Holidays has been pretty relaxing for most part, I feel pretty refreshed after taking a few odd days off. Even though I went into work yesterday it was pretty relaxing without anybody there and I could do things at my own pace and get some minor things sorted. It feels pretty good to have less pressure and not deal with customers for a while. It was also amazingly quiet, with around 6 people in the office and only myself upstairs, so I could relax whilst doing work; an odd situation indeed.

I got a whole bunch of new music though, mostly old Maaya Sakamoto songs from her early albums like Dive and Grapefruit. Love her voice, she may not be an idol with great looks but she is an incredibly talented singer/songwriter and seiyuu. I love pretty much all of her songs and especially her seiyuu roles such as in Canaan and Kara no Kyoukai. Her singing voice is so different to her seiyuu voice, though I can tell that it has grown a bit deeper throughout the years by her music.

I also managed to get my hands on Mai Hoshimura’s “Piano Best” which contained 6 of her songs rearranged with her own piano composition. Also I am not 100% sure but I think that she rerecorded a couple of her songs because they sound different to the ones on her older albums.  I am a bit disappointed that she isn’t more popular with such a soothing voice and great piano talent. Her contract ended with Sony earlier this year as well and I have not heard of her being signed with another company yet. She is one of the singers who got me into Japanese music and it is a bit upsetting that she might fade into obscurity unless she is signed by a record company.

I also found myself with an abundance of bandwidth so I decided to download a series called “Welcome to the NHK” which was pretty interesting to watch. Animation quality varied greatly though, but I was surprised that Yui Makino the voice of Sakura from Tsubasa voiced the female lead Misaki. She has a really cute voice but hasn’t really starred in any other prominent series. The series is a bit odd though, the tension between characters always seems to reach boiling point and then diffuse unspectacularly with the exception of Hitomi’s offline meet arc. The focus is never clear in the series and switches back and forth between social commentary and relationship issues. However to be fair, I always preferred the romance/relationship side in many series and am not really familiar with this hikikomori culture since it is the first time I have even heard of it. Overall it was probably a series best watched slowly rather than in a period of 2 days.

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I have loved Maaya for a long time, listened to a lot of her songs and absolutely adore her voice. I also really enjoy the work she does in VA work in anime which is a double plus. I listened to her song “No fear – aisurukoto” from her album “Yunagi Loop” and it was so beautiful and struck a chord within me. I tried translating it to a friend, but my Japanese is sorely lacking so I only knew bits and pieces, mostly nouns and verbs so I couldn’t piece together who or what the song was about.

But here is the poem! Hope you enjoy!

Afraid

your silhouette is the only thing i see,
back lit against a distant star;
i see your hand reaching out to me
but i am too afraid i’d pull you down-
(or rather help myself up.)

the water has wrapped around me,
cocooning me within her cold embrace.
deeper and deeper she pulls me closer
until all i hear is the blackness of the sea.

the numbing cold has stolen your hand,
replaced the warmth with nothing at all.
i can’t feel anything or you anymore,
and i am afraid.

i am losing sight of you,
the water clouds my vision and blurs my eyes,
my face feels oddly warm, as if your hands
were wiping away my tears;
but the ocean was drowning my longing.

i remember your hand now, like a fragile flower
i was always afraid to grasp it
for fear i would crush its idyllic beauty.
but now more than ever i wanted to hold it
just once-

i had never heard of an ocean blossom
but that day i saw a flower dive to save a man
who was so afraid;
since then, i had never seen a man
who gripped a rose so tight.

This was something I wrote and sent to help turn the tides and bring home an R18+ category so that disasters like L4D2 will never happen again on our shores.

Should the Australian National Classification Scheme include an R 18+ classification category for computer games?

I believe that there should be an R18+ classification for computer games in Australia. The introduction of this classification will make more games available to the Australian market and benefit responsible members of the public by allowing more mature entertainment to be enjoyed as it should be.

Firstly, I believe that video games are not all made for children, and that the argument against introducing an R18+ classification due to their negative influence on children is moot. Much like a violent movie, games which deserve a R18+ were clearly not made for children and should not be sold to minors.

Continuing from that point, it is my belief that the ratings system was created to help enforce sale of inappropriate material to minors. It was not created to reject quality entertainment from retail shelves. If a title is rejected on the basis that it does not fit our classification criteria then I believe that the classification criteria is lacking. When compared to the rest of the world ie America and Europe , it seems that our classification criteria is behind many other countries which have some sort of restricted classification.

Video games today can be viewed as an artistic method of storytelling where the player is interacting with the virtual world the game presents. Some video games require an R18+ rating in order to express the creators intent. Even if it is not artistic it was created to entertain and the entertainment is only tasteful to an adult market. If the classification system does not introduce an R18+ classification many users will miss out on potentially artistic entertainment available to the rest of the world.

I notice that the paper mentions an argument that “It would be difficult for parents to enforce age restrictions for computer games”. I find that hard to believe, since it is a parent’s responsibility to guide their children through society. There should be no excuse for parents allowing children access to inappropriate material. This is not a relevant argument against adding a R18+ classification category. As a matter of fact many arguments against adding an R18+ classification are built on this fallacy.

“An R 18+ for computer games would exacerbate problems associated with access to high level material in Indigenous communities and by other non-English speaking people”. As with above, this point is a societal issue and has nothing to do with amending a faulty classification system. Societal problems such as this are being used as an argument against video games since it is a very controversial and misunderstood scapegoat. I will not delve into this since it is outside the scope of argument. Issues in society are not relevant for a debate on including a R18+ classification into a draconian classification board.

