazz… a site that was apparently also visited by Miley Cyrus not so long ago.

This afternoon, we swung by and somewhat spontaneously picked up a beloved friend of mine from dance, whom I hadn’t seen in five or so years, and journeyed to the Griffith Observatory to see the Hollywood sign.
It was still really far away…, but cool to see and read, nonetheless… I’ll have to find a way to get up close to it one day (slash figure out if I care enough to do so in the first place).
Then we went to a drive-in theatre…, which really wasn’t Miley Cyrus at all, I suppose…, but the movies were all about fulfilling one’s dreams by being in touch with what’s really on the inside and by just going for it, and “The Climb” is all about that kind of idea, too, so that counts enough.
I still found myself singing about the Hollywood sign when we got home just now, so I think I can safely say hat it was a very Miley Cyrus day today. 😛
Post-a-day 2018
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Japan all around

Japan is on my mind and in my life right now.  Recall that I watched the film “The Last Samurai” a few weeks ago.  I then watched it with the director’s, Edward Zwick’s, commentary the other day.  I had a cry-fest the first time, and was utterly touched and in love with samurai even more so than I already had been – I’d respected their skills and revered them as a whole function of class – and then I had a mind-whooshing wonderful exploration and discovery with the second, specifically leading me to appreciate even more the talents and passions of 渡辺 謙 Ken Watanabe*, the man who plays the lead samurai in the film and who plays ‘the Japanese English-speaking character’ in almost every Hollywood film these days – a man I’d already appreciated for his acting skills in “Inception” and other Hollywood films**.  And so, here I am, weeks after first watching the film, and I’m still thinking about the samurai, and I’ve added 渡辺 謙 (Ken Watanabe).

Therefore, when selecting what to wear for today that was unique and warm – the weather is suddenly chilly here, though it was genuinely hot and humid two days ago – I settled on one of my haori (use 羽織 to search online and get the right pictures on Google), the sort of winter jacket piece for kimono***.  The half turtle neck I usually wear with it was unfindable, and so I selected something else that was the same color, but textured really neatly (and then found the other shirt, but preferred the textured one, anyway).

That’s all my own conscious doing.

Today at work/school, the classroom we were using for the yearbook class for which I was subbing was an English classroom.  I happen to sit in a student desk, instead of the teacher’s, and what is directly in front of me?
This:

image1

I asked the students what book possibly was being read that had this on the board, and they concluded that it was a history book.  That is, students had merely used the board in the classroom during a free period, and had put up notes in preparation for a test or quiz in history class that was on that time period.  I was totally ready to read whatever novel it had been for English class, though… Oh, well…

And then, this evening, I found myself sitting in a coffee shop with my mom – her having the intention to read and I to work on my paper for school, but both of us kind of just chatting and catching up on things for the first almost-hour – explaining my outfit to her, one that she has declared to be genuinely great in terms of style and in terms of how it looked on me (and which multiple people had done throughout the day, including people who never comment on my outfits, which was really funny and cool all at the same time), and it turns out that the textured shirt I’d selected, though I hadn’t realized it when I’d selected it, was also from Japan.  I’d just remembered that I hadn’t worn it yet, but had been wanting to for a long time, and just hadn’t found the right situation and clothing combination, and had genuinely forgotten that it, too, was from Japan.  My mother, as we chuckled about the specific funky shop where I’d bought said shirt, then says that, ‘See, there are things you really liked about Japan.’

I agreed with her entirely, and mentioned how I know I want to go back and visit plenty; I’m just not so sure about ever even considering living and working there again.  However, I’ve just had a lot of Japan on my mind lately.  Learning about 渡辺 謙 (Ken Watanabe) and his language situation for the filming of “The Last Samurai”, made me consider whether I could be that kind of person in Japan, in Japanese film.  I have a natural tendency to pick up on accent quite well, and Japanese was no exception to this for me.  Could I go back and model and act successfully?  It’s definitely possible, but is it very likely?  Could I get the visa to give it a go, even?  Hmm… These are the thoughts that have been on my mind the past few days (though not for the first time).  I want to go back to Japan, but I also want to have something to do while there, even though I’ll only be visiting, technically.

