Yesterday was lovely, though I wish the sun weren't quite so slow to warm my apartment, especially when I'm up early and sitting at the computer. Oh well, what can you do?

Here are the rest of my movie reviews.

From Toronto to Tokyo, I watched:

Different flavours of gay: Breakfast With Scot )

Communism, Romanian style: Tales From the Golden Age )

Medieval nuns: Vision )

Depression in a mental ward: It's Kind of a Funny Story )

Pretty Italian costumes: Io, Don Giovanni )

Back in Japan... Cops and Irish gangsters: The Departed )

And then last night, I watched another movie! Explicit sex is both hilarious and moving: Shortbus )

FINISHED! Wow, I don't know if I've ever watched that many movies over such a short span of time!

Next time, a couple of book reviews. For now, I've got to get up and do stuff.
I spent at least half the day yesterday convinced that it was Friday, and beating myself up over the fact that I wasn't accomplishing anything. When I realised my mistake, I gave myself carte blanche to continue accomplishing nothing, which sort of worked. I did a bit of sewing, read (almost done the book the lovely [ profile] tayles sent me), and PUT AWAY MY SUITCASE! *awaits applause* Sure, there's still lots of stuff lying around on the floor, but technically, I'm unpacked! Then, I went to Kimberly's place for supper -- I helped with the preparation of a typical Southern meal of ham, fried okra, fried potatoes and biscuits -- and she once again taught me how to crochet a granny square (she did once before, when we went to Hokkaido in 2008) and we watched a movie. I crocheted two whole squares! They're for an afghan I'm making for Anna's baby. All in all, a relaxing day, and I even got out of the house, so I probably burned off the sugar from at least fifteen of the million jelly beans I ate.

Following my resolutions, I started doing the Pilates DVD. I did the ab section yesterday, and my abs are a tiny bit sore today, which is good. When I was doing the exercises, I didn't really feel anything until the very end, which is a sure sign I wasn't doing them properly; my abs are in decent enough shape, but not so much that it should have been painless. I expect the burn to increase as I learn to do the routine better and really focus on the relevant muscles.

This morning I did the hip segment, which consisted of a lot of ballet movements (pliés, tendus, dégagés and fondus*) with some yoga (downward dog, anyone?) thrown in. My lack of flexibility was a problem, as I can't really do a proper downward dog, even when I haven't just woken up and am still stiff with sleep. Once I get more familiar with the routines I'll add some basic stretching in, my goal being about 30 minutes each morning.

I did not, however, do any studying. Bloh.

* Not fondues, which come in many different flavours and are delicious XD

* * *

As I wrote in my last post, I watched thirteen films over the course of my trip. Of those, I watched eleven of them on the plane. Here are some quick reviews! As usual, don't click if you're worried about spoilers.

From Tokyo to Toronto:

Young dancers chasing their dreams: Only When I Dance )

Documentary? Drama? Animated? All of the above: Howl )

Tight pants and thick Russian accents: Salt )

Give us you meat: Chez Schwartz )

Earthquakes and family tragedy: Aftershock )

Bored office workers trapped in a cage: waydowntown )

In Canada, I watched these movies with A-L, because watching dance movies together is what we do:

Psycho ballerina: Black Swan )

Awful story, amazing dancing: Step It Up 3 )

That's enough for now. I've spent all morning writing these, so I'll save the others for another post. Have any of you seen any of these movies? What did you think of them? Comment, I'm curious! ^_^

It's noon, and time for me to do stuff besides write. Today is my last day of true freedom, i.e. the last day I have to myself, as I have plans for the next two days, so in no particular order, I want to:

- sew;
- finish putting all my things away;
- draw up a study plan for Japanese and Mandarin;
- shower;
- go out for a sushi lunch;
- write up a quick Travelpod entry;
- put away my Christmas tree;
- crochet and knit: I'm not sure if I can do two more squares today, as I'm unused to crocheting and my hand might cramp up, but I'm halfway through a sock and can probably finish most of it this evening.
My wrist is screwed. And it had been doing so well these past couple of weeks, not even a twinge of pain! Grar. I'm not sure what set it off this time, but I really hope it'll be okay for the recital... Of all the body parts to worry about for a ballet show, this is pretty silly. :P

I went to Nippori today, and showed remarkable restraint! I spent barely over Y2,000, and much of that was on trim. Haha, like I'll ever have time to sew again... ;___;

Perhaps everyone else has this problem too, but there's just so much stuff I'd like to do, and I haven't got the time to do it! I suppose I'm managing pretty well this month, what with all the ballet and the writing, but that means that Chinese and sewing have basically been cast aside, and the only reason I've been knitting is that I've forced myself to watch movies to relax. *ded*

We're two thirds of the way through November! [insert exclamation of disbelief at the swift passage of time.] If I make it through the month only having fallen a day behind once, I'll consider NonNaNoWritMo a smashing success. My excuse for yesterday was that Harry Potter made me stay out until one in the morning.

