Aside

xxxHolic: Kei – Episode 12

The egg scene killed me.

I don’t-I can’t-

Watanuki wants Himawari-chan to be happy, and while he’s sleeping, his strong feelings channel into the egg he received from Yuuko-san, and we hear the being in the egg say, “So warm…so kind…I’m being embraced by kindness. That’s why I can become kind. I’ll grow up kind. ” (I took that directly from the subs.)

Watanuki’s wording may bug a few people, and generates questions about the subject of his wish. Does he want her to be happy for his own reasons, or…?

But if you think about it, he doesn’t have any hidden motive (it’s Watanuki; the only person he’ll ever hate is Fei Wang Reed…I don’t even think he has anything against the spider-lady (even though technically, his actions caused all of this mess). He truly wants Himawari-chan to be happy because she deserves to be happy, after all that she’s faced in her life.

When Yuuko tells her that the price is too much to pay to reverse Himawari’s condition, Watanuki settles. He can’t rid her of her bad luck, so he’ll do her best to make her happy. A partner she can keep, that can be by her side… *sobs*

(And one reason why the egg scene was a favorite: it’s how raising anything works. Kids, animals… Of course, there’s never a guarantee that the being will be kind, but it doesn’t hurt to be kind, logical, and caring. Problem is, few people in the world can actually do that, and there’ll be even less as we heads towards an era dominated by reliance on technology…)

I’ve always liked Himawari, and I definitely knew something was up with her. It’s CLAMP; there’s always something. But she’s definitely lovable. She was blunt with her story, and obviously they’ve all got a crap ton of mental issues, but even with that, they all try their best to be happy, and that’s what so beautiful about xxxHolic, I think. xxxHolic doesn’t really have long, long dialogue, and the pause between lines is very natural, thanks to a great soundtrack (it’s really unfortunate they never released some of the most beautiful tracks in the whole series).

And Tanpopo. Yuuko says the same thing too, that for Himawari, Tanpopo is something amazing because this is someone who will stay by her side without receiving the effects of her bad luck. Imagine if you’ve always wanted a pet, but every single one of them died because of you, and one day, you’re given a cute bird and told that the bird won’t be affected by you… I’d cry. (I did cry, in the confession scene, and the egg scene. Fuck, my eyes.)

That has got to be one of the simplest, cutest animated birds I’ve ever seen. CLAMP really is amazing with their designs.

Here’s the episode on YT if you’re interested. Hopefully this’ll stay available, but if it’s down, please give me a heads up, or head over to your favorite anime site for xxxHolic Kei episodes. Chances are that they’ll have it.

Gallery

Pens, Pencils, Obsessions

I was on reddit’s r/pens, and I thought maybe I could “show off” some of my babies. (Keyword: “some”)

Left to right: Staedtler 925 Pentel Graphgear 500 Uni Kurutoga 0.5 Pilot Opt. (Shaker) 0.5 Pilot Dr. Grip 0.5 Pilot S3 Series 0.3 Zebra Drafix DM3-300 0.3 Zebra Tect 0.5 Zebra Espina 0.5

Left to right:
Staedtler 925
Pentel Graphgear 500 (Link has different color)
Uni Kurutoga 0.5
Pilot Opt. (Shaker) 0.5
Pilot Dr. Grip 0.5
Pilot S3 Series 0.3
Zebra Drafix DM3-300 0.3
Zebra Tect 0.5 (Link is that of a higher series, I think mine may be a bit old) 
Zebra Espina 0.5

Commonly used: Unknown pilot fountain pen Pilot Penmanship Fountain pen Platinum Preppy, Blue

Commonly used:
Unknown pilot fountain pen
Pilot Penmanship Fountain pen
Platinum Preppy, Blue

From bottom: Sakura Micron 005 Uni - Alpha Gel pen 0.1 + 0.2 fine line Pilot - Hi-tec-C 0.4 Precise V7  G-2, 0.7 Faber Castell Grip X5

From bottom:
Sakura Micron 005
Uni – Alpha Gel pen (Looks just slightly different, may be due to use)
0.1 + 0.2 fine line
Pilot – Hi-tec-C 0.4 (Note: always buy the refills, and never a box of these)
Precise V7
G-2, 0.7 (Buy the refills!)
Faber Castell Grip X5

Sakura Micron!

Sakura Micron!

