So remember I mentioned a children’s book about making yourself sad? That book was ‘Owl at Home’ by Arnold Lobel. Written in 1975 apparently! I have no idea why I had this book, I wonder where Mum and Dad got it from? Anyway, one part is about an owl (called Owl!) who thinks the moon is following him because he can always see it in the sky. In the second part, Owl decides to make tear-water tea. He thinks about all the things that make him sad until he starts crying, then he fills up a pot with his tears and makes tea out of them. How sweet! It’s such an odd book but I really loved it, I hope it’s with all my other books in the storage room back home.

Speaking of collecting tears…this just made me remember that scene in Cry-Baby where Allison collects her tears in a jar! And if you haven’t seen that film then you should!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cry-Baby

OK, enough about tears!

Have to keep walking.

Songs that make me cry

April 16, 2011

OK, so I was reading this article in the Guardian about songs that make people cry: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/apr/08/nick-clegg-songs-make-writers-cry

Inspired by this, here is a small selection of some of the songs that (usually/often) make me cry.

Cocteau Twins – Half Gifts
A lovely, pretty sounding song to describe heartbreak and pain.”That’s what grown ups do”, the way Liz Fraser sings it just sounds so lost to me, like she’s repeating it to herself to convince herself that it’s true. It’s something I tell myself sometimes when I’m sad or confused by the world and when I just want to run home (as in, to my parents’ house) and curl up in my bedroom with my headphones on. Grown ups are meant to act maturely and wisely because that’s just “what they do” but of course it’s not always so easy.

Spiritualized – Broken Heart
Yes, I know, the first choice by the first writer in the Guardian piece, how original of me! This song has always made me cry but my reasons are very different from Dorian Lynskey’s reasons. It’s probably because I heard this at a particularly bad time in my life. I thought I was heartbroken, I wasn’t really. I was more…tired of not feeling loved and tired of feeling so overwhelmingly sad all the time. I think “I’m too busy to be heartbroken” is the line that made me the saddest because I had so much I needed to do at the time and this neverending sadness just seem to paralyze me. I got through but I still try not to listen to this song if I can help it. Disturbing as it sounds, this song also made me sad because listening to it made me imagine what heartbreak might feel like in the future!!

 Kate Bush – This Woman’s Work/Deeper Understanding
Again, there’s a sort of tiredness about This Woman’s Work that makes me feel sad. Or, a weariness rather. The video just makes it even sadder, I can hardly stand to watch the video at all!
I guess the reason I don’t like the new version of Deeper Understanding as much as the version on The Sensual World (I’m sorry Kate Bush! I love you!!) is because the chorus doesn’t soar. I felt that in the original, the computer voice was a kind of…heavenly voice coming to the narrator from the computer. It sounded ghostly enough for me to register it as something other than human. Sometimes just hearing something like “Hello, I know that you’re unhappy” is enough.

Radiohead – No Surprises
Well, I could choose almost any song from OK Computer and a lot of  The Bends and Kid A as these were some of the albums I used to shut myself in my room with and play repeatedly. Climbing Up the Walls used to destroy me but I would say it’s a kind of desperate song rather than a sad song exactly. No Surprises frequently turns up in unexpected places like cafés or bars and I just have to try to zone out for fear of crying! Again, it’s the feeling of giving up, of being so tired and wanting someone to comfort you or at least not to be subjected to any more emotional turmoil. While writing this I suddenly remembered another Radiohead song that I used to cry while listening to: Lozenge of Love. I haven’t heard that song in years so I have no idea if it would still produce the same effect!

Interpol – The New
I listened to this a lot right before going away to university but it’s meant different things to me at different times. I like (if that’s the right word to use?!) the line “I gave a lot to you, I take a lot from you too”. He just sings it in such a worn out sounding way, it’s so sad.

