Showing posts with label anime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label anime. Show all posts

November 26, 2010

Happy Turkey Day

People swirled in an out of the kitchen like leaves riding eddies in a gurgling stream, always moving, never colliding. I sat on the bank, safely out of the way, watching and listening to happy chatter, and wanting to be elsewhere. The stream flowed out onto the large deck, following the food and drink and socializing. People stood eating, balancing cups and plates on the wood railing. Between the mountains in the distance and the international gathering on the deck, green palm trees and arbor vitae jumped above the rolling landscape of concrete driveways and tile roofs. Chinese and Indian food predominated. I sat in a corner and wished in vain that my spiced cider was spiked cider and tried to limit my urge to make inappropriate comments. It was an odd mood that urged me to turn everything into innuendo, a game I’ve often missed (Buddhists are sometimes too ‘nice,’ I think).

I had fun despite myself and due mostly to the infectious cheer of my fellow classmates. I danced the square, four-step dance we all learn in junior high school with Jun and was impressed that Mike managed the twirl and dip without dropping me, not once, but twice! The motley crew of graduate students, young professors, and monks even managed not to fall into obscure religious dialogue. Venerable Kit closed the vertical blinds and set up the projector in order to play Super Mario Brothers, no doubt made more interesting by people still coming in and out through the patio doors.

I rode home as the sun was setting and dove back into the distraction that had captured my attention since rising that morning – Chapter Fifteen. Instead of reminiscing, I chose creating, and managed to rescue one of the main characters from torture and escape in sixty-five hundred words before calling it a night. I called my parents and told them I miss them and love them and Happy Turkey Day, gobble gobble gobble. And I spent Thanksgiving evening watching classic anime on Hulu, teasing my cat, and practicing being thankful for all my good friends here.

I left the whiskey in the cupboard.

February 04, 2008

Mysterious Miazaki

There is a Japanese filmmaker named Hayao Miazaki. He makes animated films, anime, better than the vast majority of Hollywood movies. I love every one I have ever seen. I can’t go a month without watching at least one, even if I have seen it a half dozen times before. Luckily, Miazaki has been making movies for decades.

The thing I love about these films is the absolute sense of wonder, the mystery, the ability to accept that not everything has to be explained, some things just are. There is a young hero or heroine, sometimes both, whose courage and bravery will see them through. The power of youth carries a certain mythology with it.

The very young and very old seem to hold a special place in Japanese storytelling. I have seen this truth born out in reality as well. In some community development work I took part in last year we found the very youngest generation and the very oldest generation shared the same value sets. It was almost as if the teenagers were still young enough to have ideals and the elderly had enough wisdom to have realized those ideals were all that really mattered. The people in the middle are too busy making a living, raising a family, mowing the lawn, preparing for that business meeting, or feeding the dog.

Aside from the young and idealistic heroine, very little after that is predictable. The “bad guy” is very rarely simply evil. The “good guy” is often mysterious and more than a little frightening. There are Cat Busses, Radish Spirits, Boar Gods, wizards, flying machines, cats dressed more elegantly than a gentleman in a Jane Eyre movie, and little tree spirits whose heads shake like tiny rattles. It sounds fantastical and often is, yet it is done with a grace and wit which make it easy to embrace.

Industry versus nature is a common theme, each alternately seeming more sinister than the other. Family, trust, and love are central.

But the thing I love most is that central to the hero’s success is his absolute belief in the good within all beings.