High School

It was half-past six in the morning and I was walking in the school corridor sometime in March. The air was full of fragrance of freshly bloomed flowers. I stopped for a while and smelled the familiar fragrance of someone quite akin to those flowers.

He caught up with me, and greeted me with a casual good morning. A passing glance – but still I couldn’t find the right words to say straight to his face. I never thought talking to someone like him could be this complicated. I felt desperate to say something in the crucial moment. I saw him clutching his guitar. “You have brought your guitar.” I casually said. He just nodded and Continue reading

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Konna ni Chikaku De

This Close”

Crystal Kay

Nodame Cantabile 1st Ending Theme

Oh right! I am really going gaga over the new hip and romantic anime on Animax entitled Nodame Cantabile. I had just posted the first opening theme of the anime entitled Allegro Cantabile yesterday (check it out!) and here is the 1st ending theme of the same animation.

I love the song and thanks to the English translation, I love it even more! Well, the song is about someone who thinks that love is a very sad feeling, especially if that kind of feeling is unrequited. Sigh. Sometimes, we wish our expectations would be the same as that of the other, but life is really not at all romantic all the time.

This song captures that kind of feeling. A girl is totally in love with the guy, but they could go as far as friends.

If you have an mp3 copy of the song, please share it to me. I really love this song more than anything. Here’s my email address : kyrillevin@gmail.com

Happy Valentines day and cheers!

Romaji/Original lyrics

Koi ga setsunai to

Sugu soba de kizuita ano yoru

Datte hoka no dare yori

Anata no koto wa shitteru kara

Itsumo no sarigenai

Yasashisa sae kono mune wo shimetsuketeku

Konna ni, konna ni chikaku de mitsumete mo

Doushite doushite tada no tomodachi na no?

Donna ni donna ni tsuyoku omotte itemo

Tsutaerarenai you don’t understand

I’m so in love with you

Genki nai yo ne?” to

anata kara iwareta shunkan

Namida kakusu AKUBI de

Nebusoku ka na? tte ii wake shita

Ichiban taisetsu na

Hito ni uso wo kasaneteku… ima no watashi

Mainichi mainichi mune ga kurushii kara

Ikutsumu ikutsumu nemurenu yoru wo koe

Hajimete hajimete deatta ano hi ni mata

Modoreru no nara ii no ni…

I’m so in love with you

Aishiteru” to tsugetara kitto

Mou nidoto egao ni wa modorenai kamo shirenai

Keredo mo tomodachi no mama tsukuriwarai wa

Kore ijyou, watashi dekinai kara

HONTO wa HONTO wa zutto suki data no

itsudemo itsudemo aishi tsuzuketa no

Anata ni anata ni dodoketai kimocho wo

Aoi sora he to sasayaita

I’m so in love with you

Konna ni, konna ni chikaku de mitsumete mo

Doushite doushite tada no tomodachi na no?

Donna ni donna ni tsuyoku omotte itemo

Tsutaerarenai you don’t understand

I’m so in love with you

Chiaki and Nodame

Chiaki and Nodame

English Translation

Love is so sad

I realized it that night you were next to me

Cause better than anyone else,

I know you so well

Even your casual kindness

Makes my chest tighten

This, this close I’m watching you

Why, why are we only friends?

No matter how, no matter how strong my feelings are

They don’t reach you. You don’t understand

I’m so in love with you

You’re not feeling too good?”

you said, and in that moment

I yawned to hide my tears

Lack of sleep, maybe?” was my excuse

The lies to my most important person

Keep piling up that’s the current me

Every day every day, my heart is in pain

Countless, countless sleepless nights overcome

that first, that first day we met

I’m so in love with you

If I confess that “I Love You”

I probably won’t be able to smile again

But to continue as friends, with fake smiles

I can’t take it anymore

The truth is, the truth is I always loved you

Always, always, I kept loving you

To you, to you I want to send these feelings

I whisper them to the blue sky

I’m so in love with you

This, this close I’m watching you

Why, why are we only friends?

No matter how, no matter how strong my feelings are

They don’t reach you. You don’t understand

I’m so in love with you

“Unstables”

Pre Valentine Post

I still don’t understand how love works.

Or whether it works, or just stay stagnant for quite a moment.

