2019 Round Up – Day 12 of 12 Days of Aniblogging

Having discarded my drafts I find myself at a loss for subject matter today. Surfing around a bit it seems as if the theme is looking back/looking forward.

2019 is the first year in a decade that we have not spent most of the year coping with various big dramas and changes. It’s been so nice. In my personal journal from last year my “round up” post basically said the last few quiet, peaceful months have been so very nice. I’d like a year of them, please. And I am so very grateful to be able to say that it has been a full year of peace. Not to say there haven’t been some dramas and disasters and excitement (positive and negative) but we haven’t had to deal with literal life threatening issues as we have been in the past. It’s nice.

2020 will be the start of a new decade. I’m hoping for an entire decade just like this last year. I don’t expect there to be zero drama, zero disasters, zero excitement – DUUDE we live in LAS VEGAS – but let it be things we can handle. Things without literal death threats would be good. (In case you don’t know us that well, my husband has health issues that do dive to death threat levels now and then).

We spent the last hour or so discussing what we want our new winter break traditions to be. Yeah, we actually plan stuff like this out. We’re  really non-traditional. The upside of that is we get to pick and choose our own traditions.

Starting here in about an hour, I’m going to turn this computer off and set it aside for a day of tabletop gaming. Something we love but have not indulged in for, yeah, literally years.

There was a time when I had 12 blogs on different subjects and thought I was going to make money on the Internet. I had over 100 books published on the Kindle and thought I’d make a living with that, too. roflmao

Circumstances forced a total retirement from any form of money making for me about two years ago. Talk about a bumpy ride. I’ve been working and earning money since I can remember. I’m a lifelong workaholic to tell the truth. So this has been a change for me. Anyway – I have not done any writing for the last year or so outside of keeping a personal journal. And that’s been pretty spotty.

So. Twelve days of aniblogging. I thought it would be a good intro back into writing. It’s been both harder than I thought, and easier than I expected. Would I do it again next year? Yeah. I think so. I might keep a little better track of the anime I watch, and/or jot down ideas for these 12 days. Because I actually had a little trouble coming up with ideas. I don’t really like writing anime reviews. Although I love to hear other’s thoughtful and erudite opinions and insights about various anime, or anime themes, etc. I don’t think I generally watch anime with that part of my brain engaged. I’m just along for the ride. I also have come to a point in my inner life where I don’t really think the world has any need of my personal thoughts and opinions. I barely write Facebook posts these days.

It has not helped that currently I have an electronic gadget deficit. My much vaunted brand new tablet bought for my BD in June died four months later. I went through two phones in two months and am now scared to download anything on the third – identical-phone. Free phones – you get what you pay for (and can afford). My personal laptop is down because the power cord ceased to work mid-month – which is to say, when we had no money to replace it. I hope that it will start back up after we buy a new cord, but the truth is, it’s on it’s last legs and I know it. The computer I’m using to write this is the husband’s old computer that only works on Linux meaning everything is wonky and again, I’m scared to download or challenge it much. It could drop dead at any minute.We really don’t have the funds to replace ANY of these items, but I’ll find a way somehow. Meanwhile, I am a bit limited in my ability to watch anime – right as I’m trying to blog about anime!

It is an adjustment. We only recently learned that electronics, laptops in particular, are no longer factory supported after two years. Their expected life is apparently maybe one year. The whole “I need the newest iPhone” isn’t consumerism, it’s necessity. Once the new one is out, the old one has no support and goes tits up within days.

astonished-emoji

I grew up thinking you bought a car and drove it until it died, which with care and home repairs (I’m a car guy – I LIKE working on my car) could mean twenty years. I had the same clothes washer for 8 years and as far as I know it still worked when I moved out. If I pay almost an entire months income for something, I expect it to last more than 12 months. Apparently, that is no longer a thing.

 

firefly
My beloved home is a 40 year old RV. She runs and everything works.

It’s a different world. I’ve been saying for years I want to live to be 100 because it will be interesting. (On MY computer I have a gif from An Eccentric Family that I made where the frog brother says “because I wanted to live an interesting life” but…) Turns out a lot of people born around the time I was apparently can expect to actually live to be over 100. I’m still looking forward to it. But I do find myself starting to sound like the elders whose stories I used to love – “when I was young…”. No, I’m not going to be saying “In the good old days…” because I most certainly think that overall a lot of things now are a lot better than they were. Some things stayed the same. No doubt, some things are worse. I sure wish I could believe I’d be able to use a 40 year old computer to watch anime. Then again, when I had my first brush with a computer I thought the damn thing was just about useless because the program was so unbelievably clunky and inflexible. (uh…about 1980, I think, if you’re wondering). Holy crap – that is 40 years. *faints* For all it’s limitations – I’m pretty sure my free phone is smarter than that desktop was.

