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There are citric acid like compound present in it. Doctors advise that one takes two capsules per day which must before a primary meal and should be swallowed with a glass of water. You to be able to certainly spend some time to confer employing physician prior to happening any diet or using any kind of dietary supplement, but if you find the Garcinia Cambogia Extract Extract benefits and cons you will notice how the merchandise is able to really work getting at least undesirable implications.

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This takes place due to your ability of HCA to dam the enzyme citrate lyase which makes your body produce fat from the carbohydrates that you simply eat. The unit is made over the extracts a fruit and enriched by using a compound called HCA (Hydroxycitric Acid). Oz does not promote any sort of specific tire maker of GC Extraction, in the event that one cases this recommendation– flee!

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Yura vs. the C³-bu

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This was one of the two shows which I watched this summer (the other being Free!, to no one’s surprise). The boyfriend suggested this, even knowing that I’m not a Gainax nor Airsoft fan. He thought it was cute and quirky, and possibly something that I’d enjoy. He was correct, I enjoyed it.

If you’ve been keeping up with my reading preferences lately, it should also come as no surprise to you that I felt for Yura. I didn’t think of her as a jerk or a douchebag; she made poor decisions, but is her personality overall screwed up? Nope, absolutely not. In many ways, I’d say that her bad choices were as much as fault of the C³-bu as Yura herself.

Yura enters Stella Academy with the intentions of making a fresh start. It’s hinted from the first episode that things didn’t go too well at her previous school, and Stella is her chance to have her ideal school experience. But within minutes of entering school grounds, Yura already makes her first social faux-pas, and even though most people would probably recover from this incident, for Yura, it’s almost a sign that things aren’t going to go well again.

Let’s be real here: Yura is socially awkward. She doesn’t seem to know how real people, real friends work — hence explaining all her made-up fantasy situations each time she finds herself caught up in a high-stress or high-pleasure situation. It’s easier to dream up of a scenario where’s she’s the heroine of her own life movie rather than face the sad, brutal reality where she’s a nobody, where she’s the girl who isn’t noticed.

Big fat deal, right? Every other lead character in manga or anime is socially awkward. Most of them are friendless and lonely until, one day, they discover that special something in them that makes them the hero. Yes, and for Yura, that special something was Airsoft. It was something brand new for her, and I liked that she wasn’t good at it from the beginning. I liked that Yura had to practice and work hard (mostly) and keep on practicing even after she mastered the basics. Yura may have been an above-average Airsoft player, but she’s no genius, and I like that.

The anime could’ve ended there, but that wouldn’t have been any fun. So, even though we see Yura gain friends and skill through the C³-bu, we also see a darker aspect of what happens to her because of her obsession with the game. Instead of becoming more empathetic to her teammates, the same group of girls who’ve taken her into the fold, Yura fixates on the “me” part of “game.” Yura thinks that if she levels up even higher in their survival games, her status in the group hierarchy would improve; she doesn’t realize, until too late, that the other girls aren’t as focused on the game inasmuch as they are about each other. She’s branded as an asshole because she cares more about winning instead of her friends, and doubly so when she doesn’t think it was such a big deal to worry about her friends since the others would take care of it.

Is her behavior a criticism of the otaku mentality? I’m not referring to anime/manga otaku specifically, but otaku as a catch-all for the fanatical, highly-competitive person in every known hobby or sphere. This is the person who doesn’t care about sniping you in auctions, cutting in front of you in convention lines, yelling out spoilers to a popular tv show/movie in a crowded room,  taunting you for not having the latest gadget, etc. This otaku is the person who’s more obsessed about the things instead of the community that love the things. (Though if I wanted to be accurate and technical about it, a true otaku wouldn’t care about the community anyway.)

Was Yura just a latent otaku and all she needed was the spark of Airsoft survival games to get her going? Maybe. But, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Yura’s anti-social behavior (the psychiatric definition; as opposed to prosocial) wasn’t helped by the rest of the club either.

Understandably the C³-bu needed just one more member to remain intact as a club; none of them would’ve realized that their newest member would become such a fanatic when she could barely hold a gun in their first game. The rest of the club sees Yura spiraling into an Airsoft fanatic, but they didn’t call her out until it was too late. They all wanted to play “nice,” but weren’t so nice themselves when it came to ganging up on Yura. They pressured her for days to join the club, and probably so excited to see how fast she excelled in their game, but nobody wanted to take responsibility to tell her when she was starting to get out of line. Isn’t that what true friends would do, isn’t that what we would expect? If you’re my friend, I expect you to call me out on my bullshit and I wouldn’t get upset by it, because I know that you’re doing it for my own good and because what I’m doing is hurting myself and/or other people.

