Cultural Villainy

This afternoon/evening, I found myself discussing various voice and talking style stereotypes in American English and in Japanese (from Japan, of course*).

It all started with seeing the film “Aladdin” in the cinema this afternoon, and then, over ice cream afterward, we veered onto Disney music and its composers a lyricists (and how amazing some of the greats are[!!!]).

Then we branched into the Japanese versions of this music, as the friend with me is Japanese, and she grew up only hearing the Japanese language versions of the songs.

We discussed differences I had found in the music, and why I thought each one was so… now that she has been living in the US for about a year, she saw exactly what I meant and genuinely understood.

“Colors of the Wind” sounds somewhat stressed and so compounded and busy in Japanese, yet the English sounds so open and contemplative, filled with deep breaths and space through the notes and the words… there are just too many syllables in the Japanese, and too many consonants in between all the vowels…

An American likely would be appalled at hearing the Japanese version of Scar’s voice, because the voice doesn’t match the type of villain that he is… it is not entitled and brooding and, almost like serial killer style, the voice of someone who is biding his time until his plot can unfurl perfectly to his advantage – until, at last, he is granted his dues, as Scar says.

To American ears, the Japanese Scar in pathetic and angry and holds no weight behind his short-man angry yelling of a voice, desperately hoping someone will listen to him and do what he wants others to do.

And yet, to Japanese ears, the Japanese Scar is exactly right: He is the stereotypical ‘bad guy’ voice and has that same ‘bad guy’ and ‘villain’ manner of speaking… the English version would sound just ‘American’, and have nothing special tied to it for Japanese ears.

And my friend was able to see and hear just these things, and mainly because she has become accustomed to hearing so many different ways of speaking that people have here in English (unlike Japanese English in Japan, which is pretty much always the same).

And, somehow, I found the whole situation to be fascinating and utterly fulfilling… I had never really thought quite so much and quite so pointedly about the translations and the voices of actors until today, though it certainly was not my first or, even, tenth time considering it all.

It had me feel an almost silly passion for Disney and, in particular, “The Lion King”, and yet I couldn’t find a reason not to care so much about it all – I love languages and music and seeing things in new ways, and these Disney movies had huge impacts on my childhood and, therefore, my life as a whole… they are a part of me… and I care about and love myself.

So, I guess I get to love those Disney films, too, silly little perfect details and all. 🙂

By the way, I went into “Aladdin” with an attitude of its being a different film and perspective of the same story as the animated version…, and I thoroughly enjoyed the film – it was wonderful(!).

And it was filmed in Jordan(!)… how cool is that?!

I don’t often go to cinemas these days (in the US, anyway), but I am glad I went today – it was a lovely experience. 🙂

*Does Japanese have a culture of native speakers anywhere else in the world?

Post-a-day 2019

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Karate

Whenever I do this teeth whitening thing, I have to keep his little blue-light mouthpiece in my mouth, gripped between my teeth, for five minutes.

Afterward, I spit out the excess gel in my mouth and I wash off the mouthpiece.

Whenever I’m in the cleanup stage, I’m always adjusting my jaw, stretching its muscles, and feeling around my teeth a bit with my tongue.

As I do this, I find myself remembering strongly my days of American karate in my youth.

For sparring, we had to have a rubber mouth guard to protect our teeth… I remember how, every time I got a new mouth guard, my mom and I would be in the kitchen, trimming edges, boiling the rubber, and mashing my teeth into it to make it mold perfectly to my bite and teeth.

It was always so exciting to me, for some reason I cannot yet understand… perhaps it was the specialness of the whole process, like we were doing a whole (and real) science lab experiment, tongs and boiling water and all… and it was for me… so it was something unique and special and process-filled, specifically being done for me…

Perhaps that was a large part of it…

Whatever the case, I always enjoyed it, forming my mouth guards.

Especially the bit of biting down on my mouth guard, squeezing my teeth tightly, and wedging them each into the rubber, claiming specific territory to be forever theirs in that particular mouth guard…

Whenever we did spar, and I got to wear my mouth guard, I rather enjoyed sucking and chewing slightly on my mouth guard, tasting the rubber, feeling the tiny rebound it provided when I clenched my jaw and released, hearing the squishy sounds of saliva being pushed around and in and out of the mouth guard’s coverage area as I clicked my teeth (with the rubber between them, of course) together several times in quick succession… and then tasting again, as I held my jaw snug and sucked everything out of the mouth guard.

It all seems odd to me now, considering it and sharing it, but also still quite familiar… I don’t see myself doing half these same things nowadays, yet I remember them fondly nonetheless.