Low – Words
This song is very connected with the video for me as I used to watch the DVD that came with A Lifetime of Temporary Relief over and over again when I was home alone in the flat I shared during my third year of uni. Just hearing the first chords is enough to make me feel a bit wobbly and lost. Again, it was a time when I was so full of sadness (although far less than I was in my first and second years! Progress!) and also hating myself for feeling so sad all the time! “Too many words, too many words” just seemed to sum up how I felt. There were too many words I couldn’t say, too many words I didn’t feel I was able to write, too many negative words being poured into my diaries, and too many words in my own head, telling me again and again that I was a massive failure and that everyone around me was sick of me being such a depressed idiot half the time. It’s a beautiful song though!

Tindersticks – Pretty much their entire first album/Waiting for the Moon
Yeah, it’s hard to choose any one song from the first Tindersticks album, I really do tend to listen to the whole thing in one go. Like The Boatman’s Call it’s a surefire trip to Sadnessville.

Waiting for the Moon, from their album of the same name includes the lovely line: “Ease this raging heart, this raging love. Sometimes it feels like a knife, but not tonight” Even though the lyrics refer to “we”, for some reason this song makes me feel like the protagonist in Bjork’s ‘Hyperballad’ (another song I love which could, at times, go on this list!), like someone trying their best to deal with their sadness at night while everyone else is sleeping so that the people they love don’t have to.

Death Cab for Cutie – Your Heart is an Empty Room
“And all you see is where else you could be”. Dissatisfaction, emotional numbness, but made to sound so beautiful! It’s a really pretty song and I guess, whatever it’s supposed to mean, the lyric I quoted really stands out to me because I’m always struggling with a dissatisfaction with wherever I’m living. Not because of the people I’m there with but because I just never seem to be entirely happy no matter where I am, I’m always longing for that perfect country/city/town where I’ll feel happy and complete. I just haven’t found it yet. I know, it’s a very self-indulgent way to feel. I’m sorry.

Smashing Pumpkins – Perfect
This is the sound of teenage love, unrequited love, endless summers, school, blablabla. I never listened to this song until years after it came out, I had some kind of problem with the Smashing Pumpkins. Then one of my best friends in senior high school made me listen to the Rotten Apples compilation and I got really into them. I don’t know, this song feels like it’s about all the things that never happened and (thanks partly to 1979 companion piece video, which is also excellent) a sadness about things that didn’t go quite the way they maybe should have. It makes me feel like a kind of bruised happiness can come from jadedness or that, even when adult life doesn’t seem to be working out the way we hoped, we should hold on to all the things in life that are  beautiful.

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Into My Arms
In a similar way to Words, this song is sad, but also signifies the opening of the emotional whirlpool that is The Boatman’s Call. I hear this and I think “I’m going to be in tears for the next forty minutes”. This song is so caring and so sweet compared to the bleakness of a lot of the other songs on the album. It’s the sound of someone picking up a broken person and telling them they’ll take care of them. The video is lovely too.

OK, I’m done. Just writing about these songs is making me feel a bit upset! That reminds me of a childrens’ book… I won’t tell you which one, it deserves it’s own blog post actually! I’ll find a picture of the cover and then I’ll write about it!

I left lots of songs out, either because I don’t want to explain why they make me sad or because I can’t think of any good reasons for finding them so upsetting. I left others out because well, there really are an awful lot of songs that make me cry! Billie Holiday, Jeff Buckley, The Cure, Mew, Kings of Convenience, Bjork, Nina Simone, the list could go and on! Then there are songs that don’t normally make me cry but have done due to my hearing them at a very specific time or in a specific place or something.

I was also going to include links to the songs but then I thought: wait a second, these are really sad songs, people shouldn’t be listening to them!! I also worried that people might listen and then think “Wow, these songs are terrible, who could possibly find any emotional meaning whatsoever in stupid songs like these, she is a total idiot!!” So, if you want to listen then feel free to head to youtube/spotify but don’t come back and tell me that you hate the songs or I’ll be very upset! I might cry!

