Little Women II: Jo’s Boys and the Other 1990’s Japanese Animations

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This was one of the Japanese animated television series my cousins, young sister, and I were always excited to watch at its regular  time slot in the 1990’s. My young sister and I would hurry to my cousins’ house as fast as we could  to not miss its episodes, for , at that time,we still did not have a telly tube. A black-and-white TV was still the fashionable one. Even my older brother who was not really fond of  it would come along with us. We would all huddle around on the floor  in the living room, nestling one another because the tube was suspended above us.

The anime has marked in my memory since then because it had a major influence in my interest in reading books and aspiring to become a doctor, (the dream I have considered castles in the air.) The anime usually deals with a group of students who live in Plumfield under Mrs. Josephine and Mr. Fritz  Bhaer’s tutelage. Both of the teachers are good teachers who  make a big difference to their life by giving importance on education and their future. I will never forget those students: Nan, Dan, Nat, Demi, Daisy, Tommy, Stuffy, Ned, Jack, Franz, and Emil. Of course, I will not forget to include Mr. and Ms. Bhaer’s cute, kind children: Rob and Teddy. Each of them has his or her own qualities and dreams. However, it had been a long time , so I could no longer remember the whole stories , especially about their characters. The only ones who has etched in my mind were Nan and Dan.

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Nan  is my favorite among the characters. She is a tomboy and the bravest among the students. She taught me how to appreciate the importance of reading books. She even caught my interest in becoming a  doctor because this is what she wants to be. I really liked what she does in one episode: she produces herbal medicine to treat her  friends as her patients. Laugh me as loudly as you can, but I imitated her then. I would also read books on herbal plants and study how to produce medicine out of them. (laughs) Most importantly, she showed me how to be a positive and cheerful person in any circumstances. I liken her to Judy Abbot of Daddy-Long-Legs. Both of them take the world as a playground.

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Dan. I can never forget him because  he is a bad boy in the story. But I liked him  because he became close to Nan. Besides, his role is memorable because he changed in the story; he became like a tame lamb. In fact, as far as I remember, my older cousin would giggle when she saw him on TV; she must have found him attractive.

Since then, this anime had always intruded on my peaceful waking hours. Thanks to our modern technology. I  had the good chance to watch it again. There are some full videos  available on You Tube uploaded by people who may also be nostalgic about it.

After finishing its all episodes during the long weekend-thanks to the holiday- there is some information I believed in for a long time has  become crystal-clear. It’s not Ann, but Nan. It’s  not Dim but Nat who married Daisy. Dan turns out to be a scientist, not a druggist. It’s Mr. Page who boosted Dan’s interest in nature and animals.

All episodes are worth watching as its novel is worth reading. They are not only entertaining but also rectifying. You can feel like one of Ms. Jo’s students because you will learn a whole lot when you usually make a mistake in your life, typical of us when we were still young. Likewise, you can learn how to be a good teacher because of the wisdom Jo and her husband possess.

If Nan sparkled my interest in books and medicine then, now, they are Mrs. Josephine and Mr. Fritz Bhaer for being the symbols of virtues,  the paragons of what a good teacher is like. In the anime, they are magnanimous, understanding, thoughtful, considerate. For them, they are not just teachers but also parents to their students. They believe in the philosophy of education that all children have potential to become good persons. I won’t forget Ms. Jo’s favorite saying, “ The sun and the water are the natural way to grow flowers.”  , and her belief that students  have to love what they are studying, for when you’re truly curious about something, the words you can say can become your teacher. I think they adopted Italian educator Maria Montessori’s educational approach.

I have now some favorite scenes and symbolized objects in the story.  For the scenes that had an impact on me, when Nan becomes a teacher to her classmates and Mrs. and Mrs. Bhaer, when Nat succeeds in pulling himself together after his life being a vagrant, when Dan comes back to Plumfield holding the flower same as what Ms. Jo always puts in his vase, when Dan stays at Mr. Page’s house and becomes interested in nature and animals, when Dan kisses Ms. Jo and calls her mother, when Dan has the courage to ask Mr. Bhaer’s forgiveness, when Nan realizes that she wants to become a doctor, when Dan has to leave Plumfield and says farewell, and when Ms. Jo delivers her farewell speech. Oops… I’m now a spoiler.

