Tagged: daily post

A Period of Idealistic Innocence: Howl’s Moving Castle

I could listen to this music for the rest of my life and never tire of it.

As an Asian, many people would probably assume that I watch anime or read manga.

anime: a style of animation originating in Japan that is characterized by stark colorful graphics depicting vibrant characters in action-filled plots often with fantastic or futuristic themes

manga: a Japanese comic book or graphic novel

In fact, I had never watched anime until about two years ago (I am almost seventeen right now) when one of my white friends suggested it to me. Manga? I’ve read one manga (Death Note) and I never even finished it. It was extremely interesting, however. 

In regards to anime, I found Studio Ghibli films to be the most popular ones out there, so I started watching some of the originals:

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

My Neighbor Totoro

totoro

Castle in the Sky

Whisper of the Heart

Spirited Away

Perhaps you have heard of some of these?

These films are comparable to Disney films, except that the method of magic incorporation is extremely different. They’re still, however, delightful.

It’s pretty strange to acknowledge that I technically did not watch these in my actual childhood. I watched them in my adolescence, over the course of a month or so. Needless to say, this month was very happy and light for me.

My favorite anime film is Howl’s Moving Castle. When I heard that Josh Hutcherson had voiced one character in the Disney remake, I decided to watch the “Americanized” version instead.

While the story line was magical, the portion that I am choosing to write about is the music.

In one scene, Sophie (the main character, a girl that has been cursed into being an old woman) and Howl (rebellious wizard) start flying over the ruckus of the town square. Sophie is terrified and overwhelmed by the whole sensation. During the whole scene, a beautiful theme that is playing swells and eventually reaches an apex.

It’s not necessarily my favorite scene.

But the theme? Oh yes, in fact, my favorite lyric-less piece ever. It has made its way onto the list of my “All Time Favorites”.

When I listen to it, I am transported to that time two years ago when I saw life through a very optimistic and childlike lens, each day filled with naive hope.

This is not to suggest that idealistic innocence is the best mentality to embrace a time like this (with college finally becoming relevant to my life), but it’s a wonderful distraction – nay, a fantastic pastime – that I long for.

Just listen to it.

Howls_Moving_Castle_06Inspired by the Daily Prompt

Why You Shouldn’t Just Assume that North Korea is Crazy

When I was in ninth grade, the debate topic was military withdrawal from certain countries, one of which was South Korea. A large portion of the debate community advocated for the withdrawal of our troops because of we didn’t, Korean provocations would escalate and North Korea would eventually use its nuclear weapons against the US and South Korea, and a global extinction would occur. Raise your hand if you advocated this?

*raises hand*

In this day and age, this might seem like a reality. You’ve probably read multiple news articles (or skimmed the headlines) about how North Korea is flexing its nuclear muscles, trying to look threatening by carrying out nuclear tests. You’ve read about the irrationality of Kim Jong Un and his predecessor, and how this nonsensicalness is eventually going to lead them to launch nuclear weapons at the United States. Some assert that these claims are merely empty rhetoric. What do we believe?

Have you read about the brainwashing and corruption that exists within the borders? The government propaganda allows the citizens to believe that their dictator is their god, and that the places outside of North Korea are much worse.

I’ve changed my perspective on North Korea. In ninth grade, I generalized everyone within North Korea’s borders into a group of people that were absolutely crazy, irrational, and threatening. But that’s not true. There have been a substantial (while still relatively small) amount of people that have escaped from North Korea, come abroad to places like China or the United States. Some of these refugees have even created documentaries to portray the life that they lived. They are all not the same; we are all humans. It’s taken me a bunch of years a lots of news reading to understand this.

Daily Prompt 

Why Are You So Nice?

Sometimes I wonder about nice people

Do they know just how delightful they are?

Do they make an effort to be that pleasant?

If they’re conscious of their niceness, why do they choose to be so?

But then I wonder, are they actually nice?

Or do they just want to be known as someone who is warm and benign on the outside,

so that they’ll be more liked?

And then I ask myself whether or not it’s bad to make an effort to be such a pleasant person

Purposely saying nice things for the sake of being nice

Is it because they figure there’s already so much hatred in the world,

Or because they were taught that that was the correct thing to do?

But no one can be 100% nice.

Sadness and frustration always chips away at the shell of politeness and happiness

Do they deal with stress very well?

Do they just really appreciate life?

What if they only want good things to happen to people?

What if they just like you? Maybe they like me.

Sometimes I wonder about anti-nice people.

Horrible, nasty, pessimistic human beings.

Are they just permanently not nice?

Except, what if they just had a bad day? What if they didn’t sleep well?