Harry Pottaaaaah! )

And here are the memes, both yesterday's and today's entries:

Japan: favourite character and folklore )

30 Days: a regret, and this month )

Travelpod can wait until tomorrow, time to zone out with my glass of wine. Which movie shall I watch?
I feel I should preface this post with a warning that I have had some extremely uncharacteristic moods lately. Namely bad ones, despairing ones, foul ones... you get the picture. Partly it's hormones (what the hell, I'm nearly 30 and for the first time experiencing typically female mood swings, why NOW?!), partly it's other stuff, but at least this post will get happier toward the end?

Originally, I wanted to reprise last night's meal, but with the way I was feeling when I left the ballet studio, I [rightly] figured wine was the last thing my fragile emotions needed, so I got some sushi from the department store instead. It's a step up from grocery store sushi, I guess? XD;

Anyway... Here's me whining about my body and ballet. )

I watched some movies recently! If you care about spoilers, don't click.

Team America World Police )

Lucky Brand Refrigerator )

Animals Are Beautiful People )

Happy Together )

And here are the daily memes:

It's hard, so hard )

What I wore today )

I feel slightly better now, though I wish I could take a week off work and... I don't know, sleep, or try to feel less screwed up about things.
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!


(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!
Once upon a time, I made a point of tuning in to all the queer movies on Showcase, or at least taping them to watch later. Then I moved to Japan and started downloading all the queer movies I could find torrents or dowload links for, and for a while I sort of had my "queer movie of the week" habit, but that fell by the wayside when I stopped watching as many movies and tv shows because I suddenly had a full-time job and a social life! I didn't stop downloading stuff, though, so things have been piling up. In an effort to get back into the gay groove, over the past week I've watched two movies that have been sitting around for a while (well, technically, I only found a torrent for Lan Yu a few months ago, but my aunt recommended it to me three years ago, and I'd been searching for it ever since).

[BL movies are about pretty boys overacting and pretending to kiss and/or have sex, sometimes more convincingly than others. I don't count them as queer movies, because they're not. Show me one in which the characters are more than some sort of air-brushed fantasy of what gay men are, and I'll reconsider my stance.]

There are spoilers for both the movies, in case any of you were planning on watching them and are worried about such things. *crickets chirping* No? Right, then, carry on.

Taiwanese lesbians! Spider Lilies )

This next one, gets my highest recommendation. Watch it. It's one of the most touching love stories I've ever seen. The fact that it's about two men is really incidental, though if you're into that kind of thing, this movie also has some of the best depictions of tenderness between lovers, gay or otherwise, that I've ever seen.

Gay Chinese men! Lan Yu )
Thanksgiving Starts Tomorrow At 3:00

Me: stuffing, something desserty, meatballs
Kimberly: fried okra, ham
Eda: samosas and chicken skewers (satay)
Kira: vegetables and dip
Tiffany: vague potatoes
Lindsay (arriving later): drinks and something dessertish
Emily (not physically present): the spirit of pie
Marianne: (drinks?)
William: ?

We still need bread, crackers, cheese, maybe more drinks.

* * *

Last night, I spent some quality time at Daiso*, then got myself a half-bottle of good wine, promising myself a nice evening of relaxation after doing some much-needed tidying up. I'd originally planned to do productive stuff for an hour or so, or not past 9, but then it was after 10 by the time I finally finished cooking (I cooked! VICTORY IS MINE!) and settled in. Hmmm, what to watch? I skimmed through my [enormous] folder of unwatched movies and shows, thinking I wanted to watch something light, and randomly picked Kindan no Koi.

Oh, the lols! I wasn't expecting much (it's a BL myuvie, so...), but it actually provided even more amusement than I'd hoped for. As in, I nearly spit out a mouthful of wine at the final dramatic moment when the Jealous Character resorts to violence.

Reasons You Should (or Shouldn't) Watch This:

- 2nd-string myu-boys, i.e. the not so hot ones (there's the Atsushis from tenimyu, and the main guy is... I can't be bothered to look him up, but he's got a Nose);

- the budget allowed for exactly five actors: the main guy, his boss, the boss's two sons, and the manager;

- camera angles carefully orchestrated so that the actors never actually have to touch lips, it just vaguely looks like they might be kissing;

- the most ridiculous-looking writhing from a guy who is supposedly about to give head to another guy;

- the only female presence in the movie is a dress form, which makes no sense because the main character is a designer -- of men's shirts;

- the love interest being deceived by a bad photoshopping job (yes, seriously!);

- the world's most obvious spycam ever, which the stupid character never noticed in spite of the fact that it's sitting in the middle of a bouquet of flowers on his desk, inches from his nose;

- an ending almost as ridiculous as the one in Boy's Love, falling short only because it doesn't involve carting a dead body across Tokyo;

- it'll only waste and hour and ten minutes of your time!