So this turned into looking back 40 years instead of one! Ooops.

Let’s look forward then. I fully expect to watch even more anime in 2020. Basically, all I watch is anime and documentaries and WRC rally. Hubby drags me into watching wrestling. I am pleased to now find anime on Netflix and Hulu, but it isn’t going to cause me to give up my Crunchyroll subscription. Well, okay, I already gave up Crunchyroll – sort of – by changing to VRV which gets me Crunchroll, and HiDive, and also Curiosity Stream (documentaries) among others. So – more anime. I make it a point to be watching at least one Netflix anime at any given time, because I want to encourage them in my tiny little way to continue to pour money into the industry.  I was able to see two anime films on the big screen this year, thanks to living in Las Vegas these days. A big city that GETS those special showings. I’m certainly hoping and planning to do more of that!

I really want to expand into more rpg gaming in anime type formats – but that is going to wait until my computer is running or replaced, my tablet is replaced, and my phone is replaced. I have formed a solid intention to purchase an actual gaming console. With that said, I want to bring tabletop gaming back into my life as well. I hope to soon be back to writing and running my own games again, and they will naturally be informed and influenced by anime.

There is some possibility I will get back into writing, and graphics and combine them with game creation. Visual Novels? Maybe. I’ve looked into it but all the super duper exciting and interesting things of the last few years, combined with the perpetual personal electronics inadequacy, has made it all too uphill for me. It could happen.

So – there you go – that’s my wrap up of this year, and decade and my vague hopes and plans for the coming decade. I could sum it all up by saying, we’re in a good space (finally) and we’d like to stay here. Sure – growing and learning (this is a given with me anyway) but basically right here is good.

Last but hardly least – thanks @appropriant of Perpetual Morning for the 12 days of Aniblogging.

May your holidays – and the coming decade – be blessed.

 

 

 

Sparkly – Day 11 of 12 days of Aniblogging

sparkly

At one point in time today I had Kokia singing in Japanese in one ear and my hubby talking to me in the other ear, asking me how to say something in Japanese. I thought about it a minute, worked it out, and told him.

I borrowed his computer to do the anime blog entry and after noting a couple of ideas I’ve had today (I can’t decide which to write about) counted up and I now have enough drafts to get through all the 12 days of anime even if I never come up with another idea. I went through most of the day thinking I have no idea what I am going to write about today.

Here’s a trick that works for me. I notice a lot of anime fans are in some stage of learning Japanese. I like to study Japanese for an hour or so – and then watch anime. I find myself hearing the words, sentences, grammar or whatever that I just studied and mentally putting it into context, filing it away, and actually remembering it. Works for me – YMMV.

I was just looking back through my history at Crunchyroll to find some examples for something I wanted to blog about and realized how many anime I’ve watched halfway through and then dropped to go watch another one – half way through.

Then I changed my mind about what I wanted to blog about entirely. I’m sure I’ve blogged about it before. And anyway, other people have blogged about it. I know, I read them. Don’t remember who or when or where but I know I did.

Since I started the 12 days of Anime blogging the power cord on my computer stopped working, so when that charge ran down, that was it. It’s mid-month so I can’t replace it until next month (next payday). My brand new tablet I got for my BD died after 3 months of regular use. I am now down to my phone. My husbands little computer kept dying and he keeps reviving it on Linux, Umbuto, whatever. Bless them, the in-laws rescued us by giving him a computer for his BD/Xmas. Now he keeps reviving his old one so I can at least blog on it. Why? Because of the 12 days of Aniblogging. Because I’m trying really hard these days to actually finish things I start. It’s a problem for me. You can tell, eh?

I’ve been sick with a terrible head cold for about 3 days. This is a pretty typical winter holiday period for me. I’m sick and everything in my life stops working all at once. At least (so far) the heater is still working. Last year it died mid-month and of course we couldn’t afford to replace it for two weeks.

Somewhere along the line i missed a day of ani-blogging. This idea was always in the drafts folder. I think the time has come.

Perhaps I’ll be able to come up with some Grand Finale for tomorrow that makes sense.

Nah.

 

Watamote Grows Up To Be Aggretsuko – Day 10 of 12 Days of Anime

watamote

aggretsukoI mean, look at ’em – is there any doubt that Tomoko grew up to be Retsuko?

I think one of the reasons I love slice of life anime, is that most of them are as much a fantasy to me as any sword and sorcery tale. I like thinking there are people to whom this is actually believable based on their life experiences. I had a fucked up childhood, and young adulthood that I would not wish on my worst enemy. My school days were a whole lot more like Watamote than Fruits Basket, and my early adulthood far more Aggretsuko than New Game. Which is probably why Watamote and Aggretsuko both can bring to me helpless waves of belly laughter like almost nothing else can. Judging by the comments on Watamote on Crunchyroll, I am not alone. That’s kind of sad. And yet sort of reassuring. And sad.

