I found this video to be touching. Beyond that Door is a song by RD-Sounds based on Alice Margatroid‘s theme songs from the Touhou game Mystic Square. The lyrics and the video tell the story of Alice as a kid, when everyone around her tells her to grow up – however, when none of them can answer her when she asked what it really means. Which is understandable, how does one really explain what it means to grow up? How many people actually know what it means to grow up? Is there really a clear distinction in being an adult? Alice tries to think about it herself, but she couldn’t find the answer. In the end, Shinki (whom many in the Touhou fandom believe to be Alice’s mother, although there is no official word) gives her the key to the door and sets her off on a journey to find the answer for herself.
As a college student on the borderline between a teenager and an adult, this resonates with me a lot. I’ve said many times that I’m not ready to be an adult at all. It’s scary. As for what being an adult means, I agree that in the end we find our own answer and I think I’ve found mine. Being an adult doesn’t mean to stop having fun, or to give up odd hobbies or act a certain way. It means being responsible and self-reliant enough to set goals for yourself and work towards them without imposing too much on others. It means to be able to survive by yourself – you can rely on others sometimes, but not too much – and still being able to be happy with your life. At least, that’s what I think it means. I’m still not an adult yet, far from it. But I know I need to become one pretty soon.
The video itself is drawn and animated in a simple style, which I think is fitting because the message it’s giving is a simple and nearly universal one, yet has a heavy meaning to it. I love the music too. The simple piano notes at the beginning give off a sense of innocence, like a child that still doesn’t know what is out there in the world. The steady beat that comes up and coincides with Alice running gives the feeling of starting an adventure, before the other instruments come into play and the vocals take on a more upbeat style as the wonders of the greater world are discovered. The music feels really grand at the end where Alice leaves, and made me tear up with a mixture of happiness, wonder, awe, and a little hint of sadness.
I really enjoyed this video and song, and I hope you did too.
For those unfamiliar with Touhou, there are two distinct “era”s of the games – the PC-98 era (Touhou 1-5) and the Windows era (Touhou 6 and onwards), and canon isn’t continuous between the two though there are some overlaps. In PC-98 Alice appears as a small child, and the characters you see with her in the beginning are from that era. In the Windows era she appears as a grown woman, and the characters seen after she steps out the door are from this era and are characters she will meet.
This quarter I finally bit and taking Japanese 101, despite the 8:30 class time. When we were starting out with the hiragana we had to write them in a workbook, learning a few characters a day. I didn’t remember jackshit about which character is which or what something is supposed to look like – writing the same character over and over isn’t effective at all (at least for me it wasn’t, I have a really bad memory), except ‘ki’ for some reason. Probably because I kept saying kikikikikikikikikikikiki as I wrote each line. A random string of characters would work better.
Which leads me to: songs! About the only things that are regularly translated to romaji are lyrics, since everything else is directly translated to English for the people who don’t know Japanese, and the ones who do know Japanese can read in the original kanji/hiragana/etc. But songs are for singing so you need to know how they’re said, hence the giant surplus of romaji that’s in relatively random (for this purpose) order.
Update: I used this method when we had to learn katakana, and it worked like a charm just like it did with hiragana. I don’t have trouble distinguishing between them or recalling the right character either. Read the rest of this entry
A while back I wrote a post about Jormungand’s Koko selling arms to countries for world peace, and the Balance of Power rationale behind it. This crappy hastily-written badly planned essay is the flipside to that post, when arms trade contributes to human rights violations and there’s not a damn thing anyone does to stop it. If you don’t know much about the international system, the UN’s most powerful organ is the Security Council, which has 5 permanent members with veto power: The US, UK, France, Russia, and China. Veto power means if the Council tries to pass anything they don’t like they can say SUCK MY BALLS and no one can do anything about it, despite the resolution/sanction/etc having a majority vote. Giving the US, Russia and China veto power is why most of the time the UN never gets any shit done. With that said, enjoy what a wonderful wonderful messed up world we live in! Read the rest of this entry
Happy Birthday to me…… I’m alone like that picture. Minus the pretty dress and the cake. I WANT CAKE. Maybe I’ll celebrate by going to get a decent dinner, though I’ll probably stay holed up in my room and order pizza as usual.
What does a birthday mean? A day where a bunch of people on Facebook that haven’t talked to me in years start saying Happy Birthday. (With Twitter it’s people I actually talk to quite often.) Celebrating getting older and closer to what some call the Christmas Cake Age (25 and unwanted)… well I’m still young (just turned 20) so I don’t mind stuff like that. Age doesn’t matter as much anymore anyways, the Christmas Cake is nothing more than a joke now. Besides it’s nice to have a day where you can feel special, even if it’s like the above picture.
Oh well, might as well review what’s been going on with my life lately. And a little birthday request at the end. Read the rest of this entry
Hyouka had one of the most interesting mysteries I’ve seen in a while, and the visual direction of the revelations and analysis were beautiful. I really liked how the final result made sense. It’s a compelling story of a Sekitani Jun who took on the burden to lead the student body against the school authorities and was the only one to ‘scream’ out. Because he was the only one to do so, he was the only one that was sacrificed unwillingly and forced to leave the school.
The story is even more compelling when you think about how there’s the protests of OWS and the Arab Spring going on, though the stakes at hand and the sacrifices are far larger. Sekitani is a very mild version of the street vendor who set himself on fire, the sacrifice that sparked the people of the middle east to oppose their regimes. Read the rest of this entry
Another 2DT word prompt! “Strange brains ferment sex like pickles”, he’s making us FICTION HARDER. Luckily for me, it fits perfectly as dialogue for one of the scenes in my novel that I planned for a long time (and almost reached that point in my writing too). So I guess this is a bit spoilery for the novel? For spoilery context, Megumi (20) and Aoi (28) have been dating for 2 years, but when they tried to have sex Megumi ended up in shock. The image is a drawing of Megumi that I just drew today. Please enjoy and leave a comment about what you think! Read the rest of this entry
Apparently it’s mother’s day in the U.S. and some other countries. So mom, if you see this, then I guess Happy Mother’s Day from another country?
A motherly relationship, whether the characters are actually related by blood or not, is one of my favorite types of character relationships – even more so after the conception of the character Aoi in my novel. The relationship is one that I don’t really know how to define, I guess a character that takes care of another, either in raising or with emotional issues? An advice giver? It’s a relationship that just “feels” motherly to me. There aren’t really any constraints. The relationship can “feel” that way to me even if they’re not related by blood, even if the age gap between them isn’t significant, even if the “daughter” character is completely capable of taking care of herself. Read the rest of this entry