Tsundere irl: anger, bitterness, and trust issues

I’m going to divert from my Me At 22 series to go through what happened to me last week because it captures who I am now, who I was before, and what I still need to work on incredibly well. It reveals a very ugly part of me, but I realized that this is an opportunity to admit and accept fault, which will help me grow (I hope). Moreover, I’ve been dissatisfied with my explanation of my affinity to anime and tsundere characters in my previous post, and this post will be an excellent extension to that.

So last week, I got into an argument with a friend. It was honestly so s…silly, but afterwards, I found myself feeling angry to the extent I haven’t felt angry in years.

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You know, I was initially planning to cite quotes from our conversation to show how miscommunication can happen. I was going to expertly navigate through what was said and provide commentary on what the emotions and intentions behind their phrasing was. But I couldn’t.

Going back to look at what I had said, I was reliving the frustrations over and over again, and I was quickly overwhelmed by it. And it was really difficult, even though it wasn’t my intention, to not draw sympathy towards myself over my friend. So instead, I’ll first admit that I got angry from our misunderstandings, and provide the context:

I’ve been sharing my most recent post with my friends and family (which btw, has been incredible–thank you). I shared it again when my friend asked what I had been doing lately, and I explained to him that the post was about my struggle with communicating my cultural identity. In response, my friend began to tell me about his own thoughts and experiences regarding cultural identity.

After listening to him for a bit, I decided that I didn’t like what he was saying because I felt that he didn’t really understand–or was acknowledging–the ‘pain’ behind my cultural alienation. So I told him. Or I tried, and my friend tried to assure me that he understood, and so I tried explaining how that’s not what I meant…

What transpired was a series of misunderstandings and increased emotional involvement. Ideas were repeated, earlier parts of our conversation were referenced, and the conversation eventually ended when our patience ran out. I was so upset at the end, and I could barely hold it together.

Throughout the conversation, my friend didn’t to understand me, which aggravated my frustrations in trying to explain it to him. All he did in response was justifying himself and not actually acknowledging my cultural alienation. That is, this is all from my perspective.

I should really say that he didn’t seem to understand me. The nature of miscommunication is that, I don’t actually know. And in either case, what sucks is that, stripping down all the semantics and words, my friend was just trying to help me. I tried hard to be aware of this fact throughout our conversation (and I learned to do this from many experiences with arguing in the past), but it proved to be too difficult when my insecurities were involved.

Yes, I realized mid-conversation that I was still insecure about my anime fandom (because of my relationship with Chris), but I was still insistent on my friend acknowledging that he came off in a way that seemed standoffish or indifferent. I even admitted that I was being emotional, and tried explaining why I was hurt. But here’s probably the perfect example of our communication failure:

Me: Like you don’t say calm down to someone who’s upset. That’s pretty obvious right?Him: I never told you to calm down.

Like this, I kept on getting more and more frustrated in my efforts:

But I eventually started to see my friend’s perspective as well. How he was only trying to encourage me not to feel alienated by letting me know that I’m not alone in this, and how I’m being unfair because all my friend did was respond to the topic I myself brought up. It made sense. I even realized then that some of the things I said in trying to explain my perspective must have come off as invalidating his cultural identity problems.

Instead of my anger dissipating at this understanding, I became even more frustrated. I couldn’t believe how difficult it was to communicate my feelings, and even more so to get a satisfying response. Regardless of his perspective, why was it so hard for my friend to acknowledge that how he is coming across was hurting me?

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And when he did say sorry, it was too late. By that time, I was too hurt by the fact that it exhausted me and required me to be vulnerable to explain myself to him. I mean why do I have to be the one to look at both sides when I’m the one who’s hurt?

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The thing is, at the same time, I knew how selfish and immature my emotional state was. So I was frustrated and embarrassed by the fact I genuinely felt upset over all of this. Next came all the other confusion, regret, and shame.

‘Why was I so keen on communicating to my friend that I didn’t like the way he responded to me? What gives me the right to criticize how he talks? Isn’t my perspective just self-victimizing? Am I not being self-righteous in trying to get him to admit a certain fault? This whole thing is stupid. What was the point of all that? What’s wrong with me?’

What tipped me over the edge was when I instinctively tried to reach out to a friend to talk about it. But it was Chris, and in that moment, thinking of his unavailability towards the topic, I felt backed up against a wall. My chest started to hurt. I felt like crying. I felt anger and bitterness come up. The following is just what I wrote my in journal at the time. It’s sort of a reiteration of what I said but more in a more pure and emotional form:

I feel so alienated. It’s partly my fault but could you guys just try to be a little more understanding? It’s so hard and no one seems to get it. I think I hate people if this is what’s to be expected. How should I face this? Being extremely sad or extremely angry? You just don’t get it.

I’m so angry, and I’m also angry at myself. I feel like no one understands except me. I feel lonely but angry. It makes me want to distance myself from people. Because I don’t want to see another reaction like that again. I tried so hard. Maybe I’m scared. But I’m mostly angry. Angry that they don’t get it. Angry that they get to live their happy lives without feeling like this.

I’m frustrated in thinking of putting in the effort to communicate myself. From what I’ve seen, it’s impossible. I feel so drained. I don’t want to reach out. That person who’s my friend is never good at supporting me. And I don’t want to explain this because I’ll look pathetic, selfish, and pitiful. I don’t want help, because you won’t understand. I don’t trust you. What do you know about my pain that’s so alienating?

I’m angry because I feel like I have no choice. Who will listen? No forget that, who will listen and be able to understand? This is bitterness. Holding it in is like poison. But I can’t forgive those who hurt me. It’s this process of sinking deeper and deeper into a world of hatred. I feel justified in feeling the way I do, even though it’s frustrating. I don’t want to face anyone. I just want to disappear. So much shame. This is obviously like, not a good state of mind. But what do I do?

So… that’s kind of dramatic, but also being honest. As I’ve mentioned before, I like tsundere characters because I feel like they represent me. People generally dislike them and feel that their emotional behavior is annoying and stuff, but… I’m just like that, especially when I’m like this. I don’t try to be but I’m still like that.

There’s a scene from NHK where the main character tries to kill himself, and other people telling him not to do it only motivates him further. When I saw this scene, I empathized with him. This is what happens when alienation drives anger, bitterness, and isolation. It’s quite a poisonous mind state, and most people don’t know how to approach it. But seeing that scene made me feel like someone else really gets me.

Here are some other anime instances that resonates with my emotions:

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First slide: “The vice captain…”
In all seriousness, I do think that this personality trait can trigger, perpetuate, or aggravate mental illness symptoms.

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First slide: “I must…”
This is when anger turns into into envy and hatred.

