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Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno Review

I confess that I was nervous for this movie, much more so than for the first Rurouni Kenshin live action in 2012. I’ve been a fan of Rurouni Kenshin for more than ten years now, and I can see the flaws as easily as the strengths of this classic shounen manga. The Shishio Arc of the manga is significantly more manga-y in all of its tropes than everything to do with Kanryu, and while the first live-action did an amazing job of balancing campy silliness with a “serious” story line, I wasn’t sure if this movie would succeed in the same way. Well…let’s dive in, shall we? (Spoilers ahead, even for those who know the manga/anime.)

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Habit Writing

So the way I've been forcing myself to work on writing is through HabitRPG, which is an awesome habit forming system that works like an RPG. One of my current daily activities is to write at least 250 words of fiction a day. Most of that writing goes into "Shards," but every once and a while, I take a break and drabble instead. (Or work on the two other stories I started even though I really shouldn't have.) Thus we have what is probably the most overdue gift drabble in the history of gift drabbles. Merry Christmas? Happy Birthday? I don't actually remember, but in any case, for you kantrixgabriel.

Title: Routine
Fandom: Avatar, the Last Airbender
Word count: 471
Rating: T (On account of semi-drunkenness and poor entendres.)
Notes: This is not my preferred pairing, so I apologize if they're a little...off. I don't know how to write two cool-headed characters in a romance, I guess. (Note that Zuko is really only cool-headed when he's around Mai, barring the "I'm angry at myself" episode.) Also completely unbeta-ed and un-edited, so I'm sure there are mistakes aplenty. I'll try and go back and look at it later when I'm not so tired. Sort of indirectly inspired by "We are Young" by fun. (Does one use two periods after their band name? I don't know.)

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Writing Update

Hey all,
Happy "It's finally almost-kind-of-sort-of-warm spring!"

So I'm 22 pages into rewrites of "Shards." It's a painful experience because I find myself basically reworking every sentence, when I really just want to be done with the rewrites so I can finish the damn story. Alas, I think it's a long way off yet, given 22 pages in only translates to about chapter three, I think (I don't have the file divided by chapters, I do all that post editing and whatnot.) I also started another story because I'm apparently an idiot. It's half in response to quoth_the_ravyn's "Path of Thorns" because I recently reread it, realized it was unfinished, and had a sad, and half in response to Lanse's "Oni," which I love, but I have problems with Kaoru's characterization post-meeting-Kenshin. I've apparently been reading too much feminism as of late, because now all I want is for heroine's to jump out of their chains and/or crystals and/or whatever and just kick ass alongside the hero. I know that's not really what Kaoru does in the manga, but as far manga written by men in super-sexist Japan goes, Kaoru is stunningly feminist. She runs her own freaking dojo in the 1870s, for fuck's sake! As far as I'm concerned, that puts her up there with Winry Rockbell (who arguably has her own problems as a female character because she's forever the one waiting for Ed and not the other way around, but I should really stop myself now). The moral of the story? Jade should stop bitching and rewrite faster.

And also possibly eat less chocolate, but that's a different can of worms.



Other people seem to be coming out of it (the woodwork, that is.) So should I.
So looking back at my last post, that was December 12th. Lucky me, next day I was hospitalized for acute pancreatitis. Like, talking about giving me dialysis acute. So that was fun. They released me eight days later and let me fly back to the States for Christmas as planned. The doctor really took pity on me, because I think his colleague wanted to keep me in Japan. Home during Christmas on a super restricted diet was fun. Everyone else was stuffing up on cake and wine and I couldn't have either.  But my family doctor got me an emergency slot in surgery to get the damn gall bladder out while I was in the States and I'm mostly all better now, though I can't eat certain things anymore. I'm no longer waking up in the middle of the night with extreme pain and vomiting in any case.

After Christmas was productive. I pulled out of the incredibly poorly planned musical and stayed on as musical coordinator only, and that's been much better for me. I've been able to make major progress on my loans since I'm not spending all my money on travel.

Perhaps the biggest news LJ-wise is that I'm forcing myself to write again. I'm doing major rewrites for "Shards of Me" because I will finish that story, damnit! I will not be defeated. However, going back and reading it, I realized that there was a lot that needed fixing. Like all of it. All of it needed fixing. So I've pretty much started from the ground up, but I'm into chapter 3 and I've added some new scenes to the unpublished chapter that would be the theoretical next update. I also uploaded all the drabbles I'd been neglecting to post and started a Legend of Zelda story, which I'll post once I'm a few chapters in. I know, I know. Finish one project before starting another, but I just couldn't help myself.

