Hello, internet. How are you on this lovely spring day?

Flipping through the channels this morning, I came across an anime series called "Ringu ni kakero" (リングにかけろ ), the "ring" being the boxing ring. So an anime about boxing. The one episode I watched was enough to prove that the laws of shonen are alive and well, i.e. the good guys' team has the requisite five members: the regular-guy hero (who has the most devastating moves), the big guy with the pompadour, the elegant pretty-boy, the short comic-relief guy, and the fifth guy... I didn't quite get what his role was, maybe he's the older, more experienced mentor? In this case, he looks like a taller version of the protagonist.

What really got my attention, though, was the opposing team. Seems they're in the world championships, and this episode, they were facing off against France, which for some reason had their given names (instead of their surnames) on their shirts. The team leader was named Napoleon and was basically Oscar François de Jarjeyes -- I'm not even kidding, it was Oscar right down to the hair and the casual clothes, including the jabot. The other members were also Oscar clones, though at least their hair was different shades of blond/light brown/red. But they all had blue eyes! One of them was named Tiffany, which as you may know, is usually a female name (and not even French, to boot!) -- but another one was Claudine, which is an even girlier name than Tiffany! Well, Claudine (and at least one other guy, can't remember which one) was voiced by a woman, but really... I was kind of hoping that Claudine would actually turn out to be a woman, but the show oozed enough testosterone that I don't think they'd be into that kind of plot twist. He was K.O. within about thirty seconds, anyway.

Now, I have an apartment to clean, some writing to do, and a skirt to finish sewing.
When I wrote my last post, I totally failed to write about Tuesday, so here:

Tuesday: worked all day, rushed to Shibuya to get part of Halloween costume, rushed back to Kichijouji for two-hour ballet class, rehearsed for nearly two hours, didn't get home until past midnight.

It was a good rehearsal, though. We got some new stuff done, and polished up some things. I was glad I'd been to the Saturday rehearsal, so I already knew the new bit.

Next Wednesday is a holiday, but I have a rehearsal. That means I'll have class and rehearsal Tuesday evening, will get home and collapse into bed, then (hopefully) sleep in, and go back to the studio in the afternoon for another rehearsal.

Last night I had to finish hemming my costume. Of course it took longer than I'd anticipated, so I had time to watch three movies. None of them were longer than 1 hour 40 minutes, but still. Three movies in an evening! You'd think I went out of my way to find the three most different movies that I could, but I could have done even better. I was just limited to movies in English by the fact that while hand-sewing, I really can't keep my eyes on the screen enough to read subtitles.

Murders in snowy Minnesota: Fargo )

An ultimately uplifting documentary about religious homophobia: For the Bible Tells Me So )

1930s elegance in a cloud of smoke: Shanghai Express )

Also, last week, I finished watching Alexander Senki, another title I put in my mental list of "Things to Watch" ages ago and only just now got around to. Reign: The Conqueror )

And the Halloween costume? Apart from the inexcusably bad job on the corners of the hem, I'm very pleased. Here's a teaser, because I wouldn't want to spoil it for those of you who'll see me tomorrow!

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(We took sexy pose pictures at work after the kids and parents had gone home.)

In other news, I'm still wearing the false eyelashes I got for my costume. I really like how they look! Maybe I should wear false eyelashes every day! (This enthusiasm has been brought to you by the realisation that when I wear make-up, I don't look quite so much like a teenaged boy.)

All right, time to take them off and start relaxing. I've got two kids' Halloween parties tomorrow and then a birthday dinner, so I need some rest!
Last Friday I took a night bus to Nagoya, all in the name of sparkly tennis. Of course, I took the opportunity to kick around the city on Saturday, saw some of the sights, then met up with Sarah after she got off work. She took me to the most wondrous kaitenzushi place ever, where you can not only grab stuff off the conveyor belt, as usual, but you can order from a touch screen, and they send you your order on a second, special conveyor belt -- by shinkansen. God, it was amazing. God, I am easily amused. XDDD She also showed me Shinesman, which is this hilarious, obscure little OVA from ages ago about a team of sentai-wannabes who work at a - duh dah daaaaan! -- TRADING COMPANY! I would totally join their team. You think I could be Shinesman Periwinkle?! I would go perfectly with Moss Green and Salmon Pink! ^o^ Then on Sunday morning, she told me all about the "Two guys, one suit, OMG they're soul-bonding!" show that I'd missed because I was sleeping.

