Monthly Archives: December 2006

Predictions and Resolutions for 2007

No end-of-year reflections are complete without looking forward and making predictions that may not come true about the coming year. The same goes for making resolutions so, after thinking on-and-off the past couple days, I have formulated five statements along with “five” resolutions that I plan to fulfill in the coming twelve months.
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2006: A Year-End Retrospective

“Two thousand and six” is almost over and I feel obligated for some reason to look back on the past year. However, I am confronted with a problem that I believe happens commonly among academics: my sense of a year’s time is screwed up. For me, the beginning of the year isn’t January 1 but rather late September and New Year’s Day only marks the start of the second “third” of the year known as Winter Quarter. So I have to think a little harder when placing what happened when relatively in my mind.

I went through some news archives and decided that I would reminiscence on three fronts: the news that actually happened, the fandom scene (as best as I can), and my personal experiences. I wanted to make a video on the theme “it was the {blank}-est year” (e.g. Rockin’est year) but I ran out of time so it got shelved for now. I’ll make some predictions and resolutions for 2007 in my next post so look out for that very soon. Continue reading

Kaze no Yojimbo Vol. 1 – A New Face In Town

Almost five months ago, I picked up the first four volumes of Kaze no Yojimbo for cheap at Big Lots and now I’m slowly making my way through them. The series is based on the 1961 Akira Kurosawa film “Yojimbo” and I might have to see that some time because I’m digging what I’ve seen so far on this first disc. The setup of the anime is as follows: a man named George Kodama enters the small mining town of Kimujuku looking for a man’s house and, in doing so, stokes the fires of a conflict between the town’s two power brokers and their factions. He works as a “bodyguard” to put food in his stomach as he digs into the dark history of what happened fifteen years ago. Continue reading

Potluck – ANN Tweaks Look, Haruhi uses Revver

I forgot to talk about this when it happened a couple days ago when it happened but ANN dropped the big ad on the left side of their pages and made it look more normal. I like the slightly wider and uninterrupted space for the main news listing and today their logo gained some holiday spirit.

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NHK ni Youkoso 11-14: The Off Meeting

I’m finally starting to get back to watching NHK and the rest of my neglected backlog and I think I’m going to do more of my episode entries in batches. For example, this post covers the four episodes of the “off meeting” mini-arc and is a little long because of it and my temporary inability to paraphrase my notes. Individual episode posts are tiresome especially with screenshots and this series in particular seems appropriate to be broken down into collective segments.
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MoSH Announcement Friday

This morning, I checked my regular news sites as I usually do including AnimeOnDVD. There wasn’t anything particular exciting on AoD…except that Monday’s section of stories had the “s” and “o” colored red as well as the links on the main news page. Clicking on one of the letters took me to and I was confronted with the message “The World As You Know It Is About to End” along with the date December 22, 2006 and the Haruhiism logo. *checks calendar* That’s only FOUR DAYS from now! OK, calm down, dude. It’s only a placeholder page. The date is also the first full day of winter in North America so it could also mark the beginning of a global ice storm or something…
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Kimono Making Is A Dying Art

[via kottke]
The Washington Post has an article about how the old method of making kimonos from scratch is dying in Japan, particularly in Kyoto’s Nishijin district. Many are being made in China and those kimonos are made in Japan are woven with cheaper imported silk rather than Kyoto silk.

Here is the main problem:

Fewer Japanese are marrying today than ever, and those who do largely shun traditional white wedding kimonos in favor of Western-style dresses. A declining birthrate, meanwhile, has meant fewer babies, which in turn has meant fewer sales of kimonos for children’s coming-of-age rites. Nationwide, kimono sales have more than halved in the past decade.

The reporter uses 102-year-old Yasujiro Yamaguchi, one of the last master weavers in Nishijin, as a narrative focal point through the article. He is one of only three left who can create a kimono from scratch, which means planning and weaving it with his own hands to “infuse the intended wearer’s personality”. All three are over 70 and none have any apprentices.

The kimono is one of the few things that I can think of as distinctly Japanese alongside Shintoism and samurai. If one looks at the kanji for the word (着物), kimono literally means ‘something worn’. It’s a symbol of traditional Japan and subtle beauty. I think this quote from Yamaguchi says it best:

“The kimono is not just about our country,” [Yamaguchi] added. “It is about the Japanese race — our daily rituals, our history, our religion, about who we are as a people. We have to do anything we can to protect the kimono, even if that means making them overseas.”

Planning A Move To Greener Pastures

An unrelated picture of Misaki-chanFor a while now, even before I started blogging, I wanted to have my own domain for hosting AMV’s, short movies and other kinds of stuff. I had decided a couple months ago that I would use one of those $97-off promo codes for Dreamhost and work during winter break on setting up my new website. Hitting my image quota has just quickened my resolve to go ahead with it but I’m slightly reluctant because of all the connections I’ve built while at this URL. I suppose another reason could be hitting the milestone of making 100 posts but whatever.
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Mixed Feelings About ANN’s Redesign

Yesterday the popular website Anime News Network launched a new layout scheme. The first thing visitors will notice is that what was previously in the left sidebar has been grouped into tabs in the upper right corner. This leaves the top and left parts of the website open for large-space advertisements such as the current and very noticable one for Coyote Ragtime Show. (ADV must have paid a nice sum for that spot.) Also the logo has been remade into a rectangular size and the elf girl (Jadress) who was sitting in the upper left corner has been ditched.
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Nodame Cantabile Vol. 1: “No-DUMMY!”

Reading it on and off for the couple weeks, I finally finished the first volume of Nodame Cantabile today. Just in time for me to pick up the next couple volumes and read them over winter break before the anime begins airing in mid-January. Might have to check out the live-action drama as well…

Anyway, this initial volume started out slow for me (perhaps that was due to the bite-sized portions I took) but then I started to warm to it halfway through, about the time Mine was introduced. A quick re-read assured me that I enjoyed it enough to move on to the next volume, ready to become slightly more cultured in classical music while reading in the same way I picked up things about art from watching Honey & Clover.
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