Lastly, Kenshin fic recs. quoth_the_ravyn already recced ClosetRomaticSockpuppet and her work. She's a non-native English writer, and it does show, but what she lacks in grammatical grasp, she makes up for in intriguing story. I'd also really recommend Ayezur and all of her ongoing Kenshin fics. She's got a set of drabbles, a fantastic historical piece based in the beginning of the Tokugawa era circa 1600, and spin on the usual WIP slavery fic that's actually extremely well-written. I wasn't expecting to like it at all, but now I'm totally hooked. She's also got some FFVII stuff up, but she's a ValenTifa shipper, and I'm afraid I'm a CloTi only kind of a girl.

Today, I'm a bit off because of what happened in Boston. I've got a lot of friends out there, and I can honestly say that the news footage was too brutal. There are things I don't want to see, things that are private and personal and somehow they just ended up on the world stage anyway. Even BBC managed to piss me off, and they're usually so respectable.

But on the whole, I'm so much happier than I was last year, and I hope this continues to be the case.
How about you lot? How have you been?


Wow, I haven't posted in a long time.  I'm still here, lurking in the shadows, I swear.  In fact, I just sent out Christmas cards, at least one of which is one its way to Aussie.

Hmmm...life in general has been good to me.  This new job fucking rocks.  I still wake up on Sundays in shock that I get a whole 'nother day to myself before I have to start the work week again.  Two day weekends are the best fucking invention ever.  And I get national holidays off!  What a concept!  So work is good.

Briefly dabbled in romance, but that didn't work out so well.  C'est la vie.  I'm not going to lie.  I miss being able to touch people.  I miss having that level of comfort.  Some of my students are still young enough that they have no qualms about touching me or hugging me, but Japan is a mostly hands off society and sometimes that's tough to deal with when all you really want is a hug.

Which leads me into my hug-wanting because before I even hit a quarter-century I have fucking gallstones.  And we're not talking like tiny little pea-sized munchkins here.  There is one big giant stone and several medium-sized stones just hanging out in my gut and causing me grief.  And turns out it's been causing me grief for the whole year, now that I know what it is.  Given my age and the amount of pain it's caused me, the doctor's are going to take my gall bladder out.  No one quite knows what causes your bile chemical levels to go out of whack and generate gallstones, but I match at least four of the contributing factors: female, family history, fat, and have recently lost a lot of weight rather rapidly.  I'll go under the knife sometime in January and add yet another set of scars to fascinate people in hot springs.

But overall my life is so much BETTER!  I'm infinitely happier than I was last year, even with stupid health problems, and I'm going back to the States to see my family this Christmas.  And I'm getting back one of the cats I fostered.  Allow me to express my JOY!

So anyway, that's where I am in life.  How about you lot?  (Those of you that still deign to visit this admittedly spam-infested nutcase blogger site.)
Hope you all are having a lovely holiday season.

RK Live Action Review

Hey all,
Went and saw Rurouni Kenshin, the live action movie opening weekend.  Now, all of you outside of Japan got Avengers way before we did, but at least I got this.  Thought I'd leave my thoughts for those who want to know.  Of course if you want to refrain and judge for yourself, don't click the cut.

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In other news, the frozen northland of Japan  is treating me well and I'm much happier here than I've been in a long time.  I'm lucky I got this placement and this area and this job, and hopefully I keep feeling that way.


I'm leaving Chiba tomorrow and off to the frozen northland...sort of.  Have to go through Tokyo first, but not much longer.

I'm done with job that made me hideously depressed and hopefully next job will be a turn for the better.

My apartment is mostly packed and I am just now realizing I may not have enough room in my suitcase.   Whoops.

The kitties are relocated to a new home, which left me rather lonely.

Dark Knight Rises was pretty awesome and I would probably willingly have sex, no questions asked, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who I've had a nerd crush on since he was in Ten Things I Hate About You.

Now the real thing I want to talk about, which is totally irrelevant and no one cares at all, but I just kind of wanted to put it down in writing somewhere.  I've been reading a hell of a lot of Avengers fanfiction lately and realized that I really don't care for AU in that fandom, but I love AU in the RK and Inuyasha fandoms.  What exactly is different?

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Ja ne


So woke up at 5:30 this morning and went back to sleep, and in the two hours before waking again at 7:30, had a very bizarre and slightly terrifying dream. 

