Film Lists, Watching Life, and Letting Beauty Emerge

10 October 2016

talk talk talk

One of my earliest posts on this blog, circa 2010, was about saving Netflix ratings. I still have that file. I found it in my Dropbox. And now, 6 years later, I used it.

Netflix previously failed by narrowing their film selection to a small selection of popular films around the time that they created the digital streaming service. Netflix seems to have failed yet again by not giving a simple interface / display of user ratings, allowing the internet free-market to fill in the gap.

Upon searching the internet for anime films to watch after being quite life-affirmed by Colorful [todo: add link later], I stumbled upon Letterboxd. I’m unsure why it took so long for such a simple website to form. Perhaps there was that generic list-making website before it?

Anyway, here’s a list of favorite films that I created How bored / habituated to sedentary life I must currently be.

Further, I *liked* a few lists. I *liked* too many. Not good. I over-browsed, over-consumed, over-organized.

But, if your aesthetic judgement finds bits of beauty in the infinitude of audio-video output, then, through the linking of those bits one eventually finds a beauty bit collector! ScorpioRising might be one, as his list As I Was Browsing The Auteurs, Occasionally I Saw Glimpses Of Beauty (also copied to letterboxd by another user) seems to be a collection of beautiful bits. Undoubtedly, beauty (including love) naturally unfolds in those films. And surely, there are more lists out there like it, such as assasf’s list (((.

I think that’s all I need now as far as film selection goes for the next few years. Gone are those early college days of perusing Metacritic, Roger Ebert’s website, BFI’s Sight & Sound, big three festival-winners and their specific awards, and other critic-oriented lists which result in similar film canons (though Kenji’s canon is probably darn good), sloppily adding them to a 500 capacity ordered queue on Netflix, or post-Netflix, a text file. Finding Letterboxd reminds me of my experience with 8tracks, where people discover music and create music playlists as opposed to machines or in film lists: critics, and I was able to freely enter countries and listen to the sounds of that country, without a need to really select what to listen to, spending more time experiencing, less time searching. Now I feel I can continue living life, watching reality at the pace of reality, as I did when I rode my bike when I was a child, and still now, when I ride my scooter. Just watching, nothing in particular, allowing one’s attention to see the natural beauty of the world.

So, if my habits become more sedentary, focusing on information (digital or not; mediated communication) rather than reality, as many modern jobs force one to do for several hours per day, and as desired information is easy to obtain, then these films can save me, alter my habits and attention from the mirror of the world that is information to the real world, remind me what life is like in different areas on earth, inspire me, to go out, and live, again.

Further talking

Kenji’s austere film list is on three websites: Listal, MUBI, and Letterboxd, and in that order in Google popularity. Hmmmmm.

It also seems Letterboxd has a database of films, so many films are missing. Can’t just write the title in?

More lists

While searching for slow-spaced, contemplative goodness, I stumbled upon An Austere List by Kenji. I’m a bit frightened to watch that right now, as only having watched The White Ribbon from that list. But, luckily, I found Slow Cinema Filmography (1975-2013), which derive’s its list from a thesis. Awesome!

Kenji has a list for Indian films! So, maybe, there’s more than Satyajit Ray.

Anthropology and empathy reminds me that one can just search for research topics, such as human condition, urban planning, cultural theory, or hatred of capitalism.

Leave a comment | Categories: Art, Film Reviews, Films, Humanities, Life, Personal, Philosophy of Film

A Thought about Brain Pickings

08 October 2016

I stumbled upon Brain Pickings recently, and before. The page I read was okay. It had lengthy direct quotes from good writings. The creator of the site successfully linked ideas from several writings, usually philosophy-oriented. And it seems all well, using the hypertext system as it was meant to be, like a personal Wikipedia, much like my own philosophical blog, but with more highlights and bookmarks, yet, I never read another page of the website.