And, every time I whiten my teeth, I am filled with a few drops of that excitement and delight brought it me for years by karate…, making it a unique and somewhat special experience so far as teeth whitening goes. 😛

P.S. I love finding words that I’ve known for years, but whose language of origin I didn’t initially speak, but now speak, and, therefore, as I cross the word anew, I suddenly see it from the eyes of this language I now speak, instead of as a foreign word with meaning I must struggle to remember… karate is one of those words… from my American eyes and ears and mind, it is pronounced the American way and means merely a form of martial arts… from my Japanese eyes et cetera, it is pronounced with a Japanese pronunciation, it means 空手 (からて), which literally means “empty hand”, and it is a form of martial arts… and, somehow, the two are simultaneously the same thing and two totally different ones… so it goes… 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Dressed for Work

Tonight, I attended with my mom a sake mini-course and tasting event.

As predicted, every Japanese man was in a dark suit with a white shirt… however, the slight touch of color was found in a tie or pocket square in the Americanized men.

Also as predicted, there was a fabulous array of Japanese foods, the presentation was brief but extremely informative, and the tasting was hilariously wonderful.

While there, I considered strongly at one point what everyone else was wearing.

Beforehand, I had asked my mom, a person who is usually quite particular about dressing to the appropriate level for things, if I needed to change into a different dress than what I had on… I showed her the dress, which was a much nicer and more business-y version of what I already was wearing, and she didn’t think the change was needed…. she pointed out that she was wearing something quite similar, albeit slightly nicer-looking (same color scheme, different pieces).

We had been at an art film showing earlier on, and I had worn my current outfit for that and felt totally comfortable in my choice, but I figured it was best to check with her regarding the Japanese event.

Sure enough, once there, she commented that we should have known everyone would be in business suits and the likes, since it was a Japanese event… I reminded her that that was precisely why I had asked about my outfit ahead of time, and she rather shrugged her shoulders unconcernedly at this with an Oh, well…, and we moved on to enjoy ourselves, anyway.

At this point, I thought about how everyone was probably just coming straight from work, anyway, and so they were all just in work clothes… and then I realized that I, too, was coming straight from work and that I, too, was just in work clothes…

I don’t have a corporate job in an office with a cubicle on a floor in a big building… or anything like it… I’m a writer and photographer… and, today, I was editing photos, and then sent them off to a client – much work accomplished for a single afternoon, actually… and this cotton dress and summer sandals are what I wore to do that… casual and cute, but not office business…

In “Hannah’s Life, Created”, a notebook I compiled a couple years back, while living in Japan, I have a brief description of what I want my work attire to be… tonight was a beautiful acknowledgement of my having achieved that desire, and, in that instant of noticing this, I was filled with a sense of calm confidence in regards to my life – I am doin a beautiful job of pursuing my goals and dreams and of becoming and being the person I want to be.

I’m not all the way there yet… I am there with some things, though, and I am well on my way to more and more at any moment(!!!)…. and I love it.

I really do love it.

Yes, it would have made sense to wear the nicer dress tonight… no, it didn’t ultimately matter for what tonight specifically was…, yes, it was amazing to notice what I did about being in my ‘work clothes’, and so was totally worth it this time to be a bit under-dressed…, and no, I never really quite fit in at Japanese events, anyway – Gaijin Smash to the max!**

So yeah… we had an awesome time at the event, learned loads about sake. – and yes, I am fully aware of how odd it is that I take such an interest in sake, when I drink just about no alcohol in the average month – and ate wonderful foods over wonderful conversations.

And I had a lovely discovery about my current status in life, and it tickles and overjoys me even now, hours later. 🙂

Yay, life!

And thank you, God, for entrusting me with this piece of the path – I love this part, and I trust you fully, as I throw myself fully into this lovely hard work!

Peace

Hannah

**Man, do I miss my store Mister Maxx in Toride, Ibaraki!… like a cross between Target, Petsmart, and a bakery!

Post-a-day 2019

::sigh… snore…

Today was a really good day, all around, it feels… I’m going to bed later than I’d like, but it’s only because I did so much work After Dinner.

And that’s because I spent time before dinner buying groceries from three different stores, in preparation for my mostly raw vegan time, which I’ve been wanting to do for a while now.

And so, I started with lunchtime today doing the pure foods deal, and I had a fabulous salad for dinner (which always seems like such an unfulfilling idea, but that worked out really well tonight, even though the salad was of my own devising).

I’m actually looking forward to breakfast (and lunch) tomorrow, and I can hardly stop thinking about it all… I love drinking my meals, despite how odd or hospitalized it sounds – there’s just something so refreshing about having a meal out of a smoothie and some veggie juice (and no, I am not left hungry afterward, so long as I follow a balance of nutrients with them)… I love it.

And now, I shall go to sleep, so I can dream of smoothies, and then actually have one.

Yay!