Has something in their past caught up to their present?

What if they don’t think it’s necessary to be nice?

What if they think that no one deserves their niceness

Or maybe it’s just me – and the way I measure niceness

Not in how many words or good deeds

But by the intentions behind the words and deeds

Because we’re all different

And we all see the world differently.

What if they just don’t like you? Maybe they don’t like me.

Writing Prompt 

My Childhood Was Net Better

The Tooth Fairy (or Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus . . .): a fun and harmless fiction, or a pointless justification for lying to children? – Daily Prompt 

 

These sort of made up magical characters are not much lies anymore; they’re more the traditions created by the efforts of many generations, and I think that these “fictions” have done nothing but benefit my childhood. So, YES YES YES, fun and harmless, but really, so much more.

I’m 16. I’m pretty sure that at 12, I had gotten a clue that there was something fishy about the whole Santa deal. I’d never been exposed to many stories about the Easter Bunny, and someone had ruined the Tooth Fairy when I was very young. Therefore, I am writing this post with relatively little experience, but I have the advantage of recency. Most other adults have probably forgotten the emotions sequestered to a myth like Santa Claus, and are basically writing from a purely hypothetical point of view. Some other bloggers might have children, in which case they are seeing the effects of such a myth right here, right now.

The sort of folktale legend concept was an essential component of my childhood, a crucial point in the development of my imagination. Believing in Santa meant I became extra obedient around December. I really got into Christmas music and Christmas movies. It was a joyful, magical time for me.

But then I got older, and so did my peers. Doubt and skepticism seemed to increase exponentially with each coming year, so I gradually became more doubtful and skeptical myself. Some people might have been hurt, but for a greedy child like me, my only reaction was trying to fake it so that my parents would continue buying me childish presents. I’d also never told them that I didn’t believe in the Tooth Fairy, so dolla dolla bill y’all.

Then, I was ambivalent about whether or not I should ruin the experience for my little sister, who was 3 years behind on this gradual realization. I think I might have exposed the lies at some point. :(

Even though I eventually learned that the whole thing was a lie, I’m glad Santa was a part of my childhood.

I’m sure that as a parent, I’ll try my best to maintain the whole story. I’ll make holidays as realistic as possible, but I’ll also have to balance the greediness in my children.

So perhaps these characters are harmless, but only to a point. Be sure to never let the greed overwhelm you or your children.

It Is So Easy To Hate People

Internet Explorer Girl’s face???/Different personalities, yo.

They’re just a speckle among the sea of people you know, the rest of which you feel passionate, neutral, ambivalent, or just plain indifferent about.

They’re not aware that you “hate” them, so they don’t try to defend themselves.

That, or they’re 100% aware and have reciprocated the hatred.

But in any case, I don’t think we should hate people anymore.

Hi. I’m Catherine, and I’m an extreme categorizer.

If you ask me about a person, I have a tendency to immediately blurt out whether or not I love them or hate them. Very rarely am I able to distinguish them as someone in between.

But I’ve given it a lot of thought (as well as love and reflection) and I’ve come to conclude that it’s not healthy to categorize people into extremes. You can’t 100% love or hate someone.

I used to categorize everyone I knew. Lately, I’ve made a huge effort to no longer categorize people, and to recognize them as what they are: human. Like me. Human.

It’s more detrimental to arbitrarily hate someone.

You think you hate them, but you probably don’t.

See, we are each our own person. The only things we know are what we see and what we hear. Both are never 100% accurate; both are obscured by our own predispositions and personal biases. Who are we to assume that we know everything about the people we supposedly hate? We have absolutely no stable foundation to base our hatred off of.

I am not an angel, you are not the devil. We are a combination of both. I would even go as far to say that I am not more angel than devil, and you are not more devil than angel. We’re probably equal in our angelic/devilish proportions, but we just evaluate these sorts of measurements in different ways. You shouldn’t hate someone for “sinning” differently than you.

Maybe you think you hate them because you two are just so different. You have completely different morals, backgrounds, opinions, perspectives, goals, and methods of achieving these goals. None of these disparities constitutes as a character flaw. They are character differences, and there’s nothing you can do about them. So, what to do at this point? Sometimes, opposites attract and live in harmony. Otherwise, it takes a bit of experimenting and suffering to realize that two personalities really don’t mix well. In the saddest of situations, people never realize that they are just suited to be companions, and lead unhappy relationships.

But what makes one lifestyle superior to another? Aren’t any reasons that you try to give completely arbitrary?