Why? The ideas the creator finds are other people’s ideas. She doesn’t originate the ideas from her own personal experiences. She doesn’t write about her own experiences, or how her readings relate to her life, or why she’s reading at all. She only reads and connects ideas through hyperlinks. Though her taste in readings are good, meaning she has much wisdom (and therefore experience), unfortunately, it isn’t enough. It’s merely an amalgam of readings, like a bookshop with a good selection, or a reader book (a kind of anthology), and, like a bookstore owner, she’s not creating content, she’s just selecting it. The resulting feeling of it’s entirety is equivalent to a well-selected bookshop or Goodreads account: an entirely non-personal experience.

Furthermore, her content is limited to books. There are no pictures that she’s taken, of reality, of her experiences, not even of taking a screenshot from Google Maps. In it’s stead, there are only related pictures she found on the Internet, which again, is merely selecting information, and worse, make the content feel like a SEO-whore. There are no video clips. There are no other forms of art objects. It is entirely limited to the medium of writing, which is a very distorted form of communication. And that’s okay, as I don’t put in the extra effort for other forms of communication on my blog either, but, unlike her, I’m not trying to share others’ wisdom and ideas, I’m constantly making them.

Leave a comment | Categories: Art, Communication, Humanities, Media, New Media, New Media Design, Philosophy


08 October 2016

a note from perhaps yesterday, or the day before when I tried to watch Into the Forest of Fireflies Light in a rather sense-deprived room in a library:

keep traveling, keep living, keep reality in view.
too boring, seen already.

[unnecessary content: And that’s the truth. There’s no desire of re-experiencing something I’ve recently experienced, except perhaps as some sort of further philosophical investigation.]

I wanted to continue living. I wanted nature. I wanted the elements to affect me, the stimuli of reality, not information, not in a sense-deprived environment such as a room, office, school, or suburban house. People shouldn’t have to use media to make-up for the lack of stimuli, such as turning on foreign music or artificial ambient noise in a cafe-like space, or similarly comfortable environments. Let the environment be the stimulus, let reality be that environment, then route attention to whatever one desires. Do not go to a closed environment (ex. library, room in a house, etc.) to study, just live, outside, and take the book along, having the contents in one’s peripheral attention, and reality in one’s main attention.

Furthermore, such senseless environments lead to depression. Without stimulus, the body desires comfort (in temperature, diet) and sleeps without desire to live because there is nothing to respond to. Or, it desires a stimulant, such as caffeine, to make up for the lack of stimuli.

Even furthermore, the habit of going to, commuting to, or living in such an environment eventually [period of time varies on how much one was experiencing, {or has experienced in life?}] can create a very mis-represented vision (imagined) of reality.

[Perhaps because memory and attention need to be constantly engrossed and focused on reality, not signs.]

Thus, another argument for nomadism? [Or for the human need to experience {feel one is experiencing}?]

Further reading:

Leave a comment | Categories: Humanities, Philosophy, Psychology

Extending the Life of Super Smash Bros. Melee

07 October 2016

Sometime after watching some videos of Super Smash Bros. Melee (SSBM, Melee), I day-dreamed of a better version of Melee. There were more varied stages that fit the magical criteria of it being accepted by the community.

Then I imagined a mew2king combo someone off-stage in jungle japes, ending in a spike into a klaptrap, which was somehow DI’d and tech-jumped, running into yet another spike into a second klaptrap.

[I also imagined settings for turning on certain stage hazards, such as randall [the cloud], shy guys, and whispy, which all gives players a chance to interrupt combos or a chance at a recovery.]

Anyway, it would all be simple if Nintendo made the game open-source. Yet, 16 years later, not even an ounce of support for the competitive scene. In it’s stead, complete disregard and continued raking of capital through outdated proprietary hardware.

Perhaps Japan’s culture doesn’t value competition as much as family fun, but, when it’s as easy to do as pressing a button, the company’s reputation, in my mind, continues to fall over time. If this were a reputable company, say, Blizzard, this opportunity would have been immediately capitalized (taken advantage of). I can’t imagine any of the game programming to be special enough to be secret, so, I see no reason why not.

With some tweaks here and there, perhaps most of the stages, characters, [, items? stage hazards?] could be playable, resulting in more life without adding complexity (more information).

