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Review: Natsuyasumi no you na ikkagetsu [Feb. 2nd, 2016|02:39 pm]
Lauren
[Tags|, , ]


夏休みのような一ヵ月
Personal Rating: 7.5/10
The cat sat on my lap through:
85% of it.
I'm not sure if this movie has an English title--I couldn't find very much info about it online, but the translation is, "A Month Like Summer Vacation." It's about this boy, Junya (wearing the red helmet) who's suffering because his famous cyclist father died in an accident a year ago, meets up by chance with Shintaro. First, he meets Shintaro while he's on his message carrier job, and Shintaro looks like he's about to jump off a building, and Junya rushes to the top of the building to stop him. But the first time they officially meet, Junya plows into him on his bicycle and minorly cracks a bone, so he's got a month off work for him to get closer to Shintaro, who feels really guilty about the whole affair.

I found the whole movie on Youtube and watched through it, as I've been getting a bit lax on my Japanese language upkeep. Then I started to think I might as well keep a journal of the movies I watched and what I thought. So I was hunting down some Japanese BL drama (I was actually looking for a movie called "Boy's Love," and this one had Boy's Love in the Youtube video title, so I was tricked into clicking it! Haha. But then I thought, what the heck)--and... On that front, this one doesn't really deliver. As a matter of fact, because it felt like it sort of wanted to go there, but pulled back out of fear, I thought the story in general suffered a little bit.

Spoilers Ahead!

The good:


  • Good acting. It felt so natural, as if I was just following someone around in their day to day life. Yamazaki Ikusaburou, who played Shintaro, did a really good job of subtly playing the exhaustion and depression, I thought. And Araki Hirofumi showed an awesome development of character.

  • The filming, although 75% of it felt like it was on a bicycle, was actually really cleverly shot. The misty morning on the beach, the dark room with the harsh orange light, the soft warm light of the bar, the dark apartment with the closed curtains... Really great for mood-setting. And, even if the bicycle theme did get a little tiny bit old, it was a very solid and symbolic theme to run all the way through.

  • The soundtrack was really fitting! A lot of the songs were chosen to fit the quick movement of the bicycle and I thought they did a really good job with that, and with finding more emotional tunes to fit the emotional parts.

  • I liked the complexity of so many different characters making such personal progress over the course of the movie. Nobody lacked character development! Junya became stronger by the end, Shintaro found some happiness by the end, Mom found some strength by the end, Mana picked up her broken pieces by the end... I liked to see that.


The bad:

  • A lot of questions are left unanswered by the end:


  1. Was Shintaro trying to commit suicide in the beginning? And why? (I mean, there's an obvious assumption to make, but I thought that particular point deserved a dedicated discussion.)

  2. Was Shintaro in love with Junya, and did Junya reciprocate those feelings? Once again, there's an assumption to be made, especially given the... Junya cycles all night to join him at the hospital... After having a discussion about homosexual love with the bartender and describing how he doesn't know why he hurts so much inside... And Shintaro "almost-kissing" him (maybe?) and then apologizing and rushing away, and the dramatic non-communication they had thereafter. But it refused to officially go farther than bromance with their actions, even framing them as each other's guardian angels or stand-in-family types, which kind of muddied the water a lot. There was too much "romance" for them to be "just friends," and too much "friends" to connect the dots completely to "romance." And I felt that was a bit of a failing. The emotional impact would have been more if I had known how to think of their relationship. It was a really strong story about self-discovery through friendship, and that would have packed a more powerful punch if there hadn't been the ambiguity about the romantic feelings possibly between them.

  3. Also, the bottom line seemed to be that Junya helped Shintaro find some joy in the final days of his life, and Shintaro helped Junya rediscover his own drive and ambition, but there was also the thing where Mana(?) confessed her love to Junya and he rejected her, and at the time it felt like it was another "subtle hint" about the love between Junya and Shintaro, but a LOT was made of Mana withdrawing from the work place and then Junya and her smiling at each other in the end, which made it feel like another message was, "Shintaro opened the door for Junya to be able to pursue relationships. Maybe even with Mana"? That story line was a bit hard to wrap my mind around.

  4. Why was Junya holding Shintaro's design in the end? What good was the design--I thought he was getting a bike! Will he get the real design in a bike? I thought completing the bike before the end was the goal! Not completing the design...


  • Somebody has to explain the margaritas that look like water to me. Did you forget the margarita mix, mister?!

