Weeknotes #60

in weeknotes

  • How is it already March?

  • Tokyo’s state of emergency was extended for another two weeks (Reuters). We’re still planning to send Emma back to school on Monday but not without some trepidation.

  • After resolving last week to spend more time meaningfully engaged, I have foregone most of my online browsing habits. Feedbin has gone unchecked, Twitter has gone unscrolled and my Safari Reading List remains obstinately unread. I still listen to podcasts and watch videos on YouTube but, other than occasionally checking Reddit, I’ve managed to stay strong.

  • I had hoped that I’d use some of my time to read more but progress on that front has been slow. What I’ve done instead is restart my Japanese study. I don’t remember precisely when I stopped—I think it might have been around 2019—but a couple of years ago I decided that rather than spend time studying Japanese, I’d do more programming instead. Now that I have this surfeit of free time, it seemed like a good time to get back in the saddle as it were. Indeed, in some respects, I feel like not using the pandemic to really advance that skill has been my biggest regret. Well, as they say, right now is the second best time to start something you should have started long ago.

  • The main tool I’m using is Kanshudo. I was using it before I stopped studying last time and in fact kept paying for it even while I wasn’t actively studying. Its web app is decent and I appreciate that it works well on the iPhone, the iPad and the Mac.

  • At one point during the week, Yoshe and I were talking about My Little Pony, and in particular the Friendship is Magic and Equestria Girls shows. They’re available at least partially on Japanese Netflix and Emma enjoys watching both. As a child of the 80s who remembers the original series largely as an impediment to whatever cartoon followed it, I’ve been impressed with the writing and humour in these new iterations. Yoshe suggested I watch Jenny Nicholson’s 70-minute epic ‘The Last Bronycon: A Fan Autopsy’ (YouTube) and it didn’t disappoint. Nicholson, a genuine fan, explores the way in which male fans (who I could easily have been if I were 10 years younger) affected the show.

  • One of the things Nicholson doesn’t address explicitly but which occurred to me during my viewing was the way in which these new My Little Pony series take the place that anime might have occupied a decade or so prior. The exoticness of anime is a large part of its appeal but there can be times where that distance is more of a barrier. Humour in particular doesn’t translate well and it’s perhaps not coincidental that the humour is one of the aspects of Friendship is Magic and Equestria Girls which strongly resonates with older fans.

  • After making her way through the anime adaptation of Erased, Eri watched the live-action film adaptation on Thursday. It’s nowhere near as good as the television series and the ending is especially awful. The movie came out just as the manga was ending and it feels so half-baked that I wonder if they knew how the manga was going to end when they started the production.

  • I don’t know why but I was seized over the weekend with a desire to listen to the soundtrack for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Apple Music). Spoiler alert: it’s still excellent.

Michael Camilleri @pyrmont