The result of ignoring and avoiding that decision has wasted much human labor through attempts to hack it and even using a sequel to the game to replicate it. So much human effort often is wasted due to simple decisions by the privileged and/or property-owners.

further browsing:
– results from Googling “ssbm wiki philosophy”

Leave a comment | Categories: Art, Games, Humanities, Philosophy of Game

The Ideal Way to Experience

05 October 2016

alternative titles: The Ideal Way to Travel

Perhaps associated with Time and Space in Anthropology and The Ideal Work.

from a sheet of paper:
live -> area problem -> *(low) work
live -> *(high) art
live -> love (place and people)

go around Taiwan with a group
kickstart projects together
find room
move to next town
[to ideal work]

digital libraries
– teach how to use e-reader, read. films. other arts.
– in squatter spaces!
– [vs public government buildings, such as libraries]
– add sign, no cost
– comfortable space as self-education
– not education / social [? maybe meaning that the space is not social to the locality?]

from another sheet of paper:
50 days walk, 30km/day
France to China
no belongings / small backpack is enough
– no tent if enough friends
– [hmm. I don’t think this is possible. Need backpack with tent, like Patrick, then hitch.]
no worry
– need traveler friends, need to walk around Taiwan

Leave a comment | Categories: Life

Culture and [Social] Development

05 October 2016

transcribed from an old sheet of paper:

travel vs efficiency (medicine, engineer, etc.)
travel vs system / organization (city, social organization)
experience vs work
– [perhaps I meant, following culture vs working toward social and / or material organization aka development]
care for culture vs reality
care for culture
– mind
– **social reality**
– lack intelligence / belief, story
– The Act of Killing, cultural problems
– **no desire, apolitical, state**
– yet happy
– aboriginal singing
– **non-capitalism**
– culture / family [end / category]

– education, resource, intelligence / skepticism, empiricism
– fix problems, critical
– **desire better, political, progress**
– yet not happy
– Kendrick Lamar
– **capitalism?**
– society / help all [end / category]

from another sheet of paper:
[todo: maybe to another post, toward survival-only work, do not care for culture / education, as to allow for all cultures to thrive]
next sheet:
Tainan day 1:
straight to Planett
– thinking about south / east of Taiwan
– development in Tainan vs development in *south / east*
– SE being simpler, more creative, *leads to tools for survival*
– can’t stop thinking about this, social relations with place, like tonghua, small towns, neighborhoods
– gov, non-gov, community
– kickstart vs find / join organization / just live there first?
– or design?
– vs independent art (myself)
– only care for *survival* – engi (social, construction, software tools [personal, commercial, functional], etc.) / medicine (social health / healthcare)
– gov vs non-gov?
– *material infrastructure*
x/- education / social?
– can’t interrupt culture
– i saw it. Their schools suck. Just give computer vs local culture.
– *self-learning is best*

possible further reading:

Leave a comment | Categories: Humanities, Philosophy, Social Change, Social Philosophy

Creativity, What Society Needs, and What Society Wants

29 September 2016


  • Desire out of local creativity / consumption — moving hostel idea, herbal drinks idea, bamboo fishing rods idea, crowdsourced urban / social interventional development VS what society needs — survival, higher [? standard of living?], what society wants, and therefore is willing to pay — learning English, consumerism (commodity [food, drink, entertainment]), etc.

Work can be categorized into those categories: creativity, what society wants, and what society needs.

Let’s take my recent experience in Lanyu (蘭嶼) as an example.

Whilst living there, I had a billion of things I wanted to do. I wanted to forage local plants to make herbal drinks and vend them on the street. I wanted to research into nature-identifying mobile applications. I wanted to use local bamboo to make fishing rods for the kids to use, and tourists to rent. I wanted to use local taro leaves to make Totoro umbrellas for free local use, and for tourists to buy or rent. I wanted to fly fish with a minimal amount of gear. I wanted to have a semi-permanent camping spot for noamad-like tourists to come and experience Lanyu for free, only paying for experiences that require much information (local experiences such as catching and eating crabs and oysters, fishing, and snorkeling in the best spots), cooking catch-of-the-day. I wanted to use Taiwan crowdsourcing website to fund safety helmets for every scooter-owner. I wanted to conduct natural science endeavors — exploring the area and organizing it into information. I wanted to create a DIY repair street stand, for home and gear repairs (fishing gear, swimming gear, farming gear). That’s what I wanted. I created those ideas.