What happened between us is something that might happen to all the people in the planet. It’s just that we’re the ones chosen to undergo this kind of painful experience. We both knew it doesn’t work out, we felt love can be an abstraction, it’s a false idea uphold by many. They think love can thrill them to the core – yes, it can – but it doesn’t happen to everybody at least. But there is a certain kind of interconnection that we share with each other, a silent understanding, a touch of hand, a passing glance.

In the riverbank, I’ve decided (along with the rows of acacia trees and santan shrubs) that things between us should be over soon. It was never easy to come to grips with each other, especially if at the first place, we didn’t understand where should we place ourselves in line with the others. We don’t know. We both fear emotional confrontations. We just love being with each other, and dangerously, it breeds the kind of connection that is unstable. Our faults. We were much too young. And that is why I agree with Kahlil Gibran when he said, “Much of our pain is self-chosen.

I don’t know what to do about this. I love him so much. But I think the kind of love that I have for him isn’t enough to save our relationship.


Sweeping Love

I felt that this ride was the longest ride I have ever taken with him. He was pedaling the bicycle very smoothly across the rough unsteady road. Probably because of his firm grips. Too much basketball really helps. Birds flew over us. Plums flew everywhere. Trees swayed. All in one ride.

We passed through the field without even talking. I was seating behind him, clutching his shirt. It reeks off sweat and smell of his bathing soap. The smell is really unique to him. I knew it for such a long time.

And I wish the road was endless. We may find sometime to talk while passing by. The wave of feelings swept across us, making us mute. Hopefully, the same breeze would brush over our tomorrows, should we forget.


We Were There

Yano and Nana

Yano and Nana

I could still recall the time when I first saw an episode of the anime Bokura ga Ita, and I could say that I really got hooked to it. It is a shoujo manga, dealing with young teenage love and relationship, and how it develops into a much more mature love when the characters Yano and Nana reach the adult stage.

It’s a romance manga written by Yuuki Obata, and it was serialized in Betsucomi released in 2002. Then, an anime adaptation of the famous manga was released. The anime version follows the plot of the manga until Yano leaves Nana. But don’t worry, to all Bokura Ga Ita fans, the manga is still ongoing, and mind you, the plot is getting interesting I could hardly wait what would happen next.

The story starts of with Nana, a 15 year old high school girl who told herself that she would never fall in love with the campus crush Yano like two-thirds of the class. For me, she is very fragile girl because she always ends up being confused with her own feelings, but nevertheless, she is cute as much as Yano is concerned. Later, as the story progresses, she begins to get curious on Yano, to the point of knowing more about him (Yano’s past, and Yano’s ex-girlfriend, also named Nana) and eventually falling in love with him. Yano, a popular and the typical highschool heartthrob, falls in love Nana too, starts dating her, and affectionately calls her Nana-chan. Not to mention, he is the usual flirt that mostly occurs in appealing guys.

Nanami Takahashi

Nanami Takahashi

At the surface, we know Yano as extremely sociable to all kinds of people, especially to girls, but deep inside, he had a hard time dealing and trusting them because of his traumatic experience with his first girlfriend. This is the reason why that when he’s still dating Nana, he is too possessive with her. At some point, Yano is caught between either the present girlfriend Nana or the memory of his ex-girlfriend who died in a car accident. Yano’s ex-girlfriend, also called Nana, died in a car accident with her ex-boyfriend, and the thought of this, made Yano (unknowingly) emotionally bruised. This in turn affects the relationship that he has with the present Nana.

Yano Motoharu

Yano Motoharu

Yano’s close friend, Takeuchi, is the kind of guy that you can hold on to in times of trouble. He is much kinder and more emphatic than Yano, and most of the time, when Nana is having problems with her relationship with Yano, Takeuchi is there to console her. This is the reason why Takeuchi falls in love with Nana too, starting at that time when Nana is dating Yano, until the present series. But as a close friend in the background, he doesn’t messes up with the relationship of his beloved Nana and his bestfriend Yano. Instead, he warns Yano that he hurts Nana she wouldn’t have any second thoughts to sort of ‘snatch’ her away from him. True enough, that’s what happened later on the manga series.

