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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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

Post-a-day 2019

Advertisements

Duhβ€”β€”-nun!

I have found myself thoroughly enjoying my latest hard copy book, Jaws, much to my surprise (although also kind of not to my surprise – it is actually highly acclaimed by reliable sources, and it made one of my favorite films [we can get into the irony of that another time]).

I started reading it two nights before going sailing… and I strongly considered picking another book, due to the timing, but I really wanted to start reading Jaws, and I was determined that reading it would be no different from having seen the title and thought about it already…

And I was right… with both the concern and the thoughts.

It would have been very good for me not to think about sharks right before going out sailing, during which time I, at some point, would want to get into our cloudy, sand-filled water, and I would have had the idea of sharks in my mind just from having seen the book – whether I read it or not was of little consequence, because the damage was already done when I crossed it on my bookshelf.

And so, I struggled to get into the water while out sailing…, but I asked for company and we made it work… I didn’t stay in for long, but I still enjoyed being in the water for a brief bit, and it ended up starting a whole chain of people jumping in and enjoying the water, which was actually quite fun.

Anyway…, I’m liking the book a lot so far.

I love that 1) Peter Benchley has found a way to pursue and share his passion (sharks) with the world through his fiction and non-fiction books, and 2) he has a good humor in the introduction regarding the changes he made for the book to become a film.

And I am thoroughly enjoying the humor and style with which he writes (well, wrote, technically)… I’m actually laughing at terrible situations, because he addresses them so well as to bring out a sense of comic relief… and I, somehow, find it to be quite lovely, in its way.

(And I mean that… I actually laughed aloud at a scene where a body is found, it was so comically written, but incredibly tastefully so.)

I’m hardly more than a couple chapters into it (of around 15), but I highly recommended at least those first two and a half chapters. πŸ™‚

We’ll see how the rest pans out, now, shall we?

P.S. We did have a good time on the boat, at least.

Post-a-day 2019

Hearts and Eyes

James McAvoy stole my heart many years ago in the film Becoming Jane, opposite Anne Hathaway (who also happens to be a love of mine, but in a slightly different way).

Tonight, many years further into my life, and actually experienced in full-on adulthood, despite his character’s faults, he still holds my heart captive in the gorgeous ideal he presents…

To be so loved and admired as he portrays his character to love and admire Anne Hathaway’s… practically the epitome of my goals in life with a partner…

And, just for a moment, consider those bright blue eyes showing up in that dance sequence… just stunning how much love and passion and delight they portray.

Well, done, director and crew and James, himself… darn stunning, indeed!

Post-a-day 2019

Opera…

… so dramatic…(!)

But I totally love it, and largely for its actually absurd level of drama – the characters in shows are just plain nuts… and, if you don’t think they are, just pay a bit closer attention to their words, and they’ll wind up nuts soon enough.

Seriously, though…. almost all the characters… in almost every show… πŸ˜›

It’s kind of great. πŸ˜€

Whenever my mom and I attend a Mozart opera, at some point in the performance – and it sometimes happens more than once, if the music makes it really too hard to resist the secret explosion – my mother leans over to me and whispers through slightly pursed lips, “Too many notes…”

She doesn’t mean it, of course – she is merely commenting on how clearly she can hear the amazing number of notes that happen in a matter of seconds in Mozart’s compositions.

And, of course, she does so by quoting Signore Salieri from the spectacular film “Amadeus”.

(If you haven’t seen it, watch it… if you have, feel invited to watch it again soon.) πŸ˜‰

It always gives me a bit of crack up, while simultaneously bringing a sense of awe into the space: Mozart’s compositions truly are magical.

And the ‘too many notes’ thing really is magical, too, because, upon first listening, I never notice the hundreds of notes…, but, when I think of Salieri’s comment, I suddenly hear them all, flying about, going this way and that, like butterflies of all different colors, going in all directions, but somehow all painting a beautiful picture in front of you with their combined colors en masse… it’s like a Seurat with notes…

And I love it.

Post-a-day 2019

Education

I feel that one of the most valuable things that school could give a student at the time of the education (that is, while in school) is relevance and immediate applicability.