Now, I know you've all been waiting with bated breath for my thoughts on the newest chapter in the tenimyu saga, so here it is. Or rather, here are the notes that I took yesterday. Before you read this, though, know that after the first show I saw, I was rather disappointed by what seemed to be lackluster songs in general. However, after seeing it after they've been doing it for a while, the guys came across as much more relaxed, and their voices were much stronger. Overall, this show is more solid than I gave it credit for. And since they have ALL of Shitenhouji there, it can't help from being kind of awesome, right? click here for much silliness )

And that's all, folks. Overall, I was very pleased by the Nagoya show, as it was better all around. Stronger singing (especially from Rikkai!), better interplay, much more settled. I didn't get all the stares from the stage I got in Tokyo (prolonged eye-contact with Masa, for instance, and a hilarious double-take by Shiraishi when he was taking his bow), but I got them when the boys ran down the aisles.

I must admit I'm curious to see the Rikkai support cast, but... but it doesn't include Masa! *waaah* I'd say that new Yagyuu isn't as pretty as Baba, but who cares, he barely does anything this show anyway. XD
OMG, Erynn, you weren't kidding about the gay baseball. The first episode alone is gayer than the whole first season of Prince of Tennis!

A and I started watching the series last night* and so far, we've learned that, in Gay Baseball Land, the relationship between pitcher and catcher is the same as the relationship between doubles partners in Gay Tennis Land. That is, they're married:

Abe (to Mihashi): Stay with me, and you'll often feel this kind of happiness.

............ XDDD

Making "pitcher & catcher" jokes is just too easy, but they kind of come out backwards, since Mihashi is the weepiest uke to ever stand on a pitcher's mound.

There's a Jirou in this series! At least, there's a sandy-haired guy who's spent most of his screen-time so far (not much, but still!) asleep while his team mates watch the game.

Know what's weird, though? Watching a sports series that actually doesn't seek to throw the laws of physics out the window in the very first episode. I keep feeling like there should be dramatic rainbow flashes shooting through the sky whenever Mihashi pitches, or each time the bat connects with the ball, but there's only the dramatic, triumphant music to tell us that this is a SUGOI! moment. I mean, there isn't even a bunch of useless characters hanging around to explain each move to the viewers and/or cheer about how awesome everyone is!

Yeah, you can kind of tell this isn't a series aimed at 10-year-old boys... ^_^;;;

* We've made it to episode 10. Also, A is up to the St. Rudolph arc in PoT, on my recommendation, so he gets my "sparkly gay tennis" jokes, and between my giggling and his bassy-voiced chuckling, the neighbours must be wondering what the hell we're watching. XD
A week late, and a book fewer than I was hoping (am reading Vellum but have 40 pages left and figure if I don't post these now, it'll be another week...), but here are some reviews! As always, discuss in the comments if you have any thoughts on any of these things. ^_^

Shockingly, there is no death by butter knife! But here is a long review of it anyway. Girls Love )

Featuring the most badly-animated gay pâtissier ever! Antique Bakery (anime) )

Another reason to love KenKen, because there weren't enough already. ^_^;;; Butlers! Happy Boys )

No superlative seems strong enough! So You Think You Can Dance Canada )

I'm a pretty even-tempered girl, and it takes a lot for a book to frustrate me, but this book managed. And how! If anyone would like to read this book, I'll gladly give it to you -- you may want to skip this review, then, because I'm about to reveal the surprise ending, which totally surprised me because it had NO BUSINESS ENDING LIKE THAT! My Sister's Keeper )
1. Leave me a comment saying, 'interview me'.

