Orange anime series and my Japanese inclination for such stories

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Orange has been on my list since late last year while I was occupied with Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April). I’ve been listening to its soundtrack from early this year without having even started the anime series and now it’s on repeat again as I’m finally watching it.

Stories such as (depression and suicide) Orange tend to have gravitational pull towards me. It’s been a strong predilection for me but my very first venture and exposure to such themes was when I read Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami back in college (Thanks to a college classmate’s recommendation). In this, three people committed suicide — Kizuki, who killed himself when he was 17, Reiko, and then eventually Naoko who had been struggling with the loss of Kizuki.

Then in Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, which is now my favorite Murakami novel, there’s also suicide and depression with the character of Shiro.

With anime both series and films, such examples among my favorites are 5 Centimeters per Second’s Takaki, Ao Haru Ride’s Kou, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso’s Kousei, Koe no Katachi’s Shoya and Shouko, and then this anime series — Orange with Kakeru, which is set to become among my favorite anime series.

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Apart from the same themes, these are all Japanese. Even Kizuki’s suicide and Kakeru’s suicide in the alternative timeline are similar — both are 17.

Depression and suicide are highly complex because both are psychological and even more difficult to explain than any kind of medical illness.

I’m starting to wonder why I have so much attachment to characters and stories with the said elements. On my take, it’s something I deeply contemplate about. A close friend said, it’s because it’s something I can understand but perhaps it’s more than that.

The Gift of Books, Itachi and Sasuke Goodies

I’m writing this post at 11:15pm, Dec. 31st just before everything starts over again.

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I’m thankful for these great gifts of experience, adventure and knowing great people who are like real friends to me; although they’re fictional people. Most of the time, these people are the kind of people I’d really like to meet and be friends with. They’re the kind who are not so easy to find in the human world, so I’m really grateful for these wonderful stories of life, of love, of friendship, and everything else in between.

The most memorable character for me this year is Tsukuru Tazaki. He’s so close to who I am and I feel so connected with his story, despite not exactly having the same dilemma and ordeal he had to go through.

At present, I’m reading my first non-fiction book and travel related  one but still so Japanese. I’m enjoying it a lot, having to know more about the country I hold so dearly – my favorite country Japan.

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I also thank my Uncle Luvin from the States, who paved the way for me to be able to get Haruki Murakami’s latest release – The Strange Library; as well as this very beautiful (Naruto) Itachi messenger bag and this bad-ass looking Sasuke’s Eternal Mangekyou Sharingan necklace. But of course, before Uncle Luvin; it is God I have to thank for all these.

This year might not have been the best with an unfortunate event, but I’m looking forward to starting over again. I do not want to promise, instead I will keep on trying and learning from mistakes everyday; and hoping my Christmas wish that I always prayed for during the nine-day Misa de Gallo mass will be awarded to me by God this new year.

Happy New Year everyone and God bless!

Updating this post with some photos earlier during the New Year’s Eve dinner or media noche. Well, I don’t usually post photos of myself but it won’t hurt to do once in a while. I had to take the photos myself and I’m not so good with taking selcas; as I’m not with any family member, but it’s still good. And since I’m not photogenic, I had to take a couple of shots to finally capture some decent ones.

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I suddenly noticed earlier that my glasses and my shirt are the same color. That was not intentional.

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The only ones I personally prepared are the macaroni salad and the ham. The apple crumble, chicken and pancit malabon were take-out orders.

The candles, they’re called prosperity candles. I’m not sure if this tradition is done elsewhere too, but the practice is you light all (7) candles: red (health), blue (peace), yellow (intelligence), violet (spiritual growth), pink (love), green (money), and orange (career) at 11:30pm and put them out at 12 midnight. The smallest candle or the one that melted the quickest symbolizes the good fortune that the new year will bring you first, followed by the rest.

It’s really hard though to decipher which one is the smallest since the candles got a little mixed up when they melted. But I think orange is the smallest, then pink, blue, green, red, violet and yellow.

Orange is for career, hurray! I think this one got me a little excited, crossing my fingers and praying it will be. Pink for love, but not so much a priority. Blue for peace, oh yes peace of mind. Green for money, so I could travel more and buy more books; and Naruto manga and some goodies, and save more. Red for health, good health is always a blessings. Violet for spiritual growth, guidance from God. And last but not the least, yellow for intelligence; to learn new things and new experiences for the mind, body and soul intellect.

First Thoughts – Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

I recall being so excited when I first read a synopsis of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage last year. I knew it from then that it is something I should get my hands on and will be included in one of my best Murakami books.

I did not have this particular reaction with 1Q84 though when I first heard about it. I don’t really know what is wrong with the story that somehow it doesn’t appeal to me, for now maybe. Maybe it’s just my taste or maybe something is wrong with me that I’m not all excited with what it is about.

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Picture credits to kmn04books.wordpress.com

After finishing Claire Tomalin’s Invisible Woman yesterday, I started reading Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki earlier over a rice cake and hot chocolate.