I meant to post something light-hearted today. Or maybe something about White Day. I feel like I should say something about the earthquake first though. I guess I really don’t have anything very worthwhile to say but I’ll write about it anway. First of all, thanks so much to everyone who got in touch to check how I was. Facebook has been awfully useful as a way of letting people know I’m OK and I know all of my friends in Japan have been finding themselves somewhat inundated with friends/family/acquaintances checking in on them. I am and always have been totally fine, I don’t live near the epicentre.
My experience was very small. I was at work when it happened and, like so many others, I started to feel a little dizzy and faint. I looked up from the page I was reading, thinking maybe I’d strained my eyes. Nope, still dizzy. I checked my chair and the desk I was sitting at to see if they were wobbly. Not really. Then I realised everyone in the room looking around in confusion and finally understood that it was an earthquake. I really didn’t know what to do so I just crouched on the floor and held onto the desk. Some people got on the floor, others stood up. The building rocked slowly for about a minute, followed by an aftershock a little while later.
The whole thing was more surreal than outright scary. I’ve never experienced an earthquake before and for some reason I just didn’t think it would get any more violent. I’m lucky it didn’t. I still think it’s weird that while it was happening my thought process was pretty much “Ooh, this is…weird. It probably won’t get any worse, right? Right.” Afterwards, most people got their phones out or switched their radios on. Otherwise it was just back to work. I couldn’t make or recieve calls for about an hour after it happened but I soon started getting a steady stream of texts from Danny and friends in the area. We were all fine. I heard vague murmurings about a tsunami and some hints that maybe this was something very serious but I still left work not really aware of what had just happened.
Of course as soon as I got home and switched on the news it was pretty obvious. I e-mailed my parents straight away, posted on facebook and replied to messages then logged onto twitter and sat hypnotised by the BBC and NHK coverage. Shot after shot of that sludgy wave, washing away bits of wood, then cars, then houses, then boats.
Everything I felt just seemed like such a cliche. You know all that stuff about things never seeming real until they happen somewhere nearby. It still doesn’t feel entirely real though. I’ve never been to northern Honshu, it seemed so far away. The footage from Tokyo was scary because I’ve spent so much time there, I could imagine being there while this was happening. But despite the familiarity of Tokyo and the frighetening images coming from the city, the real horror was up in Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate. The raging fires, the water, the submerged cities and the knowledge that in amongst all the cars and wreckage there had to be people. That wave seemed impossible to outrun or even to outdrive.
The situation only proceeded to get more and more grim. The death count looks set to rise and rise. Nuclear power plants are having difficulties. The amount of repair work that’s going to be needed is hard to comprehend. If you believe in anything then do send your prayers to those hit hardest and if you can, donate some money towards the relief effort:
The Japanese Red Cross:
http://www.jrc.or.jp/english/index.html
If you’re in Japan, you can donate directly through Family Mart. Instructions are here:
http://www.jetprogramme.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=4999

Oops, sorry!

February 5, 2011

Yes, I’ve been really slow about updating! Again, photo storage problems! It’s my fault for having a teeny netbook. It’s so CUTE though, I love it, I’m not sorry. Oh wait, I am! For not updating! Sooooorry!! I’ll try harder!

Noruwei no Mori

December 29, 2010

Of course I’ve read the book! (In English). Several times! Most recently I bought a new copy with the movie poster picture on the cover. This is something I almost always actively AVOID but for some reason I’ve got it into my head that this film is going to mean a lot to me. I still haven’t seen it, I just feel that way for some reason. I also bought two Norwegian Wood t-shirts from Uniqlo. (I’m wearing one in my last post!) Anyway, here’s a big poster in Yurakacho station with a weird travel destination tie-in!

But…but…why?? I’m in Norway though so um, yay?! No Northern lights might I add..but it was minus 17 yesterday and everything is covered with snow. It’s so pretty it’s almost ridiculous. Just looking at the trees makes me feel like crying because they’re so beautiful!

Explosions by the sea

August 25, 2010

Me and Danny went to Kumano for the first time on the 17th, to see the famous fireworks show! Train ride down wasn’t so bad. I mean, it was long (4 hours, we went with local trains) but I’d been anticipating sitting on the floor or something and we got seats easily! Scenery between Taki and Kumanoshi was gorgeous. Heavy heavy green trees and mountains. Sometimes the scenery in Japan reminds me of Norway! I mean, it’s often kindof more ‘lush’ than Norway but just the sheer amount of trees and the mountains reminds me of driving through the country back home sometimes!