I also think part of the problem has to do with the media. Yes, we are constantly criticizing the media for destroying the beneficial aspects of human nature and yet, this has become somewhat of a blanket indict. The media is not totally evil. In this instance however, the media helps to spread these ideas that if two people have conflicts, someone is wrong and someone is right. The best example I can provide would be these things I see on Tumblr all day, everyday.

They’re always like:

“The biggest mistake I have made in my life is letting people stay in my life far longer than they deserve.”

Well, they’re inspiring, are they not? They’re effective, aren’t they? If taken seriously, they manage to keep one person from engaging in a conflict of some sort and “being the better person” or “being more mature” or “letting it go”. But these messages are also somewhat misleading. Don’t they make it seem like whoever reads these positive messages is the victim of some horrible bullying, and that the “bully” is wrong, insecure, misguided, etc. Of course, these messages are true – to an extent. There are definitely people out there that don’t treat others well, More often than not, this is really not the case; the real root of the problem arises from personality differences. And again, there’s nothing you can do about them.

Urban Myths

Sometimes I listen to music – raging and energetic

The lyrics sound like they’re sprinting in whatever path they see

Sometimes when I write

I think about myself – commonly perceived as 100% committed and ready to go

I think about the kids in high school – moving so fast yet they don’t know where they’re going

And I wonder:

Do people actually stop and think

And maybe turn around and chase the polar opposite

Or is that just an urban myth?

Somedays I listen to music – nostalgic and lonely

The lyrics – they sound like they were written just for me

So sometimes when I write

I think about myself – so often left alone in a sea of my own thoughts

I think about the kids in high school – our perspectives so easily distorted, and by no means permanent

And I wonder:

Do people actually exist that actually know what they want

And what the future holds

Or is that just an urban myth?

On special days I’ll listen to music – rebellious and insightful

The lyrics are a call to action, illuminating the daily injustices

But sometimes when I write

I think about myself – a young person with the innocence and motivation to spark change

And I think about high schoolers – writing songs, directing plays

And I wonder:

Do we actually understand what we rant about

And do people ever actually form masses

And does social change ever really happen

Or is that just an urban myth?

Vampire Weekend June 2007Lacking the letter Z – Daily Prompt

A Letter To My Sister on Her First Day Of High School

We can’t always go to school completely prepared, with a pretty backpack and fancy hat.

A service has been invented through which you can send messages to people in the future. To whom would you send something, and what would you write? – Daily Prompt

Dear Vicky,

You are going to start high school next year. You will make the huge transition from middle school to high school. While the jump is not as drastic as it is to leave high school for college, you won’t be prepared. No one ever is. We all have this ideal of high school in our minds that we find is woefully distorted. It is too optimistic. It is too much influenced by the parties and fun that you see on TV. And yet, it’s not as dramatic as the media portrays it. But this is only for me personally, a major introvert.

So I hope I can help you just a little bit.

You need to find friends but don’t cling on for dear life. Your social group is inevitably going to shift every couple of months. You just need to know that it will happen, and it is not the end of the world if it does. People you thought would be by your side for the rest of your life will desert you in a few months. You will make friends with people you never imagined you would. High school will surprise you.

You need to keep your grades up. There’s this evil thing called GPA which measures your grades from day one of year one. The higher it is, the more likely you’re going to go to a good school. Don’t be anal, but don’t take your knowledge for granted. In high school, everything gets a lot harder. You must apply yourself and start reviewing for tests early. You have to find motivation to do your work. You don’t HAVE to learn about the French Revolution, you GET to.

You need to find teachers that will like you. Yes, it’s nice to have them write recs for you, but it’s just nice to have friends that are in positions of authority. It doesn’t look lame. It’s the coolest thing ever. Find one that teaches a subject that interests you and do not be like everyone else in the class. Smile and say hi in the halls. Go to extra help not just to review for a test. Visit them even if they are no longer your teacher. I regret so much not doing so, and I have certainly alienated a good number of teachers that could be very meaningful to me.

You don’t have to find out your passion. You don’t need to decide what you’re going to be. High school is just the very beginning (a very painful and miserable beginning) of a path of stones that will lead you through life. Step completely and heavily and confidently onto the first stone. Explore many options and join clubs. If you find one that you like, you should stick with it. If your friends want you to quit it, disregard their opinion (in this instance). High school is not for your friend group, it is for YOU. It is YOUR experience. You are your own independent person.

Before year 9 you won’t take this advice very seriously because you won’t really know what I’m talking about. Every year you’ll read this letter again and understand it a little better than you did before. And you’ll find out that what I’m saying is true (in some respects, at least). And you will look back when you graduate and regret a little bit but we’re not all perfect, are we?

— Catherine