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First slide: “I can’t…”
This is typical tsundere regret and introspection.

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Self explanatory.

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Sort of NSFW. First slide: “If you’ve…”
This depicts the doubt of others not understanding our pain.

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First slide is: “Often I…”
This depicts putting distance to avoid problems.

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This depicts wanting to be left alone to avoid problems.

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This depicts not wanting to be alone, despite pushing people away.

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First slide: “I’m starting to…”
This describes self-victimizing characteristics.

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Self explanatory.

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This depicts feeling bad after being emotional.

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This depicts some classic self loathing.

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Self explanatory.

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First slide: “is that…”
This reveals the nature of “self-created” problems.

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First slide: “I don’t know…”
This depicts the fact that depression can make you feel like you shouldn’t feel happy.

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First slide: “I know I…”
This describing victimizing, blaming, and how it hurts others around you.

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First slide: “It was so bright…”
This describes self loathing, the severity of which happens with prolonged bitterness.

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First slide: “No way.”
This depicts inconveniencing friends, but in a good way.

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First slide: “At the time…”
This depicts why someone might isolate themselves.

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This depicts being scared of getting hurt again.

 

So the argument I mentioned happened last Saturday afternoon. As the day came to a close, I realized that I had church the next morning, which was an uncomfortable realization. What should I do? I was still angry, and I had fully transitioned into self loathing and hating people. And I thought I would stay in this state indefinitely. How could I go to church like this? Plus I’d see Chris. Do I put up a facade? But that’s so uncomfortable…

So what I did was, because I was told to, I gave it up to God. It didn’t make any sense and I didn’t want to, but I just did it. And I also went to church the next morning, with the spirit of duty over my feelings.

Our pastor David opened up with Romans 7:15

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

That’s a tongue twister but I was like, yeah I get that. I won’t summarize the sermon but it reminded me that the horrible state I was in was not me, and that God’s grace was even bigger. David went on to describe something that would become incredibly useful in explaining my anime fandom:

So many things in my life are special but I never understood why. Christmas is an example. It’s my favourite time of year, but it wasn’t until I was in my 40’s before I realized that the warm, comforting feelings that surround me at Christmas go all the way back to my early childhood when my whole family was together. It was a safe time filled with joy and anticipation and safety and belonging–even though all the other days reminded me of war surrounding us in Vietnam, and loneliness, and shame. Christmas was my childhood’s safe place. As an adult I was able to connect the dots and realize why it is doubly significant for me today. It was one of the first places God showed me that I was genuinely special.

We had communion that Sunday. David prompted us that communion is about declaring Jesus’ death over our lives, proclaiming His authority over any difficult aspects of our life. I knew what I had to do, and I knew how to say it. I went over to Chris and asked him to pray for me.

I told him that I hadn’t forgiven him in my heart for his attitude towards me watching anime. I told him that anime was my safe place, and somewhere I could remember that I am loved. Chris told me that he didn’t understand before and that he was sorry. And I believed him. Chris prayed the words, “thank you for Simon’s strength because it’s something that only he can do.”.

And that was it. That did it. I no longer felt angry, and I felt so glad that I came to church. Chris summed it up beautifully afterwards, saying that, in the end, anime and hip hop are just mediums in which people can connect with each other, and God can use both.

Throughout this emotional experience, I learned, once again, that it’s fear that separates us from love.

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PS

Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of space that reminds people that they’re truly loved. Looking at mindfulness, attention, meditation, being absorbed, not worrying about being and just being, etc…

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Fun fact.  from BTT has an awesome post called The Christian Tsundere that also quotes Romans 5:17. It’s a really good read.

PSSS

Great advice from reddit: listen to understand rather than listen to respond.

PSSSS

Excerpt from Joy Everyday: May 20 – “Jesus Calling”, by Sarah Young

When your sins weigh heavily upon you, come to Me. Confess your wrongdoing, which I know all about before you say a word. Stay in the Light of My Presence, receiving forgiveness, cleansing, and healing. Remember that I have clothed you in My righteousness, so nothing can separate you from Me. Whenever you stumble or fall, I am there to help you up.

Man’s tendency is to hide from his sin, seeking refuge in the darkness. There he indulges in self-pity, denial, self-righteousness, blaming, and hatred. But I am the Light of the world, and My illumination decimates the darkness. Come close to Me and let My Light envelop you, driving out darkness and permeating you with Peace.

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Me At 22, Part 1: Introduction to Relationships and Community

As with every birthday, I spent some time looking back at my ‘fiscal’ year. Although it always boggles my mind just in realizing the passing of another year, this past year–my life at 22 years old–has been without a doubt the most cathartic year of my life, despite my mistakes and failures. If you’re curious, I would like to share this recap story with you, in hopes that my story might bring you peace, and, by the process of writing it down, I would be reminded and humbled by what I was able to experience; I’ve decided that I want to be steadfast in living in the truth that I’ve come to know dearly. Let me pray real quick: Holy Spirit, please guide me through this writing process. I want to be truthful, encouraging in attitude, and revealing of your glory. Amen.

Alright, before I begin, I want to explain and elaborate on the name of this blog–Moonlight Mixtape. Sonically, it’s something like this. It’s this nostalgic and sentimental state of mind where it’s lonely but peaceful; sad but warm. Its space is a warm summer night with the windows open and the summer breeze being felt on the skin. It’s dark but the moonlight is evident. In this space, thoughts wash in and fade away like tides, of memories bittersweet, profound, and sobering. I’ve grown fond of this feeling/mood, and I feel as though this state really resonates with me, though this head space may have initially been introduced to me through depression. The alliterating word mixtape refers to the concepts in hip hop, such as the sampling, distributive, and entry-level elements. ものがたり [monogatari], which means story, was a close second choice.

My struggle to write my story did not end at the intro, and I have spent hours wondering how to present it all. It wasn’t until realizing that I should break the story into its thematic parts that I started to feel the momentum to write again. I sought out for a organization tool and found a relationship mapping tool called Kumu:

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And here it is, the summary of my life at 22. It’s complicated but it’s unapologetically me. The colour orange indicates categories of things I spend time doing, purple are for responsibilities (something will go wrong if I’m not there), blue are things that I do regularly, and arrows indicate some sort of cause and affect relationship. For example, my hobby in music led me to discover hip hop, through which I met Chris in organizing an event together, by whom I was invited to the church I now attend, which is where I met Tim, who has inspired to become a leader, which was a major reason in why I stopped doing drugs. This chart isn’t complete–or maybe it’s one of those things that can’t be–but it’ll do for the purpose of this blog series. Now then, I’ll start at the chronological beginning, with the story of my 22nd birthday:

I’m always pleasantly surprised by the elevation in my mood when the month of April comes around. In anticipation of and preparation for my birthday (which also coincides with classes being done and the summer being just around the corner), I guess I clothe myself in the awareness that “no one is going to be mean to you on your birthday”. I had been becoming increasingly ambitious in the planning of my birthday events throughout the years, and with the connections I had, I decided to host my birthday at a club last year.