There's also incestuous desire, if that's your thing, and an obligatory pool scene or two, and an evil megane character who smirks and leers and seduces the two teenaged brothers. So yeah, it was silly as hell, but somehow (maybe it's the wine talking) it came out more amusing than painful for me.

* BECAUSE KICHIJOUJI HAS A DAISO ONCE AGAIN! *unreasonably happy about this* It's the swankiest-looking 100en shop I've ever been in. It seriously doesn't look like one at all, what with the pretty lighting and the nice layout. Oh, and Eda, they have half an aisle of fake eyelashes! :D (No coloured ones, though, I think)
As I did not get a review out last night, here are two three movie reviews for the price of one, three movies that I watched on the way to and from France over Golden Week.

The Kite Runner )

Charlie Wilson's War )

I don't usually hate movies. I may find them dull, or idiotic, or badly written/acted/directed, but rarely do they make me seethe. This one did. 27 Dresses )
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!
So, at least a few of you are familiar with the DragonLance books, right? ... Right?!

Before you click on the cut to read my Review In Pictures, there are a few things you should know: )

Now that that's been established, onto the (breast) meat of this post.

Show me the boobs! (part I) )
Today's reviews: Moll Flanders )

A Wrinkle In Time )
Why is it that the hardest things to shop for are what should be the simplest, most basic items? Jeans, watches, plain black shoes or trousers, bras -- they're all things I hate shopping for because I hardly ever find anything just as I'd like it; it's not the right fabric, it's uncomfortable, it looks cheap, it's too expensive... Topping that list, for me, is wallets, which is why I usually end up using the same (cheap) wallet for years, until it starts coming apart at the seams and I'm rather embarrassed to be seen with it. My current one, for example, is in a pitiful state, threads hanging loose and the fake crocodile skin rubbing off. Since I happened to be in Shinjuku yesterday, I thought, "If I can't find a wallet I like for a reasonable price in Shinjuku during the summer sales, I'll... keep on using this ratty old thing until it falls apart."

Thankfully, I found something nice, something on sale, something metallic green on the outside, purple on the inside and with pink trim. It's kind of painfully me. And while it's not the perfect wallet (as if such a thing existed!), it'll do quite nicely.

Yesterday I also managed to make myself a futon cover, so that I slept on my futon for the first time. I like it! Tabitha also approves, because it means that she can curl up next to my chest so that I can pet her. She also approves of it being folded up by the wall during the day, because it's one more comfortable thing to nap on.

When the end of June rolled around, I thought I should make some mid-year resolutions, or at least revisit the ones I made in January and try to get back on track, specifically regarding writing reviews and posting to my Travelpod. I haven't written any reviews in over two months, so I have a rather long queue of things to write about (25, to be exact) and I think the best way to go about it is to make myself do them all before M-P arrives on the 4th of August. I've written all the titles out on slips of paper and will draw them randomly, except for the ones I want to do reviews in pictures for. Those ones are the Japanese doramas and BL movies, of course, because they always amuse me and inspire snark, and it's much funnier with images. Also in this batch are a "romantic" "comedy" (quotes because it was neither romantic nor comedic) that made me want to claw my eyes out, some very good books, and anime porn.

Hee. :D

First up, a book about culture and identity: )
I'm all packed! Because I'm leaving for France tomorrow!

Hadn't I mentionned that? Well, I am! Leaving for France, that is. Unfortunately, I only get to spend five days there, but still, Provence in springtime? I am so there. :D

Last week I was lazy and didn't write out my reviews, so now I have to pay the price and make up for it.

Children of Men )

La cité des enfants perdus )

Strange Circus )

Next )

I also have two books to review, but I'll save those for when I get back from France.

I'm going to France! :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!
Monday will be my last day teaching at the embassy. Tuesday, I start my new job! O.O

You should all read The Lyre of Orpheus )

Also, if you haven't already, you should watch Chungking Express )

And just because I can't only be handing out gold stars today, some absolute silliness with screencaps. Click for PJB: Pretty Japanese Boys )
It's bad: I'm starting to get with tv series the way I am with books, i.e. I find myself in the middle of several at once. At the moment, I'm sitting pretty in the middle of Princess Princess D, Flight of the Conchords, Ouran High School Host Club and Prince of Tennis OVA series 2 (would that I could finish that last one right away, but it's not done being released yet).

On the other hand, I finished two books this week!

On the door-stopper fantasy front -- and I mean that only in terms of size, not the quality of the work itself -- we have Shadowmarch -- a.k.a. Briony Kicks Ass )

On the revisiting of beautifully-illustrated fantasy front, we have Stardust )

Only five more days of teaching at the embassy! It's not that I dislike teaching there, it's that I hate having to prepare classes when it's only an hour a week per group, and it makes my apartment messy with photocopies. After next week, I'll be able to chuck a whole lot of paper into the recycling, and I'm looking forward to it.
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?!



February 2012

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