2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

3. Update your LJ with the answers to the questions. (You must do this, even if it's filtered for my eyes only!)

4. Include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

So I asked [livejournal.com profile] krk to interview me and she started off with a bang, asking about my thoughts on yaoi (sort of). XD )
Another weekend nearly over... Can't complain, really, since I had lots of fun, in spite of my throat which is not taking to hint to get better already. It's been two annoying weeks of "I'm not really sick but my throat tickles/is kind of sore/I'm coughing stuff up but only sporadically" and it's getting old fast.

A day spent with Jill, and not a single mention or instance of sausages, spurting or otherwise! D: )

It was so much fun that we need to do it again, and anyone else who would like to join us is invited! Bring your knitting, your cross stitching, your origami, your sketchbook, your [insert current project here], and let's enjoy sparkly tennis together! :D I'm all out of mead, though.

Ume, ume, ume!!! )

KenKen and Kane-chan in Kiddyland, take 2! Or, Kane in Sunshine Cinemaland! )

Yokohama Singing Adventures )

I hope everyone else had a nice weekend as well! Good night!
Today I splurged on strawberries, cream and wine, but my throat is still sore and I don't feel like eating right now. Looks like I'll be saving them for another day...

So, reviews. Yes! Motivation, I has it! Or so I keep telling myself... From now until the end of the year, or until I've reviewed all I have to review, there will be at least one review a day.

Feel free to discuss in the comments, because I'll probably do a rush job and only write the minimum for each book/movie/series. I'd love to hear what you thought!

Loveless (the anime) )

Wish me luck for the Japanese test tomorrow!
How To Be A Rockstar At An All-Girls Middle School In 3 Easy Steps:

1. Cultivate an interest in anime, musicals based on anime, or Japanese boy bands.

2. Collect related phone straps or charms and display them proudly.

3. Sit back and wait for the squealing to begin.

It was pretty hilarious. The first part of my morning was games and conversation in the classroom (I had a grade 9 group), so they asked me basic questions about what foods I liked, which actors, which tv shows... When I brought up テニスの王子様, and pointed out the tenipuri bling on my purse, I got questions about who my favourite character was (one group in particular seemed to find it vastly amusing when I answered, "Ooishi!"), and then when I said the magical word "musical" and said I had seen Hyoutei A on stage and was going on Christmas eve, I got some really excited shrieks and "Ii na~~~~!"

My phone (which has about 394590 Yuu Yuu Hakusho and Rurouni Kenshin straps hanging from it) also generated quite a buzz. I took it out to show the girls pictures of my cat, and was suddenly surrounded by girls pawing at the straps, wanting to know, "Dare? Dare???" and exclaiming, "Ah! Kenshin! Yuu Yuu Hakusho da yo!"

The second half of the morning had all the grade 9 girls gathered in the gym for free conversation, and as soon as I set foot inside, two of the girls from earlier appeared, dragging friends along behind them, to introduce us tenimyu fans to each other. After I'd gotten a picture with all of them, I mingled with other students and, regular as clockwork, each time I produced my phone or showed off my purse, there would be a collective squeal. I really wonder what the other participants thought was going on in my corner...

All in all it was a fun morning, and the girls were so adorable when trying to share their excitement with me. A couple were shyer in the group, but came up to me afterwards to ask me about which other series I liked, and one girl in particular was almost hyperventilating, she was so wound up.
A while back, when I said I couldn't remember Evangelion having any crossdressing in it, I'd forgotten about Shinji wearing Asuka's plugsuit. *crosses that off the list* So, yeah.

For the first time in a month, my computer is informing me that my wireless connection's strength is "good", rather than "low" or "very low". So why is it that it's being even slower? Even trying to get into livejournal is timing out on me, and forget about image-heavy sites. *grumble* I just want to read my friends' page, damn it!

I figure I should stop this whole not-writing business, or I'll end up with a list longer than my arm of reviews to write, and B1 is arriving next Saturday, so I know I won't get anything done with him around. On the other hand, I went and saw my first Prince of Tennis musical yesterday, so I should write about that, no?

But my internet is still being stupid. Grar! D:
When I sent my family a Christmas package, I inluded the anime series Monster for my brothers. So far, B1 has watched it and complained to me that it was addictive. When we were discussing it the other day, he came up with the astute observation, "It's anime, there can't NOT be crossdressing in it at some point!"