It was a quite the grand idea, and I became more and more excited the more I thought about it. I would be the DJ, and I could play whatever I wanted, since it was my birthday. Soon enough, what had started out from wanting to celebrate my birthday with my close friends quickly turned into inviting most of my friends on Facebook, to its final form of becoming the somewhat official “End of exams party“. And if that wasn’t enough, I organized my rapper, DJ, and dancer friends to perform. I was ecstatic. I pictured music videos. I was in the process of negotiating free drinks. Yes, I was indeed orchestrating all of this, and to my great satisfaction, I achieved a 150+ going and 600+ interested numbers on Facebook. I have never felt so hyped up for something.

Well, the morning of my birthday rolled around with the familiar Vancouver rain that continued throughout the whole day. I think I took a bath, just because, and I couldn’t eat much that evening because I was feeling nervous/hype. I biked over to the venue, and started DJing.

Reality was that, by the end of the night, only about 30 people had come. I remember feeling pretty confused and embarrassed throughout the night, as reality completely mismatched my expectations. It was too bad because I kept waiting for a crowd to appear, so I didn’t even get super into my set or spend time with the ‘day ones’ that actually showed up. But in a way, what happened was kind of amazing. Like it’s definitely safe to expect about half of the numbers on Facebook, and this was beyond anyone’s expectations. What really disappointed me, however, was the fact that so many of the friends whom I really wanted there came near the end or canceled last minute.Needless to say, I was pretty bummed out for a few days afterwards. I stopped ‘dabbing’ since then, and I started to dislike the whole hype culture. I told myself that I would start to focus on individual relationships.

That’s what happened last year. And so, when the time came a few weeks ago for me to plan my 23rd birthday, I was set on the idea of being intentionally different. My manic wheels started to turn, and while brainstorming ideas with Edward, I proudly declared that I wanted to “invert the birthday trope”, which got a good laugh from the both of us. But in all seriousness, I was determined to plan a birthday/event that would be radically different, from purpose to outcome. I wanted to shift the focus from me to us; from celebrating myself to facilitating people coming together.

Although I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted the event to be, I knew that I wanted something that everyone would be able to actively participate in, so that no one would be left out at any point in time. I also wanted to create a space where everyone–including myself–would be interacting with each other, so that we would all be leaving the event with newly formed connections and friendships. As a bad example, I remembered how big birthday dinners would only let me talk to the 5 friends adjacent to my seat. I really didn’t want this, and I reviewed the importance of limiting the number of people attending. Another thing I stressed was the importance of being able to commit; there would be no hard feelings if someone couldn’t come, but because I think the quality of togetherness decreases when people drop in and out at different times, I wanted everyone to start and end together.

So what would an event like this actually look like? Well, an example I came up was having all of us play Minecraft while listening to my music. This would allow all of us to play, interact, and adventure together in a single space, and at the same, I would be able to share and reveal myself through the playlist I’ve curated (which was another aspect to the event I realized that I had really wanted–I’ll expand more on this later). Other examples were escape the room, grown adults playing at a play ground, or even a discussion panel led by me, but as usual, money, time, and resources were constraints.

As I outlined the details of my event, I started to envision my birthday as a platform for facilitating the experience of community, relationships, or maybe even a movement that encouraged these things. I wanted this to be experimental, fun, weird, and built off of everything I had learned from the past year. And this last part was crucial in motivating everything, because the truth was that I had changed completely since last year. I wanted to celebrate the healing, grace, love, direction, and support that was given to me. One of the most tangible example of this is me quitting weed, which will be a year on May 22nd (in 2 days!).

I wanted to use the spotlight I had–because birthdays have more obligation power over people than anything else–to really show everyone who I was, what I had been through, what life meant to me, and the relevance and influence of Jesus in my life–because this was so undeniable to me. Again, I wasn’t really sure how to do this in practice, but my question was: how do I show others who I really am? I thought maybe going all the way back with baby pictures, or sharing my music and the stories that were part of each track. It would surely be a challenge, but I really wanted to practice effectively sharing myself, thinking of the methods and resources.

In a way, all of this would be like a testimony. And I liked idea of my birthday being a testimony. I mean, it’s honestly crazy. I’ve become so different in how I think, how I feel, how I look at the world, how I response, where I look, and why I do anything. I’ve overcome so much of my own shame, fears, and doubts. I wanted to share all of this.

So to summarize, I wanted my birthday to bring people together, and I wanted to use the sharing of my life as a model, example, and catalyst to create a space where we could really try to reach each others’ hearts, and understand on a deeper level that we all ultimately need and want the same thing. And lastly, I wanted something that whatever everyone contributed, whether it was a writing, drawing, or whatever, could be complied into a tangible reminder that this had happened. The event would be something among a presentation, slam poetry, counselling group, discussion panel, LAN party, or what have you. Yeah, it became kind of conceptually overzealous.

But this conceptualization of what I wanted my birthday to be was incredibly special because it’s something that I’ve been working towards for a while. You see, when I had started producing music just about 2 years ago–catalyzed by psychedelics–this ‘grand’ idea of being an artist manifested deep inside me. I understood it as the process of bringing something from my world into the world of reality. And while seeking out how I could share my feelings/art with others, I realized that ultimately, I wanted to give people an experience. At its root, I wanted to connect with people by presenting them an experience curated by me, so that at the end of the experience we might stand on the same page.

I started this out by producing music to bring the places and head spaces I resided into life, to convey myself to the listeners. But in wanting these experiences to be accurate and intimate, I realized that I had to be there and be part of the art, forming somewhat of a performance aspect. And communication would be my performance, so to speak. Continuing down this road, I realized the importance of a multi modal experience. That’s why music videos exist; it’s more immersive. I thought I take it a step further by presenting a whole experience, where I lead some friends through a bike course (at night with the moon out), with music playing, and just enjoying the experience together.

This year, Young Life in particular showed me how to be intentional with relationships with the intention of sharing life together (I know that sounds weird). Once it clicks, so much trust comes from this. Expanding on my artistic desires, I’ve since come to realize that sharing life together, then, is the ultimate art experience, and a community is just the regularity of that. Although communities are everywhere, with the right intentions, everything changes. And church (at least mine) does community perfectly. It’s honestly one of the most beautiful places I know. It restored my trust, it healed me, it shows me how to love. It’s building relationships that are meant to share life together.