From left to right: Staedtler - Blue + Red Triplus Fineliner Pilot - Red + Green Hi-tec-C Blue BETTER Retractable (Fine) Zebra - Black + Blue Sarasa Clip, 0.5 Red Staedtler Noris Stick Faber Castell Textliner Black Sharpie

From left to right:
Staedtler – Blue + Red Triplus Fineliner
Pilot – Red + Green Hi-tec-C
Blue BETTER Retractable (Fine)
Zebra – Black + Blue Sarasa Clip, 0.5
Red Staedtler Noris Stick (Very hard to find, and that price is expensive, but I love it!)
Faber Castell Textliner Blue
Black Sharpie (No link provided b/c of obvious reasons.)

Different angle.

Different angle.

My most commonly used pens/pencils. Along with Tombo Mono correction tape.

My most commonly used pens/pencils. Along with Tombo Mono correction tape.


And the following are the ones I have in “storage”… fancy way of saying I-bought-too-much-once.

 

 

Yes, that is a whole box of Microns. Yes, Stein lead is good. YES I BOUGHT TOO MUCH.

Left to Right (up to down):
Box of Micron (see pictures above for Micron link)
Pentel Stein HB 0.5
Tombow Mono mini eraser (I have the PE-01A, the smallest. I don’t think they sell these in the US anymore due to the strict regulations regarding PVC. JetPens sells the non-PVC version, but I find it crappy as the sh*t that comes out of my mouth. Heh.) 
Ain black erasers
Pilot Penmanship Fountain pen (see photos above for link)
Hi-tec-C Refills (Check out hi-tec-c links)

 

Yeah...Not all of them are 2B though. I've got a few HB and maybe even 3B.

Yeah…Not all of them are 2B though. I’ve got a few HB and maybe even 3B.

There are two containers full of extra pens and refills.

There are two containers full of extra pens and refills.

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GOLD. I use them as bargain chips between friends, since they don’t sell these in the US anymore, I think. I think I’m going to have a friend in Japan send me a shipment of these babies.

tl;dr: a lot of pens, pencils, and erasers

Oh gods, all that searching… I’M TIRED. I’m probably going to order one final shipment for this year…I want:

Okay. I’m done (for now).

…I’m going to go to sleep, and after work, I’m coming back to make a list for my supplier (this sounds like a shady drug trade…).

Perhaps I should dig a grave for my wallet now? While I have the time?

;~;

What are you teaching our children?

I work at a teaching center, putting me in a position where I can easily spot the issues that plague the children who come in…

Even here at an extracurricular tutoring center, many of them don’t get the attention they need, and there are various reasons for that. They’re shy and don’t speak up, we sometimes lack a number of people to attend to the children during rush/busy hours, family/learning issues, etc. etc. The list really does go on and on.

Let me put it this way: a majority of the teachers focus on the superficial problem, instead of delving deeper into the why and how. I can’t tell you how sick I am of watching teachers simply giving answers to the children, instead of encouraging critical thinking and mapping out a solution map to serve as a guide or base for future similar issues.

Today, a girl came up to me with a few math questions she was having trouble with, and I instructed her to redo the problems on a separate sheet of paper, then bring it all up to me for me to check. I promised her that if there were further issues, we would work it out together. She followed my instructions and without working the problem out for her, I simply went over every step she wrote down and discussed the areas where she made mistakes. It’s not that hard.

She realized her mistakes quickly, and she wasn’t hesitant to ask me why and she quickly worked out the how after the second problem.

It’s not just about rereading a paragraph or redoing a problem; it’s about looking for signs, at the finer details, and asking the right questions to gently guide them in the general direction.

Right now, I’ve got only two words for you: incompetent teachers (will fuck people up).

The most important thing we’re supposed to teach them is how to find answers, and not memorize answers from old packets and transfer them onto new packets. If I were a student, I’d beg my parents to let me leave, because tedious work + uncaring teachers = all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. (In my experience, boredom seldom leads to any good.)

Sigh. Maybe I’m just too picky? Maybe it’s something we can’t ever change?

I don’t know… I don’t know, man.

Video

Love not lost

I will always tear up whenever I hear this song. Cloud Atlas is an underrated movie, and yes, I’ve put the blu-ray and soundtrack on my wishlist for Amazon, and hopefully I’ll remember to buy it before school begins, because I need this song.

Within the chorus of sadness, there is a sliver of fragile hope…

Aside

J-Pop Summit

(This post is long overdue. I will get on my knees and apologize. m(_ _)m)

They were so wrong when they said that about 5,000 people would attend the Ramen Festival in Japantown.

There was no way it was only 5,000 people. Although I felt that there were more people on Saturday than on Sunday, there was definitely more than 5,000 people in attendance. I’m assuming that a huge group of people went through the hell that is San Francisco traffic on Saturday, and didn’t want an encore on Sunday. I went both days, with different groups.