When I was done laughing, I tried to think of an anime series that I've seen that doesn't have at least one instance of crossdressing, and came up blank. I mean, even Prince of Tennis has Fuji as a female in the chibi episodes -- and if you say that doesn't count, then I have four words for you: Oishi doing rythmic gymnastics. XD Then I thought about it some more, and figured that Evangelion had no crossdressing (unless I've forgotten something?) and neither did Gundam Wing. Also... I don't know, Serial Experiments Lain? (I'm totally dating myself, aren't I?) I still find it significant that it's far, far easier to rattle off a list of anime series in which at least one character crossdresses, be it seriously or not, than it is to think of series in which there are no such shenanigans.

My reviews are late. Bloh.

Big Love )

The Flight of the Conchords )

Prince of Tennis manga (vol. 3-5) )

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz )

Th-th-th-that's all, folks!
The end of January and the beginning of February were tough on me. Not only was I sublimating "OMG I've been on my own for a year!" feelings and vaguely wondering what I was going to do with my life (or at least the next little bit of it), I was letting myself fall into a rut of not doing anything: not sewing, not cleaning, not cooking (not that I do much of that anyway, but I was especially lazy), not even going outside much when I could avoid it. I could lay the blame on Prince of Tennis, but I'm not one to let such obsessions overpower my other wants, and it's just as well something so enjoyable came into my life right when I needed the distraction. And a wonderful distraction it's certainly been, what with the insanely long anime, the movies, the music, the manga (which I'm only just starting to read, now that it's ended!) and the fanfiction. Oh gods, the fanfiction...! Anyway, it gave me something to focus on while my subconscious did its job and worked on my issues*, and for that I'll forever be grateful.

All that to say that while I may have gone through a rough spot, things have been looking up. I've gotten myself out and about, been meeting people, been washing the dishes, and now have a new job! Starting next month, I'm going to be Ms. A (because Ms. M-A would be too hard for the kids to say, and I prefer the A part of my name over the M part) at an English-language preschool. The kids, all Japanese, are adorable, and it looks like it'll be a lot of fun.

I'm not naive enough to think it'll be all sunshine and kittens, but I'm really looking forward to the change. For one thing, I'll actually be working almost full time, rather than teaching classes at odd hours the way I do now, so I know I'll be absolutely exhausted for the first couple of weeks, but I'm hoping that just as lethargy begets lethargy, activity will beget activity and I'll be more productive in my spare time than I've been for the past while.

As an added bonus (though whether I'll be saying that at rush hour remains to be seen... ^_^) I'll be spending more time using public transit, so I'll be reading more books, which means that the one book per week average I'd like to attain this year looks like it'll easily be surpassed. Of course, I could just as easily surpass it by reading more at home, but then when would I read all that Prince of Tennis fanfiction, I ask you?

* Now that I think about it, my two other true anime obsessions, namely Fushigi Yuugi and Kenshin, played a similar role in my life. Interesting...

And now, reviews!

Prince of Tennis (Nationals OVA 1-13) )

Prince of Tennis (manga volumes 1 & 2) )

And because I try to do some reading in Japanese: D-Gray Man (manga vol. 1) )

And something not related to Japan in any way, shape or form! Strictly Ballroom )

Wow, the afternoon has barely started and I've already written my weekly reviews (I've still got the live action Prince of Tennis to review, as well as the second musical, but I want to do reviews in pictures for those, so they'll come later). Where is this energy coming from?!
A review in pictures - click and be highly amused by the... geez, there are no words for how much these images make me giggle. In fact, the whole movie is a WTF?!? of gaily epic proportions.

Prince of Tennis - The Two Samurai )

ETA: I forgot to mention that during the tennis match, which takes place outdoors, on a cruise ship, in the middle of the afternoon, the spectators were dressed as for a night at the opera. Then again, these were people fooled by marbled wallpaper, so maybe it's to be expected.
Because it can't be Prince of Tennis all the time: The Jane Austen Book Club )

Tokyo Godfathers )

The Golden Compass )

And speaking of Narnia, there was a preview for Prince Caspian, which I feel I ought to go see, if only to encourage fantasy films. After all, Prince Caspian was always my second-least favourite of the books, after The Silver Chair, and I wasn't all that impressed with the first movie.