Personal Notes

  • My best friend used to call me Pako-rin, what a coincidence is that! XD The bartender's explanation of how he got the nickname was pretty intense. And I have eccentric curly hair in certain weather, myself. Funny... :)

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(no subject) [Mar. 5th, 2014|09:05 am]
Lauren
[Current Mood |amusedamused]

I've been having strange and interesting days. Last weekend was a perfect blend of fun and just... horror. I can't really talk about the horror part, but needless to say, when I'm not worrying about myself, it's pretty fair to assume I'm worrying about my family or trying to put out fires on that end. I don't think my parents have really been okay for years and years, since before the divorce, but I miss the days when I was young and innocent enough not to notice. It was so simply in my head, back then.

But, you can't live in the past! I'm not crying about it today. That was Sunday.

Saturday, I was invited to this little dinner party at one of the elementary school teachers's houses, and it was just a lot of fun! Her husband is really bouncy and friendly, and he bought this ENORMOUS bottle of Japanese wine (like, sitting down, it was about the length of his torso!)--they also had a couple of Wishbone dogs (although they stayed outside, so I couldn't play with them very much), and they had a daughter and son (they were both very shy, although the son was kind of funny because he was always bursting out with a taciturn reply to some comment... Which I guess isn't the best trait in a person, but he was also nice and harmless!)

We ate enough food to feed an army, including this plate of raisin butter that became the joke of the evening (because it was so delicious that everyone went back for it multiple times, but it was so "high calorie!")--It was just nice. We also sang songs around the piano, which has always been my dream to do since the first time I watched any of the old movies where the families and friends have parties in ballgowns and do so. That was the most pleasurable part of it all, I'm sure. <3

I've warily let myself get roped into a lot of plans this week, because I know it is important to get out and be with people, even if sometimes I'd rather just be home alone.

I'm on a Transformers kick again (I'm only familiar with Bayverse, and since Sam and Bumblebee are my favorite characters, I'm not sure I'll be entirely satisfied by the cartoons? But I might try to give them a watch, anyway.)--This is a little bit depressing, because I'm pretty sure most of the others (1) who participated in the Bayverse Transformers fandom, and (2) who's favorite characters were Sam and Bumblebee have wandered away from the fandom... I feel quite lonely! It's difficult for me when I fall back into a fandom I used to love, and find it deserted, haha. ;) Some never had much of a fandom to begin with. For example, it's always quite awkward when I desperately feel like reading Labyrinth fanfiction... Because there is so little of it, and what's there is really hit or miss. (I guess that can be said for all fandoms, but usually there's a bigger pool to draw material from, haha!)

Anyway, I had my evening class last night, and tonight I'm doing zumba, then tomorrow I have to worry about some graduation ceremony (I hope it doesn't rain, because I have to bicycle all around the city as it is, and I'll have to wear formalwear tomorrow), and Saturday night is watching a volleyball game, and Sunday night is a potluck party... I know when I'm old I'll be glad I had all of these experiences, but in this moment I'm just wanting to lay down and watch a movie. ;) I can't be satisfied...

When I'm alone, I crave friends, and when I'm out with friends, I crave to be alone.
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(no subject) [Feb. 26th, 2014|03:13 pm]
Lauren
[Current Mood |boredbored]

This week is really slow at work because most of my classes have been canceled while the other teachers prepare their students for the great big graduation ceremony. (Does that sentence make sense? My brain feels like it's dribbling out my ears, so I can't tell.) As you can gather, it's a double edged sword. On the one hand, I love free time just as much as the next person. On the other hand, staring at a computer screen for 8 hours a day is not exactly my idea of a great time. My ass hurts! I've been trying to be a bit productive--studying Japanese, researching this or that, whatever takes my fancy, lesson planning... Reading fanfiction. ;) I can't look like I'm having too much fun, unfortunately, so I can't put in headphones and watch a movie or whip out my drawing pad and markers. (Well, actually, I think my drawing pad and markers would be less offensive than headphones, I just haven't been motivated recently. :/ Must get over that.)

It still gets dark pretty early, but it's finally starting to get a little less frosty. I came to school without my heavy coat today! I'll be sad to see the hot cocoa go, though. I'll be even sadder this summer when it's about 1000 degrees plus 100 percent humidity.

Spring vacation's in a few weeks and if I feel less like a lonely little hermit, I'll probably take myself for a distant vacation. I miss my dear friends who I could just occupy the room with and we understood each other. I also miss my queen sized mattress, the oven, American food, and my resident cat. Some things, Japan can't live up to. ;)

Anyway, I don't have much to write about, but that's a little update...
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memories [Nov. 30th, 2013|06:40 pm]
Lauren
Standing on the platform, pitch dark all around because of winter.
my feet ache in these beautiful shoes, heels because I need to tower four inches more over the whole population, really.
red lights blinking on the ttracks
The blare of an alarm at measured intervals, reminding us of the passing seconds until we get to where we're headed.
the silence of everyone standing together, lost in their own worlds of thought.
my eyes follow the train tracks out into the inky darkness.
this is what I want to remember.