OTH, I pretty much grew up into Yuko Ichihara of XXXholic.

xxxholic

Nuff said.

 

 

 

Five Educational and Enjoyable Animes – Day 9 of the 12 Days of Aniblogging

I am an insatiable sponge for knowledge. I’d rather sit and watch a day of documentaries than a day of, well, just about anything.

Anime makes me really happy by offering some fairly educational shows, probably geared towards kids a lot younger than me (cough), and feeding my greedy thirst for knowledge even while entertaining me. Some are clearly directed to be educational, some seem to just sort of educate as they go along. I generally enjoy them either way.

In no particular order, here are five anime series that are not only fun and entertaining, but educational as well! I know there are a lot more, so if you have some favorites please do share in the comments!

1- Cells at Work

cellsatwork

The meme pretty well says it all. But it doesn’t. The anime is charming. You’ll laugh, you’ll gasp with wonder, and you’ll learn a lot about what goes on inside your own body. And you’re going to love the platelets, because if you don’t, you just ain’t right.

And, bonus, don’t miss A Real Doctor Reacts to Cells At Work on YouTube.

2- Moyashimon

moyashimon

(Image from Giphy https://images.app.goo.gl/88jzVGw7XUuofGAK8)

(This one’s for you Irina)

Not about drinking, but about a college student with the power to see microbes. He sees them as cute little critters quite like the tiny yokai are often depicted. In addition, he is able to communicate with them. Moyashimon, and Moyashimon Returns is a cute little slice of life, school days anime that also teaches you quite a bit about various forms of fermentation. Oh, yes, sake, too.

3 – A Place Further Than The Universe

furtherthantheuniverse.png

I had no expectations of an education when I started this anime. After all, CGDCT, right? Not only was the story deeper and better than I expected, I learned a lot about Antarctica that I did not know.

4 – Holmes of Kyoto

kyotoholmes

Unlike some of the others, I don’t think this show was intended to be educational. On the other hand, speaking as a major Sherlock Holmes fan, just about any Sherlock Holmes based entertainment is liable to be educational and full of fun little obscure facts. In this case, interesting bits about antiques. Yeah, I like Antique Roadshow, too.

5 – Folktales From Japan

folktales

Not all knowledge is “facts”. I’m a big fan of folktales, from all countries and all times so when I saw this come up on Crunchyroll I had to watch. With 258 episodes, I have not yet managed to binge them all. After an extended binge, I started saving them for days when I wanted something nice and comfortable to watch. I also like them because they generally speak slow enough for me to “listen” with my miniscule Japanese knowledge for phrases, sentences, words that I know. Because I am a collectors of folktales, I also enjoy not only new folktales, but the tales that are similar to those of other countries that I know.

So – have you watched any shows that not only entertained you but taught you something? Do share!

It’s Gypsy Feet I Gots – Day 8 of 12 Days of Anime

Screenshot from 2019-12-22 15-37-50

And that’s the truth.

Kino’s Journey is one of my favorite animes. First of all, it would be seriously cool to have a motorad. As far as I am concerned, all mechanical creatures are as alive as any pet you have, just harder to understand. Well, not really. This is coming from a self-professed car guy who talks to all of her vehicles from the kick scooter to my RV. It would be really cool if our conversations were two-sided. I’m sure they would love to be able to say, “Check my oil, you idiot” or “It’s my starter, my starter died”. It would be a little disconcerting if they screamed now and then though… like during a high speed turn or when you suddenly discover that the top of the hill is a cliff.

As far back as I can remember I wanted to travel. And not in an all expenses paid Carnival Cruise sort of way – but in the stuff my whole life in a backpack and here we go sort of way. Off and on during my life I’ve actually done that, or something very much like that and loved every minute of it – as scary as some things may have been at the time. There were far more fun times than scary ones anyway. My wanderlust is so deep that a dear friend of mine – herself part Romany (Gypsy) – told me “It’s gypsy feet you got, girl, you just can’t stay in one place”.  I took that as the highest compliment.

I was chatting with a group of people once who were acquaintances of varying degrees. The subject got onto my travels and some of the places I had been and one woman broke in with “West has earthquakes, East has hurricanes, North has the bad winters. Life just sucks no matter where you go, so I don’t know why anyone would bother to travel.” Her comment was greeted with a stunned silence and I never have figured out how to reply to that. (Not least because we were in Tornado Alley at the time so…)

It is true that there is a deep chasm of thought between those who chose to never move further than ten miles from the house they grew up in, and those who love to travel, move, and go new places. Of course, I am a traveler – and myself and most of the travelers I’ve known have a very open whatever makes you happy mental attitude about it. We don’t fault someone who doesn’t want to travel (although we might feel a little sympathy for what we perceive of as a boring existence). However, many of the non-travelers are quite judgmental, and consider travelers to be untrustworthy at least, and outright suspicious and probably criminal at the worst. This schism goes as far back as the Mongols and the Chinese, the Apache and the Hopi, or any pair of nomadic peoples and sedentary peoples you’d like to name or explore in history.