And speaking of previews, one was for a Japanese film called Sushi Ouji -- it's the Prince of Sushi! The preview was actually pretty funny, and it seems it's based on a tv series, and not a manga or anime, as I'd assumed. I think I'll have to track that down, it looks completely insane.

After the movie, we went out to eat. None of us really knew any places in Shinjuku, and one of the other girls isn't too fond of Japanese food, so we decided to go to an Italian place in Harajuku, which is only a couple of train stops away. It was 5 o'clock, and we figured we'd have the place to ourselves, since the dinner rush only starts around 7, here. Well, when we got there, we found that the entire restaurant had been reserved for a reception, so one of the girls suggested a nearby pizza place she liked. On the way there, we joked that if it were also reserved, we'd have to settle for crêpes.

Wouldn't you know it? It WAS reserved! We couldn't believe it. Strike two! We ended up walking to Shibuya to go to Outback, because surely, they wouldn't also be reserved? They weren't, though we had to wait a little while for a non-smoking table. We split an onion bloom (huge! greasy! delicious! but I won't feel the need to eat another one for years!) and nachos (which we didn't even manage to finish) three ways, and I split a salad with one of the girls, and I still felt overly stuffed. Ah, how I've grown used to Japanese serving sizes, so much more reasonable!

One last thing, today I used the JR Shinjuku station's South exit! *hums along with Nagayama Takashi*

I'll post my reviews of the two Prince of Tennis movies later, as I've got lots of screencaps for those. Stay tuned for Live Action Impossible Tennis and Ryouma's Symbolic Orange!
By popular demand, my sexy shoes. Excuse the pictures quality, I haven't messed around much with the self-timer yet, and not having a tripod, was unable to get the shot I'd have liked.


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I was going to buy them in this really pretty peachy-reddish shade, but they no longer had my size. And while the yellow ones would have been funky, they were really yellow, so I passed, and white was right out.

Now, where to wear them? I'm meeting up with some people for a movie tomorrow, but I don't really want to spend the day wandering around Shinjuku in new heels, so I guess I'll wear them to work on a day I know I won't be much on my feet. The ideal solution would be to wear them around the house to break them in a bit, but A-L can testify as to the size (or lack thereof) of my apartment and besides, I spend most of my time cross-legged on the floor, which would hardly help.

I spent most of the afternoon walking around the neighbouring Sumida ward (I live right by the Sumida river, which separates Taito ward, where I live, and Sumida ward), taking pictures of plum blossoms. I'd brought a ground sheet and a book, planning to find a nice place to read, but by the time I was ready to sit down and relax, clouds were moving in and the wind was picking up, so I decided to start the 40-minute walk home.

In other leg/foot/walking-related news, my right knee has been bothering me for the past week or so. I can't quite figure why, because I haven't done anything out of the ordinary recently, unless it's that I've been walking a little bit more than I had for the last couple of months. So it's either that, or a year of living Japanese-style has caught up with me. Whatever it is, I am Not Amused. *grumbles and starts unwinding the tenser bandage*

Tomorrow's weekly reviews will hopefully contain lots of screencaps of Prince of Tennis silliness, because I watched both the animated movie and the live-action one; another anime movie (that has nothing to do with tennis or princes! Aren't you proud? ^_^; ); plus a non-anime American movie; the Heap O' Clichés from two weeks ago (because I've been going back and forth on how to best sum it up); and The Golden Compass, which is what I'm going to see tomorrow. Yes, it's only just come out in Japan, otherwise I would have seen it sooner!

There may also be a manga review (only one short chapter left), because my new subway book is by Tad Williams, and he writes big-ass books, so I won't be done with that one for another week, at least.
This week, a book and, to switch things up a bit, some music!

Nagayama Takashi - Jam )

C'est quoi, cette idée-là, de lire deux livres en français en moins d'un mois?! La working girl : petite chronique de la vie de bureau )

And then, it was over. But only the tv series! I'll keep it short, I promise. Prince of Tennis )
Well, [livejournal.com profile] desayuno did, anyway. She seems to think I should be updating more often, or something.