That’s why, out of all of the C³-bu, I like that Rento took the time to go see Yura and talk to her. Rento played a big role in getting Yura into the club, as well as taking the time to making Yura feel like a friend, not just another cog in the survival game machine. As much as Sonora and Yura had a special bond, I think that, without Rento, Yura wouldn’t have wanted to return anymore.

Another Gainax anime completed, and this one wasn’t so bad.

Red Glove by Holly Black: Audio vs Print book

I was introduced to Holly Black through the Spiderwick series. Though meant for younger children, I adored the creepy but magical world that Holly co-created with illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi. I read Holly’s first book in the Curse Worker series, White Cat, back in 2010 — didn’t like it too much — so that probably explains why I only picked up its sequel Red Glove last month.

To be truthful, I only picked up Red Glove (Margaret K. McElderberry Books, 2011) because I was interested in trying out an audiobook and upon seeing that actor Jesse Eisenberg was narrating the novel, I figured it was worth taking the chance.

redgloveIt’s been years since I’ve listened to an audiobook. Cassette tapes were still the de rigueur format and Hollywood celebrities were not touted as narrators for hyped-up books. Maybe it’s my uninformed biases coming out, but I always had the impression audiobooks were marketed for people who weren’t really into reading, or for those who had physical impediments to reading but still wanted to ‘read’ the books.

But there must be something to them, as it’s 2013 and audiobooks are still as popular a format as ever. Maybe it’s because of the improvements in audio media, or maybe it’s because they fill the need of multitaskers, or maybe because people genuinely enjoy them — I wanted to give audiobooks a try and see if my opinion would change.

Red Glove‘s story lends itself well to an audiobook. It continues the story of Cassel Sharpe, as first-person narrator, who’s a teenage boy coming to terms of the secrets of his family and his own past. He is a curse worker, a persons who is able to change other people’s appearance or emotion or dreams, etc. merely through skin-to-skin contact. In the universe of Red Glove, curse workers are villified, and find themselves in mobster-like families and situations. Cassel belongs to a family of curse workers and this book opens with a tragedy that has beset his clan.

I’ve mentioned elsewhere that, while I’m not a fan of Mr. Eisenberg, I do appreciate that he actually acts in his reading of the novel. He alters his voices depending on the character, and even changes his tone and voice volume if he’s reading internal thoughts, as opposed to spoken dialogue. It also does help that he’s a younger actor playing a young character. While it possibly doesn’t make a difference in many novels, there’s something about the quality of his voice that convinces me that it’s actually the character speaking, and not just an actor reading these lines in a recording studio. He’s able to capture Cassel’s irreverence, recklessness, and insecurity merely through his voice.

And this is where I feel I need to clarify that while I think Jesse Eisenberg sounds like the perfect Cassel, I do not physically visualize the actor as Cassel. Maybe it’s all those years of listening to Japanese drama CDs; I’m thrilled whenever I hear Mamoru Miyano voice one of my favorite characters, but do I see the actor’s face each time I do? Nope, not at all. In my head, there’s a distinction between the person and the voice. It makes me sound like a terrible person, as I’m dehumanizing the actor in favor of their voice, but that’s how I’ve always just processed that aural input.

As you can figure out though, listening to the audiobook didn’t work for me. I felt like I had to force myself to sit and concentrate while listening — which felt tedious and the exact opposite of the relaxed feeling that I’ve come to expect when I read a book. I was totally into the story, but my attention just kept drifting away so I would even go back and rewind to points where I fell off the listening wagon. I admit that I listen to music or talk radio as white noise (to block out co-worker chatter), so maybe when I’m trying to be clever and multi-task by listening to an audiobook while doing other tasks, my brain just focuses all of its energies on what I’ve deemed as top priority and doesn’t even bother processing the rest of the stimuli?

Yeah.

Anyhow, I breezed through the rest of the book (in print) in a matter of several hours. In reading, I feel I can go as slowly or as quickly as I want. With most young adult fiction, I’ve found that I could go through an average-length one (400-500 pages) in 1-3 days. It’s easier to lose myself in the world that the author created; words rushing and stumbling across each other in the page. For books that are more lyric, or where I’m having some difficulty with the language, I could spend a bit more time going through it. For instance, I read Persuasion last week and I felt it took me forever! I’m not used to Austen-speak anymore; it never took me more than a couple of days to finish any of my English lit readings, I’m become rusty.