So I was back home in the States and it was night time.  I guess I was either staying up late or had just woken up.  I went out to the living room and saw the cat in the window going nuts.  Looked outside to see what was bothering her and saw a pack of four wolves.  They were tearing into a goat carcass.  My family doesn't keep goats (or any other livestock for that matter) but I guess in this dream we were.  However, my appearance distracted them and they all started watching me.  And in my head I think, "Oh shit, they can get in through the basement."  I'm not entirely sure why they could get in through the basement, but they could.  Three of the wolves disappeared, but the alpha stayed, watching me.  I ran for the basement door to shut and lock it and I was almost fast enough, but one of the wolves got me by the hand.  I slammed its head in the door and freed myself before shutting the door all the way and locking it.  My finger hurt.  Badly.  I was pretty sure it was broken, but strangely no blood.  Ran to the phone to call 911 about the wolves.  Not sure why I thought they could do anything.  The alpha was still outside just staring at me, and my cat was throwing herself in front of me trying to protect me.  I grabbed a big piece of white paper and started making a sign to read "Danger: Wolves in Area."  I remember being confused because wolves are forest animals, and the Midwest is distinctly lacking in forests.  I figured they must have been driven out of their natural territory by humans or something.  That's about the time I woke up, and even on waking, my finger still hurt like a bitch for a while.  Not sure if I jammed it in my sleep or if it was phantom pain, but the dream was creepy either way.


The beat goes on

So.  I now officially know that I'm moving to Hokkaidou, which in and of itself is a pretty awesome thing.  I've been up there once before and it feels a lot like the Midwest, plus the city I'm moving to seems to be in a pretty nice location and its large enough that I'm hoping I won't have to drive.  Haven't heard anything on that front yet.

A week after the depression was really bad, I got a call from the Japan Cat Network to see if I could foster a mother cat who was semi-feral and had just given birth to three kittens.  Obvious answer is obvious.  Having her and the kittens in the apartment has made life so much more bearable.  Now I actually have something to look forward to when I go home.  Plus she's really warmed up to me, though obligatory hiss when I get home is still a thing.  She even rubbed my legs today when I was getting her supper ready.

In other news my boss made me feel like complete shit for having to duck out of work a week early to go to the new job, and I, being an insanely non-confrontational person, basically just ducked my head and cried.  Pretty mortifying.  Somewhere in all this, I finally mentioned that I was depressed and had been suicidal before I started up the meds.  About the last thing I wanted them to know, but they managed to push the wrong buttons, I guess.  The really telling thing about all this was that I was able to let go of the hurt relatively quickly.  I cried about it off and on the rest of the day, and couldn't stop thinking about it for about two or three days, but after that, I managed to let it go.  I think this, at least, is an improvement.  According to super-expensive therapist, one of my biggest problems was thinking too much about my problems and beating myself up for them for exceedingly long periods of time.

That being said, I'm still scared shitless about continuing to live in Japan, but I got no job offers from any of the places I applied to in the States, and I'm not about to move back home to my parents, so this is basically my only option.  But I'm trying to let go.  The cats are helping.  When they're not trying to eat my toes.  (Still not entirely sure what it is about animals and my feet.)
ps.  In a bout of weakness, I totally watched the Avengers illegally, but that's certainly not going to stop me from going to see it when it finally comes to Japanese theaters in August.

Long time...

...no see.  So.  What's happened?

Got the job.  I feel no joy.  In fact, all I feel is a lingering sense of unease.  Like maybe I shouldn't have signed the contract because maybe I'm just not cut out for living in Japan.  But I sent the paperwork and now I've just got nerves sitting in my stomach all the time.

Continue to be rather unwell.  Had a major allergic reaction to something or other that made my right eye swell up, turn violently red, and gum itself shut.  I was convinced it was pink eye, but apparently not according to the doctor.  Had two colds and a case of bronchitis.  Cough also continues persistently.  I honestly don't know if it's allergies or pollution, but it did seem to improve when I got out of the city.

Had a week off and went to my old stomping grounds in Kyoto with a couple of friends.  Not sure entirely how I felt about anything there.  I missed the Kansai region terribly and it was so unbelievably nice to have conversations with human beings who were not my boss or my students.  Coming back was insanely difficult and I did seriously consider just jumping off the Shinkansen in Nagoya.

It doesn't help that the friends I was with were not friends who were with me the first time around, and so I couldn't share my incredible nostalgia pains with them very well.  Walking down the river and past the first restaurant I ever ate at in Japan and the place where I took kimono classes and all that.  I couldn't bring myself to go to my host family's neighborhood.  The sight of Toji from the JR was bad enough.

What was supposed to be a week of relaxing didn't really seem to relax me.  I'm in sore need of unbiased advice, but I'm not willing to shell out the hundred+ dollars I'd need to go back to the shrink.

In any case, I'm going to send in my resume to the Japanese consulate in Boston because really it can't hurt anything and more than likely they'll turn me down because I have zero experience in politics.

I did break down and buy SQ Jump solely for the new Kenshin story from Watsuki.  I like how his drawing style has changed, but I haven't started the actual story yet.

So.  That's where I am.