As of writing, my birthday had already happened. The result? Kind of disappointing; people were late, people had to leave early, people didn’t bring their laptops, people had already ate, and so on. I was frustrated because I thought I had made it clear in the event description… oh well. But it is what it is. I can’t force people to give me their time and attention. All I can do is show people what I think is good. And plus, I couldn’t turn people away for not meeting my expectations. In the real world, navigating through all our differences and shortcomings is what makes a community thrive.

But it’s really okay. I know my intentions are exactly where I want them to be. I can build upon this experience, and it can only goes up from here. Most of all, this post is enough. Being able to derive these intentions are enough. Being able to express it is enough. Having communicate this with you is enough.

I’m still looking for practical experiences that can bring people together. Maybe I’m looking for team building exercises. Or better yet, maybe sharing life together is the ultimate experience of bringing people together. Wow. Am I stupid for just realizing this? … I think not. I think this makes me appreciate God’s intentions even better.

If you’re still reading this, thank you for taking the time to do that. I hope it was a fun read. As always, feel free to give me feedback contact me! FYI, there will be two more posts for this series, in exploring what had happened in between the two birthdays. As far as birthdays go, last thing I’ll says is:

Thanks, mom.


Random music recommendation

Anime fandom parallel to hip hop: my “normie” perspective

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As indicative of my recent posts pertaining to anime in general rather than individual anime series, my intention is to build a solid knowledge base in anime. Although in part motivated by my novelty to the medium, I’m also genuinely interested in learning about it; I don’t want to just enjoy consuming anime, I want to be able to understand and celebrate the thing I love. And in seeking this holistic understanding of anime, I want to be able to explain and share this passion with others.

Myself prior to getting into anime can be described as a twentysomething student living in the Canadian West Coast who would use the word ‘fam’. I never went as far as using vernacular such as ‘mad ting’, but it wouldn’t have been so out of place among my friends, many of whom are rappers. Speaking of which, I would like to call attention to how prevalent the African American Vernacular English (AAVE)–and the currently emerging Eastern-Canadian/London patois popularized by Drake and BBK–has become in the North American popular culture; hip hop has undeniably been integrated with the American society, growing alongside America since its come up.

While this is sort of obvious, at least when you think about it, what fascinates me is how anime seems to be becoming mainstream as well, in the West. Although my personal subscription of media content is biased, I think noticing anime’s popularity is a reasonable observance, which has been especially noticeable in meme culture. And in my frame of reference, Porter Robinson’s Shelter signaled a groundbreaking assimilation of anime into the popular culture, which cemented my anime fandom that only really started (a month prior) in September of 2016.

A semester (4 months) later, I would be experiencing my first time following an anime season (Winter 2017), which–by the end of this week–I will be finishing 9 of the season’s titles. This number isn’t even including many older series I’ve also been watching and… I found myself asking why, as this is objectively a lot of anime. Well, you could say that I’m obsessed (aka otaku), but probably, this is just a phase. I’m not implying that I’ll stop watching anime–it’s too culturally and nostalgically significant for me–but the time allocated to anime will naturally decrease.

There used to be a time when I would listen to at least one hip hop album a day as I felt inspired by rap and I wanted to learn everything I could about hip hop. I actively researched for ‘classic’ albums that I should listen to if I wanted to understand the culture. And I seriously dove right in: I’ve rapped, produced, DJed, and right now I’m even running a hip hop club at my university. What’s crazy is that this only started (almost exactly) 3 years ago when my friend invited me out to Rappers Without Borders, the aforementioned student club. But even though hip hop has solidified itself as a major element of my life, it doesn’t replace people, relationships, and community–and it’s going to be the same for anime.

In saturating myself with anime for the past 8 months (and I’ve actually yet to be satiated), I feel a satisfying sense of understanding for the current landscape of anime. And in feeling this way, I also realize my separation and differences in perspectives compared to the people who have watching anime for years: my appreciation of the ‘moe’ sub-culture. Before some of you dismiss me–although, really, who cares–what I understand of moe is that it’s very difficult to define it due to how diversely it is being understood and used today. And so, in clarification, when I say moe culture, while still acknowledging moe blob, loli, and CGDCT, I personally enjoy its focus on relational aspects of story telling (although this is slice of life), and the clean, cute, and colourful aesthetics they usually entail. In music genres, moe is the bigroom of EDM (generic), trap of hip hop (over-saturated), pop music in general (good production)–and all of these things are easy to consume.

Now, even if I recognize this, someone like me who actively enjoys moe may be frustrating to many. Although I can try to explain my pickiness within the moe genres, I can certainly sympathize with this frustration: hip hop has ‘youngins’ who only listens to Lil Yachty, Kodak Black, or 21 Savage. No shade against them, it’s just that they represent the currently over-saturated and derivative (mumble rap) trap sub-culture of hip hop. But let me offer this perspective, in prioritizing togetherness, understanding, and celebration of the positives: not that we can even stop art from evolving, new fans of the medium are nonetheless new fans. There’s no reason to discredit them or worry about the medium’s demise, because true fans will always seek out for more, as I am doing.

But I’ll admit: I have not seen all the ‘classics’, and at this point in time, it’s not my priority to watch all of them anytime soon (my MAL has over 100 PTW titles). I’m talking abut Ghost in the Shell (I couldn’t finish it), Your Lie in April, Clannad, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Code Geass, Gurren Lagann, and the list goes so on. While it could be argued that the classics must be watched in order to truly understand the medium, I think having this reference (at this point in time) is relevant in reflection of how newcomers come into the anime fandom.

My perspective, then, is when I came to the fandom that was post-Eva, post-Haruhi, post-NHK, post-K-On!, and post-Shirobako. I came in and enjoyed the likes of New Game! and Gabriel Dropout while also enjoying NGE and NHK. I didn’t hate One Room, I didn’t think the Monogatari series were confusing, I agree with the popular opinion that FMA:B is great, I’m slowly watching Cowboy Bebop… and K-On! is my favourite. Compared to modern anime, I don’t particularly like the character designs of early 2000s like in Clannad. These are just some of the ways to describe my viewing experiences.

In hip hop, there is a fairly vague divide in what we call old school and new school, in which old school is now synonymous with boom-bap (Just Blaze) and G-Funk (Dre). The original 80s sound of hip hop is probably called ‘super old school’ or ’80s hip hop. New school is whatever is new, which is trap right now so I guess the stuff in the middle like early Drake and MBDTF Kanye are… throwbacks? I guess it really depends on who you ask. And if Kanye’s 808 is said to have influenced all following 808 focused productions, K-On! is analogous in having created the CGDCT boom that is still popular today. Or was that Lucky Star (and Man on the Moon: The End of Day)?