As to the  symbolized objects,  First, the flower Ms. Jo puts in Dan’s vase. I don’t have the foggiest idea of that flower’s name. Does anybody here happen to know its name? 🙂 Second, the books Mr. Page lent to Dan to study. Finally, the ring Nan gave to Dan. I even made its pale imitation and gave it to my older cousin.

I’m not a big fan of Louisa May Alcott, but I have read her Little Women or , one of the springboards for my desire to read all the classic  books I haven’t read yet. So, after watching this anime again, I have now this seething flush of excitement to read Little Men or  Life at Plumfield with Jo’s Boys. In fact, I’m now more excited after learning that it has even a sequel:  Jo’s Boys, and How They Turned Out. It must be all about the students above after leaving Plumfield. I wonder what happened to Nan and Dan.

I’m also planning to read The Little Princes and Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Black Brothers by Liza Tetzner, Heidi by Johanna Spyri, Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster and The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss: I have watched their Japanese animated television series.  Gee, you may find me odd, for I’m talking like an effeminate child again. ( blushing)

Are there other 1990’s Japanese animations I have missed on my list? Let me know then. 🙂

 

 

 

 

How Ode to My Father Gained my Respect for Koreans

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I’ve been teaching  English to Koreans  for 8 years. So, getting along with them has given me the opportunity to understand their rich culture, custom, and history. I’ve been trying to learn how to speak,  read , and write  basic Hangul. I’ve even loved  their food ,and…allow me to cite the ones I always crave such as ssamkyupsal ( 삼겹살), ttakbeoki (떡볶이), panjeon (파전), jjajangmyeon ( 자장면) , ramen (그리고 라멘), and to name a few. Hmmm… My mouth is now watering. ..And I am even now trying to be a pale imitation of their fashion. Jeez whiz, I still haven’t  let myself be eaten by their system completely.

There is one thing that makes  Koreans  differ from us Filipinos: Their deep history that has molded their consciousness. That’s why it has been hard  for me to understand them in terms of their socio-cultural and economical policies. Koreans place too much value on familial hierarchy. Young people address the elderly with respect, patently obvious in their language- the custom  which is somehow no longer a big deal in the Philippines. Also, almost all Koreans are under pressure to conform to the standards of their educational system. Students go to academy ( 학원: Hag won)  to equip themselves with more skills. They even take part in more extra-curricular activities as another credentials once they look for lucrative jobs because hunting a job  is suicidal. Their  (close) friends can be even their frenemy in all aspects of  life should the need arise that they have to  consider their own interest. So, time is not more than gold, something I was not even used to when I started working for them. The long and the short of it, Koreans have been taught how to hit the ground running by this kind of  dog-eat-dog culture.

Right after watching the movie,  Ode to My Father, I sent a message to my beloved Korean students that I cried over it, and because of this movie, I respect their country, especially their history more. I explained further that this is a blinding revelation to me; I learned from this movie  how Koreans transformed themselves into new blood after the long period of extreme poverty during the Korean war.  It shows how the  war shaped Koreans’ philosophies in life  beyond their powers of endurance and resiliency. For instance, due to extreme poverty, they had to work hard to make their ends meet. They had to sacrifice by living away from their families while working abroad. They had to consider their families’ future no matter how life-threatening the available jobs were. They were  all determined to pull out the load weighing them down –the fighting spirit that has been observably inherent in their characters even up to this day. Perhaps, after this horrible chapter of  their history, it’s now their cultural “meme” that they should never let something like this pass again.