Another character in the story is Yuri Yamamoto. She is a classmate of both Yano and Nana-chan. She is the younger sister of Nana Yamamoto, who is Yano’s ex-girlfriend. Nana Yamamoto is older than Yano when she starts dating her. Yuri, her younger sister, (and very unlike her sister) is so passive and extremely unsociable. She falls in love with Yano even before Yano is dating her older sister. A week after the tragic incident of Yano’s ex-girlfriend, it is revealed that Yuri actually slept with Yano. That event made Yuri develop an extreme hate to Yano, because she felt that she was ‘used’. She becomes a love obstacle between the relationship of Nana-chan and Yano.

Bokura Ga Ita

Bokura Ga Ita

In the manga version, the story continues until the characters enter their respective choices of university. Yano and Nana both parted ways because they attended to different universities, and both promised to keep in contact with the other. But what happen is that Yano fails to contact her almost all the time when he is staying in Tokyo. He completely cuts off all the communication with her. Nana, who is naturally emotionally unstable, feels heartbroken and confused. Unknown to Nana, Yano encounters lots of problems in the busy skirts of Tokyo: financial crisis and his mother’s death. Because of the loss of communication, Nana decides to leave her feelings out for Yano and starts moving on with her painful experience. She starts dating Takeuchi. At the present manga release, they are 21 years old. Later on, it is revealed that Yano is now actually living with Yuri Yamamoto.

Yano and Nana-chan

Yano and Nana-chan

Actually there is more to the manga than what is written here, so be sure you’d get to read it. But I couldn’t deny the fact that the anime version is the perfect rendition of the emotional gravities that one should felt in the story. This is one tragic story filled with love, unexpressed emotions, mixed confusion that leaves everyone victims of their own feelings. Totally complicated, if you ask me, but this one is worth your time.

I love the theme songs of the anime. The opening song is Kimi Dake Wo (Only You) by Mi, and the notable ending songs that I like are: Aishiteru (I Love You) by Mi, Kotoba (Words) and Suki Dakara (Because I Love You) by Izumi Katou, Koko ni Ite (I’m here) by Kaori Asou and Futari no Kisetsu Ga by Nozomi Sasaki.

Paradise Kiss – The Kidnapped Yukari Plus the Equal Opportunity Lover George

Paradise Kiss

Paradise Kiss

The Honey and Clover season 2 rerun on Animax just ended last week. As usual, it got me teary-eyed because of the bittersweet Takemoto’s sentimentalities, but I think that the ending was really an essential part of the whole anime package. This is probably the reason why Honey and Clover is one of my personal favorites.

Now, I’m glad that Paradise Kiss is having its rerun again in Animax to replace the Honey and Clover timeslot. Paradise Kiss is another shoujo anime, just like Honey and Clover, but it deals more of fashion, in line with love and character identity. In fact, I’ve read a lot of community forums about Parakiss and Honey and Clover fans, and this is probably because they are both shoujo manga comics about love, relationships, and young adult’s lives in general.

Well, Paradise Kiss was originally released as volume manga series (written by Ai Yazawa) distributed by Shodensha’s Zipper magazine in Japan before it was adapted into a 12-episode anime version by Aniplex (Girl from Hell, Fullmetal Alchemist, Darker than Black). It revolves around Yukari

Yukari and George

Yukari and George

Hayasaka, also known as “Caroline”, and how she comes in terms with love and relationships through her dream of being a fashion model.

Yukari (voiced by Yu Yamada in Japanese and Julie Ann Taylor in English) is a high school student who is bored and tired of going to school and having to undergo what she thinks as the routinary and meaningless academic life. For me, she’s the kind of girl that wants to experience what’s out in the real world, as teenagers usually tend to be tired with school (yep, I’ve experienced that too, haha) and wish at some point to work or to venture out in the real world. Yukari, even though it’s animated, is a beautiful woman – she has beautiful eyes, and long legs to boot – perfect for a model. This is probably the reason that when another character Arashi readily concluded that she was a perfect model for the new fashion line that he and his friends wants to release in the public. Yukari claimed that she was “kidnapped” sort of, and meets the Parakiss crew headed by the ultra hot university student George Koizumi (voiced by Kenji Hamada in Japanese; Patrick Seitz in English), the punk rocker Arashi Nagase (voiced by Shunsuke Mizutani; Derek Stephen Prince), the cute Miwako Sakurada ( voiced by Marika Matsumoto; Jolie Jackson), and the high class crossdresser Daisuke “Isabella” Yamamoto (voiced by Chiharu Suzuka; Mari Devon). Arashi and Miwako are dating, while eventually, as the anime progresses, George and Yukari hooks up.