There is no proof that violent video games causes violent behaviour. There have been studies done to link violent behaviour and violent video games, but this is purely on a correlative basis. I don’t think I need to explain the difference between causality and correlation in scientific studies. Either way, video games are only a tool or device used for entertainment and consumption; much like alcohol and cigarettes, there should exist an amended age restriction to mature content.

Sinkhole

December 14, 2009

Despite being the season for giving, I have realized my bank balance is getting a bit low lately and I have been launching an investigation of my spending to find out what I have used my money on in the past month…

Petrol: $380
Car transmission: $2800
Games and anime: $110
Fun stuff: $80

So I have gathered that my money has been primarily sunk into the car this month. I have also sold my headlights for $350 cash so I have been using that to pay for my fast food and going out mostly. But really the petrol is a phenomenal amount, $380 worth of petrol in a month. Even though I average about 14-15L/100km I still managed to fill up about 6 times in a month, though admittedly I had to fill up 3 cars during the past month. Also I put about 15% of my income into savings and another 15% into board/rent so a lot of my money goes into that, leaving me with not much to be perfectly honest.

I guess I will have to keep track of these expenses and try to get on top of my saving, since the next thing I am aiming for is a house. That might take a good few years.

Kara no Kyoukai

December 9, 2009

I had gotten a hold of this anime and it is one of the most well animated series I have seen for a long time. The animation is so crisp and beautiful, the character designs really shine when using this animation style even though the designs itself are rather simple. Shiki the female lead has interesting style though, red leather jacket on top of a kimono is a bizarre mix of east and west; not to mention her somewhat convoluted characterization as a split personality murderer who was to succeed her family.

The music is equally as beautiful and haunting since it is mostly composed by Yuki Kajiura, the brainchild behind FictionJunction and her new lovechild Kalafina who sings the music for Kara no Kyoukai. I am a major fan of Kajiura and the music really suits the series which makes me an instant convert even though the plot is a bit confusing.

I really liked Tsukihime and was surprised that Kara no Kyoukai is set in the same world, since Tsukihime was the first anime I had seen that was based from a Type-Moon franchise. I am slowly making my way through the series, but am missing the 7th and final episode. I guess I will have to wait til the DVD gets subbed.

In other news, I received RahXephon in the mail the other day and will be watching it again once I get through Kara no Kyoukai. I am mainly interested in the special features, but having a hard copy of one of my favourite animes would be great since somebody has my spindle and not returned it.

Addendum: just watched the 5th movie and I just have to say that the animation is absofuckinglutely gorgeous, especially the action scenes and you can clearly see that they did not skimp at all on production values at all. I don’t care if the movie is somewhat of a mindfuck since the animation makes up for it in awesome.

I am still alive

December 7, 2009

After a week alone by myself I have survived contrary to popular belief. I have eaten much spagbol and frozen fried rice and have managed to beat the odds to live and eat more frozen fried rice and leftovers. My lunch today consisted not of the usual Maccas but leftover subway from yesterday’s lunch which was very cost effective. Dinner will consist of last night’s leftovers from a local restaurant. As you can see I am living the high life, eating leftovers and whatever the hell else is in my fridge/freezer.

I am really just too lazy to cook anything since I am so slow at making anything and if I did cook then all that frozen food will go to waste. Probably not the best diet in the world but at least I am getting some sort of nutrition. I am currently waiting for some DVDs to come in the mail since they have been shipped last Friday. I have also lost a bunch of CDs I kept in the car which is very sad news for me, since they are probably the only CDs that I have ever bought.

Poetry Friday

December 4, 2009

A quick one. I heard “Dead by Sunrise – Fire” and really liked it so I wrote this based on that song.

aftermath

the ashen blanket clouds over the sky
like the cloth that covers the faces
of loved ones in the end.
do not be saddened by the darkness
that shrouds today
since tomorrow is another day
where perhaps the light may shine.

i know that it is hard to see
when these volcanoes erupt,
leaving ash in your face
and tears in your eyes-
but realize that with destruction
comes rebirth:
even this ashen fallout can nurture growth.

though the particles continue
falling into my eyes,
they disguise the face of a mourner
still staring into the sky,
waiting for first light.

By myself

December 2, 2009

Well I am king of the house until Christmas time. Nobody is home and I have to take care of everything by myself until my family returns. It’s a little bit lonely since I usually go bug someone when I am bored, but there is nobody to talk to at home. At least I don’t get pestered by my mum all the time and just do whatever.

Recently I have just been rewatching anime and following my series. I am taking a break from my PC and xbox gaming so that I can “recover”, too much of a good thing sometimes kills the enjoyment. Forza3 is pretty much endless though, I am only about halfway at level 27 out of a possible 50. Money is also hard to come by in that game so I have to tune slowly. I have also reached a bit of a plateau with SF4, putting in anymore effort will draw negligible results so I will have to settle with where I am. Borderlands is coming along slowly too, I have stopped playing that since I am on the 2nd playthrough and am in no rush to finish the game again. Maybe when I decide to buy the expansion I will pick it up again.

It is a bit hard getting my car to and from a mechanic since I need to get a friend to drive me there, but at least now everything is done. Body work has been completed and transmission has been replaced, all that remains is for me to pay them… a rather hefty sum of $2800. But at least I get to enjoy my car at long last!