I don’t get it. But then, I also don’t understand why people who naturally wake up extremely early in the morning feel they are somehow morally superior to night owls who do their best work at 2 am and then sleep until noon.

The idea of hopping on my motorad with a gun, a suitcase, and a hammock (yay hammock!) and exploring the world sounds like heaven to me. Kino’s Journey tops that off with some interesting stops and intriguing stories about the different places and societies Kino visits. I would have been perfectly happy to have 600 or more episodes to stream and enjoy endlessly. Alas, we got one season. I can only hope maybe someday Kino’s Journey is judged worthy of more by someone with the power to achieve that.

 

My favorite Japanese language learning stuff. Day 7 of 12 days of Aniblogging

Are you learning Japanese when you watch anime? We probably all pick up on some little things – words, expressions. I think it’s almost inevitable if you watch with subs. But I’ve noticed a lot of anime fans who say they are actually trying to learn Japanese. Me, too. So for what it’s worth – here’s my favorite Japanese learning courses and/or teachers.

One thing I noticed as I started looking at different courses, is many of them are adamant that you also learn to read and write Japanese. If my intention was to move to Japan, of course, this would be super important. Also, normally I learn better by reading than by listening to a lecture or watching a video. So I started out thinking that would be fine. But I was really finding it a struggle. Through trying many different things I found a few programs that are really working for me – and to my surprise they are mostly videos and listening. Another thing is that my spending limit is pretty much zero.

Right now, I am mostly using kawaiiNihongo, which has the advantage of actually working on my phone.  I’ve linked the main website, but my copy is through the Google Play store. You can also pay a really minimal fee for a subscription which gives you a few little perks like the ability to easily switch between devices and to download lessons both of which were handy for me since I’m on my 3rd phone in 2 months (free phones – you get what you pay for) and because this way I can download lessons for when I don’t have free wifi wherever I happen to be and I’m not at home. KawaiiNihongo features a fox spirit girl and her friends and has both lessons based on flashcards and a few games which are great for practice whenever you have a free minutes sitting around in a waiting room or riding the bus.

One of my all time favorite teachers is George Trombley of Japanese From Zero. I’ve linked the YouTube channel which is where I began, but there is also a website and a Patreon account you could join. The videos up on YouTube are free to watch, which fits into my budget quite nicely! However, if you can afford ten bucks or so a month, the website is nice to keep track of your progress and again, games as well as other practice stuff like tests. He also has a series of books you can purchase in a number of places. I have a couple of them, but truthfully the videos fit better into my life right now. What attracted me to this is he is quite funny at times, and has a lot of stories of his experiences to share which make the vocabulary and grammer more memorable for me.

That Japanese Man Yuta started out making interesting videos about Japan, dating in Japan, and so forth and it seems to have sort of morphed into language lessons as well. Lessons in Japanese, from a Japanese person, living in Japan – who is less academia and more daily life. He does now offer a language course which is out of my financial range, but I think it is probably worth it. His videos are interesting and memorable and adds another dimension of daily life in Japan if you find yourself interested in that.

So that’s what I’m using at the moment. Inexpensive, interesting, and handy. Not for someone who is studying intently trying to learn the entire language in six weeks for a business trip – but perfectly fine for someone who is learning in fits and starts and often is looking for an answer to a particular question or phrase or word or simply something interesting to learn about Japan. Not to mention on a very limited budget.

Maybe this will help someone else. Blessedbe.

Sorry for the boring no pictures post. I’m not up to wrangling copyright worries today. Rotten cold.

 

My Top Ten Favorite Anime Songs – Day 6 of 12 days of Aniblogging

One thing I did not expect when I started watching anime, was to fall in love with so many great songs – many of which I can’t understand a word of.  Some I love for the meolody, or the voice(s) singing, some because they are happy, others because they are haunting, or inspiring. In no particular order, because I’m terrible at that kind of ranking and I hate having to do it – my personal top ten favorite anime songs.

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2-

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4-

5-

6-

7-

8-

9-

10-

Some, no doubt, also get some love for being the opening of a much loved show. Others – one in particular – is the opening for a show I don’t even especially like (I dare you to guess which one). I thought I wouldn’t be able to get ten – and now that I’m thinking about it, I could probably come up with a few more. What is your favorite anime song?