Yukari is a simple high school girl in the earlier episodes, typical teenager who falls in love with her classmate, a character named Hiroyuki Tokumori, and dreams to marry this guy in the future. She was not really appealing (at least in the earlier context of the anime) but when she meets the ParaKiss crew she had a complete physical transformation. At first she is reluctant to be a model, and considers the idea to be really ridiculous, but due to the invisible power that George has (hahaha – something in him that’s soooo appealing!) she decides to quit school for good and model for ParaKiss full time. Quite a risk, no wonder it really made her mother angry. She begins to fall in love with George in extremes (really!) – a give-all sort of kind of love. The kind of love relationship between the two of them gave her the experience that enabled her to know more about herself.

It was thought-provoking that George was a bisexual (so he says) and asserts himself as ‘an equal opportunity lover’.

ParaKiss

ParaKiss

The anime adaptation was released on October 2005, and it was directed by Osamu Kobayashi and Nobuteru Yuuki. However, the directors still consulted the mangaka Ai Yazawa for clarifications and expectations for the anime adaptation. The anime was aired all over Japan through Fuji TV, and through Animax, it was widely broadcast in East and Southeast Asia. I haven’t read the manga – at least not just yet- to see and compare if what are the major and minor changes in the anime. I’ve seen what Gokinjo Monogatari looks like (it’s a manga comic written by Ai Yazawa, and Paradise Kiss is said to be a semi-sequel to it), and I think that it was really interesting.

And of course, not to forget, I love the theme songs of the anime. I managed to download them in the internet and I love to jive in with the melody. The opening theme song of the anime is entitles “Lonely in Gorgeous” by Tommy February6 and the ending theme is “Do You Want To” by Franz Ferdinand.

Tsukiakari

“Moonlight”

Performed by Rie Fu

Darker than Black 1st opening theme

Hei - Darker than Black

Hei - Darker than Black

Hey! Here’s the lyrics of one of my favorite songs I’ve ever listened to. Tsukiakari literally means “moonlight”, as tsuki is “moon” and akari is “light”. The song has a depth in terms of feelings and emotions to it, and although I didn’t readily understood the meaning of the song in English, you can feel this depth in terms of the melody of the song. Which is probably the reason why I really like this one.

The lyrics, composition and the performance are all attributed to Rie Fu, and the arrangement, to Tadashi Ueda under Palm Beach Inc. A TV size version of this song is also included to the official Darker than Black original anime soundtrack composed by Yoko Kanno, along with the first opening theme of the anime, Howling by Abingdon Boys School. This anime soundtrack was released on July 2007 by Aniplex Inc.

So here’s the lyrics guys! J I included the English translation of the original romaji lyrics too.

Original/Romaji lyrics

Aoi aoi sora ni tsuki no hikari wo tomosu

Amaku awaku omoi sonna mono ni torawarete

Kono tsukiakari no shita hitori shirazu

Kimi no namae Continue reading

Happy Endings

Up, up, and away, and off to the land of opportunity, I think to myself. The land of happy endings.
from Happy Endings, L. J. Katigbak

 The book Happy Endings written by Luis Joaquin M. Katigbak is a collection of short stories that revolves around different interpersonal relationships between people, where these people are impelled to believe the idea of ‘happy endings’. The book showcases the different stories of different people when dealing the nature of love and relationships, and exploring self-identity that may lead to self-realizations. The story reflects a lot of things: love, bewilderment, fear, and pain, represented in the various facets of character personas of high school teenagers, college students and young adults. Perhaps, one of the most distinct underlying theme that holds the collection comes from the reflection of the “I” narrator (named Emil) of the short story entitled Happy Endings:

[…] I think about all of us, speeding and lurching or trudging towards our individual endings, catching glimpses of them now and then, planning for the future, wishing, hoping, never really knowing for sure whether our endings will be happy or tragic […]

Indeed, most of us, inevitably, would dream about happy endings, only to find out that not all things end this way, and that our speculations and assumptions are far from what’s real. That is what makes the book really interesting, as the writer was able to extract specific details of experiences, wherein he coupled them with vivid characterizations and an effective prose style to present to us realistic situations of life.