In closing, I find it incredibly interesting that hip hop and anime actually amalgamates in some crossroads. Lupe and Logic watches anime (regularly?) and Kanye, at the very least, appreciates anime. And in both cultures, music is a huge part of the medium, which is a big reason for me being involved in the first place–I’ve seen entire anime series just because I liked the OP. I also can’t help but love the intonation of ‘seiyu’ (voice actors) and their dramatic, syllabic delivery of lines reminiscent of rapping.

There’s also vapourwave, which stands at an interesting junction between the two, a genre which is the soundtrack to the meme culture, that has the sampling aspect of hip hop and in which many of these samples are from ’80s Japanese funk records. How did this come to be? I don’t know, but it feels somehow catered to me.

Thanks for reading, I hope you found my frame of references as interesting as I did thinking about it. To read up on other personal perspectives, check out Diary of an Anime Lived.


[Source]

Image is from K-On!

ぜんぶ / 전부 / everything

bakemonogatari_nightsky

At the end of Bakemonogatari, this is what Senjoughara tells Araragi while they both look up at the night sky (spoilers):

“That’s everything.

That’s everything I have.

What I have is no more than this.

What I can give you, Araragi-kun, is no more than this.

No more than this… and everything.”

This scene touched my heart. Her honesty and vulnerability transcended the narrative and became a part of my own experience. Fictional or not, Senjoughara’s actions were a beautiful display of humanity and love.

Since watching this scene, this idea of giving my everything has been on my mind. In anime, we often hear the ubiquitous term がんばって [ganbatte], which translates to “do your best”. While there is, of course, a limit to pushing yourself, I don’t think I hear this notion enough in western culture, and so I find this to be a good reminder on how I should live my life — by doing my best.

In the Bible, we are told to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27). Whether you believe in God or not, I think it makes sense that love should be given with all that we have. And I would expect nothing less from God. Even in our relationships, we should strive for love and kindness; we should try our best.

Now the problem is, doing your best becomes increasingly difficult to do as you age. Gradually, it becomes harder to care about things. Things become boring or difficult, and I certainly admit to easily losing motivation. Basically, it becomes impossible to care about things in life without getting hurt or being taken for granted — or even worse — be taken advantage of. We often hear that the way to happiness is to “not give a shit about anything”.

But when it comes to love, at least, I think it’s necessary that we should try to love with our whole being. Otherwise… it’s not love. And I learned that by limiting my giving, I’m also limiting my receiving. Now just to be clear, there is a clear distinction among infatuation, dependence, and love. I am not advocating that your partner should be everything, because they’re also human beings with brokenness and flaws. But nonetheless, we should be striving to give without the fear of losing. The popular Bible verse about love comes from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

And when we witness real love, it transcends time and culture. And it necessarily changes us because when we experience something good, we won’t accept anything less. It’s that simple. This idea of love is all around us, and we can see the passion of love appearing in pop culture:

“Cause all of me loves all of you” – John Legend

“Give me your all and nothing else” – Selena Gomez

And these are just from a quick Google search. But although the love here is love too, it’s not the complete picture of love. Love is not dependant on time or based solely on physical desires. Passion is indeed a part of love, but I think that our pop culture’s idea of passion is often mixed in with sexual desires. And in many ways, this only limits our understanding of how amazing the fullness of love can be. But wait — if love is so amazing, why are we all so broken? Why is it so difficult to find real love?

I’ve mentioned before that I was a camp leader at RockRidge Canyon during New Years. The main theme of this camp was this: we were made for relationships. And as I spent 5 days getting to know a group of high school boys, I soon realized that they, too, have trust issues. Not that this was surprising — unfortunately — but at the same time, it’s really sad to see brokenness in kids. Trust is a necessary component of love, and if trust is broken for a person, it leads to them breaking future relationships with others.

I don’t mean to romanticize kids like they’re perfectly innocent human beings, but I would be lying if I didn’t call attention to the fact that they’re different from adults in that they still have a spark of light in them. Maybe this is a generalization, but I think I have some integrity to speak about this, as I’ve been working closely with two kids on the spectrum for the past 3 years.

Speaking of kids, high school is the most common setting in anime. Even if you’re saving the world, you still have to go to school. I appreciate the fact that in anime, the time of adolescence is not trivialized. The challenges that kids face are very real, and let me acknowledge that it is not easy being a kid; their pain and their suffering can just be as overwhelming. And I think it’s important to have this compassion for kids because we were all once kids. It’s widely known that the anime director (and co-founder of Studio Ghibli) Hayao Miyazaki has a passion for kids, and his work in the anime industry is regarded as one of the best. This is what Charles (TWWK) had to say about Miyazaki’s work in his post, Hayao Miyazaki’s Common Grace:

“[The] theme of children understanding and demonstrating love better than the adults surrounding them is frequent in Miyazaki’s works.” … “He taps into truths that cross the lines of culture, and conveys them with the signature lines of his proverbial brush.”

Charles then goes on to mention Luke 18:16, where Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these”. From being around kids, it’s clear to me that kids’ still have an innate willingness to trust that many adults have lost (understandably, to be fair). When bad things happen to kids, their mind naturally floats rather than sinking into depression. These trusting and joyful tendencies are needed to love fully.

On the last night of camp, the boys and I were able to have a great discussion. It was amazing to witness what can happen when you love kids for who they are, even in just 5 days. As I talked to the kids, they seemed to have been inspired by love, and so was I. And it became painfully obvious that somewhere down the line, I had stopped trying my hardest in relationships, and that this was the norm of our culture.

So how can we establish and maintain a culture of kindness, love, and respect? A culture where asking for consent does not needed to be taught because it’s so obvious that consensual sex is better. A culture where it’s obvious that relationships are more important than wealth and fame. A culture where it’s obvious that money doesn’t bring you happiness. A culture where real love has inspired us to not want anything less than the best.

And perhaps even more so, for Christians, how can we strive to reconnect with our ability to trust and give everything? To pour ourselves into the relationships that we have, with such love like 1 Corinthians 13?

I urge you to all find the answer to these questions. I found my answer in Jesus, but that’s just me. In my experiences, it’s worth finding the answer because having the ability and the capacity give your all can be incredibly satisfying and fulfilling. You deserve this. You deserve love. Because you were made to be loved.

I have a lot of respect for those who come out of brokenness and is able to put faith back in love. And obviously, this is never easy. The fact that I was able to do it is a blessing and a privilege. When I look back at Senjoughara, I see what love can do. Coming from a broken family and a history of sexual assault, she said that she didn’t have much to give. But the remaining “treasures” in her life, she vowed to give it all to Araragi. What more can us humans do? What more would God ask for us? This is all He wants.