As we have been reading various books on utopias and dystopias in one of my classes this semester, so much of it all has become relevant in my life within a very short time of its initial introduction.  

The struggle one character has with God in this book, and how she finds change to be inevitable (and, therefore, God), applies to my life the week following my reading of it… I can relate to her struggle immediately, and then the change comes up in conversation and contemplation regarding my relationships with people in my life.

I think teachers, schools, curriculum planners aim to have books students read in school to be relevant to the students’ lives, but they often fall short of the mark… they miss the applicability of the ideas and actions somehow, and only assume that this specific struggle must be applicable to all students of this age… and it often isn’t.

From English class, we need concepts, ideas, brainstormed theories that we can learn to apply to any part of life…

For history class, a historical context would be only an enhancement of our understanding of what’s going on right now, what people are discussing from the news, and why it seems to matter so much… we hardly do more than regurgitate facts, and rarely know much about what they really were like or why it mattered to people who lived it (and therefore why it might matter to us).

I today was learning of a book about a man struggling in Russia, and, as I heard the details, I knew it was around the 1920s…, because of the Russian refugees in season four of “Downton Abbey”… there was a story in which I could invest myself, and ideas to which I could relate and from which I could draw my own ideas and conclusions, and the history just kind of stuck with the affinity for the people in the story…

I interested myself with the French Revolution recently, because I discovered the wonder of the film “The Scarlett Pimpernel”… and I remember details about the revolution because of how they connect with the story of the film and its characters.

The actual history became relevant and immediately applicable for me, because of my investment in the film.

The same is so with my investment in “Downton Abbey”.

How could I possibly relate to the Russian refugees or to the French upper class, when I merely read some statements of facts, names, locations, dates, and a summed-up given political meaning to it all?

I guess that’s why I remember just about nothing from my history classes in school…

Perhaps it everybody needs this kind of education, but everyone certainly could benefit greatly from it, I dare say.

You know what I mean?

Post-a-day 2019

Lost in the story

Do you ever find yourself so engrossed in, so invested in, so infatuated and obsessed with the fairy tale story that you choose it over your real life, the book or the movie or show instead of living the lovely parts of your own real life?

I think I sometimes grow scared of my life becoming a letdown, such that I cling to something else – another story, that is, and usually a created one – for a while instead, and dream about and long for that life, or something like it, for myself…

I unrealistically throw as much possible time as I can into reading the book further, and reading further into the series, if it is one, changing and informing planing and intended activities just so I can spend more time in the world of the book…

Until, that is, I reach the point that I notice the new infatuation interfering too much with real life – when I typically would be delighted at the prospect of spending the day with my brother, and doing photos and sports, nonetheless, but find myself longing instead to stay home alone to continue this new story in which I have mentally thrown myself.

You see, I don’t want to be like Kathleen Kelly in the first half of “You’ve Got Mail”, where she feels like all of her best life moments have been ones read in books… I want mine to be real, more like Kathleen Kelly at the end of the film…

And so, that point is when I acknowledge fully that my interest is bordering on scary, and that I would do best to look at what is behind it all – Why do I long for this other story so?

Do I want their money or love or friends or lifestyle or passion or any number of other things?

Usually, that is it exactly, and, by my acknowledging that, I can find a way to move forward powerfully within my own life, altering something that helps me in the area I found most lacking and which had drawn me so strongly and painfully to the created story…

Say I love their looks and their love story.

Then, I resolve to have my own love story…, and, seeing as how I was rather bummed the other day at the consideration of my search being at its end, I acknowledge that I perhaps do not want the love of my life to be settled yet… and so would prefer not to have Matthew Crawley become the love of my life after all, but would rather wait for the actual real and perfect man for me (because who wants to live in the age of corsets anyhow?)…

Just as an example… πŸ˜›

Post-a-day 2019

some days are today

Some days, you get to be Julia Roberts in the shopping scene of “Pretty Woman” with your cousin.

And some days, you get to do it two days in a row(!!!).

Yup, today was a good day.

Also, Queen is just plain lovely, and utterly wonderful.

Not that that is anything new here, of course…

Just saying. πŸ˜›

Post-a-day 2019