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Miyazaki comes out of retirement!

There’s pretty much nothing more exciting in the world of nerd-dom than a hint or even a rumor of a new Miyazaki movie. And now it’s coming true!

 

I am so excited for this. I’ve been obsessed with Miyazaki since I was in Jr. High, when I first saw Princess Mononoke. I love the english-dubbed versions, and I’ve also watched the japanese ones with subtitles, which are just as great (since you’re really hearing it the way he intended).

I was super sad when he announced that he was retiring a couple years ago. Miyazaki said he was done with making big movies that took years to produce, and he wanted to focus more on smaller projects, short movies, and special stories that weren’t quite as elaborate to tell.

 

In a recent Japanese TV documentary, Miyazaki is interviewed and quoted as being very disappointed with one of his short projects in its 12-minute form, and wanting to start making it into a full-length feature film! Apparently, he’s already started work on the bigger version, even though it hasn’t been officially confirmed yet outside of that documentary. He said he’s not sure how long it might take to finish, but he wants it to be done for the 2020 Olympics in Japan.

 

I’m so, so excited. SO excited. It’s called Kemushi no Boro, which means “Boro, the caterpillar” in Japanese, and it’s all about a tiny caterpillar. Sounds good to me-it sort of sounds like a Roald Dahl book, which isn’t anything to be ashamed of. Here’s the article I found it in: http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/14/13621108/hayao-miyazaki-last-film-boro-the-caterpillar

 

He’s been working on this story for more than 20 years, apparently. That’s a relief to me, because I’m so wary of sequels and surprise new project these days. I mean, look at Rogue One, or the story of Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman. I have to admit, I ended up reading Watchman in the end. I told myself I wouldn’t because of the circumstances it came out under, but I thought it was excusable just to be able to talk about it objectively. And I think that in the end, it’s pretty obvious that it was never meant to be published, and that Lee would never in her right mind have put it out in that state, especially since she had been adamant about never publishing again until immediately after her protective sister died. Ugh.

 

Anyway, I trust Miyazaki completely. And my faith in creators like him has been restored thanks to J.K. Rowling. Fantastic Beasts is one of my favorite movies ever now, and it didn’t feel at all like a retread or a bid for money, which is more than I can say for the Hobbit movies, much to my dismay. God, I wish they had given Peter Jackson more time on those!

Well, up to 5 years is a long time to wait with bated breath, so I’m not gonna say I’ll be anxious from now until it comes out. Still,  it’s comforting to know that Miyazaki is hard at work. It sort of makes it feel like everything’s right with the world.

 

Yay!

Feeling like an manga hero through nutrition and fitness: why I got into juicers and fish oil supplements to try to be more like my favorite warriors

Hi guys!

 

Another day, another blog post, right?

 

I actually have something a bit different to talk about today, which I hope is interesting for you as well!

 

I know I don’t usually talk too much about my personal life aside from manga and Japanese culture, but I think it’s important to share with you how my media obsessions have helped me get through some of the struggles I’ve had in the past few years.

 

In my anthropology classes, we talked about different food cultures around the world. Obviously, I was mostly interested in the Japanese traditions. And they’re so much more than sushi, trust me. It turns out that the Japanese have wildly longer lifespans than pretty much any Western culture, even longer than people in the Mediterranean!

That’s down to how many greens they eat, especially from seaweed and kelp. It’s also because they eat so much fish, which has beneficial oils that are even better than olive oils. They also don’t have any cheeses or sausages or any of the other really saturated fats and processed animal products that we eat all the time and accept as normal. Anyway, after I started my pseudo-Japanese diet, there’s no other way to say it, I started feeling like I really could conquer the world.

 

Anyway, a time rolled around last year when I just felt completely miserable cooking the millionth pot of pasta in my apartment, and I thought, why am I doing this? This isn’t making me happy. So I made an appointment with the campus nutrition counselor, and she suggested that I get into juicing, since the main reason I was eating unhealthy food was that I was always in a hurry. I started with that, just throwing in carrots and apples and that sort of thing. Now I make fresh juice at least once a day, with what I found was the best juicer for citrus fruits as well as leafy greens, using this site: http://bestjuicerreviews.xyz/top-slow-masticating

 

I’m currently in my third year of college. When I left high school, I was like so many nerdy kids, very pale, never worked out in my life, horribly insecure about my body. That definitely continued into college, but I made a decision last year that I didn’t want to keep on feeling like this, physically and emotionally.

 

So I signed up for my school’s Quidditch club, yes there was one, and told myself I was going to get fit one match at a time. I also ended up taping up pictures of my favorite manga women heroes to give me some body image goals to work toward.

 

This is going to sound a bit ridiculous, but hey, that whole Secret book was all about using visual inspiration.

 

I told myself it was what heroes did. When I drank my juices, I thought the same thing. And it’s a bit funny and absurd, but it really worked. I still think the same thing when I’m staying on track today, I have this ridiculous internal monologue of “stay in bed? do heroes stay in bed? No. Get yourself out of bed NOW! There are worlds to save!