So while I’m impressed with the quality and relative availability of audiobooks, I think I’m gonna stick to the written formats for a while. There’s so many books that I want to get through and I’d rather enjoy them in a version that will give me the most pleasure for my buck.

Tone and Intent in Criticism

My high school English teacher’s favorite question to ask of the class, each time we finished reading a novel or a poem, was to ask us what was the tone of the work. The first quarter, without fail, nobody knew what exactly she was asking. “The tone was positive…?” “NO!” “I think the tone was happy.” “Did you even read the poem, Miss Martinez?” It came to the point that once someone knew an upperclassman who remembered what the tone of poem x was, we would spread the word around so that whoever would get called that day would have some reasonable answer.

I feel that I’ve written about this before, but because of that teacher, the literary definition of tone has been embedded deep in my consciousness. Tone is the author’s attitude towards the characters or towards the story. It can be sarcastic, satirical, supportive, or indifferent. It’s a tricky thing to figure out since sometimes the tone isn’t as immediately obvious as the theme or the mood of the literary work. And because of that, tone’s the easiest to bullshit your way out of — cite a few examples where the author’s writing seems to take a critical viewpoint of the character and you can justify how your perception of the tone of the work can be just as valid.

I’ve been writing long-form essays on this blog for over a year. Previous incarnations of Tokyo Jupiter felt more fluffy, leaning towards summaries and glossed over reviews of various anime and manga. Now, I prefer writing about the grand, overarching themes, seeing the connections between disparate anime, manga, or books. I realize this style doesn’t make the blog a prime site for post-watching/reading discussion and/or fangirling, but I’m okay with that. I’ve found my niche and it’s warm and cozy here.

I brought up the topic of tone in the beginning of this post because I was thinking about this blog’s overall tone. I obviously love anime, manga, and books otherwise why would I be spending all this time writing about them, but I don’t have the luxury of distance from my own writing. I don’t know if I come off too snooty and pretentious (because of the editorial writing style) or if I’m coming off as too shallow (because c’mon, I’m writing about Japanese cartoons). And here’s the rub: as an author, the tone of the work is quite visceral and subconscious. Unless I’m the type of writer who carefully pores over every single word choice (which I’m not), my attitude in my writing comes from my deeply ingrained raw feelings about the work, feelings that will come to the surface even despite my best efforts.

So when I encounter an anime or a book that I intensely dislike, sometimes I don’t even hold back my words and feelings about it. But then, that brings up the question, how nice or how mean should I be when I’m writing in this blog?

Writer Austin Kleon wrote about how he deals with media that he didn’t get into: he simply says “it wasn’t for me.”

I like the phrase because it’s essentially positive: underlying it is the assumption that there is a book, or rather, books, for me, but this one just wasn’t one of them. It also allows me to tell you how I felt about the book without me shutting down the possibility that you might like it, or making you feel stupid if you did like it.

That’s nice, right? And he’s correct, there are just some things that everybody else loves that I just never understood (Doctor Who, The Big Bang Theory, Star Trek, Evangelion, superhero comics). On a theoretical level, I understand why there’s so much love for it, and I may have even given it a try myself, but many times, there are things that don’t click. It’s literally a case of “it’s not you, it’s me.” It’s me! I don’t know why I can’t love the things you do, but that’s just how it is. I am happy that you love it though, and I’m sorry that I can’t share in this happiness with you.

I feel though, that there is a line between not liking things because you don’t like them, and not liking things because they’re badly made — poorly written text, sloppy fact-checking, lazy storytelling, substandard production values, etc. It’s not snobbery, it’s just the basic premise of equivalent exchange at work. If I give you my money and my time, I think I have a right to expect a product where you, as creator, have poured in your all. If you give me something that you and I both know that you’ve pulled out of your ass at the last minute, then I don’t even know why we’re wasting our time. I’m almost embarrassed on behalf of creators where I have to criticize the obvious lack of effort.