People must learn many moral lessons from the movie. The one that etched on my mind is that we can come up with alternative solutions to our problems. In the movie, Hwang Jung-min, the main character, found ways of how he could help alleviate his family’s miserable  life condition. I believe that  he can as well be the representation of all Koreans who did the same way. 🙂

The movie even made me break into tears as though the hem of my cloth was not enough to dampen my eyes. So, make sure that when you watch it, a hankie is not enough , but a diaper will do. It shows how the first Korean families were separated from one another after the 38th parallel, demarcating North and South Korea.  I could not stop blinking  my tears away some lachrymose scenes such as  when Hwang Jung-min  looked for his younger sister who had been missing for many years, and eventually found her on TV and when he  stayed in his room and  had an apparition talk with his father. They were heart-breaking. T_T

Would that  the movie were novelized, it would be more compelling and deeper, and I would surely wet its pages because of the emotional scenes conveyed in  beautiful sentences.

Rating: 5/ 5 stars ( It’s amazing.)

 

My Reading Goals in My 30’s

My Facebook  wall  has still been  inundated with a spate of  heart-warming greetings from my families, friends , and the people I am acquainted with  since Tuesday ,reminding me of that it is now my 30th years of existence in this complicated world.Gee, I am now  in another passage of rite  where every aspect of life may be beyond control. Thus, aside from the fact that it is the time when I have to consider my health, career, and marriage life- if the universe conspires with me – I look forward to reading more books that are more meaningful, more life-transforming.

Ever since I was such a simpleton,  it was typical of me to to be observed in the corner of the living room burying myself in pieces of paper  people might have found academical. If only they knew. I would read any books at my disposal: textbooks, old newspapers, brochures, magazines, notebooks disposed of by a student, bibles- anything I could read. But I never had a good  chance of reading the literary books every child must read such as Hans Christian Andersen ‘s fairy tales, Lucy Maud Montgomery ‘s Anne of Green GablesAlexandre Dumas The Three Musketeers , Shel Silverstein‘s The Giving TreeRudyard Kipling‘s The Jungle Book, to name a few. Nor was I brought along to a book store where I could have been encouraged to choose ones I would have loved to read. Our life at that point was still a hand to the mouth.

My 20’s was the stage of my life when I  took the chance to read the books I could afford. I have got a job which gives me access to this epistemological obsession given the fact that my profession is paid peanuts. Thanks to book stores selling second-hand books. Besides, my enormous enthusiasm for books  has groomed me to be a trying-hard literary critic. I have discovered some famous writers  I wish to have known when I was still   very young, whose works have shaken the world history.At the same time, I wound up in some book club sites where I have met many  book monsters like me who give me ideas of how to write, of how to mold the potentials I had been shrouding in the darkest nooks of  my unconsciousness

In my 30’s, I look ahead to  having crossed out all the books in the 1001-best-books-you-must-read-before-you-die list suggested by  an online  magazine, The Guardian  before making the transition to mid-life crisis. Click here for the list. I fancy having  aged out of  this life period  like a well-read person, young at heart. At that time, I would be such a consummate book bore you might turn your back on. In addition, I will try to be well-versed in other major forms of literary genre I  have not explored yet such as academics since there are many things in the world I want to know more, poetry since I want to write a ala Lang Leav poems you might wince at, dramas since I  could be a masquerader, commentaries since I am a social activist, and what not.

Also, in my 30’s ,I hope I will be able to keep this blog updated, available  till kingdom come . I  will try to be more dedicated to and enthusiastic about writing and sharing all my idiosyncratic and hyperbolic ideas. Most importantly, I hope  I will be able to accomplish my own masterpieces , somehow as critically acclaimed as an immortal writer’s. I am an ambitious frog. Fancy that!

For the meantime, another special friend of mine sent her  love with a  book gift. It is Will in the World.