I was sorely tempted to post another movie review on Sunday morning, because what I watched Saturday evening needs just so much mocking. I'll work on it over the week, to make sure that I properly capture the mixed feelings of "Aw, that was kind of touching..." and "GOOD GOD I JUST WATCHED A COMPILATION OF EVERY SINGLE CLICHE OF THAT GENRE THEY COULD THINK OF!" it inspired in me. And just to make sure I whet your interest, A-L, and you don't die of boredom in the meantime, it features hot Japanese guys. Do you want your screencaps clothed, or shirtless? :D~

Incredible as it may seem, I didn't watch any Prince of Tennis at ALL these past two days. Maybe I'm just trying to make it last, because I'm nearing the end of the series, or it's because I want to stave off the inevitable desire to re-watch the whole thing (taking screencaps, this time!). I guess I won't be able to resist tonight, because the next two episodes are a special filler episode (can I have more silly Oishi, pleeeeeeeeeease? He's so adorably dorky, I love him!) and a chibi episode -- more Tenipuri Family! Then, I guess, the dramatic return of big, bad boring Tezuka, which oughta be interesting.

Now I have to get cracking and go to work. Bloh. I wanna stay home and be lazy! *whines*
While I've still been spending most evenings basking in the addictive glow of Prince of Tennis (I'm not even done the series, yet! There is SO MUCH OF IT but that makes me SO HAPPY!), I did manage to turn my attentions to other things this past week. For your reading pleasure, my takes on a book, a movie, and a musical!

Indian storytelling! Read Earth and Pouring Rain )

Japanese lesbians! Love My Life )

Japanese men singing about tennis! You want screencaps? I bet you do! :D Prince of Tennis: The Musical )
When I woke up this morning, after a dream I can longer remember, I congratulated myself on not having dreamed of Prince of Tennis. (Again). With that in mind, I promptly went back to sleep and dreamt about Atobe wanting to buy A-L's parents' house, and I got involved in a long discussion with him about it, only I don't know if I was trying to convince him to buy it or not: "The neighbourhood is quite nice, but the staircase to the basement is way too narrow for your taste."

Speaking of Atobe: his ridiculous shirt, let me show you it.

But! Before I start my long, image-heavy post, I must list a few reasons why you should watch this show:

- It's full of pretty boys
- It's a great way to learn all about tennis; like how it's a smart move, while playing doubles, to vault off your partner's shoulders to reach a high lob; or how on a tennis court, the usual laws of physics don't apply (especially if your name is FUJI)
- It constantly reaffirms the value of friendship and teamwork (alternately, you can read that as TWU WUV! between some of them, and don't imagine for a second that the animators were unaware of that -- some of those boys spend an awful lot of time time holding hands *looks pointedly at a certain doubles pair*)
- Fuji = Kenshin. Really.
- Who doesn't want to watch tennis matches that go on for multiple episodes?
- There are CHIBI EPISODES!

And now, some images. I suggest you click even if you don't care about anime, tennis, or anime about tennis, because I need you to help me decide whether Atobe out-gayed Mizuki in the shirt department:

Purple With Flowers vs. Pink With Frills )

Momo and Kaidoh team up! )

Eiji = Cute )

Rurouni Fuji )

GIRLS?! )

Come for the tennis, stay for the chibiness! )

My bad )


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Bad Inui, you're scaring the first-years again!
Prince of Tennis, now with screencaps! )

At any rate, after a while the dream shifted, and I was at a super-expensive spa with A-L, where we'd decided to get the cheapest treatment. It was some sort of facial, and they had us lie on our backs side by side on a weird double bed, which they tilted so that our heads were lower than our bodies, only we kept slipping toward the floor. When the treatment was over (I fell asleep during that time, and was mighty frustrated I'd missed out on enjoying the costly experience), the bed started bucking wildly up and down, allowing us to jump high enough to touch the ceiling. Unfortunately, we'd just pulled out our wallets, and the motions of the bed caused all our change to fly up into the air and scatter around the room. A-L and I were laughing uncontrollably at this, but the spa ladies were less than pleased.

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