I also think that I have to think of the media that I consume as a multi-person collaborative effort. Anime, for example, isn’t just about the original writer and creator — there are hundreds of people involved in producing a single episode, and each person has made a creative input in the end work, no matter how little the input may be. Authors may be the ones who brought the story to life, but editors and editorial directors can nudge them in a certain direction, and the marketing copywriter may have been the one who tweaked the book description to make it sexier. It’s easy to look at the cover and point out the creator’s flaws and forget how much work they did put into it. I know I wouldn’t be able to whip out two novels a year, so before I write up a scathing blog post on this author’s flaws, maybe I should remember that creating is harder than it seems.

To-be Read Queue: Friday the 13th edition

I don’t know how book bloggers or booktubers (book reviewers on Youtube) do it. I’m just dipping my toes into this world and I feel just as overwhelmed as when I was trying to be an episodic anime blogger. There’s just too many good things to read!

Anyway, even though I’ve only scratched off a couple of my tbr books from this list, I’ve since added a few more. Because why not be aspirational?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Lots of hype from my friends about this title; I skimmed through the first opening pages and the atmosphere is appropriately creepy, which I do enjoy. I don’t know how I feel about 2nd person narration though.

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
I’ve always seen this book on the public library shelves, and the covers are all beautiful that it seems almost a sin for me to ignore this series any further. Except, since it is the first book in a series, it means I’ll have to start YET another new one. Is it worth the trouble?

Beastly by Alex Flinn
Because it seems wrong to read Bewitching without starting this one first.

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
I’ve seen Libba Bray in a reading once, and she was so great and bubbly and gorgeous. At the time, she was promoting Beauty Queens, which I also want to read, but I know she has a lot of fans of the Gemma Doyle series. Again, it’s slightly creepy and mysterious, so it’s practically a perfect read for the upcoming autumn. And that cover, seriously, so pretty!

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
I feel I’m checking a list of all of the popular YA authors, so of course, I can’t forget Ms. Brennan. I’ve never read any of her books, so I’m hoping to remedy that with Unspoken.

Another v1 (novel) by Yukito Ayatsuji
I’m just setting myself to be creeped out all of October, aren’t I?

And these following books are already guaranteed to go on my tbr list as soon as I purchase them:

  • The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman
  • Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
  • Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • (and maybe) Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

I don’t even want to talk about the nonfiction and adult books. I’m overwhelmed enough as it is.

My Darling is a Foreigner

Got to watch a free screening of Darling wa Gaikokujin yesterday evening (courtesy of New York-Tokyo and ANA). I was genuinely excited to see this movie: I genuinely like INOUE Mao and the story sounded like a light & breezy flick, a perfect summer movie, as it were.

Darling wa Gaikokujin follows Saori, a young aspiring manga artist and Tony, her American boyfriend. The film shows them tackling issues that could be expected of any cross-cultural relationship; some of them easy, some harder. I like that the movie chose to hone in on a central issue, that is, Saori’s father disapproving of their relationship, as what they needed to overcome, and not the silly stuff like the language or other cliche cultural jokes. If you think about it, even in relationships where you and your partner have the same background or ethnicity, your family may still not approve. It becomes not about Japanese vs American, but about family and values.

As expected, Inoue was the best part of the movie. She’s charming and the camera loves her. Even when she’s sitting in silence, her face and her body are so expressive. As Saori, she obviously has to speak English at certain points in the movie, and while not perfect, she makes a good attempt to speak the language.

I wish that they had found another actor to play the role of Tony, though. I’m sure Jonathan Sherr is a capable actor, but I didn’t really feel the chemistry between him and Inoue. There were moments where he would look at her (or the camera) and his movements are so stilted. I know that the character is supposed to be a little bit weird (with his fascination with unusual Japanese expressions) but I wanted to believe that these two persons loved each other so much that they won’t let a silly little thing such as cultural expectations and differences break them apart.

Also — my feminist wiles were all up in a furor when (1) Tony left her to fend for herself in that party (2) she excuses Tony’s fumbling ways in the house because if she complains, then she might as well do the chores herself. First off — if you’re bringing a (girl)friend to a party where she doesn’t know anybody (much less speak the language of the majority of the group), you should at least stay with her for a few minutes and introduce her to your friends. Tony’s behavior made him appear like Mr. #1 Douche. And, boys do not have the “I’m a bachelor” excuse for not knowing how to do things around the house. Did he not do laundry or wash dishes when he was living by himself? Domestic duties are NOT the domain of women alone; this is 2010, man up.

Overall, this was an okay movie. I’m sad that I didn’t get a copy of the DMP manga when it was published, but I’m happy that the movie has generated interest for the Japanese publisher to release a book with their own English translations.