I particularly love this passage on page 8.  A unique sense of harmony developed between them – each one needed the other four and, in turn, shared the sense that they too were needed. The whole convergence was like a lucky but entirely accidental chemical fusion, something that could only happen once.

At this early part of Tsukuru’s story, I identify with some qualities of his friend Shiro, whose family name means ‘white root.’ She’s slim and tall, with a model’s body, graceful features of a traditional Japanese doll, with silky lustrous long black hair, a skilled pianist, a serious person, dislikes drawing attention to herself, beautiful, and dreams of becoming a vet.

And while I don’t have a model’s body nor features of a Japanese doll, not even a long silky black hair, nor am I beautiful or a skilled pianist, and does not dream of becoming a vet; but as I picture her in my mind and the things we have in common, I think if she’s ever real I can really be good friends with her.

But still, I connect the most to Tsukuru who views himself having no special qualities or a striking personality, a weird kid, with incurable boredom, whose only real interest are train stations, and who thinks there is something about him that is not exactly normal.

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It is like getting to know someone who thinks the same way as I am. I don’t particularly have his profound adoration to train stations but I do love beautiful train stations like HongKong’s MTR – I adore it. I can literally spend all day hopping on and off at every station. One reason I also love the cover design of the book is the use of train station colors and stops. I could say I’m an average train station enthusiast compared to Tsukuru. However, we both have the same view of thinking that we are colorless.

A big thanks to my brother Jorge who bought the book for me.

photo credits panorami.com

photo credits panorami.com

So many books, so little money

I managed to still go check out the books at the Manila International Book Fair on its last day today. Good thing, they had the book fair extended until 10pm for those who didn’t make it yesterday or Friday due to the typhoon.

Last year, I bought one novel “Please Look After Mother” by Shin Kyung-sook; Naruto Vol. 62 although I bought this one at the anime convention; one book from OMF Literature; two from Black Ink Comics; one chick-lit that I gave to Salia; and three from Lampara. 

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This time, however, I decided to go with two novels: Haruki Murakami’s “Blind Willow Sleeping Woman” because it’s my first Murakami short story collection and Shin Kyung-sook’s “I’ll Be Right There,” because I think it’s as good as the the first book of her I read or even better. And because I bought two novels, it’s more expensive but both came with discounts. I was still able to save from the discounts.

Now, I’ve got a line-up of books waiting to be read with these two new additions. I still have yet to finish “The Invisible Woman,” although I’m halfway there.  And my copy of “Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” by Haruki Murakami, courtesy of my brother Jorge and my aunt Mary Ann will be arriving soon. These two will have to wait a little longer, as I’ve decided to read “Tsukuru Tazaki” after “The Invisible Woman.”

And last but not the least, I got these really cute To-Do List ng Pasaway and Chorva pads from Tahanan Books. I so love their paperbag, so I decided to buy the bigger notepad so I can have one.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to buy any manga this time. I just recently bought a hefty and expensive one with Rurouni Kenshin Big Volume 6 during the Asian Premiere of Kyoto Inferno. I almost wanted to get one earlier but I didn’t have enough with me. I decided as well to not attend the Best of Anime Convention this time. I find the entrance ticket quite expensive really. Although if I arrived much earlier today, I still would have checked it out. What I like about the convention are the live performances and the manga library courtesy of the Japanese Foundation. Last year, I bought Naruto Vol. 61 at the convention, although I saw a pile of manga titles at the Fully Booked booth but I had to decide between another novel and one manga.

If only the organizers decided to extend the anime convention, especially since most people couldn’t come due to the bad weather. The same thing goes for the Manila International Book Fair, as there are requests on Facebook to have it extended until next week because they couldn’t come. As for me, I’m lucky because I was still able to go to one of the events.

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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

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Found out today that Murakami’s new book “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” published just this April will be translated in English first half next year as I was reading an Inquirer article about him being a favorite for Nobel Prize.

According to yukaripeerless.ca, “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” is a story of Tsukuru, who was a part of a group of five high school best friends. They were all in a high school in Nagoya, two girls and three boys. They were inseparable. Four kids out of five had a color in their names. Mr. Red, Mr. Blue, Miss White and Miss Black. Tsukuru’s last name is Tazaki – a relatively normal family name without any color in it -hence, he is “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki”.

I’m serious I’m going to like this one. Kinda reminds me of Norwegian Wood too but still very much different. I haven’t read 1Q84 and I don’t know if I’ll ever read it. I still remember how Paolo, my college classmate recommended me Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World but I ended up buying Norwegian Wood.

I especially like this quote too.  When he quotes, it just hits you.

“Then finally he was able to accept everything. Tsukuru Tazaki understood it at the bottom of his soul. People’s hearts are not linked only by harmonies. Rather, they are connected deeply by scars and scars. Tied by pains, and by vulnerabilities.”

— Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage – Haruki Murakami