 

Then I started to go hardcore. I got some fish oil supplements and I started adding some kale to my juices once I figured out how much other stuff to balance it out with to cover up the taste which I still completely hate.

 

And what’s helped me is that on days when I don’t want to stick with it, I think to myself that I have to refuel my hero engine, and I like to imagine little superpowers associated with each vegetable or fruit, so I can pretend I’m powered up. I know, I know, it’s weird. But I think whatever gets you to make a positive change, right?

 

Anyway, over the past year, I’ve lost about 15 pounds, I’ve started to feel legitimately strong, and I’ve been totally consistent about going for walks and drinking juice every day, and “hitting the gym”, a phrase I still can’t believe I’m saying,

I guess what I’m saying is that while nerds have a really unfit reputation, I think we all kind of idolize fit people in our fantasy realms, and we can harness that as motivation. At least it’s worked for me. So, yeah. I’m linking to the review site I used to help me find my juicer, and I think you should be able to find fish oil pretty much anywhere (definitely get the capsules, though. The actual liquid is vile).

 

Anyway, I have to say that because I know a lot of us in the nerd community aren’t traditionally comfortable in workout culture or sports, that there are definitely ways in. You should look for something like a Quidditch Club or LARPing group on campus, just to get you started being regular. Then you won’t feel like so much of an outsider at the gym. I also learned that nerds also get VIP access to the gym, because we’re not hungover on weekend mornings, when everyone else sleeps in. Seriously. Early mornings are the best, especially at first when you need to be anonymous.

 

I know I’m never going to be a marathon runner, and that’s fine. But if going for a jog in the morning and bringing juice instead of soda to Magic on a Friday night is the difference between feeling the way I used to and the way I do now, I’m never looking back on my quest to be healthy as a hero!

 

Body Image: here and there

Japan vs. USA

 

Hi! I hope you’re all well!

 

Today, I want to share something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently: the differences in body culture and image between the US and Japan! I’ve been working on a research paper for one of my anthropology classes, and this is one topic that’s been really interesting to me this semester.

As a huge manga and anime fan, I’ve gotten a lot of exposure to the Japanese side of things, and I would say it’s pretty evenly balanced between the things I’ve sought out (Japanese art) and the things I’m exposed to unintentionally on Facebook and other social media, which is a primarily American perspective on body.

 

I want to talk about some of the big, key differences I’ve seen between the two.

 

Some things are the same, of course. Both cultures (like every culture, really), prize fit, ripped body types that lend themselves to dashing adventure stories and photoshoots. That’s not surprising, given globalization and it’s been a long time since the Japanese idolized anomalous body types like sumo wrestlers.

 

Abs, for instance, are universal. So are strong cheekbones, and tall, slim but ripped physiques. We always idolize active heroes, no matter where you go around the world.

 

However, I think there are some key differences:

 

First, American body culture, I would say, values a certain sameness. Look at some of our body heroes, and you can see it pretty clearly, especially if you look at generation groupings. Brad Pitt, David Beckham, and George Clooney are all pretty similar in terms of body type, even though they come from pretty different worlds. Justin Bieber, Cameron Dallas, and Shawn Mendes are just a few examples of what I would say are even more uniform body types and image presentations now. There’s an obsession with the same undercut hairstyle, sagging jeans, abs and crotch grabs. And whichever group of fans you belong to in American culture, you’re mostly supporting the same body image. The same thing is true of female figures. We either have really skinny and tall “model” type girls, or wide-hip, busty women like Beyonce. There’s no real in-between. And in action movies, the gender stereotypes are super strong: just look at Megan Fox in Transformers (which I made myself watch as research).

 

In Japanese culture, there’s the opposite tendency, which starts to look like a celebration of “otherness.” Instead of strong gender roles, there are lots of androgynous physiques which are fit, but not super distinctive along gender lines. Main characters also have flashy, edgy hair colors, which creates a lot of different personalities. Men and women are both in action hero roles, but they both also have rich interior lives, which is why you see so many teens getting into manga and anime here in the US, because i would argue that our male culture doesn’t allow for emotional interiority, and our female culture doesn’t allow for individual assertion or variation.

 

At least for me, Japanese entertainment and art is a much more edgy, interesting, and colorful place to spend time.

I can really prove my point by looking at the people who try to emulate Japanese aesthetics here: it’s lumped in with queer culture if you have cropped, brightly-colored hair as a young woman, and the same thing if you’re a more androgynous guy.
I guess I would say that while strong image issues are a problem everywhere, we could definitely stand to learn something from the more variable, diversified body image examples you find in Japanese manga and anime. Anyway, it’s something I’m going to keep thinking about, especially now that I’m on my juicer/fitness quest to be my own action hero, and I’d be curious to know your thoughts as well!