Post-a-day 2019

Caffeine

My protein shake thing had caffeine in it… I can still tell… twelve hours later… it is past one AM, and my eyes are only just starting to droop a bit, and my body grow slightly weary…

I have to get up to sub tomorrow, which means leaving home at around seven AM… which, rather, I suppose, is today, not tomorrow… and just thinking about it makes me feel exhausted…

I am so tired, so sleepy, but my eyes and body are not having it… the caffeine won’t let them relax.

But it is beginning, at last, to give in, ever so slightly…

So, I suppose, I shall see if it will allow me to fall asleep now…

Fingers crossed!

P.S. I bought a plane ticket today to visit Japan this coming winter… woohoo!

Post-a-day 2019

“Compliments”

I’m part of a ladies group for my former job in Japan, and someone recently posted about how these old ladies always compliment her nostrils as being proportionate to her nose, and so she wonders if anyone else gets funny compliments from other Japanese people.

In a quick think through, I came up with this for my own experience:

I’m dirty blonde and blue-eyed. Students often complimented my ‘beautiful’ hair, asked to touch it and my arm hair, constantly complemented my ‘amazing’ and ‘beautiful’ ‘high nose’, and even, on occasion, discussed how ‘amazing’ my ‘soft breasts’* were (which, by the way, are proportionate to my body and are a small B cup for US sizing)…

Also, I once had a new student, who had just learned that my eyes are blue, specially request to see my eyes… he then gazed into them for a full thirty seconds, and then thanked me and walked away. 😂

*Because, naturally, they discovered that I was not wearing push-up or padded bras, and so, from the outside, my breasts were ‘soft’ and not ‘hard’, like their extremely padded bras…, which they explained to me by tapping loudly on their own surprisingly solid bras…

Oh, Japan…

I do miss you… ❤

Post-a-day 2019

Music tonight

I pulled out my guitar tonight and played.

I had thought that it had been maybe a month or so since I last played, and then another couple weeks or few since I had been playing regularly.

However…, I did some calculations and checking (mainly here), and discovered that I have played my guitar a maximum of a handful of times since September, the most recent one being in December…

It’s mid-March right now.

That means that I was absurdly off on my passive calculations, and it has actually been almost half a year since I played guitar regularly, and only a max of five occasions in there – though, probably more like three – have found me playing it for, say, ten minutes.

Granted, I have played a bit of ukulele since then, but that has been rather sparse, too… and my last regular playing of ukulele on the daily was actually a year ago.

I did a while of playing/making music every day for myself, no matter what, back in early Fall, but I somehow stopped…, which I usually don’t do, when I come up with something like that… (I’m thinking I reached my goal of 40 days, or else I hit moving and the absurdity that was involved with that, and so I didn’t have any instruments with me for a while, and was too distracted and exhausted by everything else either to notice or to bother with it, if I did notice.)

Part of it is as I have known for years: If I don’t have the guitar out (e.g. on a stand, from which I need only to pick up the waiting guitar in order to play it), I end up rarely playing, with the reverse being true, also – if the guitar is out, I will play it often.

Another part of it is that I miss my other guitars, and somehow feel something like being unfair to them, or like I have abandoned them, and therefore am cautious about spending too much time and energy with the Japan guitar I have with me.

Granted, the idea is totally absurd… however, that in no way changes the fact that I am experiencing it.

So, I sent a message a bit ago to the person who took temporary charge of my guitars when I moved to Japan.

He lives here in Houston, but is gone during the school year, so I might have to wait for summer… hopefully, though, his spring break will be the same as mine, and we’ll get to have coffee and then go pick up my guitars from his home, to take them to my new home.

And maybe I’ll get to pet his family cat then, too.

(On a related note, I have been missing my cat all evening, yet also totally not missing having a cat – I love animals; I just don’t want to live with any right now. I mean, let’s be real, I think this raccoon is enough for the time being.) 😛

Anyway… I played parts of two Shake Russell songs tonight, and they both were awesome.

The guitar totally needs new strings, but that is for another day’s/night’s tasks – for now, it has done its job of getting me strumming around and creating music again. 🙂

I’m hoping that, while with family tomorrow, my uncle will play some Shake Russell songs with me, since we often all end up doing music stuff, anyway, when together, and our families (my mom’s and her sister’s) love Shake Russell music.

Okay, I’m stopping now, before I continue on to talk about how I love Shake Russell’s concerts, where here are only sixty-ish people, and how that’s my kind of concert, and how Japan was like that at times, too, and now I’m suddenly super sentimental, and tears this and tears that, another hour has passed, and I’m still not asleep in bed. 😛

Therefore, I bid you wonderful nights and days and mornings and evenings and everything in between. ❤

Peace

Hannah

P.S. (Aha!) I’ve remembered: I stopped the daily music because it was something I was aiming to do daily, but not something I’d committed to doing daily… it is a small distinction between the two, but it is important to note – life got busy, and I opted for sleep over music… :/ …, but I didn’t break my word on anything there. 🙂 (Phew!)

Post-a-day 2019