The book has ten short stories. In Renegade Eyeballs, a college student faces the usual problems in a university, dealing with his friends and his girlfriend, and flunking exams and subjects. In between times, he finds leisure in daydreaming, which is a momentary suspension of reality due to his emotional insecurities with the people around him, and at the later part of the story, he ends up thinking of himself as a lunatic sharpshooter with his cheap toy gun, but only for a moment, for in the end he realizes that everything still remains the same. In Postcards, a girl mysteriously receives postcards from nowhere, and she ends up transporting herself into the other world. There, she meets the older and the other self of her who happens to be the one who sends her the postcards. In this story, the theme of self-identity echoes in the other girl’s statement, “To let you know that you have yourself to thank for your happiness.” In Happy Endings, a fresh college graduate named Emil works in an advertising company wherein he is able to distinguish the different desires and ambitions of the people around him, and reflect whether the things that they are doing would eventually lead into their desired happy endings.

In Birthday, a young man forgets his self-identity, and ends up wandering around the place hoping to find it. Along the way he speculates his own nature, and when he has the chance to know his true self (through his lost wallet), he detains the idea for a while, and told himself that today is his birthday. In What the World Was Waiting For, a group of high school student researchers are working for a thermoacoustic engine as a scientific project. A high school boy secretly develops feelings for his best friend who was going out for somebody. In the short story Away, the young woman daydreams of happy endings with a co-worker, and assumes that they both have the same feelings for each other, only to find out that the man is ‘too far away from her’. In Document, two special friends share a word processor, and the young man is confused whether there is something deeper between them.

In the story Kara’s Place, two long-termed college friends Eric and Kara meet one day in Kara’s place, and they talk about Kara’s problem about his professor who tried to harass her. To their surprise, they end up hugging and kissing each other in a moment, and they part from each other, leaving a sense of confusion to both of them. In Rain, Rachel, and a Wednesday Afternoon, a 28-year old man named Dodong looks back at the memories with a girl named Rachel fourteen years ago – memories in the rain and at that memorable Wednesday afternoon when they first met. Now, Dodong reflects on the present time: Rachel is already married and she has a beautiful daughter, and through this, it is questioned, whether he is trapped in the past. In the final short story, The End, the main character Anton becomes the herald-messenger of the end of the world which will happen in seven days. Here, we see, how Anton struggles with the pressure of the responsibility, but amidst this distress, he comes to appreciate the value of love in a life already marked with brevity.

In a closer reading of the short stories written by Luis Joaquin Katigbak, it is notable that the strength of the writer lies in his vivid descriptions of the mental and emotional states of his characters. By relaying to us the emotional and mental processes of his characters with utmost subtlety, we readers are able to see more of their human and sympathetic aspects. The writer was able to push the plot of the stories to subtle sentimentalities, mainly because his characters are ‘human’, believable and credible characters. In this way, we readers are able to participate in the story by relating ourselves to the feelings and mental states of the characters. Indeed, these characters have the quality of verisimilitude and universality.

The book Happy Endings is heavily laced with irony that life is not purely all about happy endings. The stories reflect unique interpretations of the inability of humans to decode what the future holds for each of us. The writer highlights the idea that humans are not perfect, and they have occasional shortcomings, and these mistakes are bound to stain the happily-ever-after thoughts. But eventually through these mistakes, humans can achieve clarity about their own selves, and to some extent, self-realizations. This theme is subtly exemplified in each stories of Katigbak – it resonates all through out the book with deeper significance. Luis Joaquin Katigbak has that creative finesse in using that artistic emotional restraint of which he used extensively and effectively in each stories, and that is why Happy Endings is one of my personal favorites.

A Day’s Reflection

At that time he used to hold my hand whenever we’d sit in the grass at the park. His sweaty hands enclosed mine so tight, (like he did, many years ago) pressing my hand gently minute by minute, as though this gesture was the only thing he could do. I didn’t bother to look at him straight in the face – I felt that holding hands together was too much of a connection already, and eye contacts would be unnecessary. I didn’t even bother to lean on his shoulders, nor would he, for that matter. We knew for a fact that things like these were only real for the meantime, and holding on too much to these (more than what should be) could be fatal for the both of us.