And for those of you in darkness, suffering a loss, or feeling the weight of this world, let me say this: there will be things in life that will make you believe in love again. Such beauty is still present in this world.

So my thank you goes out to God. For His glory, for His redeeming of my ugliness into beauty, for His healing of my heart into trusting again, and Him giving me His everything first.


[Source]

Image is a screenshot from Bakemonogatari E12

Sound of memories: summer

kikujiro3

[Soundtrack: one]

I recently uploaded a track on my SoundCloud. To break it down, it’s an acapella of Where Is the Love? by The Black Eyed Peas, on top of an instrumental I made by sampling The Name of Life by Joe Hisaishi (better known as One Summer’s Day, from Spirited Away). As background, this isn’t the first time I’ve tried making a hip hop beat with One Summer’s Day. The idea came to me about a year ago and I thought it would be the perfect amalgamation of the two very important elements of my life: hip hop and anime (representing my Asian culture). Unfortunately, due to my lack of proficiency in Ableton or FL Studio, I had to give up on the project — well, that is, until a few days ago.

I just knew what to do this time. I’m happy with how the track turned out, and even happier with the fact that it’s something that I feel comfortable in sharing. This is a personal milestone and I really hope that this continues. Although it may seem obvious “practice makes perfect”, I remember being downright scared about losing some of my artistic sensibility when I had decided to quit smoking weed. How shall I describe it… when I was sober, it felt as though I lacked the level of intuition I had with music compared to when I were high. This was deeply troubling and caused myself to doubt. Of course, in hindsight, I know I made the right call because what I eventually came to realize — and I think many artists will agree with me — is that having discipline and consistency is much more important than having passion and creativity alone. Having ideas, no matter how amazing they are, is not good or productive unless you actually do the work in bringing them to life. Here’s a paraphrase of what Mike Monday said in regards to how to make sure music projects get finished:

“Habits are more responsible for what you do and what happens to you than your motivation, desire, excitement, hope, skills or abilities.”

I had mentioned before that I had decided to put faith in God, to give God a ‘try’. Well, at some point, I found myself praying for consistency in my life. I wanted regularity in my sleep schedule, eating, exercise, and most of all, my mood. It’s still a working progress but it’s so clear that I’ve come a long way from skipping all my classes because I felt anxious to go outside. Having a schedule might seem like the opposite of being truly free, but I found that having a stable ground to stand on made it much easier for myself to heal, build, grow, and explore outwards.

In the past, I was very prone to losing myself in certain feelings of sadness or nostalgia. My thoughts often spiralled downwards into depressive states of mind like they were effected by the gravitational pull. And by the time I had noticed it, it would too late and I wouldn’t be able to find the way back up. Hours would go by in these train of thoughts and I found myself profoundly sad. Normally, you’d think that this was terrible, but for me, as an ‘artist’, these feelings felt useful and beautiful. It allowed me to sit in a pool of sadness and bathe in it until I couldn’t anymore. This tendency and attraction towards depression was very difficult to break away from, even when I realized that I was starting to drown in the deep end. This is a topic that I would like to elaborate very much on, but I’ll save that for a future post.

Although the point here — again — is the contrast to the ‘me of the past’, I’m not trying to say that the present me as a Christian is a perfectly happy person and that all of these predispositions are gone. Rather, having faith and accepting that the joy and peace in Jesus is the true reality has allowed me to navigate and explore these messy and dark emotions much deeper than ever before without actually getting sucked into them. Now when I swim in sadness, I know which way is up and I’m not drowning. If this isn’t a win-win then I don’t know what is.

Going back to the topic of music, a song like One summer’s Day would have had plenty of triggers for me of the past. I would get lost in ideas of nostalgia stirred up by the song. What I find interesting is that this feeling of nostalgia brought on by the song seems to be a shared phenomenon (though hopefully not to the same degree). As an example, here’s a YouTube comment that was posted in response to a song called Path of the Wind (from My Neighbor Totoro, also from Studio Ghibli and composed by Joe Hisashi):

“Ever think that these movies have a far-off memory feel like you were actually in them? Like a dream? I feel like I actually met Totoro as a child when I hear this music… such fleeting times they were…”

And comments like these are incredibly common in Studio Ghibli’s music, many of which were composed by Joe. Does this mean there is a certain property of sound for nostalgia? How would that be possible when nostalgia is subjective and complicated? Anyways, I digress.

As for me, One Summer’s Day feels like… a day in summer. More specifically, I picture a summer’s day in the Korean or Japanese countryside. There’s a feeling for longing, dreams that seem just out of reach, with little heart breaks here and there. Curious feelings, stream of water flowing, a coming of age. Waking up in the morning and thinking about the night before. These are some of the feelings and ideas of memories incited by the song. With this as a segue, I’m going to mention a few other examples of what summer sounds like to me.

Kikujiro no Natsu (1999) is another movie that Joe has composed the soundtrack for. The title of the main theme is simply called Summer. With this one, you can picture a countryside, where the sun is out, and you’re biking around. You can feel the wind flowing around you and everywhere you look, you see the beautiful mountains and the far stretch of farmland. I have a memory of watching movie as a kid back in Korea.

It was summer, of course, and I was sitting in my grandparents’ living room which was also my bedroom for the summer. My family and I gathered around what must have been a small, ~20″ TV to watch this movie. I don’t remember the details of the movie but it was about a child and a middle aged man adventuring together to find the child’s mother. But even without the plot, I can still vividly remember the feel of summer the movie captured on film. I think this was also one of the last times my family watched a movie together.

When it comes to the seminal sound of summer, it must be the sound of cicadas (you know, the sound from Evangelion). I don’t know about you, but my summers really did sound like this while growing up in Korea. This is the aspect of summer that is blazingly hot. T-shirts and shorts. Time seems to slow down. The sun is overwhelming and the stillness of heat can feel incredibly stagnant. For me, this is a very prominent aspect of summer.

There is a track called Peace Reigns in the Land (Tenkataihei) from Kare Kano‘s soundtrack. It feels like laying down on a green patch of grass staring at the bright blue skies — no clouds in sight. It feels exciting. This is the time during summer when you’re just so happy that the sun is out, and you want to spend your whole day outside. It feels opportunistic. Maybe go to the beach, maybe walk down the streets, or maybe tell that person how you really feel. Why not, it’s summer. And as the track nears its end, it really sounds like the day is getting darker and darker but it’s okay; there’s always tomorrow.

