Saturday, April 10, 2010

ze mouse & ze spirits

I met with my thesis adviser on Wednesday. After telling her a little bit about my life right now, she told me this: When a mouse is confronted by a cat, it desperately wants to either run away or attack the cat. These are the only two options that make sense. However, the urge to do both is so powerful that instead of doing either, the mouse sits down and washes its face.

My thesis adviser is a very wise person.

So yesterday I did exactly three.5 productive things:

  • I wrote three pages for a paper and finished preparing figures for said paper
  • (0.5 item) I turned in the paper
  • I reserved my cap and gown for graduation (HOLY SHIT I'M GRADUATING AAAAAH)
  • I embarked on my quest for movie enrichment, starting with Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away.

  • (Look I can do page jumps now! I am soooo clever!)(I just can't make the second "read more" go away. . . le sigh.)

    Can I just take this moment to sputter incoherently about HOW COMPLETELY AWESOME THIS MOVIE IS. HOLY CRAP IS IT AWESOME. Not only is it an amazing story, with beautiful character development and interesting people, it's BEAUTIFUL. Every scene is incredibly imaginative and detailed. OH MAN I REGRET SO HARD NOT GOING TO THE STUDIO GHIBLI MUSEUM LAST SUMMER.

    I watched it in Japanese with subtitles -- first of all because dubbing tends to drive me nuts, and second of all because I wanted to test my knowledge. My knowledge unfortunately failed -- I didn't know the words for "bath house" or "dragon" or "herbal soak" or "klutz" or "bug." I did however learn a familiar word for baby ("bo") and also recognized the word for "squash" ("tubusu.") (Sorry -- just learned that word, so I had to mention it.)

    This is probably a weird (and maybe culturally insensitive?) thing to say, but part of the reason I loved this movie was because even the tiny details reminded me so much of Japan. See the first picture I posted here. I loved the boiler room with Kajimi because of the way the room was designed -- even though the boiler itself was wildly fantastical, as well as the six-armed and stretchy Kajimi, the level changes, combined with the shifts in material (the lower surface where the soot fairies scuttle across is dirt, but the upper surface is wood) and the super-simple design of the herbal bins, reminds me so much of the traditional houses I visited in Japan, but also of the very modern guesthouse in which I lived. Even the way the little girl, Chihiro, grew into a more mature character seemed very "Japanese" to me -- while she had to be brave and polite and resourceful, at every step of the way she was helped by spirits and ghost-like things (see No-Face, above right, who in the middle of the movie starts eating people, but then vomits them back up unharmed and goes searching for his true purpose elsewhere.)

    And, of course. . . the cuteness. I oughtn't be surprised -- after all, the Hayao Miyazaki film I saw directly before this one was My Neighbor Totoro, which pretty much takes the cake in all things distressingly cute. But man oh man! Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli sure know how to sneak up on you with cuteness. See the fat mouse to the right -- you wouldn't think a small bird carrying around a fat mouse would be hilariously cute, but I lost track of the movie while giggling hysterically more than once.

    I have to make an expedition today for Spanish class -- we're doing a tour of the Red Line to make a video for the MIT UPV exchange website. Hopefully this evening my movie education can recommence. . .

    Note to self: Put up new pottery pictures in near future.

    /begin rant and puzzlement

    There aren't just a whole lot of people who read this blog. And I will admit that yes, it would be a nice little boost for my ego if more people seemed to find my thoughts on stuff interesting. However, re: getting more hits on a blog, google search basically says, "In order to get more hits on your blog, pick a theme and stay with it. Use keywords."


    /end rant and puzzlement

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