And so, I suspect that I’ll just keep this all in mind, and, eventually, I’ll find a way back to Japan (and have a spectacular time while there).  Perhaps, either here or there, I’ll find a way to meet 渡辺 謙 (Ken Watanabe).  Maybe he’ll let me do an interview with him.  That would be stellar.  And possibly a really good idea.  Hmm…  Well, we’ll see.  For now, I’m just surrounded by Japan, intentionally, unintentionally, and even from outside sources… and I kind of like it…

🙂

*Yes, the Japanese version is with the last name first, read Watanabe Ken.  And I tend to say it that way now, though I didn’t do it intentionally and I didn’t used to do it.  I guess it is just automatic for me now, after having lived in Japan, to say a Japanese name ‘Japanese style’, so to speak.  In my head, every time, I say “Watanabe Ken-san”, but I already tend to leave out the -san with people who don’t understand it, and so the same happens with 渡辺 謙.

**When hearing what Edward Zwick had to say in the commentary of “The Last Samurai”, it had me question if that film had been 渡辺 謙’s (Ken Watanabe’s) first real role in a Hollywood film, thinking that it quite likely must have been.  I found it amazing, because I feel like I’ve known him as an actor for so long, that it must have been before 2003 that I first saw him.  After some consideration, though, I realized that, seeing as how 2003 was 15 years ago, it did actually make sense.  Sure enough, after dong a bit of checking, it seems that “The Last Samurai”, in 2003, indeed, was his first Hollywood film.

***Fun Fact: Kimono literally means “wearing thing” or “thing one wears”.

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

Kill Bill and Mailboxes


Have you ever seen “Kill Bill”?  It’s a spectacular film (and set, actually), and I fell in love with it when I was around the time of middle school.  My eldest brother was in college, and he had me watch it with him one time.  I was enthralled.  I couldn’t tell if I actually wanted to be like Uma Thurman in the film, or if I just liked marveling at her humbly.

It ended up being one of the few pieces of Japanese culture that has stuck with me (before I moved to Japan, that is).  Not that the film is Japanese itself – it just has Japanese things in it, specifically a samurai-like relationship to swordsmanship and fighting.  Quentin Tarantino was the first director whose name I remembered, as well as the first whose style I learned to identify.  I’m not sure I would have been a fan had I not seen Kill Bill as my first full exposure to him and his style.  However, I absolutely love his directing, and therefore end up loving movies that otherwise make little sense at my being a fan of them (blood and gore and anger are really not my thing).

All of this aside, however, something from the Kill Bill films stuck with me even stronger than anything else.  The scene where the money briefcase is opened, revealing loads of cash, and then, suddenly, as a chunk of cash is removed, a poisonous snake shoots out and bites the man who opened the case, killing him.  It is such a sudden event, and it includes such a confirmation of the guy’s mortality, that it hit me hard.  While I mentally am totally comfortable with the scene, I suppose there is a sort of psychological response that I had not anticipated would last for so long as it has: I don’t stand in front of the mailbox to open it.  I stand to one side, and open the box.  Then, I lean over to see inside the box, still at an angle to it.  Once I have verified the absence of any snake, I then reach in and pull out the mail.

This was an immediate response to having seen this scene.  It was intentionally done, each time I went to check the mail.  Now, more than 15 years later, I still do it.  I kind of chuckled at myself today, as I noticed that I was doing it, completely unaware of what I was in the process of doing – avoiding a snake attack.  I mean, seriously, a snake in my mailbox?  Possible, but insanely unlikely.

Like I mentioned, it might be something psychological deep down… but it also could be just that I grew so accustomed to doing it intentionally, that I ended up sticking with it unintentionally, even after the snake idea was long out of my mind.  I find the latter to be more likely than anything else.

But I could just be crazy.  That would explain a lot, I imagine. 😛

Post-a-day 2017