What Lanyu needs is probably a good healthcare system, home water filtration systems, and a good political entity to defend against the authority of Taiwan, a public health system, to help those being domestically abused, and a social welfare system, to take care of the stray homeless, ultra-poor, and elderly.

What Lanyu wants is probably more beer. More kinds of beer. More kinds of food. More stuff. English teachers. Better teachers. Better gear. And just to preserve its culture.

To live entirely by creating is the lifestyle of a pure artist, usually titled hippies / gypsies. It’s possible, but it’s rough, depending on people around at that moment in time, as opposed to money, to get by. Though, you get absolute freedom, and do as you wish, it’s usually hindered in time by the need of constantly seeking food and shelter. It takes some time to get better at this lifestyle. To learn to camp, use a water filter, avoid bad weather. Hippies usually acquire some skill to make money: crafting a commodity, or a service like teaching an art (play an instrument, sing, dance), teaching languages. My arts are game-making and philosophy. Neither of which are popular arts for any market.

The desire for crowdsourcing helmets overlaps with what society needs. If the hostel idea extends to accommodate space for children or homeless people, then it also overlaps with what society needs.

The desire for making herbal drinks and cooking freshly caught seafood, bamboo fishing rods, taro leaf umbrellas, and creating an experiential hostel overlaps with what society wants. People want new food and drinks. Kids want fishing rods. People want to experience another lifestyle / culture.

None of these are jobs under some employer. There are no jobs on the island. But many of these ideas can obtain wealth through the exchange of services and/or goods for currency, perhaps entitling it to an independent business.

A common insult to a hippie’s lifestyle is that it’s selfish, because it doesn’t fit a need or want for society. Wants are not needed, so all want-jobs do not count toward benefitting society. What do societies actually need? A healthcare system. A few technological goods (computers, electrical fans — taking care as they destroy culture). Good families. Good public spaces. A good culture. Goods and good, I guess.

And hippies are good people who emanate good vibes to all those around them, but receive no monetary return. They usually get stuck working in an experiential, social place, like a hostel, children’s museum, progressive children’s schools, homely restaurants, DIY spaces, experimental venues, rural areas, domestic work (babysitting), where they are free to communicate and do as they wish (creating / arting). It’s the experience that matters, and through sharing the experience, educates those around them.

Capitalism doesn’t favor hippies. Nor do many societies. They wander and find their little places in the world, until society forces them out, forcing them to repeat the process. Thus is the nomad’s life.

This may have been on my mind after reading much of Patrick’s blog, a magnificent hippie, and then reading comments on a comic tribute to Patrick on imgur, perhaps the most cancerous, insular online community I’ve ever encountered. Perhaps this is kind of my defense for Patrick’s lifestyle, and in turn, my own.

His lifestyle seems alien to most of the world, including his closest relatives, the indigenous Amazonian people, the Yanomami. In a comment by his father, he says “There are enough doctors and lawyers in the world, and a few adventurers keep us all interested. We can live vicariously through their lives if we don’t have the heart or maybe a pair of lower organs to do what they are doing.” And especially in the case of developed countries, that’s the truth. There are so many professionals, that demand decreases and competition increases. They need to move from developed to less developed. Or, people need to find another way to live, to create — oh those pitiful, boring souls!

During my time in Lanyu (and even in Taiwan), one does get that feeling though: what I am doing is useless, in the context of all societies, or in the progression of social development. Why fish (with a rod or spear-gun), when one can obtain industrially-created dry foods from the market, or even industrially-created fish (through aquaculture or large fishing vessels)? Should I be working in a job under one of those industries instead?