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Goodreads Book Descriptions:

Paperback, 464 pages
Published April 4th 2016 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2004)

A young man from a small provincial town moves to London in the late 1580s and, in a remarkably short time, becomes the greatest playwright not of his age alone but of all time. How is an achievement of this magnitude to be explained? Stephen Greenblatt brings us down to earth to see, hear, and feel how an acutely sensitive and talented boy, surrounded by the rich tapestry of Elizabethan life, could have become the world’s greatest playwright.

Also, I  was deeply touched by a special letter from my Korean student. This is one of the best letters I have received thus far.

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People say that life  is the thing , but I prefer reading. – Logan Pearsall Smith-

In My Own Words by Henri Nouwen :An Advanced Birthday Gift

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I am sure that one  of the things a bookworm would love to receive on his/ her birthday is a book. What else ? He/she  is a full-time reader, a book lover, or a bibliophile, whatever names or slang  you can make up , all he/ she wants  on any special occasions is a book. So, although a few days off before my  30th birthday, a special friend of mine has already sent me  her  love with an advanced gift recently. It is another work by Henri NouwenIn My Words compiled by Robert Durback.

Book Description: 
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published September 5th 2001 by Liguori Publications

Synopsis: 

This is a thematic collection of memorable writings of Henri Nouwen inviting readers to share spiritual intimacy with this popular writer about prayer, depression, friendship, peace, and other topics.
His works connect to or touch the lives of people in a language they can understand, and lead them to places where they need to be. Henri J. M. Nouwen, a Dutch Roman Catholic priest who died in 1996, was one of this century’s most popular spiritual writers. His accounts of his experiences as a leader in the civil rights struggle of the 1960s and in the antinuclear movement are models of balance between the political and personal aspects of Christian faith.

Portrait of Henri Nouwen  in the 1990s taken by Frank Hamilton (Photo: Wikipedia)

Nenri Nouwen was a Dutch Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian.He had deep passion for psychology, pastoral ministry, spirituality, social justice and community. In fact, he authored 4o books on spiritual life.

He caught the attention of the world  for his working with mentally and physically handicapped people at the L’Arche Daybreak community in Richmond HIll, Ontario.

As far as I remember , I learned of Henri Nouwen when my Korean nun student brought  him up in our class and told me that she wanted to follow him. Thereafter, I started to be obsessed with his works, curious about his  strong passions for others, how the man made a difference to her. At that time, I was still religiously bothered and agitated as how I  looked up to Thomas Merton a lot. So, I had access to one  of his works when one of my other nun students  lent me the  Aging: The Fulfillment of Life. You can read my  simple review here .

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Given the fact that I am now an advocate atheist, reading such a book   still piques my interest, especially I find Henri Nouwen an influential person, a la Thomas Merton or Mother Theresa. Besides,  I love reading people’s works which give a profound impact upon the world .

Thanks Sister Clara. 🙂

I  wonder what is the next gift someone will give me. 🙂

Age is a number and mine is unlisted. –Anonymous–

 

 

 

 

 

Book News:The 37th Manila International Book Fair

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Maybe, among the book fairs,  The Manila International Book Fair is the only one I really can’t wait for . This special event  is considered as a godsend  to us book lovers because, aside from the fact that it has many booths  of books you can  drop into, you can have the opportunity to meet and greet  some famous  Filipino authors who will be launching their new books. As a matter of fact,  one of them I would love to meet is Edgar Calabia Samar,  famous for his  award-winning novel Walong Diwata ng Pagkahulog. He will be launching his  book three  for Si Janus Sílang at ang Tiyanak ng Tábon and Si Janus Sílang at ang Labanáng Manananggal-Mambabarang. Also, I hope to stumble upon one of my favorite Filipino children book writers, Genaro Gojo Cruz.

By the same token, you may  have the chance to make new friends as well as meet  your invisible friends you  hold a conversation with in  the social media like Goodreads. Let’s see. 🙂

The Manila International Book Fair is usually held in September yearly.  It is considered as  the country’s biggest and longest-running book fair. It exhibits various large collection of literature from fiction and nonfiction best-sellers, to academic books, to graphic novels, and so on.