From Nadia: Secret of Blue Water‘s soundtrack: Electra’s Theme. This is an aspect of summer that is slow and kind of enchanting. Pictured is bright reflections of the sun on the ocean as the waves come slowly in and out of shore. You just lay there in the warm sand and just not think about the world for a while.

The last song/piece I want to mention is Vivaldi’s Summer. Other than its title, the iconic movement of Summer, “movement 3: Presto”, reminds me of the sudden and powerful downpours that happen in the summer… in Korea. As for Vancouver, I guess it’s not something that happens here.

Instead, in Vancouver, it rains in the winter, like right now. But even though my immediate environment has been terribly cold (for me) lately, listening to these songs bring me back into summer. This property of music is so interesting and has been applied quite extensively for me. Over the years, as I’ve discovered new genres over time, I’ve inadvertently encoded certain memories and feelings of the time period onto specific sounds. For example (approximately), metal, classic rock, and 80s pop were the sounds of early high school, jazz and progressive rock was late high school, EDM (of the time) was 1st and 2nd year of university, hip hop was 3rd and 4th and… so fourth. But I guess everyone experiences this, so much so that even Alzheimer patients can recall memories of their past when they hear music.

One of my favourite perspective of art is to view it as the process of bringing something into this world that only existed to the artist. As for music, music has the potential to influence, encourage, and empower people, and make people feel understood. Music can inspire joy and help us remember that life is more than just our immediate environments. Shout out to dance music for creating space for experiencing harmony and togetherness on a physical level through melody and rhythm. With all that’s been said, and knowing what music can do, I think it’s important to be intentional in creating music that helps us to focus on hope, joy, and peace — because this is promised. Romans 15:13: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”


[Source]

Image is from Kikujiro no Natsu

Soundtrack one is a generic sound of cicadas

Origin story: TV and I (B-side)

nge4

[Soundtrack: one x2, two, threefourfive]

So at the end of the A-side, I had mentioned that I rewatched Neon Genesis Evangelion after my first year of university where I was dealing with depression and paranoia. It spoke to me, and it forever established a special place in my heart. I felt deeply understood, perhaps even for the first time in my life. Going on a bit of a tangent here, I think that Hideaki Anno (director or NGE) uses his art to try and connect with other human beings because he can’t do it by any other means. That’s just what I see. And although this is socially maladaptive in a very real sense, I see him as a genius and an artist (I want to add here that in my current perspective, the greatest artists are not tortured geniuses). And this is exactly how I feel about Kanye West, but that’ll be a story for another time.

Just as a quick disclaimer, I want to mention that this next part was rough to write. It’s not that I felt hesitant about sharing it, but that that it was genuinely difficult to navigate through the details of events when I was experiencing some degrees of psychosis and my marijuana use was high no pun intended.

I think it was around the same time when I — almost obsessively — started seeking out anime titles that I saw as a kid in Korea. I would become increasingly distraught by artifacts of memories (be it a 5 note motif or a certain sequence of plot) that I would happen to remember randomly. This wasn’t triggered by weed, as I’ve been wondering what the sources of those artifacts were for serveral years, but weed definitely acted as a gateway that connected me back to my childhood memories (google “weed childhood memories”, it’s a real thing). Especially during stressful times, I found myself strongly yearning for a childlike simplicity and innocence.

I was able to find one of my favourite childhood anime fairly quickly, called Cooking Master Boy. It’s a classic 90s shonen anime where you have a skill (cooking, in this case) and you as a kid would go on grand adventures while honing your skills, making friends, and saving the world. This anime couldn’t have come at a better time because for the majority of my first year, I was eating about one meal a day. I wasn’t anorexic — although I definitely had some pervasive self-image issues — I just didn’t have the appetite. For most of my life, I remember not liking the food that my mom cooked me (ungrateful, I know), but this led to many fights between us that led to me forming a bitter attitude towards food. Mao (MC from CMB) on the other hand, learned to cook from his mom, and he always cooked to make other people happy. This, along with weed, revitalized my appetite and made me appreciate the love that my mom had for me.

For a bit, I’m going to change the narrative from chronological to ideological.

One of my biggest fears in life have to do with forgetting. It’s no accident that I started keeping a journal, though this wasn’t my primary motivation. My grandmother had alzheimer’s and it can be incredibly sad and difficult to deal with. It also seems that memory loss is inescapable with old age. That’s scary. As I had mentioned earlier, I had these pieces of my past (sorry for dramatizing childhood memories) coming to me every so often. I’ve always wanted to figure out from which anime the memories came from, in part to remember my Korean culture and heritage. Ironically enough, one of the most resonating and haunting plot/theme that I could remember was about this girl who was pulled into a magical world and made friends there, only at end she had to go back to her own world knowing that all her memories in that world would be erased. Incredibly heartbreaking, for me anyways. I even remembered this 5 note motif that played during when she was saying her farewell to her friends. Well, I was eventually able to find it, and if you want to check it out it’s called Petite Princess Yucie. It made my eyes roll when I had realized that Gainax (anime studio of NGE) produced it.

Similar to this story, I spent a lot of time tracking down anime that aired in Korea based on bits of my childhood memory. This became quite easy at some point, with the emergence of 나무위키 (a Korean wiki that’s a degree closer to Encyclopedia Dramatica but still mostly legit) and many YouTube videos of old Korean anime. None of these resources were present prior to ’10s. I can honestly say that these OP and ED brought an incredible amount of joy to me as I re-listened to them a decade later. I was surprised at how much memory came back as soon as I heard the very first sounds — I felt like a child again. Also, I couldn’t believe how much TV I had watched as a kid (I knew at least a 100 anime titles). It was a flood of memories and feelings.

This also led to my fascination of the linguistic differences between Korean and English, as the themes and sounds of the music present in OP were so incredibly different from the sounds and philosophy I had acquired here. For me, the OP felt familiar, yet completely unfamiliar at the same time. It was so interesting how expressions were translationed, how one culture was more partial to certain ideas, and how certain words just could not be translated. I then realized just how much language plays a role in shaping and even directly processing one’s thoughts. With two cultures and two languages inside of me, I started to appreciate the duality of my perspectives. And although I watched anime in Japanese, in my head — as I read the English subtitles — I would try to figure out what the Korean dub would be saying. This allowed me to affectionately revisit the cultural attitudes and feelings of my upbringing.

I want to briefly mention Fullmetal Alchemist. When I tried to watch it as a kid (maybe around the same time as when I watched Naruto), one of the very first scenes traumatized me. I became afraid of the dark all over again. I was able to finish it, but it was years later. Let me finish my opinion on the franchise by saying that to this day, every time I watch FM: Brotherhood, no matter which episode I start watching it from, I will stay on the ride until the end. It’s that engaging of a story.