Similarly, why farm, when that is industrialized too (unless taro plants cannot be automated for some reason)? Why make a rather inefficient canoe out of a single tree trunk when better-designed canoes are industrially constructed? Why gather and make herbal concoctions when huge pharmaceutical companies exist? Why sell commodities locally, when it could be sold online through an online marketplace? Why sell commodities when information or patents is what sells? Why do what other have already done? Why not venture anew, creating new media, new art.



And the answer comes: experience. It’s all a new experience to me. Perhaps people have experienced, but I haven’t. The experiences can effect me. It alters me. I let it. It’s life.

And as it turns out, I loved doing all of those things.

This also may have continued to linger on my mind, as while I’m stuck in place without money, I was thinking about what I would do if I were to go back home to VA, and one of those things were to get some more training, of course!; That’s what developed countries are for. My interest was doing disaster relief better (and just being an awesome local rescuer, wherever I may be; breaking the exclusivity of professionalism), as opposed to just drifting through various useless non-profits. This led me toward emergency medical technician (EMT -> paramedic), a wilderness variant of it (WEMT), critical care nursing, and, surprisingly, firefighter, whom apparently are all-around badass emergency rescuers.

Doing good without money has its barriers, yet training usually requires money. EMT requires training for certifications, firefighter requires training at a fire academy, though, one can volunteer in one’s own country’s fire station or volunteer ambulance squads. Accelerated bachelor nurse programs require a year or more of (expensive and boring) school. Paramedics require one to two years of training, in addition to EMT.

This daydream of an idea, which extended to research, kind of makes me cringe, as my mind organizes toward something, something that would tie me down to a certain location for a certain period of time, as opposed to thinking freely and broadly, of all the possible things one can do and lifestyles one can live, whilst riding a scooter around Taiwan.

Leave a comment | Categories: Action, Determinism and Free Will, Experience, Humanities, Metaphysics, Mind and Matter, Philosophy, Physicalism and Materialism

A Japanese Ideal

09 September 2016

Perhaps thought of after watching Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light.

There is an ideal of an idyllic, rustic lifestyle shared in many of my favorite animated films from Japan (Wolf Children Ame and Yuki, Memories Drip-drop, and My Neighbor Totoro [todo: want to re-watch and review]. Perhaps resembling an actual arable area in Japan.

[todo: haven’t even started to write about this!]

from thoughts

To todo: pay bills!

Continued thought for blog posts about the ideal lifestyle:

Into the Forest of Firefly Lights harks memories, of childhood and the ideal of romance. It’s simple, short, and sweet, much like the experience of watching many great short films (La Maison un Petites), but at 45 minutes, a bit more impact than those instant Pixar character development sequences through memory (Up).

One thought provoked was whether this is based on an actual relationship. Of having problems in relationships due to time, loss, or even age difference. It seems in Japan (and much of Asia), there isn’t much free-time, except during those childhood summers, when there’s no school and the family takes a trip into the countryside. It’s here freedom, love, imagination, sparks. And perhaps, there was a relationship during those summers. People do tend to work and forget about those important things: love and family. It’s only when we have a break that we focus on it. All of my relationships have been during the summer too, because I focus on work (personal or wage labour) during the other seasons. I am normally focused on work. So, for me, it brings about some good romantic memories, time spent after summer school, time spent in the park. Innocent, romance.

The second thought it provoked is of the ideal Japanese lifestyle as glorified by many of my favorite animated films.

Though the film didn’t depict it as the other films have (moving to the countryside [from an urban area], building a home, farming), somewhere in that childhood freedom in nature, there it still exists.

During my time in Lanyu (蘭嶼), I wanted to experience and live in that culture: free-diving, fishing, spear-gun fishing, cooking, farming, vending, making things (commodities) from materials. It’s primitive, especially when compared to my philosophic or new-media making past. It’s natural science, as opposed to the infinitely more complex social philosophy. It’s a material-oriented life, as opposed to an idea, information-oriented one (link to material vs information).

It’s what we experience as children: learning what materials do, making things out of them. Less care for social development. **Just taking everything in and acting upon it.