I'm back. :)
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Watching Supernatural S8! :) [Jun. 17th, 2013|03:10 pm]
Lauren
[Tags|, ]
[Current Mood |boredbored]

Well, I graduated from university with a double major BA in Int'l Studies (focus on Japan) and Japanese Language (focus on Linguistics) so hallelujah :D Big ceremony was Saturday. Now I'm sitting around in an empty house waiting for some visa materials to come in the mail so I can secure my work visa. (Leaving for Japan to work as an Assistant English Teacher in August.) Dad and Mom helped me move out. :) Now I'm just sitting around eating junk food and using the Internet and going out to take a walk when I feel like it! Supernatural season 8 is what I've been waiting to watch, so here are my thoughts on episode 1! Not that anyone is reading, but.

Tbqh, 8.01 left a lot to be desired, but I do understand why Sam might not have searched for Dean now & gave up hunting. (Which I was REALLY troubled about, so.) If I thought my whole family and group of friends had died in the line of the family business, and I didn't have a single resource left, I don't know if I'd have the heart to go on either...

Also, they have been burned by most of their attempts to find each other in the afterlife... What did Dean want? For Sam to try to make a deal again? To summon Death? To pray--when their only free will angel source got sucked into the abyss just as well as Dean did?! Him lambasting Sam was -kind of- unfair.

I guess if Sam knew Dean was in purgatory that would have been different (I had thought Crowley told him Dean was in Purgatory at the end of season 7, but Sam seemed shocked by the news in this episode, so I guess I was mistaken)--because then there would have been research to be done and potentially options. But those boys are kind of running out of tricks for pulling each other out of the clutch of death... and Sam didn't have anybody! Literally. I'm more sympathetic with him than Dean this episode, although you can't really blame a guy for being on edge after escaping Purgatory. :)

Sam getting a dog and settling down with Amelia (which, he obviously didn't move on THAT well, if he was able to just leave her asleep in the middle of the night as soon as he got word that Dean was back, lol)--is more understandable than Dean making a vampire friend. Although you can't really blame him for taking whatever allies he could get in Purgatory. :D Still, I thought they established that an evil creature is an evil creature is an evil creature in the episode with Sam's kitsune friend!

Anyway, the other thing I didn't like about the episode was that Purgatory didn't seem very scary or ominous at all, and Sam's flashback scenes fell REALLY flat, lol. :D
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Writer's Block: Sh*t Happens [Feb. 11th, 2012|12:27 pm]
Lauren
[Tags|]
[Current Mood |crappyDefeated? Destroyed?]

What is the best way to develop a positive attitude?
Long term? Probably involves feeding oneself positive statements and making small goals and achieving them and counting your blessings and remembering it can be worse and spending time with friends and family and de-stressing often, long walks, etc.

Right now, I'm relying heavily on caffeine and vitamins and nicotine, and trying to remember it will be over soon, and alcohol would probably help too, but I can't currently sacrifice the brain power or recovery time. -_-

Life sucks (sometimes? Forever?!) -- Find a way to deal. Might also require therapy or medication, or a pilgrimage into the wilderness a la Thoreau. Get a hobby if you have time. Get a hobby even if you don't have time. (I'll let you know if that works out for me.)

I'm not having a very positive-attitude sort of day. :x

Praying might work too, if you have a god. <3 Luck
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(no subject) [Feb. 5th, 2012|08:09 pm]
Lauren
[Current Mood |frustratedfrustrated]

So little motivation to do anything but play video games and listen to violin music and read fanfiction. x.x how tough is this week going to be? xD
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(no subject) [Feb. 5th, 2012|12:36 am]
Lauren
[Current Mood |bouncybouncy]

Should be studying. Got a lot of deadlines coming up. Do I care? Not at the moment. :D
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(no subject) [Jan. 21st, 2012|07:24 pm]
Lauren
[Tags|, ]
[Current Mood |anxiousanxious]

Trying to research the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 at Tahrir Square... I hope this topic isn't too "fresh" in history. I'm having a lot of trouble focusing on gathering info... I don't know if there's enough for me to work with.

I hope my mind becomes less muddled soon. It is so hard to function with my brain refusing to work with me.

(In other news, I am seriously tripping over Sherlock right now. I read "The Mortality Revolution" and thought it said "The Moriarty Revolution." That sort of thing has happened to me at least two other times today!!!)
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