9.27.2007

(DON'T) STOP ALL THE DOWNLOADING - UPDATED

EDIT: Since I wrote this post Apple has lowered the price of their DRM free music to match the price of their DRM poisoned product. While I still don't agree with DRM, because they have now priced them the same I rescind my earlier call to stop pruchasing from the Apple iTunes music store. Not that you HAD to listen to me anyway or anything. Just letting you know I changed my mind. (^_^) But please please please, still buy only DRM-free music. Do not buy DRM infected products. Tell the big companies you won't support their efforts to take what you've rightfully paid for away from you. Thanks for listening to my rant.

Here's the old post for posterity and honesty:
...from the iTunes store.

I know I said I was going to keep this blog about Japan from now on, but this is too important to me.

Download your music from Amazon from now on...it's cheaper (in most cases) and the files aren't riddled with DRM poison. Or pick another DRM-free service.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE

Stop supporting Apple's BS music store.

Thank you for your time.

9.17.2007

My Review Of Evangelion Shingekijouban: Jo

So yesterday was a beautiful rainy day. Mao and I went to Hiroshima to see the first film in the new Evangelion tetralogy. I was a little wary going into this, because I wasn't sure if Anno was pulling a Lucas or something. However it turns out my fears were unfounded.

Evanglion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone was fantastic. It was essentially a retelling of episodes 1-5 of the TV series, however the story was slightly truncated and the animation was spruced up to make it seem more cinematic. And honest to god...it worked! I was concerned about some of the visual redesigns...but once you see the new Ramiel (in fact, the whole Operation Yashima battle) you will literally poop your pants.

Another thing I really liked was the fact that certain stylistic and narative changes were made to give Shinji a little more agency. Instead of the simpering little weenie, he now seems much more like your average, rebellous teenager. I think this was Anno reacting to his audience. Since we can essentially read Shinji as a surrogate for Anno, when he created the TV series he was a weak and broken man...he didn't have a lot to live for, and hence Shinji came off the same. But now that Eva is this huge success he can go back and reinvent himself as "the hero."

SPOILER ALERT!!!

The biggest changes to the story come in the fact that Nerv and most of the Nerv staff know full-well that they're housing Lilith in Terminal Dogma. Lilith itself has some distinct stylistic changes from the TV series, specifically the mask on it's face. In fact, during Shinji's crisis of faith before Operation Yashima, Misato actually takes him down to Terminal Dogma and explains Lilith and it's relation to humanity.

Also, the very last scene of the film involves Keel Lorenz awakening Kaoru on the Moon next to what appears to be the body of Lilith as it appears in the TV series...which I guess you're meant to assume is actually Adam. Kaoru says "I'm looking forwand to meeting you Shinji Ikari," and the movie ends with a "To be continued..."

Also, after the credits there's a classic Eva-style "Next Episode" trailer with footage from the next movie. It appears that not only will Kaoru be introduced to the story earlier as in the manga, but Asuka will also be introduced in a different way than the original series. There's also a brief flash of what we're made to assume is going to be Kaoru's Eva which looks like a mix between one of the prototypes and one of the mass-production models.

END SPOILERS!!!

All I can say is that I am so looking forward to these films now. There is nothing like watching Eva on the big screen. I had a smile glued across my face from the moment the film started yesterday until, well, now...I'm still smiling.

Oh, and the Utada Hikaru single that served as the theme song is bumping as well. Holler at "Beautiful World" as soon as you get a chance. I like that fact that not only is she pretty and talented and an Eva fan, but that she writes and records all her own music. My kind of pop star.

So yeah, I'm not sure when this ish is going to make it over to the States, but I highly recommend it to all Eva fans and Eva newbies alike, as you don't need to know the original story at all to enjoy it.

Word.

9.08.2007

Awesome Stuff

I forgot to post this before, but this was the sign Ben made for my arrival in America:

Best Welcome Ever

Best. Welcome. Home. Ever.

And as a preview of my Sports Day pics, here is probably the best picture I've ever taken:

Probably My Best Photo

I think I'll call it "Elated Boys Abduct Crying Child"...it's a real keeper.

More to come.

9.06.2007

Sports Day Week

It nevers ceases to amaze me how little learning goes on in a Japanese school. Of course I say "learning" with my own cultural bias for what the word actually means...which does NOT include skipping a whole week of school to practice for "Sports Day."

Sports Day is something that every Japanese kid knows and loves. It's a day of wacky games, cheers, and relay races. It's essentially the same as an American "Field Day"...only we stop doing them after elementary school and they keep right on going through high school.

Currently my school is in the middle of a week (a whole WEEK) of preparing for this event. Not to mention the preparations that already started over the summer holiday. There has been no class this week at all, only constant practice. Today was the "rehersal" for Sports Day in which we actually HAD A SPORTS DAY. That's right. We ran through the WHOLE THING. Crossed every "t"...etc. It was ridiculous.

Today my kids were going at it so hard that there were no less than three injuries...AT THE REHERSAL! The most serious one involved two boys who were doing the piggyback relay. They fell forward while running at top speed and the rider bit it pretty hard. He landed face first in the dirt, got up, dry-heaved, and then got right back on the horse and finished the damn race. I saw him afterward and he had a huge raspberry lookin' thing on his chest. I mean I respect his tenacity, but DAMN.

I mean clearly this all has to do with the insane Japanese need for perfection in all things. Preperashun is crushal here. Most meetings involve little planning and are simply people reporting what was already decided BEFORE the meeting...it's crazy I know...but that's how they do it. Today the teachers actually had a serious sit-down meeting about how the rehersal went...criticizing the flaws, nitpicking about where people should stand during this part, that part, etc. It was surreal. I'd love to see a group of Japanese people just DO SOMETHING for once without sitting around a planning the fun out of it for a week.

Oh, and it goes without saying that I'd rather the kids were learning during the school week...but alas...it's not in the cards.

9.03.2007

1000 Gomens

Sorry for the extended (nearly 2 month!) vacation. I'll be back to actually posting ASAP. However, you may notice some changes to Japanic! this year. For one I'm going to do away with a lot of the extraneous bs that I post, focusing mostly on what happens over here in Japan. I just don't have enough time to update this blog with opinion pieces and whatnot anymore. Plus I'm relatively sure that's not what people come here to see anyway.

So yeah. More Japan...more pictures...but probably not more posts. So add me to your RSS feed already.