Isn’t that culture? To simply act within a time and space?**

There, whilst experiencing 蘭嶼, memories of JRPGs such as Harvest Moon, MMORPGs such as Ragnarok Online, one mysterious one I can’t remember the name of (link to forums of most recent RO game), World of Warcraft, and the infinite other RPGs I played when I was young came. I acted the same way as I did in those games: I went out alone, learned the environment, researched the best methods, and did things: practice swimming by snorkeling, catch crabs and cook and eat them (a rather haunting experience as they are so cute), catch fish via fishing and cook and eat them, research local flora and animals and make commodities out of them, sell things through vending on the street market.

It’s all quite the dream. It’s all a game. **Each culture can be seen as a game.** People act according to their institutionalized cultured and habits: capitalism, passed-down behaviors, love, desire for social development, desire for wisdom. In the game of Lanyu, during the summer people capitalize through tourism (tour guides, snorkel and diving guides, accommodation, food vending), stocking money for the winter, or continue working by finding a job on Formosa (the main island of Taiwan). Catching and eating sea creatures is in their culture, from their past. The knowledge of the environment only known to those living there, and slowly disappearing due to social development of the children, and the lack of passing down of traditional ways of living from the elderly.

It’s all seemingly primitive compared to the Information Age, which involves tech-related occupations, computer programming; even the Industrial Age is very modern compared Lanyu. Sure there’s manufactured rice now that is imported, and some tools from supermarkets from the town closest to the port, but not much is to be seen from the developed world.

[continue later, getting off track]

Quote from post-film thoughts of Into the Firefly Forest:
> The film is slow, dreamy, like Totoro. It has its magic. It’s predictable, yet I was happy to watch it, and it made me happy, optimistic.

> For the simple things. Memories. Good times. Summers. Natural joy. Picnics. Talking. Sharing. Time.

> I think of all those memories I created in Taiwan, and elsewhere. A happier place. Instead of my cultural theory, I take in the youthful joy. Of the Chinese class, of her, of my trip in Asia, of New York, of the fatkids, of College Park, of my youth. So many memories. It’s beautiful to think about.

> I’ve been so focused lately that I’ve recently stopped thinking. This free-thinking is what makes me happy. Ignore reality, and be happy.

The literal name of the film of Only Yesterday is Omiede Poro Poro, (todo: check name) roughly memories trickling down, with poro poro being a sound-action of something dripping. Poro Poro! With the cute partially rolled r phonetic. And that’s a core argument for living in Taiwan as opposed to New York (todo: link to post): that living in Taiwan creates more experiences, more memories. I’ve only lived in Taiwan for a small fraction of my life, yet as I think of my life, much of the memories were formed there. So many adventures, friendly people, thoughts. When I watch the memories of these films, my own memories of Taiwan, an island not dissimilar to Japan, are invoked. All those people, places, things I’ve done. When I stop, perhaps on a transportation, just as in the film (and many other films from Ghibli), the those memories rush back, or rather, they kind of trickle down, and I desire them.

I want to go back, live them again. I contact the people. I tell them I am really cherished those times. It’s s childish thing to do, yet, so human. During my recent heartbreak I took a ride a scooter from 宜蘭 through 台東 to 台南 and back toward 蘭嶼. Those memories came. I wrote to everyone I thought I may have loved during past time. I wrote it during the phase of break-up whee one seeks comfort. It was pathetic, yet affirming.

I love Taiwan. I love the experiences I’ve had here. I love the people here.

And so I desire to be here. I desire to join another hostel, be a part of the experiences that go in to living in one. I desire to live in Lanyu, farm and fish and vend. I desire to move to a farming area and build a home as was done in Wolf Children. But none can be done alone.

And all of this contradicts my Western mind. My Western part desires to organize people on Lanyu to increase safety, health, and engineering. It desires a better education. Yet, it desires freedom, and enjoys the freedom the kids on Lanyu have. One feels a connection there. Those children are free, unlike Taiwan. They run around town, swim, hang out with strangers.

Can both be had? Can one be rational and free? West and East?

This contradiction is an everlasting conflict.

