Month: December 2012

デスノート鑑賞中

So I’ve been home for a couple days now, relaxing, (though I probably shouldn’t be quite as carefree as I currently am), reading 우행시, and marathoning Death Note! I think this is one of those animes that all fans of anime HAVE to see if they haven’t seen it already.  Scratch that.  It’s an anime that even people who are NOT fans of anime have to see if they haven’t seen it already.  I’d read the original manga too but it’s nice to listen to spoken Japanese and my sister says the anime is pretty faithful to the manga anyway. The plot centers around a seventeen-year-old boy who finds an otherworldly notebook that gives him the ability to kill anyone whose face he knows and whose name he writes in said notebook.  Needless to say, he gets carried away. That meme cracks me up. Anyway, I think I joke a lot about how my two semesters of college Japanese went in one ear and straight out the other, but surprisingly I can understand quite a bit of …

New motivation

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I’m still studying Korean.  Overthinking it maybe.  I don’t really believe people need a tangible reason to study a foreign language, but most people have some kind of motivation.  한류 seems to be the main driving force for the younger (newer?) generation of Korean learners.  But in my case, it’s always felt like Korean chose me.  I love language.  And I had tried to learn several languages before abandoning most of them; something clicked in place when I first heard spoken Korean.  I grew to like Korean music and dramas as a result of that. I still like Korean music (mostly hiphop and indie) but 2012 was the year that Korean dramas officially died for me.  Granted, there were some I really liked, but when I think about the zeal with which I watched dramas for the first couple years since I discovered them – the spark’s gone.  I only finished three dramas this year and left behind a slew of unfinished ones.  I don’t regret it. I realized a …

Reading 桜蘭高校ホスト部

Look at what I have not been reading these days. *squeals*  桜蘭高校ホスト部 (Ouran High School Host Club) is one of my ALL-TIME favorite animes and mangas ever.  It’s cute, funny, endearing, and not to mention the art is gorgeous.  (It’s also the only anime I’ve ever watched both English-subbed and English-dubbed – and the dubbing is very impressive!)  Now shoujo manga can be pretty ridiculous but one of the charms of OHSHC is that it makes fun of its own genre and tropes and doesn’t take itself too seriously.  You have the typical shoujo setup:  a cross-dressing(or is she?) female from a working-class family enters a private academy for the Incredibly Wealthy & Snooty and gets entangled in rich-kid shenanigans – but our heroine Haruhi is far from the typical Mary Sues of shoujo-verse (lookin’ at you, Honda Tohru).  She’s sharp, resourceful, delightfully glib and her deadpan humor keeps readers laughing and rooting for her. I’m not going to lie – reading this was (is) a very long and painful process.  I’m amazed at how much Kanji I don’t know (heh), …

A peach a day keeps the ghosts away?

If you’ve watched Arang and the Magistrate, you might remember how excited Arang was to eat peaches once she came back to life. I didn’t know this but in Korean (also Chinese and Japanese, I think) mythology/culture, peaches are thought to have special supernatural properties:  They keep ghosts away! There are a lot of different variations on how and why this story came about, but the general consensus seems to be that peaches symbolize the warmth and vitality of springtime; hence, they repel ghosts which prefer just the opposite.  In fact, one of the ways to exorcise a person thought to be possessed by a spirit is by whacking him with the branch of a peach tree!  The superstition carries so deeply that people don’t serve peaches during 제사, because it scares off ancestral spirits. Moreover, peaches are considered divine fruits, consumed by the King of Heaven and other immortals to keep them ageless.  They are thought to be a potent ingredient for elixirs and charms for eternal youth, good health, and warding off demons.  Supposedly people …

“I remember” – Bang Yong-guk ft Yoseob

AKA The Song That (temporarily) Brought Me Back To K-Pop. I haven’t cared much about K-pop (not even BIGBANG) since early this year.  In the past couple years, I’ve discovered a whole wonderful slew of indie/rock/hiphop music that I find I enjoy and appreciate much much more than the glitz of K-pop – and so I had all but cleansed myself of idol madness until I stumbled across this song. …AMAZING. And dare I say, this music video rivals my favorite K-pop music video of all time? Okay, so I know I’m late to the party – this song released last year and I think at the time I had heard of the song but never bothered to give it a listen until a couple of days ago.  I do actually still keep an eye out for certain idol groups because, while I’m not into the fandom madness, there’s still a lot of great idol music out there.  So when my friend Holly told me about Yoseob’s solo mini-album, of course I wanted to listen to it (I like Yoseob …