Now let’s go back to the somewhat chronological order. In my second year, I didn’t really watch anime. I was back to watching American TV shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. I also took a break from smoking weed for the whole 8 months. A weird thing happened near the end of my second year: a friend from my jazz combo put me onto hip hop. I remember not liking hip hop in high school (to be fair, it would be like someone saying that they hate metal because they don’t see the appeal of Metallica) but that attitude slowly changed. Starting from good kid, m.A.A.d city (because I wanted to understand why this Macklemore person made so many people angry about this album), I was listening solely to hip hop by the beginning of 3rd year (I went all out too, like I joined a hip hop club which I am currently the president).

In the spring of 2015, during the end of my 3rd year, I came upon something that truly touched me. It was the Korean OP of Nadia: Secret of Blue Water. I don’t know why, but as soon as the OP started, I froze, and I had a feels trip. I vaguely recognized it as something that I had caught a 10-minute glimpse of when I was like 7. But I was immediate thrown back into that space. It was something that I didn’t know I had been longing for until the moment came. I think I cried. It was so nostalgic and it seemed to define the happy and adventurous spirit I was as a child — a part of myself I had completely forgotten about. So of course I watched it. And I think for the first time in a while, I was constantly having a good high with no anxiety.

That month (I think March?), I was intensely engrossed in the world of Hideaki Anno (also directed Nadia) as I also fell in love with Kare Kano. Surely enough, I remember seeing the title as a kid, but I mean, as an elementary kid, I had no interest in something titled “That man that women” (translated Korean title). It was a magical month, and to this day that month feels like a very special time in my life. This event ultimately led to the start of me producing music. At the time, I just wanted to share the joy I found through music with other people. This sometimes became delusions of grandeur (people need to hear this, I am what the world needs) while I experimented with psychedelics.

As for my 4th year, I have three words: The Boondocks, DJing, and dark-Atlanta-trap. The bad news, however, was that I failed a lot of courses that year. And the depression that I thought I had finally gotten a handle on, was once again depriving me of life. It guilted me out of happiness, it petrified me in times of stress, and it made me blind to the love around me. And the scary thing was, it consistently seemed to come by around 8pm everyday.

While I had a few strong moments of determination to change my life over the years — to stop eating unhealthy, to exercise, to stop watching porn, to stop skipping classes, to stop feeling like shit basically — it was all unfortunately temporarily. After years of depression, perhaps the worst voice to come about was maybe this is just my life. I felt like I was drowning, and I felt so confused all the time.

So how did I go from there to here? I’m not sure. At the time, I found myself desperately praying that I wanted to change. I didn’t like my current self and how I was feeling all the time — I just wanted to be good and to feel good. For once, I thought it couldn’t hurt to try and actually put faith in God. I don’t know, I’ve been running with it.

Winter 2015 wasn’t without its great shows, however, Rick and Morty was simply superb. What helped generalize my anime fandom was when I saw my new roommate watching Konosuba. He doesn’t normally watch anime and he doesn’t know that I watch anime. But as soon as I caught a glimpse of it, I thought oh god what is this fanservice trash? Well it turns out that it wasn’t trash, but anyways, at this point, I’ve never ever disclosed my involvement with ecchi anime to anyone. I felt like it would be like telling people you used to watch porn but it’s not quite porn and it’s in drawings. Although… to be fair, that’s kind of what it is. But, at the time, I didn’t know how to feel about it. I felt some shame for having watched them, but also, there was undeniably something about it that I enjoyed. I couldn’t understand what it was at the time so my intentions felt misguided. Moreover, I found it hard to understand many other parts about myself in general. Who was I? Why does the me from my high school years seem like a complete stranger? How could I being to explain what had happened with my first relationship? How will I ever reconcile with my family?

These were incredibly difficult questions for me, but I knew that I had to sober up first. I’ve come a long way since my first year of depression, and I’ve certainly learned and healed a lot. Well, somehow, I found myself at a church even though I hadn’t gone for years. It was a weird service, or rather, it wasn’t a service at all. It was the resignation speech of the head pastor saying that he couldn’t afford the housing prices in Vancouver (oversimplification and a joke). What really touched me though, was how the congregation was moved into weeping. I mean even from what I could tell as a first impression, he was a man who really poured out his life to the people that he was leading.

That was it. I wanted to become a that. I wanted to become a leader. I had always wanted to help people — afterall, this was the primary reason for switching into psychology. That and the fact that I really wanted to understand this thing we communicate as depression. I loved hip hop for its ability and platform to encourage people through words. And it was music at the same time. As I took a good hard look at myself (which was long overdue), I realized that I wasn’t doing the best I could at my school, my job, or even in my music production. I was constantly in a cycle of anxiety. That needed to change. And for me to want others to change, I needed to change first.

So it’s now 8 months after that Sunday. And we’re nearing the end of 2016. I thought I was going to talk extensively about all the anime I saw this winter term as I prefaced back in the A-side, but I guess I won’t be doing that on this post. But just to mention my favourite titles, they were: the Fate/stay night visual novels, K-On!, New Game!, Bakemonogatari, and Toradora.

By the way, K-On! straight up changed my life. It accounts for why I’m in the slice-of-life anime phase now and it plays a big role in explaining my personal love for anime further. It somehow even ties together with my promise to elaborate on porn and fanservice anime. I also won’t be talking about this on today’s post but I got my inspiration from a post by Bobduh called Nisemonogatari and the Nature of Fanservice,  Ctrl+F  “Episode 8. Dental hygiene.” There is also an incredible editorial by gendomike (who has now unfortunately retired from blogging) on the broader topic called “I’m Only Interested In 2D Girls!”: On Lust, Animated Desire, and Gender Expectations.

This post turned out to be a lot longer than I had anticipated. I never meant to break it down into 2 parts. And although even I can tell that I could have written some of the parts better, I feel good about this as a starting place. I definitely learned a lot, both about myself and about writing. It has been an amazing past two days for me — writing on the ferry, at Blenz, and whenever I came home from work. It was also such a wonderful opportunity for me to reflect on basically my whole life through exploring what TV series I had been drawn to over the years. It seems very fitting for an end of the year post. Thanks so much for reading!


[Source]

Image is screenshot of LCL Sea from The End of Evangelion

Soundtrack one is [When I Think About the Lord by James Huey] played on piano by Melody Henning Long

Soundtrack two is Ame iro Rondo by Hashimoto Yukari

Soundtrack three is Akogare by Mitsumune Shinkichi

Soundtrack four is Peace Reigns in the Land by Sagisu Shirou

Soundtrack five is Greendale is Where I Belong by Ludwig Göransson