Why catch a single fish with rudimentary methods when there are huge high-tech boats with nets that catch hundreds? Why farm when there are huge farm fields looked over with industrial tractors and large machines? Why not just eat cheap cereals and skip to the information and ideas? One doesn’t have to fight for survival in the Information Age. Cereals are cheap, air conditioning or even simple fans exist. Why go backward in social development? We should be designing and philosophizing.

Why? Experience and memories. Nothing more.

The West focuses on the material reality. Design. The East focuses on experiences. In the West, the portfolio matters most. In the East, you must provide a biography. It’s not about what you make, it’s what you have experienced. The experience of making is just a small part.

So what stops me from experiencing? My Western past. I often think in terms of social development. Increases the development of wisdom. Figuring out cities. Figuring out cultures. Social philosophy, urban planning, all of it.

What’s the point of creating yet another hostel? I should be pushing art with games for education, films with documentary and philosophical content, putting new knowledge into ever more accessible mediums. I should be in India de-slumming. I should be in an emergency care platoon. I should be doing a lot.

Yet, I feel so stable, so normal, when I am on my own, doing my own things: fishing, making games, making things on my own. Not caring for the world’s problems. It’s taken me many years to get this feeling again. To forget about [ignore] politics is so difficult, when it affects everything.

Leave a comment | Categories: Anthropology, Area, Art, Essays, Film Reviews, Films, Humanities, Literature, Philosophy, Social Philosophy

言の葉の庭 (The Garden of Words)

08 September 2016

romanization: Kotonoha no Niwa
literal translation: garden of leaf of word [?]
meaningful translation: word garden [?]
English title: The Garden of Words

notes / thoughts

desire to do own thing / path, as opposed to what society wants in the form of school and work

goes to nature, drinks beer :). Ahhh, this is natural! Nature and a drink. And chocolate!

romantic scenes reminds me of Three Times

paths of a 15 year old in Tokyo is limited to two ways, “childish desires” or save money and make shoes. A recurring theme in these Japanese animations: limited to paths laid out by society. Such a joyless society, where drinking beer in the park is one’s joy. Only relations, no other form of joy. No consumerism, I guess?
– perhaps the lack of communication is the problem. No creativity, no talking.
– at least, that’s my current problem and reason for depression

woman holding on to relationship and job, far overdue, barely able to get up and “walk” on one’s own
– unable to walk! That’s me currently, or after heartbreak, or after leaving a community, or basically my life in Taiwan. I’ve become so relationship-oriented that I’ve lost my childhood desires (not teacher fantasies).

desire to do personal design / work / art, motivated working for capital at restaurant

Surely I missed her, but…
I think it’s clinging to those feelings that’s keeping me a little kid.

27 years old, yet but [feels as if she] didn’t do anything during the past 12 years [(27–12=15)]
I’ve always been here, stuck in the same place
– hmmm, very possible. Those poor Tokyo souls; Minds trapped by the strength of culture, and relationships. How awful, being a slave to culture, unable to make decisions autonomously. I really shouldn’t hitch through Japan, should I?

Didn’t do anything wrong (when another person falls in love)
– Reminds me of some Koreeda film. Hmmmm, I think? Can’t think of it [now]…

mmm, actually a good conversation of school / culture problem (referring to the teacher-student situation)
– again, east Asian school culture have such close relationships that even teachers are able to get hurt.
– A huge problem pointed out is that the police is useless. Saving face. Just earlier today, I was thinking about how a women would be unable to live my life as I’ve been sleeping outside next to a hot spring lately, because she risks getting raped. How fucking frightening is that? I checked the internet, noticed that the statistics were near 20% for America (WTF, my mind still hasn’t been able to digest this), and 1% in Japan. The problem is that Japanese people rarely report it, to save face, patriarchal society, etc. cultural problems of Japan. Wild. These far east societies really do retain some ancient cultural problems, and they take so long to change. Maybe another generation? It’s so strange to me for it to progress so slow in these social aspects. But if Japan is anything like Taiwan, perhaps it isn’t, as much of Taiwan is old, rural, backward-thinking in oh so many ways (education, healthcare, police, general etiquette, everyday work-life at companies).

no beer sign. Also no playing sign?