Anyway, got to Kumanoshi around half four. Very cute little station! Got some snacks at a konbini and debated buying a T-shirt with a Japanese milk company logo on it. They were really cool but both of us… already … own …so…many…T-shirts!

Headed for the beach. Wow it was packed! It’s a stony beach so no sandy shoes, yay! The Kumano RA, Marissa, had reserved a spot on the beach, thankfully! It was next to the lion rock which totally IS shaped like a lion! It was really crowded and although you could have seen the fireworks from pretty much anywhere it was nicer to be so close to the beach where you could actually see the reflections of the fireworks in the water. Quite a few ALTs showed up, I was mostly too sleepy/in awe of fireworks to do much talking… Chatted to Mitzi a little, said hello to some new people who I will fail to recognise if I see them again cause it was super dark and I couldn’t see so well!

Fireworks were fantastic! The sound they made echoing off the rocks was insane! It really sounded like..cannon fire or something! The fireworks in the water were great, huge plumes of light and the poor people in the little boat lighting them zipping away as each one exploded. I couldn’t help myself going ‘Ooooh!’ and ‘Aaaahh!’ all the time. I did hear one little kid shout ‘Ganbatte!’. Very cute! Do fireworks need the encouragement? Or was he talking to the people on the boats?? There were fireworks shaped like mushrooms, umbrellas, mikans, smileys and planets (No Hello Kitty though!! Will it never be??! Do they even exist?)! There were swirly ones and disco ones and ones that I thought looked like space (like star clusters, kinda!), colourful ones and glitter dust ones and golden ones and rainbow ones. Here are some photos that probably don’t do the show justice but what can I do?

Hung out on the beach for a little after the show. Chatted to Lauren for a bit then me and Danny headed off for our train. Got baby castella on the way back, yes! And as the stall was closing up she gave us tons of them, yes! Or not yes, cause of course that meant we ended up eating more of the things than we would have but whatever, they’re yum. Had to join a special queue for the train back. Train was delayed by at least half an hour..then it kept stopping (abruptly!) on the way there and just not moving for ages (I guess the delay screwed up the schedule and it had to pause for other trains to pass). Ended up being delayed by just over an hour, got back at around 4am! Um, yay! Didn’t feel too bad though, I’m impressed we got back at all! Yeah, Kumano fireworks, definitely a thing one should do while in Mie! It’s beautiful down there and the fireworks really are extra specially awe inspiring and LOUD!

Wow, I love fireworks. I do remember being a bit scared of them when I was little. I think I was also afraid for the people lighting them (sometimes, my Dad would be one of those people). I remember going to Guy Fawkes nights in Wales and thinking ‘Aaaahhh!! Run!!’ every time anyone lit a firework. I was scared of sparklers for the longest time too, purely based on those freaky adverts where a girl wearing fingerless gloves would hold her horrifically burned hands up to the camera and say something like ‘I played with sparklers. Look what happened’. I’m OK with sparklers now though, they’re fun! OK, glimpse into my childhood: over!  Fireworks: yay!

Reading The Brontë Myth at the moment so I tried to draw Emily. It looks like Charlotte Gainsbourg though. Or have I gone mad? Considering the amount of time I spend spacing out/thinking really banal thoughts/staring out of the window it’s very possible…

She is saying “Hello, I am Charlotte Gainsbourg. Or Emily Brontë maybe.” ‘Cause, you know, sometimes I need to draw people to have conversations with!

Sitting here , listening to Disintegration and drinking red wine (on a Sunday, awful!), it feels like being back at university. Isn’t it weird how albums can do this?

The only thing missing is nag champa incense. (I’ve got vanilla and cinnamon instead).

So here’s a picture of me while I was at university:

See, no fringe!

This was taken at a Band of Horses concert. They remind me of university too but I still listen to them on a regular basis whereas I haven’t listened to Disintegration all the way through for ages. And considering how sad it’s making me feel then maybe there’s a reason for that.