For more information  , visit its  website here , or  its FB fanpage  here

So,  book lovers, you still have time to scrimp and save to buy all the books you might grab there.   See you there. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Book News: BOOKS for LESS Warehouse Sale

Filipino book  lovers, get a load of this!  BOOKS for  LESS  will be having  a Warehouse Sale in August.

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Thousands of books cost 20 pesos each.Good for those  bibliophiles who have a lot of money to burn. Yahoo!

I hope I’m  able to go even though the place is a bit far from our office and  expected to be jam-packed with the book lovers or book sellers who will take advantage of the  dirt cheap price.Besides, I have never been to such a grand sale event  yet, so I want to jump at this chance in a million. Hohoho

Its official Facebook account posted some directions on how to get to the  warehouse and  helpful tips   before going there.

For more information, visit  the  official book store’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bflbookstore/

Good luck!!! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Blog’s First Anniversary

12899698_10206279183280282_1556658901_nLet me go moonstruck today by imagining that I wanted to hit a peak of a mountain  on where I could crow  to the world that last  March 30 was my blog’s first anniversary.

“I’ve got my first anniversary!!!! anniversary!!!anniversary!! anniversary!!!”

“Yahoo!!! Yahoo!!! Yahoo!!! “

Then,I would jump in ecstasy unknowing that I might  be teetering on the edge of the  peak. Yay! I might break my neck.

Hahaha! What a goofy man I am!

If it had not been for my best friend’s rankling encouragement, it  would not have reached as long as this year. She had rubbed it in me to the point that I would hold her by the scruff of her neck, and retort,” I am a technologically ignoramus, duh!” But my best friend was so persistent, unflagging that  I stooped to her obdurate suggestion. In the end, I mustered up enough courage and confidence to break out of this irresistible urge. Thanks to my bosom friend!

So far, I have posted  147 articles. Then, my blog  has had more than  ten thousand views. Not that bad.I am deeply honored to be  visited by different readers.

Most of the pages liked are Ang Batang May Maraming Maraming Bahay by Genaro R. Gojo CruzStupid is Forevermore by Miriam Defensor Santiago Father Solo and Other Stories for Adults Only by Isagani R. Cruz,A Dwarf Launches a Little Ball : by Cho Se-Hui, and Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore

Recently, I have not yet posted any articles since February of this year. What a shame! I admit that I have been involved in the world of  hedonism and Epicurean. I did try to  get off the Ivory Tower  and  climbed a 167 -feet – above- sea-level  mountain somewhere in the Philippines. There, on the rocky peak,  I  had a breathtaking and spectacular view of the  other mountains, and  figuratively realized that  there are many ranges of mountains I have to climb more. Another reason is that I have been hooked on a new gadget I bought lately. I explored it until I got so stuck in it that I wasted a lot of time. But in the end, I want to be a Luddite after all. Reading is more interesting and productive. Nevertheless, I found out that there is another field that I want to get into-  photography. 🙂

In this April, I am now anxious to start reading more books however hectic my schedule is , and at the same time , I will review the books I have  backlogged. I hope to write my reviews of The Case of Easter by Lee Strobel which is supposed to be for last  Easter Day, Anne of Green Gables by L. M Montgomery, The Sea by John Banville, and The Man Who Could Not Kill Enough by Anne E. Schwartz, a story about American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.

Aside from my book reviews,  I also hope to share some short stories I have been trying to finish which are the reasons why I am now motivated to be back to the world of literature. Besides, my blog will not just deal with books but also with some social issues and lifestyles . Because after my experience in hiking, I have realized that there are some things in the world more than books that I should  write about.

The summer in the Philippine has come on, but my feeling  now  is just the like of those plants in spring; I am turning over  new leaves after my long hibernation,  and am now cheerful to sway myself in the air  that here I am,fresh,  full of spirit , interest, and hope.

Happy Reading to everyone! 🙂