classic literature still seems to be taught in Japanese society, if I were to take these animated films as truth. Wolf Children had a philosophy class, Only Yesterday had a Basho poem, and this one includes a tanka, and the woman is a classic literature teacher. This is quite a contrast to American education of science. Of course, I prefer philosophy, as it creates good conversation and relates to life.

ahhh, the joy of nature :) (as typhoon or heavy rain and wind comes in)
– so many memories of this in Taiwan

you saved me.
– ahhh the classic post break-up need for human physical support to move on

a post-thought:

Aesthetically, I didn’t care much. It was even distracting at first, to see the camera zoom out and track, or take shots of random spots as if it were a real one, and having focus like expensive cameras, taking those cheesy transition shots that focus out. Poor souls who animated the thing, wasting time mimicking standard live films.

I probably missed out on some classic Japanese ideas (symbolism) in all of those nature shots. Zen? Them being in a garden. Fengshui? Weather patterns? Anyway, I don’t feel it mattered too much.

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歸途列車 (Last Train Home)

07 September 2016

Just a few minutes into Last Train Home and my my wakes up from the sloth-paced recent days of healing and waiting for my money to come in.

It’s starkly different from watching a film by Koreeda, which is so familial, revolving about love. This film already incorporates space, governance, politics, culture, and so on. It has the bigger picture in mind. Koreeda focuses on house, this film focuses on the rest of the day, including work.

Perhaps it’s the hectic pace, of cities, of work. Once the scene of the countryside comes, I feel at ease again.

Watching them get on the train is normal to me now. All of it is. I don’t feel terrible about it? Become complacent? Lost my ideals?

They travel 2100 kilometers, but don’t experience any of it in between.

You should avoid anything that should harm your study.

The huge panaromas and distant views of the countryside and city really do contrast. Why go to such an ugly city? Why not live in that beautiful rural area? As long as one has access to a library, a computer, it’s okay! Fuck the city. Especially a Chinese one.

Part 2:
Work is work. The factory looks like my first job’s office. Not so bad. At least it has more people, and kids!

Oh, but this times its a child worker. Damn.


Oh shit. That is her!

Hmm, school or work, it’s a prison, enclosed by culture. Cultures don’t understand idleness.

That’s the Asian mentality: I’d rather work harder than for my child to work.

Buying freedom, independence through work (in capitalism). Using time to buy time.

Let’s just roam around the world.

Money vs being there. Being there, absolutely.

Just watching the film now. Not much philosophizing, thinking. The daughter goes home for New Years with a spunky teenage attitude. Loves her grandparents more then her parents. Her little brother places a seemingly mere #5 in whatever school that is. The educators are probably very outdated, but it’s not shown. Freedom through work, the American dream, is looked down upon.

Watching the film, I don’t feel much. I don’t feel my need to change the world as I normally desire, when I am active. Acceptance? Lazy.

Though, I don’t feel so bad for the people either. Culture is the problem, largely. It’s culture that forces people to smoosh into trains for New Years. It’s culture that the parents want their kids to be educated through the traditional educational system. The daughter is the light. Yet, working that many hours doesn’t get anyone anywhere, does it? Maybe the daughter will try a different job. It’s just trial, part-time. Then move on just as she said the farm was a sad place, so too will the factor be. That’s education. She’s moving from the farm, to factory, to some place better. A hostel, hopefully!

[continued on the next day 7/9/2016]
Back to 7-11 where there’s air conditioner! Wow, what a difference! I can think. In not constantly in need of hydration. No mosquitos! The developed world in one room!

Skipping straight in to the climax. Classic. Parent cares for money to raise child and support for education, child cares for none of it, and in a way, is right: she cares for the people near to her: her grandparents. What’s money got to do with anything, including and especially education? That single decision is already smarter than her parents toiling away at non-sense. Perhaps it’s up to her to save her parents from habituated misery. The father’s seemingly rational view fails completely amidst the daughter’s feelings

The daughter working at a bar is not a bad first job. It’s money. She’s doing it right, experiencing slowly, reality. School doesn’t teach it.

The father desires; he must let it go.

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