On Saturday, my dad gave me a ride after my orthodontist appointment in Cupertino. I left Cupertino at around 10:20am, and arrived in Japantown at approximately 11:40am. It actually wasn’t bad, but consider this: we were probably in SF from 11am, and it took us over 40 minutes just to get to Japantown. My dad, usually calm and composed, became rather irritated towards the end of the drive, and I was really glad that a friend offered to give me and another friend a ride on Sunday, because my dad would’ve definitely refused. (At this point, I’m not sure how willing he would be to take me back to SF for anything other than appointments.)

Saturday was rather eventless. I mean, there was a lot of people, but what my friend, Lydia, and I did was just walk around. We bought onigiri from Nijiya Market, and hogged a table near the fountain (the group of tables near the West building entrance). Oh, we had green tea and red bean ice cream, and I bought SAO 14 from Kinokuniya, but that was pretty much it. Our other group of friends finished eating, and we headed back to a friend’s house and played Super Mario Bros. on the Wii for the rest of the day (it was actually really brutal, 4p. Mario Bros was not made for 4p. We fucked each other up so bad, I think we were ready to strangle each other.) Oh, and we saw No Face from Spirited Away. And we saw someone puke. Whee.

Sunday, was interesting.

So a friend drove another friend and I to Japantown, and while the driver friend was parking, his transmission failed on him and he backed up on a motorcycle, knocking it over. We meet up with two other new friends, and then we find out that we were 30 minutes early, since most things in Japantown doesn’t open until 11am on Sundays. (By the way, we saw Itano Tomomi, and I’ve got to say, her voice is strong. It’s just, the Peace Plaza probably isn’t the best place to hold any type of concert. I don’t know if it’s just me, but maybe she wasn’t feeling well? Seems like girls in girl groups are always getting sick, so hopefully she was fine.)

We were in Maido for about… an hour? An hour and half? Not sure, but I did come out with some beautiful stationary, since the two friends who came with me will be my new penpals.

Two pads. I don't think I bought enough...

Two pads. I don’t think I bought enough…

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Okay, I sort of regret buying this, but it was $8, and J, a penpal since March, always send me letters written on cute stationary… I couldn’t help myself.

Then we headed over to Kinokuniya for a while, before another friend joined us. (Side note: he also took 4 years of Japanese, and is planning to take the N1 in two years! I’ll be taking it this year. Another manga + anime lover!) And my friend N, being the goddammnit-over-the-rainbow-awesome person she is, got me this without my knowing:

Sideways. Oops. Too precious!

Sideways. Oops. Too precious!

We later ate at Suzu’s downstairs, where two other friends joined us. One of them turned out to be a middle school friend, and while he couldn’t remember my name, I’m just happy that he recognized me at all. It has been over 4 years…

After 2+ hours at a tea shop in Sunset, we eventually all went home, fucking Sundays.

That was, without a doubt, one of the best days since I came back from college.

And fuck me, but I left Kinokuniya without a Pixar postcard box, and well, lets just say that I got revenge this weekend…

Aside

T-2.5 months

Can you believe it? It’s been a month and a day since I came back, which means that in 2.5 months, it’s back to fulltime schooling for me.

(And this is when people tell me that I really need to relax, because there’s so much time left, but I must say this: I’ve tried.)

This Friday marks my first day of therapy back in the Bay Area, and I’m somewhat scared. The therapists, they don’t judge you and they don’t make you do anything. But after every meeting, I always find myself locked in my mind, facing the demons who usually deep in my heart. After that’s done, I’m usually emotionally worn out for the week.

(The receptionists who scheduled my appointment for me suggested group therapy, and I am absolutely terrified that I might really be persuaded to make an appointment for one…)

There’s financial aid to be dealt with, preparations to be made, and there’s only 2.5 more months!

I actually haven’t even secured an off-campus apartment, although I’ve got a double reserved on campus. I don’t know my roommate and suitemates, and I despise living on campus (the food is so goddarn expensive, and it’s not even good most of the time), so I’ve asked an upperclassman to look out for good deals in the area.

All I want are quiet and respectful roommates who would be interested in a few rounds of Smash every now and then, and lots of cooking. Lots.

Video

Give Love

I’ve been obsessed with this song, even worse than I was with IU. (I’m so glad this is on the Xbox music app, or else I really would’ve ripped Microsoft’s throat open.)

I wish everyone a great start to the week! Smile more, because the world will smile with you.

With that said, I give my love to…. Germany!

Win that match! Help me get my money! (I may or may not have bet some money…we’ll see.)